Friday, November 6, 2009

That is all about Russian gas and coming cold winter

Sweden downplays EU gas payment loans to Ukraine
WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The European Union is not responsible for loaning money to Ukraine to help the country pay for Russian natural gas supplies this winter, Sweden's Enterprise and Energy Minister said on Wednesday. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called on the European Union to help with Ukraine's gas problems by providing financial assistance. "That's not our role," Sweden's Maud Olofsson told Reuters TV in Washington. "The role for the European Union is to secure the energy supply for Europe," she said. Olofsson, whose country currently holds the rotating 6-month EU presidency, said Putin's warnings that Russian gas supplies to Ukraine may be disrupted if Kiev does not make its energy payments should be taken seriously. "But on the other hand, this is a matter of discussion between Ukraine and Russia," she said. Olofsson said the European Union is focused on developing its own energy sources "so we are more secure by ourselves." The European Union depends on Russia for its winter natural gas supplies, a big chunk of which is transported by pipeline through Ukraine. Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Western Europe via Ukraine in January 2006 and again in January 2008 because of a dispute with Ukraine over gas prices and payments. (Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

Sweden, Finland okay Russia's Nord Stream pipeline
STOCKHOLM (AFP) – After years of procrastination, Sweden and Finland agreed on Thursday to allow the Russian-led Nord Stream pipeline to pass through their waters in the Baltic Sea, a crucial step for the project destined to supply Europe with Russian gas. The breakthrough approvals come as new tensions have been playing out between Moscow and Ukraine, raising fears for a new row between the countries that could jeopardise Russian gas supplies to Europe.
By going under the Baltic Sea, Nord Stream's pipeline could free the European Union of the risks posed by disputes between Moscow and the Ukraine, through which 80 percent of Russian gas currently transits on its way to Europe. One quarter of all gas consumed in Europe comes from Russia. "The government authorises Nord Stream to build a pipeline in international waters inside the Swedish economic zone," Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren told reporters in Stockholm.