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    EU’s top court curtails Gazprom access to Nord Stream pipeline link

    WARSAW/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s top court on Tuesday overruled an EU decision allowing Russia’s Gazprom to ship more gas via the Opal gas pipeline, which links its Nord Stream pipeline to Germany. The ruling is politically charged as Poland and other eastern European nations fight Gazprom’s plans to double the capacity of Nord Stream and bypass legacy gas routes via Poland and Ukraine. Germany, the main beneficiary of the expanded pipeline known as Nord Stream 2, redoubled its defense of the project on Tuesday, while Poland said it threatened gas supplies to central and eastern Europe. Continue reading the article published on the Reuters news website.

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    Brussels unlikely to appeal EU court decision hampering Nord Stream pipelines

    The European Commission is unlikely to appeal a decision of the EU General Court on Tuesday (10 September) to restrict the transit of Russian gas via the Opal pipeline, running on German territory. This decision appears to hampers the Gazprom-backed Nord Stream 2 offshore pipeline project, which is nearing completion, as well as the first leg of the project which is operational since 2011. Continue reading the article published on the Euroactiv news website.

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    Natural gas says it’s no longer a transition fuel. It may be wrong

    BARCELONA (Reuters) – Natural gas is no longer merely a transition fuel between the past of dirty coal and crude oil and the future of renewables, according to an increasingly confident cross-section of the industry. A procession of senior executives of major companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp, espoused this view while speaking at this week’s GasTech event, the industry’s biggest annual gathering. Continue reading the article published on the Reuters mobile website.

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    A killing in Berlin raises uncomfortable questions about Germany’s relationship with Vladimir Putin

    Boris Reitschuster is a Berlin-based journalist and specialist on Russia. On Aug. 23, an assailant gunned down a Chechen dissident during broad daylight at a park in the center of Berlin, just a short walk from the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Now, a week later, Germans are still agonizing over the shooting’s likely effect on their country’s relationship with Russia. The victim, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, was a 40-year-old ethnic Chechen from Georgia. Starting around 2001, he fought on the rebel side — against Russian troops — during the Second Chechen War. The Kremlin, correspondingly, considered him a terrorist. For his supporters, he was a fighter for the independence of Chechnya. Continue reading…

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    MURDER IN BERLIN

    Germany’s Approach to Russia Comes at a Cost Salisbury” is now shorthand for a Russian murder attempt. What will “Berlin” stand for? Unlike in the cases of the ex-spy Sergei Skripal and the defector Alexander Litvinenko, the hitman who murdered Zelimkhan Khangoshvili on August 23rd did not use a weapon of mass destruction. No polonium (which killed Litvinenko in London in 2007) or nerve agent (which was meant to kill Mr. Skripal in Salisbury in March 2018). ​Instead, he used a gun, firing three shots that killed the fugitive Georgian citizen (and ethnic Chechen) instantly. Continue reading the article published on the CEPA website.

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    Why Germany Is Ignoring Its Own Russian Spy Scandal

    The murder of a Chechen rebel in Berlin looks like a Russian operation, but the Merkel government is not making a public fuss about that. Last March, after the attempt to poison the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, U.K., it took the British government only a week to accuse Russia of being responsible; by the 10th day after the crime, it was already expelling Russian diplomats. Now, the same length of time after a very similar event in Berlin, the German government is reacting very differently. The victim of the Aug. 23 attack, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili (or Changoschwili, as it’s spelled in German), was an ethnic Chechen from Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge region who had…

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    Lega Nord’s Bedfellows: Russians Offering Illicit Funding to Italian Far-Right Party Identified

    In a previous joint investigation with BuzzFeed News and the Insider, Bellingcat disclosed the inordinately frequent travel of two Italian politicians from the close circle of the head of Italy’s far-right party Lega Nord, and self-styled “Italian Trump” Matteo Salvini. As previously reported by Italian media and BuzzFeed, one of the frequent travelers and advisers to Italy’s deputy prime minister  – Gianluca Savoini – took part in a meeting in Moscow last October with three so-far unidentified Russian speakers. Continue reading the article on the Bellingcat news website.

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    Nord Stream 2: Energy Security For Europe Or Prelude To Russian Aggression In The Baltic?

    Nord Stream 2 (NS2) has been subject to a vigorous debate and much disagreement on whether it provides an opportunity for diversification of gas supply to the European union or facilitates Russian dominance. But some go even further, suggesting that NS2 could become excuse for Russian expanded military presence or even military aggression in the Baltic Sea. The Project in a Nutshell  The Nord Stream 2 (NS2) project consists of two pipelines running across the bottom of the Baltic Sea carrying Russian natural gas to Germany. Once completed the two pipelines would offer 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) in annual capacity.  As such, NS2 is an attempt at duplicating the success of Nord…

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    Senator Cruz Says U.S. Has Ability To Halt Nord Stream 2

    U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has said that the United States still has the ability to halt construction of a planned pipeline to send Russian natural gas to Germany, even as the project nears completion. Russia has said it expects to complete the 1,220-kilometer-long Nord Stream 2 project running under the Baltic Sea by the end of the year. Continue reading the article on the Radio Free Europe news website.

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    Russia has tripled military presence in Crimea for ‘possible offensive operations’ against Ukraine, says intel report

    Russia has nearly tripled its military manpower in Crimea since illegally annexing the peninsula in 2014, an intelligence report says, in preparation for possible further incursions into Ukraine. Russian forces have dramatically increased across the board, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service found, with large numbers of personnel, armor, artillery, aircraft, and ships moved to the formerly autonomous republic located in Ukraine’s south. Continue reading the article on the Washington Examiner news website.

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    U.S. Efforts To Derail Russian Pipelines To Europe Have Failed Since The 1960s. Will Nord Stream 2 Be Any Different?

    U.S. President Donald Trump will fly to Europe later this month to pursue a goal his predecessors going back to John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan failed to achieve — derailing a Kremlin-backed energy-export pipeline. The Trump administration and the U.S. Congress are fighting to block the 9.5 billion-euro ($10.6 billion) Nord Stream 2 project amid fears it will make NATO allies and other European countries more reliant on Russian energy and damage Ukraine by depriving it of transit fees. Continue reading the article on the Radio Free Europe news website.

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    To Deal with Bad Ideas, Develop Better Solutions

    The Russo-German Nord Stream gas pipeline projects—Nord Stream I, completed in 2011, and Nord Stream II scheduled to be completed around the end of 2019—are bad projects because they increase European dependence on Russian gas in general, and especially because they give the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin the option of delivering gas to Germany while bypassing other European countries. Putin’s Russia has a track record of using gas exports as political pressure, for example, against Ukraine in the years leading up to Putin’s attack on that country in 2014 and has threatened to do the same to Central European countries, including those in the European Union. Given this, and their long…

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    Nord Stream 2: high stakes for underwater pipeline lawsuit

    That the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, which is backed by both the Russian and German governments, is now suing the European Union over what it describes as “discriminatory” rules speaks to the serious issues underlying the project and the risks it poses to European energy independence and security. To its proponents in both Moscow and Berlin, the Nord Stream 2 project is a straightforward way to meet the pressing energy needs of Europe’s largest economy. To Nord Stream 2’s many opponents across the rest of Europe, however, the political and economic leverage Vladimir Putin will gain over the European Union far exceeds the proceeds he can expect from shipping gas via the…

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    The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline And The Dangers Of Moving Too Rashly Toward Renewable Energy

    Few Americans likely noticed last week that Denmark refused to grant a permit for finishing construction of the Russian natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, but its international significance is enormous.  Denmark’s refusal is the latest chapter in a story of how good intentions in fighting climate change go bad.  It is a cautionary tale of how a country – in this case, Germany – while seeking to make itself and its energy use cleaner, more efficient and more self-sufficient, can produce the opposite of all three.  As climate change becomes more of an issue in America heading into the 2020 election season, Nord Stream 2 provides a case study of the…

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    About LNG from USA

    Jarosław Kaczyński wrote in a letter on the occasion of the first LNG delivery from the USA under a long-term agreement of PGNiG-Cheniere that American gas is cheaper than that from the Yamal contract by 20-30 percent. This is obvious obviousness, and the breakthrough is something else – says Wojciech Jakóbik, editor-in-chief of BiznesAlert.pl. The President of Law and Justice compared the price of the Yamal contract with the offer for LNG from the USA under the Cheniere-PGNiG contract. He did not say anything new. While signing the supply agreement from Cheniere in November 2018, the president of PGNiG Piotr Woźniak declared that the contract is 20-30 percent cheaper than the Russian offerfrom the…

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    Senate panel backs Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions bill

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate committee passed a bill on Wednesday to slap sanctions on companies and individuals involved in building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany that the Trump administration says would strengthen Moscow’s economic grip on Europe. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act,” by a vote of 20 to 2. The bill, which reflects some lawmakers’ concerns over Russian influence in Europe, would still need to pass the full Senate and House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump into law. Continue reading the article published on the Reuters news website.

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    Enact US sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline

    Contrary to some claims, a bipartisan bill proposing targeted sanctions for those involved in the construction of a Russian gas pipeline will not hit major EU energy companies. Additionally, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not an easily deployable alternative to sanctions. All arguments deployed against Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-N.H.) sanctions bill overlook the scale of European support for action against Nord Stream 2. It is true that the German government, and certainly the Social Democratic Party, is opposed to sanctions. But they do not speak for all 28 member states of the European Union. The European Parliament already voted in December 433 to 105 in favor of canceling Nord…

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    President Kaczyński: The price of gas imported from America is almost one third lower than the price of gas imported from Russia.

    By becoming dependent on gas supplies from Russia, we are strengthening our political and economic sovereignty – Jarosław Kaczyński, PiS president, wrote in a letter read out on Friday in the gas station in Świnoujście. He added that gas from the USA is almost one third cheaper than Russian gas. Kaczyński’s letter was read by the Government Plenipotentiary for strategic energy infrastructure Piotr Naimski during the official, ceremonial reception in Świnoujście of the first LNG cargo delivered from the USA under long-term contracts with Cheniere. As explained by Naimski, the letter is addressed to the president of PGNiG Piotr Woźniak. The implementation of this contract is a milestone in the sphere of…

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    Gazprom expects Denmark to approve Nord Stream 2 route in October

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian gas producer Gazprom expects Denmark to agree to its route application for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany in October, RIA news agency cited Gazprom’s Chairman Viktor Zubkov as saying on Thursday. Gazprom hopes to finish the gas pipeline project to Germany by the end of this year, but it has had delays in obtaining permits from Denmark. “I think they should give approval sometime in October and then we complete this very important project at the end of the year,” Zubkov was quoted as saying. The above article appeared on the Reuters news website. 

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    Not Only Geopolitics: U.S. Threatens Sanctions Over Russian Nord Stream 2 Project

    If Republicans and Democrats from the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress, which stand on different sides of the political barricade, can unite their forces, they may speak with one voice when criticizing Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline project. In May, bipartisan efforts were made to intensify work on sanctions targeted at entities involved in building the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany while U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry declared in Brussels and Kiev that introducing a restrictions package is just a matter of time. Continue reading the article on the Warsaw Institute news website.