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Dear Sir,

The headline of this week-end's edition of the Financial Times ("Gazprom plans Africa gas grab") is sensationalist and can only be described as unjustified scaremongering.

In the context of complaints that State-owned energy companies are not investing enough to increase oil&gas production, we should be glad that Gazprom is willing to spend its riches to develop gas production in Nigeria. Given that the industry works on the basis of very long term contracts usually under English law, Gazprom could only invest provided that European gas buyers have agreed to price and delivery terms. In addition, given that production is under the physical control of Nigerian authorities, and transport by LNG tankers protected by international law, Russia would then have very little political control over such gas. While Western oil companies and bankers may not be happy to be crowded out of an important market, there is little reason for such events to have any impact on our security of supply.

More troubling is the suggestion that Gazprom has ever cut gas deliveries to countries that were paying market prices and on time, and saying otherwise, however often, still does not make it true. Or are you suggesting that gas companies should not be allowed to cut deliveries to delinquent customers?

In any case, and admitting for a second that Gazprom might be unwilling or unable to make contracted deliveries of gas to Europe at some point in the future, shouldn't the solution be focused on what we can actually control, ie our own demand for gas, rather than going through increasingly complex and costly motions to ensure an ever growing supply of gas? We seem to live in a world where we expect as a basic right to have plentiful and cheap oil&gas at our disposal. It's high time to realise that, for geological and political reasons, this is no longer the case. Headlines like yours, which cannot but shape public perceptions, make it sound that the only problem comes from hostile governments in places like Russia and are an imprudent distraction from the real issue.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 at 01:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is good.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 at 01:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent LTE!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Jan 5th, 2008 at 03:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurrah to Jerome for taking the lead, and to all other editors. I have some suggestions for the last paragraph, if not too late:


Even were Gazprom someday unwilling or unable to fulfill contracted deliveries of gas to Europe, shouldn't we focus on our own demand for gas, which we can control, rather than on increasingly complex and costly [frantic and futile?] efforts to secure an ever growing supply? Instead, we seemingly prefer to assert the right to cheap, plentiful oil&gas without considering where or how it can be produced. It's time to accept geological and political reality: we have no such right. Headlines like yours,  blaming our problems on unfriendly or unpopular foreign governments, are an imprudent and irresponsible distraction from our real challenges.

Just my tuppence off the shilling.
by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 01:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome, PIGL, and good work!

I too think the final paragraph could benefit from editing, and here's my take based on Jerome's and yours:

Even supposing Gazprom might, at some point in the future, be unwilling or unable to fulfill contracted deliveries of gas to Europe, don't we hold an appropriate preventive measure in our own hands by restricting our demand for gas? Instead, we make  increasingly complex and costly efforts  to secure an ever growing supply, as if we considered it our right  to have plentiful and cheap oil&gas at our disposal. It's time to accept geological and political reality: we have no such right. Opinion-shaping headlines like yours,  blaming our problems on unfriendly or unpopular foreign governments, are an imprudent and irresponsible distraction from our real challenges.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 05:34:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll use that, but I'll reinsert "frantic", which is quite appropriate. Here's a new draft of the last paragraph:


Even supposing Gazprom might, at some point in the future, be unwilling or unable to fulfill contracted deliveries of gas to Europe, we still hold the ultimate preventive measure in that we can control our demand for gas. And yet, we make increasingly frantic and costly efforts  to secure an ever growing supply, as if we considered it our right  to have unlimited cheap oil&gas at our disposal. It's time to accept geological and political reality: we have no such right. Opinion-shaping headlines like yours, blaming that situation on unfriendly or unpopular foreign governments, are an imprudent and irresponsible distraction from the real solutions in our hands.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 06:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with some more tweaking:


Dear Sir,

The headline of this week-end's edition of the Financial Times ("Gazprom plans Africa gas grab") is sensationalist and can only be described as unjustified scaremongering.

In the context of complaints that State-owned energy companies are not investing enough to increase oil&gas production, we should be glad that Gazprom is willing to spend its riches to develop gas production in Nigeria. Given that the industry works on the basis of very long term contracts usually under English law, Gazprom could only invest provided that European gas buyers have agreed to price and delivery terms, and are convinced that Gazprom will deliver. In addition, given that production is under the physical control of Nigerian authorities, and transport by LNG tankers protected by international law, Russia would then have very little political control over such gas. While Western oil companies and bankers may not be happy to be out-competed in an important market, there is little reason for such events to have any impact on our security of supply, quite the contrary.

More troubling is the suggestion that Gazprom has ever cut gas deliveries to countries that were paying market prices and on time, and saying otherwise, however often, still does not make it true. Or are you suggesting that gas companies should generally not be allowed to cut deliveries to delinquent customers?

Even supposing Gazprom might, at some point in the future, be unwilling or unable to fulfill contracted deliveries of gas to Europe, shouldn't we focus on our own demand for gas, which we can control, rather than on increasingly frantic and costly efforts to secure an ever growing supply, as if we considered it our right to have unlimited cheap oil&gas at our disposal? It's time to accept geological and political reality: we have no such right. Opinion-shaping headlines like yours, blaming that situation on unfriendly or unpopular foreign governments, are an imprudent and irresponsible distraction from the real solutions in our hands.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 07:57:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. I just moved here from That Orange Place. Much happier...I look forward to more joint letters and such. Plus, I'm just not that interested in what happens in the USA anymore.
by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 02:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome here! As mentioned in the Sunday open thread, ET is a place where people, birds, monsters all live in perfect harmony...

Looking forward to reading your contributions...


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 02:47:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I much prefer imperfect harmony.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 05:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Splitter


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 06:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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