Friday, May 05, 2006

Cheney on Russia and International Energy Policy

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney wasn't mincing any words yesterday when it came to Russia and its role in the European natural gas market:

"No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation," Cheney said, weighing in on a heated European debate over Russia's reliability as an energy exporter following a brief New Year's shutoff of natural gas to Ukraine. "
And I don't think word of this news, which hit the wires around the same time as Cheney's remarks, was a coincidence:
Kazakhstan's energy minister said Thursday that the Central Asian nation was interested in building a gas pipeline to Europe that would bypass Russia, The Associated Press reported from Astana.

Oil Minister Baktykozha Izmukhambetov told the visiting EU energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, that his country sought to cooperate with the European Union to diversify its energy export routes.

"A trans-Caspian gas pipeline, from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and further to Europe, is seen as one of the feasible routes," he said after talks with Piebalgs, who was visiting the ex-Soviet republic for the first time as Europe seeks new export routes from the Caspian region and a wider range of oil and gas suppliers.

Russia caused concern in the EU and calls for more diverse sources when it halted deliveries to Ukraine in a price dispute, disrupting supplies to European countries. Russia provides one- quarter of the gas Europe consumes.
Then again, if you increased the share of electricity generated by nuclear energy, this might be less of a worry.

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1 comment:

Rod Adams said...

One of the advantages of nuclear power is that it can provide exceptional freedom to its owners.

Once a company or country has its own nuclear plants, it is possible to gain a measure of independence from fuel suppliers that is not possible with any fossil fuel power plant.

Even if the company/country does not own a complete fuel cycle, it can stockpile many years worth of fuel, making it difficult for any short term pressure to be applied.