H/T to Benny Peiser for this excerpt from a Times article (paywalled)
Putin Ready To Turn Off Europe’s Gas Supply
The Times, 26 February 2015 David Charter
President Putin demanded immediate advance payments from Kiev to keep the gas taps on in the depths of winter. Cutting off gas would be likely to hit transit flows to Europe.
His ultimatum came on the day that the EU announced ambitious plans for an “energy union” to end Russia’s energy stranglehold over the continent.
Officials admitted, however, that it would take many years and an investment of €1 trillion in infrastructure to achieve energy security after delays caused by previous failed attempts at better EU co-operation.
With the United States yesterday accusing “Russia and the forces it is supporting” of continuing to flout the ceasefire agreed two weeks ago, Mr Putin increased his rhetoric against the government in Ukraine.
Criticising Kiev for cutting off gas to eastern regions under the control of pro-Russian separatists, Mr Putin said: “Imagine these people will be left without gas in winter. Not only that there is famine . . . It smells of genocide.”
Ukraine had paid only enough cash “for three or four days’ gas supplies”, he said. “Unless there is a prepayment, Gazprom [the Kremlin’s energy giant] . . . will terminate the supply. Of course this may create a threat to transit to Europe, to our European partners.”
Moscow is facing the likelihood of extra sanctions from the West. David Cameron stepped up Britain’s involvement by announcing on Tuesday that 75 soldiers would be sent to Ukraine on a training mission. He warned that failure to stand up to Mr Putin would be “deeply damaging for all of us”.
Russia’s natural resources are a powerful weapon in its arsenal. Five of the eastern EU nations rely entirely on the country for their gas and several more are vulnerable to disruption in Ukraine. Europe received about 147 billion cubic metres of Russian gas last year, about a third of its total, with 40 per cent transported via Ukraine.
In other news, Chevron has now pulled out of all fracking deals in Europe, we’re on our own. I wonder what the geniuses in the Brussels foreign office have planned for this eventuality.
Putin’s Victory As Chevron Gives Up All European Shale-Gas Interests
The Wall Street Journal, 21 February 2015 Selina Williams
In a setback to Europe’s nascent shale-gas industry,Chevron Corp. said Friday it is relinquishing its interests in shale-gas concessions in Romania, the U.S. oil giant’s last shale-gas project in Europe.
It follows Chevron’s announcement last month that it was quitting shale-exploration activities in Poland. Last year Chevron terminated shale-gas agreements in Lithuania and Ukraine.
“That leaves Romania, where we are in the process of relinquishing our concession interests,” a Chevron spokesman said.
The spokesman didn’t say why Chevron was giving up the Romanian concessions.
As in many cases with energy projects, Chevron negotiated a contract with the government for the concessions, which the company is now relinquishing.
Chevron’s pullback on European shale development will be disappointing to some European governments that have been eager to replicate the U.S. shale-gas boom, hoping to reduce reliance on imported gas supplies, in particular from Russia.
But progress has been slow. Disappointing exploration results in Poland and local opposition to hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to release the gas from the rock, have stymied efforts elsewhere.
Countries with promising geology, such as France and Germany, have imposed a moratorium on fracking.
In the U.K., which lifted a moratorium on fracking at the end of 2012, companies have to apply for as many as seven permits and go through a lengthy planning application process before they can drill and frack. So far in Britain, only a handful of wells have been drilled and just one fracked in 2011.