Some more examples of Gazprom/Russian “friendly” behaviour

Här kommer några fler notiser om hur Gazprom och Ryssland agerar i olika sammanhang för att stärka sitt inflytande. Och hur de straffar de länder som inte följer husbondens röst.


Russia cuts Czech oil supplies after radar deal with US

Jul 13, 2008, 10:05 GMT

Prague/Moscow – Russia slashed oil supplies to the Czech Republic immediately after last week’s signing of a Czech-US missile defence agreement, Czech officials confirmed Sunday.

But Czech government commissioner Vaclav Bartuska denied the move was in retaliation for Prague allowing Washington to base a radar system on its soil as part of a missile shield programme opposed by Moscow.

Speaking to Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, Bartuska ruled out a technical problem, citing the uninterrupted flow of Russian oil to neighbouring countries such as Poland.

He also said a retaliatory move was unlikely because his country could easily obtain oil via another pipeline running through Germany.

But he declined to comment on reports from Moscow that the reduction might be linked to an internal Russian conflict over oil export rights in the wake of the handover of power in the Kremlin.

The Czech government has asked Moscow to explain the reason for the reduction, which began on July 4, but increased markedly after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg signed the radar deal on July 8.

The business magazine Euro said cutback in supplies via the Drushba pipeline could go down from the agreed 500,000 tons in July to 300,000 tons.

Russia has in the past reduced energy supplies to the West for both political and economic reasons. Oil concern Lukoil has cut deliveries to Germany twice in recent months because it was unhappy at the price being paid.

Supplies to the Baltic nation of Lithuania via a northern branch of the Drushba pipeline have been cut for two years, because of what Moscow calls a technical defect. EU and NATO leaders believe political motives are the reason.

In 2006, Russia’s Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine in a pricing dispute and accused the country of siphoning off supplies meant for other countries.

Ukraine and its Western allies saw the move as a political warning to the country’s pro-Western leadership, something which Moscow denied.”

Och här en notis att den ryska militären har återupptagit sin patrullering i Arktis.

”Monday, July 14, 2008, 20:05

Russia ‘resumes patrols’ in disputed Arctic waters

Russia’s navy said today it had resumed patrols in disputed waters around the Arctic Ocean archipelago of Svalbard, where Russia and Norway have clashed over rich fishing rights.

The navy said it had already sent an anti-submarine ship into the disputed waters around the archipelago, known by Russians as Spitzbergen, and said it would soon send a cruiser.

Russia has been keen to underline its growing clout by expanding the reach of its military and staking claim to the mineral and fishing wealth of the Arctic.

Russian fishermen had asked the navy to protect them after a series of clashes over recent years between Russian trawlers and the Norwegian navy, which accuses them of illegal fishing.

Under a 1920 treaty, Svalbard was placed under Norwegian sovereignty, but other signatories were allowed to exploit some land-based resources.

Russia says it has a right to fish in waters almost up to the coast, but Norway in 1977 unilaterally established a 200-mile fisheries zone around Svalbard that Russia does not recognise.

In 2006 a Norwegian coastguard boat chased a Russian trawler across the Arctic Ocean for six days before it escaped into Russian waters. The Norwegians had accused the Elektron of fishing illegally, an accusation it denied.

Russia is in a race with Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to control the giant reserves of oil, gas and precious metals that would become more accessible if global warming shrinks the Arctic ice cap.

Reuters ”

Och här en kort notis om hur man med olika metoder systematiskt försöker driva ut utländska företag från energisektorn:

”BP chiefs denied visas quit Russia

By Russell Hotten, Industry Editor

Last Updated: 1:10am BST 03/07/2008

BP executives working at its oil joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP, have already begun leaving the country after work permits for dozens of staff were refused.

Despite meetings yesterday between TNK-BP and authorities in Moscow, Robert Dudley, the joint venture’s chief executive, said in an email to employees that the issue was unlikely to be resolved soon. Mr Dudley will have to leave Russia by the end of July if his visa is not renewed.

BP and its Russian partners, who had previously called for Mr Dudley’s dismissal, have been involved in an acrimonious dispute over control of the joint venture. This latest episode could strengthen the Russians’ power significantly, putting them in day-to-day operational control.

More on oil

Internal wrangling led to TNK-BP submitting two rival requests for work permits. The authorities subsequently approved 71 permits, less than half the 150 requested by Mr Dudley. Two BP staff seconded to the joint venture left yesterday, with the others expected to go over the next two weeks unless the authorities agree to fast-track new visa requests.

But in an email to staff, Mr Dudley said: ”We have been given no grounds to believe these issues will be resolved before senior international staff and their families will have to leave Russia. Unfortunately, this now appears very likely.

”We have been working with the Russian authorities and within Russian laws since April to resolve these issues and will continue to do so.”

TNK-BP, Russia’s third- largest crude producer, is 50pc controlled by the billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik.

BP’s shares closed down 2.4pc at 569½p.”

Och här en kort notis om hur Gazprom ”studerar” hur man skall bygga en gasledning till Abschasien:

Russia may supply gas to Georgia rebel region

Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:21pm BST

By Dmitry Zhdannikov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is looking into building a gas pipeline to Georgia‘s breakaway Abkhazia region, a proposal likely to alarm Western governments who say Moscow‘s support for the separatists risks stirring up tensions.

The idea is also almost certain to anger aspiring NATO member Georgia, which accuses Moscow of trying to annex the Black Sea region and views as illegal any business dealings with the separatist administration.

There is an idea of building a gas pipeline to Abkhazia directly from Russia but no decision has been taken so far. It is just being studied,” an official with Russia‘s state-controlled gas firm Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote, Profile, Research) told Reuters.

Abkhazia, a territory on the Black Sea coast, threw off Tbilisi’s control in a separatist war in the early 1990s. It runs its own affairs, with support from Moscow, but no state has recognized its independence from Georgia.

A spokesman for Abkhazia’s separatist leader confirmed that discussions were underway. ”So far this is just a draft plan,” he said.

Speaking on a visit to Berlin on Wednesday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Gazprom intended to explore for oil in Abkhazia. He described that as ”an absolutely outrageous violation of any international commercial law”.

But the Gazprom official said: ”As far as oil is concerned, we know nothing about it.”

A spokeswoman for Gazprom’s oil arm, Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), said Saakashvili must be mistaken. ”We are not working or exploring in Abkhazia for oil and there are absolutely no plans to do that in the foreseeable future,” the spokeswoman said.

Abkhazia is a constant source of friction between Georgia and Russia in a volatile belt of land between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea which is emerging as a vital corridor for pumping oil and gas en route to world markets.

This year, Russia established semi-official ties with the separatists and sent extra troops to Abkhazia to beef up a peacekeeping contingent there.

Georgia’s Western allies urged Moscow to reverse the decision, saying it was not helping to calm tensions.

Western diplomats said the conflict came close to spilling over into a new war earlier this year. The United Nations said in one incident a Russian air force jet shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane, though Moscow denied involvement.

© Thomson Reuters 2008″

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