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I think there's quite a bit more to this than has been reflected in this discussion so far.

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?

Maybe Gazprom hasn't cut gas deliveries to countries that were paying market prices and on time.  But they HAVE cut off gas to countries with whom they have contractual agreement to supply gas at an agreed price over a set period of time.  That's what happened in Ukraine.  Two years ago, Gazprom infamously cut off Ukraine's gas, claiming that Ukraine refused to pay market prices.  Which was true, as far as that goes.  However, Russia (Kremlin, Gazprom, FSB, government, The Corporation, whatever, all the same) had a contract with Ukraine to supply gas through 2009 for, as I recall, US$65 per TCM (thousand cubic meters.)  Kremlin unilaterally dismissed the contract in a hissy fit for purely political reasons because things weren't going Kremlin's way in Ukraine.

Hers's a quick exercise in Russian contracts.  Go to toilet, take a healthy dump, then put your hands in and scoop out the deposit.  Squish it around.  You have a Russian contract on your hands.

THAT is how Kremlin views contracts.  English law?  Bullshit.  The FIRST thing Kremlin would and will likely do in case of contract dispute is claim that they are being persecuted under English law due to the Litvenenko debacle and ongoing fallout from that.  True or not is irrelevant.  

They can and will do one of two things.   One, they can cover with that and take Nigerian gas and do whatever they damned well please with it.  Screw Europe or anyone else with "contractual agreements."  Hell, UK won't even let slide one murder of a British citizen on British soil by a Rooskie spook, so how can Europe be trusted and why should they even matter?  That's how Kremlin sees things.

Two, they can simply forego any pretenses and ignore contractual obligations altogether.  In Nigeria?  Is it possible?  Nigeria is more corrupt than Russia, and that's saying something.  Nigeria's goombahs are in it for cold, hard cash.  Russia's goombahs want in because 1) they know perfectly well how corrupt Nigeria's guys are, and 2) they'll have their own gas supplies in Africa to be dealt the same way as Russian gas.  I.e., contracts as described above.  The latter is all about control of Europe, and that IS Russia's main point.  If they get into Nigeria, there's nothing to prevent wholesale looting and diversion from anyone Kremlin doesn't like.  Such as the free world, for example.

Kremlin is looking for energy hegemony, in my opinion.  I think that's what this is about.

Meantime, note to Kremlin: please, please, please oh please don't invest your temporary fortune into an energy resource that has to be phased out (else global suicide) or you'll just be losing your money, go broke again, and have nothing else of much value on the world commodity market.  Whatever you do, don't invest your cash wisely.

Now that they've been told not to do it or are being strongly contested in doing it, they will.  Thus maybe a little more to this squabble than meets the eye at first glance.

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The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
W. Churchill

by US expat Ukraine on Fri Jan 25th, 2008 at 02:30:30 AM EST

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