NORD STREAM NIGHTMARES U.S.
OGJ - A debate about the proposed Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline at the Atlantic Council on Mar. 12 quickly became heated as some participants argued that it would serve a broader Russian political purpose while others said it simply would increase available supplies for European customers. Speakers generally seemed to agree that the US should encourage an effective solution but keep its distance otherwise.
They also suggested that a solution will need to consider what role Ukraine would play as a transit country since its relationship with Russian gas giant Gazprom has continued to deteriorate. "Nord Stream 2 would give Gazprom the technical option to ignore Ukraine. It transmitted 93 bcf through the pipe there—a volume too big for it to ignore," said Vadym Glamazdin, special envoy on government relations at Naftagaz, Ukraine's state gas company.
Sandra Oudkirk, deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy at the US Department of State's Bureau of Energy Resources, said Nord Stream 2 matters to the US because it would cement a transportation system in place that could perpetuate dependence on Russian gas for some key US allies. "It would not increase the amount of gas coming into Europe, only replace volumes that now are being transported through Ukraine," she said. "Buying into a massive, expensive undersea project like this only fosters dependence on Gazprom."
Douglas Hengel, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, noted, "I don't think it's unusual for us to talk about energy security and geopolitics. This particularly matters to Central and Eastern European countries. On projects like this, it's hard to separate the commercial and geopolitical aspects. This is part of a Russian plan to weaken Europe's Energy Union, which Germany depends on."
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BLOOMBERG - While Europe as a whole gets more than a third of its gas from Russia, that share is lower in the U.K., which receives the bulk of its fuel from North Sea fields and Norway. Still, Moscow-based Gazprom PJSC was the second-biggest supplier to major industrial consumers in the U.K. last year, according to Britain’s energy regulator Ofgem.
FT - of the six LNG tankers that have made deliveries into the UK so far in 2018 three have carried cargoes originally from Russia, leading to questions about whether Moscow was gaining a foothold in the UK gas market after starting up the Yamal LNG facility in Siberia late last year.
REUTERS - So far this year, two Yamal cargoes unloaded at British terminals for domestic consumption, accounting for about a third of Britain’s 2018 LNG imports after typical supplier Qatar pre-sold the bulk of its winter output to Asia last year.
REUTERS - U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $60.77 a barrel at 0753 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous settlement. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $64.62 per barrel, down just 2 cents from their last close.