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World Association of International Studies

Post South Stream Pipeline
Created by John Eipper on 06/10/14 5:21 PM

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South Stream Pipeline (Robert Gibbs, USA, 06/10/14 5:21 pm)

The debate within Bulgaria in particular regarding South Stream is interesting.  However, there are several points that Eugenio Battaglia (10 June) ignored in his presentation.

1. Bulgaria and Serbia, as well as Italy, are all a part of the EU and all subscribed to the 3rd energy package designed to diversify EU's energy supply. This is also meant to keep one entity from owning and controlling the source, the transmission and distribution of energy. In short, this was to prevent Gazprom--though it is not stated--from controlling more of Europe's energy.

2. Of course this was done for political purposes (and economic), which of course is the sole purpose of Russia's South Stream. It is neither an economically sound project nor is it even served with an identifiable source of gas. It is meant solely to challenge and disrupt EU's third package and to hold and expand Gazprom's influence in Europe.

3. Mr. Chizhov, who is well aware of the 3rd Package and the violation South Stream represents (and the above), is also aware of the fact that one of the major impetuses for this EU 3rd package was Russia's cutting off gas supplies (in 2007, I believe). It all stems from there.

4. South Stream was, I suggest, initially meant to force Ukraine to give up their pipeline to Gazprom. Also since SOCAR, the Azeri state-owned energy company, bought up the Greek-owned pipeline, the extra subsurface distance added to Gazprom's original plan has added substantially to the cost of the proposed pipeline.

5. Many economic and political observers and those in the oil business consider South Steam a stalking horse meant to challenge EU and to force it to change its energy policy. South Stream still has no identifiable supply of gas and no clear and agreed-to routes. Between Nord Stream (and Opal) and other Central European pipelines including Ukraine's, South Stream is not just costly but completely redundant.

6. Look, this is the oil business--OK energy business--and it has and can change on a dime (a sixpenny for Nigel Jones), but I believe that this is how things stand at present regards South Stream.

JE comments:  Many thanks to Robert Gibbs for fleshing out the nuances of the South Stream project.

One question--and please forgive its naivete:  who is actually supposed to pay the $10 billion?  Gazprom?

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  • South Stream Pipeline; Response to Robert Gibbs (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 06/12/14 5:01 AM)
    I wish to thank Robert Gibbs for his informative post on the South Stream Pipeline project (10 June).

    Unfortunately we have two different point of view; his is from an American expert, and mine is from an Italian nationalist amateur.

    Among the negatives of the South Stream project, Robert could even have added the possibility of sabotage from Islamist terrorists from the Caucasus in the final part of its crossing to the shores of the Black Sea.

    If the so-called European Union were really a Union, of course after the construction of the North Stream the South Stream would be redundant.

    I do not want to be blasphemous, but in spite of the obvious controversies, Hitler was a better ally of the RSI than Frau Merkel is of the present Italian government. The leaders of the RSI were dedicated Italians who did not care for their own lives, while most of the present politicians seem to care only about their careers and wallets.

    Therefore for Italy the South Stream is imperative, due to the works of construction first and its operations later. By the way, 10 billion euros are 13.66 billion US dollars.

    Furthermore I well remember the long, never ending, history of economic warfare against Italy's ENI by the Oil Majors and some Western powers. The founder of ENI, Mattei, was killed in an air incident, and it is accepted that it was a criminal act, even if it is not clear who was behind it. Also, the kicking out of the Italian PM Berlusconi seems to have been planned by foreign powers because of his foreign policy towards Russia and Libya, which was not politically correct, but good for Italy.

    See also South Stream on Wikipedia.

    JE comments: Another concern is environmental. Pipelines by nature require excavation over immense expanses of territory, involving deforestation, habitat destruction, chemical spills, and other nastiness.  I would also imagine that when several countries are involved, it's harder to implement the proper safeguards.

    In any case, I wonder how much of those 10 billion euros would actually filter into the Italian economy.

    Hitler was a better ally of Italy than Frau Merkel?  Ouch.  I like to think that this is an example of hyperbole, but really it's Godwin's Law at work:  if X is worse than Hitler, than X must be extremely bad.

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    • More on Pipelines and Wildlife (Robert Gibbs, USA 06/14/14 11:23 AM)

      In response to Eugenio Battaglia, Tor Guimaraes, and Randy Black, with regrets for the delay in sending this:

      1. For Eugenio, I am not a supporter of the EU and ever since a very long and tedious explanation by the Wilson Government at a lecture at All Souls (Oxford) on the advantages of EEC, I have remained positively indifferent. Yet I do not see Eugenio's point, if South Stream is just a stalking horse pipe dream (excuse the phrase). But the real boon for Italy is the construction of the Azerbaijani Trans-Anatolian pipeline and its TNAP Adriatic/Greece pipeline into Italy (with an identified gas reserves). This coupled with the North African and LNG supplies will leave Italy awash in natural gas, probably more than it can currently address (lack of storage facilities). So Italy did not really lose out on South Stream.

      2. I regret that I could not respond to Tor's comments on my recent posting on Ukraine, as he deserves an answer. I am not sure that armed gunmen around a polling booth will constitute a fair, free and formal election. Nor does passing out Russian passports. Does this mean that Tor wants a succession plebiscite in Chechnya, Tarterstan, etc.?

      Also, just to be clear, there are no ABMs in Eastern Europe.  Remember the "reset."  Nor are there any US bases in Eastern Europe. The only base I am aware of is a rather small temporary logistics base in Hungary for operations in the former Yugoslavia.

      3 For Randy and Eugenio regarding the thinning of and or killing of wildlife in the US, Randy is quite correct in his observation, as is Bert Westbrook. I live in a very pastoral part of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, and aside from the usual wild animals including mountain goats, elk, otters, beavers, etc., the town has adopted a herd of elk which we have to "thin" periodically least they overgraze private land and thus cost the county and state money for reimbursement. (With no predators and no hunting of the town's elk, the heard doubles in size every two years.) The real problem here is with the reintroduction of wolves to Washington. This costs the state for reimbursing ranchers for the loss of their prized cattle and sheep (wolves seem to prefer prize animals). This is a major problem, causing no small conflict between those who see wolves as nature's pets and working farms and ranches.

      By way of conclusion, I shall only point out that just yesterday the deer ate Rose's flowers. God help them--they are on their own. Also last year my daughter's dog was attacked by a pack of coyotes and she lives in downtown Los Angeles.

      JE comments:  Lots to chew on here, but for now I'll just say "howdy" to Bob Gibbs.  Hope all is well, Bob:  I'll give you a call soon.

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