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Turkey and four European countries have signed a landmark deal aimed at reducing Europe's dependence on Russian natural gas.
The prime ministers of Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania and Hungary met in Ankara Monday to approve the deal, which envisions a gas pipeline stretching from the Caspian Sea region to Western Europe.
The U.S. State Department hailed the agreement, calling it a "significant milestone" in achieving the U.S.-European shared vision of a new energy corridor.
Turkey's energy minister on Saturday said Iran and Russia may supply gas to an EU- and US-backed gas pipeline project in the future, even though the project is designed to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian energy and Iran is not a favored source.
Taner Yildiz made the comments during an interview with private NTV television, ahead of a ceremony on Monday when Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary will sign an intergovernmental deal to allow the pipeline to pass their territory
MOSCOW. (Alexander Knyazev, director of the regional branch of the Institute of the CIS, for RIA Novosti) - The European Union and Turkey plan to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project on June 25 in Ankara.
Why such a romantic name?
"Nabucco" is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi based on a biblical story about the plight of the Jews as they are assaulted and subsequently exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar). It is also an enchanting story of love and struggle for power.
The latter element of the story is probably the only thing in common between the opera and the gas pipeline project initiated by U.S. President George W. Bush and based on some European and post-Soviet countries' non-love of Russia, as well as the global battle for elbowing Russia out of the Eurasian gas market.
Originally posted by JanusFIN
Must Read article from F. William Engdahl...
The Eurasian Pipeline Calculus
Calculus has two main variants—derivative and integral. The Eurasian energy pipeline geopolitics between Turkey Washington and Moscow today has elements of both. It is highly derivative in that the major actors across Central Asia from China, Russia to Turkey are very much engaged in a derived power game which has less to do with any specific state and more to do with maintaining Superpower hegemony for Washington. Integral as the de facto motion of various pipeline projects now underway or in discussion across Eurasia hold the potential to integrate the economic space of Eurasia in a way that poses a fundamental challenge to Washington’s projection of Full Spectrum Dominance over the greatest land mass on earth.
The 2,000-mile project was proposed in 2002 by executives of European energy companies wanting to reduce reliance on Russian gas, which dominates Europe’s energy market. It took on new urgency in 2006 and again this winter, when pricing disputes between Ukraine and Russia resulted in a cutoff of supplies to Europe.
Azerbaijan, an oil-rich American ally on the Caspian Sea, was seen as a potential principle supplier, though countries such as Egypt, Iraq and Iran — the latter despite American objections — had also been discussed.
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- European countries planning a pipeline to reduce reliance on Russian natural gas today sealed an agreement that may help companies led by OMV AG find customers for the 7.9 billion-euro ($11 billion) project.
Officials from Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria signed an accord in the Turkish capital Ankara on the Nabucco project, which will face competition from Russia’s OAO Gazprom. The U.S.-backed venture has been delayed by a lack of commitments from customers, transit nations and gas suppliers.
Washington Is Playing A Deeper
Game With China
By F. William Engdahl
Author of Full Spectrum Dominance -
Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government's "independent" NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its "private" Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China.
The reasons for Washington's intervention into Xinjiang affairs seems to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uyghur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China's future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhastan and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
“However, it is still not certain whether Nabucco will be able to secure sufficient amounts of gas for Europe, because it is common knowledge that there are problems with finding sufficient amounts of gas in order to make this pipeline attractive for investment, especially in a time of crisis,” the Srbijagas CEO said.
Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant is by most authoritative accounts the least safe reactor in operation worldwide. Both Moscow and Ankara have their sights set on the construction of a new plant that could not only guarantee Armenia ample electricity but would also allow for export to neighboring countries. Most important, the way in which a new plant would be put in place could virtually ensure Russian control of those exports — and thus greater leverage over Turkey and potentially Iran and Georgia.
In return for Moscow’s cancellation of $40 million in debt, Armenia granted Moscow control of the Metsamor plant, which provides about 40 percent of Armenia’s electricity. The government has holdings in three other power stations as well: the Sevan-Hrazdan hydropower plant, the Hrazdan thermal power station and the Armenian Nuclear Electric Plant. These facilities generate about 75 percent of the country’s electricity, and with the purchase of Midland Resources’ 80 percent stake in the country’s distribution network, Russia can directly control or leverage the entire Armenian power sector.
Rosatom is set to build Metsamor’s replacement with a projected capacity of 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts, which is twice that of the current plant. Armenian officials have said the new reactor could allow for the export of 6 billion kilowatt hours annually, roughly equivalent to Armenia’s entire consumption last year.
In a Gazprom-brokered deal, Armenia is already set to supply Iran with electricity in exchange for the gas supplied by Iran in the Iran-Armenia Natural Gas Pipeline. During an April phone conversation, Gul and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan reportedly agreed to electricity exports to eastern Turkey of 1.5 billion kilowatt hours annually. The process is stalled at the moment reportedly due to “technical difficulties” on the Turkish side of the border. Armenia’s energy relationships with either of its major neighbors, however, cannot be expanded without Russia giving the green light and support. The vast majority of the income generated from Armenian electricity exports would go directly to Russian government coffers.
The control is set to expand. Rosatom is particularly interested in developing Armenia’s uranium fields in its southern Sunik region, estimated at between 25,000 and 100,000 metric tons. Rosatom’s Atompredmedzoloto, the world’s second-largest uranium mining company, and Armenia’s Environment Ministry have set up the Armenian-Russian Mining Company to begin development as part of a 50-50 joint enterprise. Production could begin as early as next year and any uranium exports would be handled by Russian firms.