Saturday, October 22, 2005


Energy politics

In 'Isolationism' below (14 September), it was noted that the UK presidency of the European Union thinks a global solution is needed to satisfy the EU's energy requirements. The 'Update' suggests that this idea is going nowhere. Unless Russia's chairmanship of the G8 in 2006 can help.

Dependence for supplies on the vagaries of national politics seems the way ahead, for now. Earlier this month, the Economist reported on Russia's vast reserves of energy - on which the EU is becoming addicted:

"Last month, Mr Putin and Gerhard Schröder, Germany's chancellor, presided over the launch of Gazprom's latest mega-project: a €4 billion ($5 billion) pipeline that will run under the Baltic Sea to Germany, Gazprom's biggest foreign customer, and thence, eventually, to Britain."

[However supplies of vital energy will be subject to political stability in the exporting and transit countries:] "witness, most famously, the brief interruption in deliveries inflicted on Belarus in February 2004 after Alexander Lukashenka, its tragicomic president, irked Gazprom and Mr Putin once too often. Yuri Yekhanurov, Ukraine's new prime minister, visited Moscow last week, amid talk of an imminent tripling in his country's costs. Both Ukraine and Georgia—another country that is unpopular in the Kremlin, and which lacks Ukraine's transit leverage—are urgently scrambling to find alternative sources of energy."
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