Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fischer Accuses Russia of Energy Politics against Ukraine

Former German Foreign Minister took on the Russians at the European Autumn Gas Conference. Fischer said that South Stream is not based on energy reasons, but was a political move. The former Foreign Minister and current Nabucco advisor, leveled the charge that the goal of South Stream is to pressure the Ukraine into returning to Russia's sphere of interest. Fischer also predicted that South Stream would have difficulty obtaining financing, since the cost of the project would be approaching 30 billion euros rather than the 10 billion that South Stream spokesman Marcel Kramer predicts ("Europe's gas industry deeply divided over the future," European Energy Review, 22 November 2010)

In taking such a hard-line position, Fischer has placed himself in clear opposition to his former boss, former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who is chairman of a group supporting Nord Stream. Both Nord Stream and South Stream have the same owner, the Russian government-controlled Gazprom.

Despite Fischer's efforts, it would appear that Schroeder's side is winning. In October, Gazprom signed a long term contract with Poland that both Moscow and Warsaw know violates EU energy legislation. In November, they made an agreement with Bulgaria to run South Stream through the country. Separately, but equally alarming for those who would like to see Europe with some wiggle room in the energy sector, Russian-owned Rosneft recently took control of 50 percent of Germany's larget oil refiner, Ruhr Oel ("Russia's Pipeline Deal with Bulgaria Concerns Europe," www.the, November 18, 2010.)

Nabucco supporters have an uphill struggle.

Dr. James J. Coyle is available to speak to your organization or at your event. Please contact him at