NS2: Comments on event/articles: 12-23 Feb.

Greetings all,  Here are a list of links to related articles I’ve read the past week or so that may be of interest and some commentary on the developments (five topics/catigories).  Let me know if there are any you cannot access.  I’ll get them for you. (I’m also starting to read through your entries of the past week.)

  1. The first section below contains overall political/geopolitical assessments of related issues
  2. The Reuters article  on the bipartisan Russian sanctions bill going through congress deemed the “Sanctions from hell” bill (by US Republican senator Lindsey Graham). From POV of your project, this bill is and will be received by Germany and its NS2 collaborators VERY differently than it is/will by the V4 and many Nordic states.
    • Note: I am currently conducting some interviews/talking with people in DC and NYC who are experts on /involved in this  upcoming sanctions process and am happy to share my understanding of what this bill will do to NS2 and etc. I’ll likely be writing an article on this.
  3. by George Friedman (on the German – CEE – USA divides) is of particular interest to me for its “theoretical” framework.  I feel it gives a cogent Realpolitik assessment of this deepening divide of great import for not only energy and Europe, but geopolitics.
    • I’m referring to the article: “The US, Germany and the Strategic Divide in Europe – The NATO divide is not just a trans-Atlantic split but a European one as well.
  4. I haven’t yet read Kirsten Westphal’s article (SWP – If you don’t know, the SWP is funded by the government to advise the Bundestag and Chancellor’s office). However, she is the principal German policy expert/”spokesperson” on this matter by virtue of being the leading/only senior expert there on these matters, and a highly capable analyst. It is important to read whatever she writes. Ms. Loscot has a comparable role in Poland on these matters, IMHO.
  5. More and more I see that the “compromise” found between the French and Germans on applying the EC’s “gas directive” to offshore pipelines is not really so much of a “compromise”.  (Here I’m referring to the article below: ”
    European Commission – Press release. Energy Union: Commission welcomes tonight’s provisional political agreement to ensure that pipelines with third countries comply with EU gas rules. Brussels, 12 February 2019″

    • If I understand correctly, based on comments from experts previous to this agreement, it was not possible to extend the application of the EU law (gas directive) beyond the territorial limits of Germany anyway, as the “open sea” is governed by a treaty under the auspices of the UN. So, if this is correct (a legal expert would have to be consulted … perhaps Prof. Allen Riley in London) then the so-called “compromise” is actually the maximum possible applicability of the EU law, and not something very re-assuring to Berlin.
    • As far as the compromise over allowing the country where the pipeline makes landfall to be the one responsible for implementation of the EU law.  While this may give some reassurances to Berlin wrt NS2; nevertheless, there seems to have been included in this deal ample ability of the European courts and the European Commission to review the application of EU law by the local government (i.e., the German state) and there are specific requirements that state it will be the EC”s interpretation is the controlling one.
    • IN SUM: Doesn’t sound good for the German/NS2/Gasprom position. As evidence of this:
      • German ministers and Gazprom/Russians have been meeting in Berlin this past week to figure out how to deal with this.  One rumor (from Russian press) is tha Gazrpom-dominated NS2 project might sell the pipeline to Rosneft to “unbundle” it under the new situation. In any case,
      • there are reportedly big logistical issues raised now, ..
  6. On the hype over German and US agreements (esp. post the recent 12Feb meeting of a delegation headed by assist-DOE secretary of US LNG businesses with Altmeier et al at the energy ministry), that there is some new level of “cooperation” in Germany purchasing LNG from the USA:  in fact, this has absolutely no bearing on offsetting lack of diversification away from the huge Russian supplies associated with NS1 and now 2.  These supplies are overwhelmingly only to supply LNG for heavy  transport and maritime fuel around the Hamburg port, etc. These impost terminals supposedly agreed “as a favor to our American” colleagues (Altmeier) are in fact the very same small-scale terminals decided upon almost two years ago by the German bureaucracy. For its own reasons, the US experts/diplomats allow this characterization of this being a favor to the US side to counter balance Russian dependence and NS2 to persist.

URL list

A. Political articles

The US, Germany and the Strategic Divide in Europe

Pompeo begins tour in long-overlooked central Europe – EURACTIV.com

US-Russia Policy Hits European Energy Supply – SWP

Nord Stream 2: The Dead-End of Germany’s Ostpolitik | Berlin Policy Journal – Blog

Germany should stick to Nord Stream 2 project: MSC chairman | Reuters

B. US-German talks on LNG

Berlin woos US in Europe gas battle – EURACTIV.com

US and Russia step up fight to supply Europe’s gas | Financial Times

C. Extension of Gas Directive to Offshore Pipelines

Nord Stream 2 in dire straits after French U-turn – EURACTIV.com

Why Did France Just Save Nord Stream 2?

France, Germany Haven’t Fallen Out Over Nord Stream 2 Pipeline – Bloomberg

France expects to support revised Nord Stream 2 directive | Reuters

France backs EU rules for Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline | Financial Times

EU tightens regulations on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline | Financial Times

European Commission – PRESS RELEASES – Press release – Energy Union: Commission welcomes tonight’s provisional political agreement to ensure that pipelines with third countries comply with EU gas rules

Jerzy Buzek: Porozumienie ws. Nord Stream 2 dobre dla Polski – EURACTIV.pl

EU strikes deal on rules to govern Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline – EURACTIV.com

Russia and Germany in talks on tackling Nord Stream 2 project | Financial Times

D. Ukraine & Continued Transit

Russia and Ukraine: A Lethal Codependency – Carnegie Moscow Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

A ‘last-minute’ transit contract? Russia-Ukraine-EU gas talks | OSW

E. New US Sanctions on Russia (esp. re. NS2/energy)

FACTBOX-‘The sanctions bill from hell’ against Russia makes …

Will Russia be subject to Venezuelan-style sanctions?

Columbia | SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy | Understanding and Assessing the New U.S. Sanctions Legislation Against Russia

US House Opposes Russian Gas Pipeline  | Rigzone


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