– It seems even more difficult to reach a consensus on the issue of gas supplies. When will the European Union be able to give up Russian blue fuel altogether?
– We have already seen how Josep Borrell announced that there is no consensus in the European Union and so far there can be no consensus on the boycott of Russian gas. According to the forecasts of the European Commission, the European Union may completely give up Russian gas no earlier than 2025.
As of April 1, the Baltic states will not receive Russian gas for their own needs. They decided to use liquefied natural gas. In addition to the Klaipeda terminal in Lithuania, Finland and Estonia will have a common terminal by the end of the year. Finland has announced that it is also possible to abandon Russian gas altogether by the end of the year. And Latvia plans to rent a floating liquefied gas terminal.
A gas pipeline from Norwegian fields has already reached Poland, passing through Denmark and the Baltics. Poland and Latvia have built a gas pipeline through which they can receive liquefied gas from Klaipeda. I think other countries can follow suit.
There are many interesting questions about Bulgaria. How to replace these almost 3 billion cubic meters of gas that Bulgaria consumes annually and receives mainly from Russia? This is a serious matter. First, I think that the Komotini-Stara Zagora gas pipeline will be operational by the summer. It will be possible to receive gas from Greece. In addition, this gas can be of two types: the gas that comes from Azerbaijan passes through Turkey, Greece, Albania, and reaches Italy. Moreover, the agreement with Azerbaijan for the supply of 1 billion cubic meters of gas has long been signed.
In addition, there is the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, through which Russian gas used to reach Bulgaria to Turkey. The gas can flow in both directions. It has become a section of the so-called “Turkish Stream” and it can also supply gas to Bulgaria. According to the latest reports, Gazprom no longer wants to supply gas, but Bulgaria has leverage. At least until the end of the year, when the contract with Gazprom expires. If Bulgaria stops passing gas to Europe through the Balkan Stream, Gazprom will not be able to meet its obligations to Hungary, for example. He will have to negotiate with Bulgaria.
The Alexandroupolis project, the new liquefied gas terminal, was launched. Bulgaria is participating in this project. It’s hard for me to say exactly when it will work, but I think it will be fast enough. Bulgaria will also be able to receive gas through this terminal.
– How much will it cost European taxpayers to give up Russian gas?
– At the moment there is enough liquefied gas on the world market. There is no large deficit, but there is competition between the Pacific – Asia and the Atlantic, where Europe is the main consumer. To attract liquefied natural gas from Asia to Europe, a higher price must be paid. In April, the price in the Asian region was about $ 29 for 1 million British thermal units. And in Europe, to beat the competition – 32 dollars. That is, Europeans are forced to pay more to take gas from Asians. I think this will continue.
These decisions have often been criticized. Yes, you will have to pay more for gas and electricity. What is the cost of this question? Some countries, such as Germany, have already prepared to halt production in some important industries. These are ferrous metallurgy, the chemical industry, and the production of building materials, where a lot of gas is used. There will be a decline in production. Great sacrifices will have to be made.
On the other hand, what will happen if Europe does not give up Russian gas? Since 2005, Europe has repeatedly been convinced that gas supplies are a political tool for Russia. You have to make serious sacrifices to free yourself from dependence on your political opponent.
– What does the loss of the European oil and gas market mean for Russia?
– The forecasts are bad. Russia currently produces 524 million tons of oil a year. As a result of the sanctions, it could lose up to 100 million. That’s 2 million barrels a day. A very big blow to Russia! Russian economists have calculated how much the federal budget could lose. Gas sales will also decline. If we add up the losses from oil and gas, then the federal budget could lose 25 percent of its revenue. This is a disaster!
– President Vladimir Putin said that Russian oil and gas supplies will be redirected from Europe to the south and east. Can the Asian market fully replace the European one?
“Where to the south?” In the Persian Gulf? Compete with Saudi Arabia and its friends in the Gulf? India has already announced that it agrees to buy Russian oil for no more than $ 70 a barrel. Currently, the price is $ 108. Last year, 83 million tons of oil were delivered to China. All possible routes were used. These are the oil pipeline from Eastern Siberia to the Pacific Ocean with the branch to China, the Pacific ports, and 10 million tons through the territory of Kazakhstan. There is no possibility of redirecting additional quantities from Europe to China.
The president ordered Gazprom to speed up the creation of the necessary infrastructure so that gas could flow east. This means the construction of the Power of Siberia 2 gas pipeline. More than 6,000 kilometers are to be built from the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug through Eastern Siberia and Mongolia to China. Now the gas from these fields goes to Europe. However, there are two major problems here. Problem number one: the Chinese do not want to receive gas through Mongolia. And second, the Chinese do not agree to receive as much gas as Europe buys. They do not need such quantities.
How long will it take to build the “Power of Siberia 2” to the stage of reaching the design capacity? The design capacity is 50 billion cubic meters of gas per year with the prospect of being increased to 100 billion. And how long has “The Power of Siberia 1” been under construction? From the beginning of construction to the release of a design capacity of 38 billion cubic meters per year in 2024-2025 is 10 years. Therefore, let us treat the words of the President with some skepticism!
– Who wins and who loses from the rupture of long-standing energy cooperation between Russia and European countries?
– Russia is losing because Putin is destroying with a terrible force not only the Ukrainian but also the Russian economy. For a while, Europe is also losing, but I think it will win in the long run. The transition to green energy and alternative sources can be accelerated. Good prospects for energy efficiency are emerging. In the long run, developed countries with developed and competitive economies benefit. I think that the American economy, which has its problems, can also win in the end.
China is not gaining anything from the war. I do not believe at all that China wants to conquer Russian territories. It is striving for global economic expansion. China and the West are in economic symbiosis: eternal enmity, competition, conflict, and trade wars. America and the West as a whole and China cannot do without each other. And in the future, they will continue to be in a state of symbiosis, without paying any attention to what is happening inside Russia.
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