Gazprom’s Gas Pipelines to Europe

Nice map with the main Russian pipeline networks. These networks carry the Russian natural gas of Western Siberia to Europe. These are the main networks and there are of course many smaller branches that do not appear on the map. The first red line is the Nord Stream Pipeline (Russia-Baltic Sea-Germany). The second red line is the Yamal-Europe pipeline (Russia-Belarus-Poland-Germany).

Map of Gazprom's Natural Gas Pipelines


The blue lines are the Urengoy–Pomary–Uzhgorod pipeline or West Siberian Pipeline or Trans-Siberian Pipeline or Brotherhood Pipeline, depending on which part of the pipeline we are referring. The last red line is the South Stream Pipeline, which was cancelled on December 2014 (Russia-Black Sea-Bulgaria-Southern Europe+Central Europe). You can see from the map how the pipelines that cross the Baltic Sea (Nord Stream) and the Black Sea (South Stream and Turk Stream) hurt countries like Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia.

The map is from East European Gas Analysis, an American consulting company.

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EU VS Azerbaijan and Russia + Azerbaijan

On September 2015, the EU adopted a resolution against Azerbaijan, regarding human rights violations. You can read about it at the following Euractiv article, titled “The EU should reward, not punish its loyal partner Azerbaijan”.  Azerbaijan is a former member of the Soviet Union, and it is run by Ilham Aliyev, the son of the communist dictator Heydar Aliyev. Heydar Aliyev was a former KGB agent and the leader of the Azerbaijani Communist Party during the Soviet years. He was the President of Azerbaijan from 1993 to 2003 when he was succeeded by his son Ilham Aliyev.

There are definitely human rights violations in Azerbaijan. The thing is that the timing of the EU resolution is a bit strange. There was of course the incident with the journalist that was killed in Azerbaijan in August 2015, but I am not sure that’s the only reason. Azerbaijan was the first former member of the Soviet Union which dared to challenge Russia, forming an alliance with Turkey, in order to send its natural gas and oil to Europe. The rich in oil Kazakhstan and rich in natural gas Turkmenistan have been a lot more cautious when challenging Russia’s energy policy. See map 1.

Map 1 Southern Energy Corridor

Map of Southern Energy Corridor (1)

Azerbaijan and Russia are competitors in the oil and gas markets. However the two countries recently came closer due to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. At the following map from Stratfor you can see the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Map 2 Nagorno-Karabakh Dispute

Map of Nagorno-Karabakh


Armenia defeated Azerbaijan in 1994, and the region of Nagorno-Karabakh became an autonomous region. However, since 1994 Azerbaijan became much richer due to the sales of its gas and oil reserves and managed to build a much stronger army than the Armenian one. Regaining the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a top priority for Azerbaijan. Russia, which is Armenia’s patron, is the major obstacle for Azerbaijan. Russia managed to outweigh Turkey and become the major mediator between Azerbaijan and Armenia, as you can read at the following Stratfor article titled “Gaming Out Nagorno-Karabakh”, September 2015.

Therefore Russia became very valuable for Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan reconsidered its foreign policy, strengthening its ties with Russia, as you can read at the following Stratfor article, titled “Azerbaijan Reconsiders Its Foreign Ties”, May 2015. Besides Russia’s help in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, Azerbaijan would not have to worry about human rights violations if it became a Russian satellite, because Russia is a very authoritarian country too. In September 2015 Russia agreed to supply Azerbaijan with 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas every year, in order for Azerbaijan to meet its increasing domestic demand and exporting contracts, as you can read at the following article from the Russian state owned Tass, titled “Gazprom starts supplying gas to Azerbaijan”, October 2015.

At the same time Russia did not increase from 16 to 19 billion cubic meters the capacity of the Blue Stream pipeline which carries Russian natural gas to Turkey, as she has promised to do, as you can read at the following Platts article, titled “Gazprom mulls reduction in Blue Stream natural gas link capacity expansion”, October 2015.

Map 3 Blue Stream Pipeline

Map of Blue Stream Pipeline

These 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas that Russia will export to Azerbaijan might end up to Turkey at a higher price. The 2 billion cubic meters is not a huge quantity when compared to the 45 billion consumed by Turkey each year, but it shows the problematic relations between Turkey and Russia. Also note that Russia and Azerbaijan are connected with the oil pipeline Baku-Novorossiysk, as you can see at the following map.

Map 4 Baku-Novorossiysk Oil Pipeline

Map of Azerbaijan Russia Pipelines

Russia and Azerbaijan are also connected with the natural gas pipeline Mozdok–Makhachkala–Kazi Magomed. Both of these pipelines run through Dagestan in Russia. Muslims are a majority in Russia’s Dagestan region, and in September 2015 ISIS carried out its first attack in Dagestan. See “From Dagestan to Syria”.

Given that the Islamic State (ISIS) is heavily influenced by Turkey, the Dagestan attacks are probably related with the energy war between Russia and Turkey. For the energy war between Russia and Turkey see “Russia VS Turkey : The Geopolitics of the South and the Turk Stream Pipelines”.

Therefore I believe that the EU resolution against Azerbaijan is related to the energy war between Russia and Turkey. I am not saying that the EU is not sensitive on the issue of human rights violations. I am just saying that energy affects all aspects of political life.

Relevant Articles

“The EU should reward, not punish its loyal partner Azerbaijan”, September 2015

“Gaming Out Nagorno-Karabakh”, September 2015

“Azerbaijan Reconsiders Its Foreign Ties”, May 2015

“Heydar Aliyev”

“Gazprom mulls reduction in Blue Stream natural gas link capacity expansion”, October 2015

“Gazprom starts supplying gas to Azerbaijan”, October 2015

Baku–Novorossiysk pipeline

Mozdok–Makhachkala–Kazi Magomed pipeline

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France and the Arabs

France decided to start bombing ISIS in Syria, something that will anger Turkey, and at the same time France decided to bring at the United Nations the issue of war crimes against the Assad regime, which is angering Russia and Iran. However with these moves France is pleasing a lot her allies in the Persian Gulf. There are many Franco-Arab projects in the energy sector, and France is also selling arms to the Arabs of the Gulf in multi-billion dollar agreements. France’s last success was the sale of the two French Mistral warships to Egypt.

Each Mistral can carry 16 helicopters, 50 armored vehicles, and 700 men. The two Mistral warships were initially built for Russia, after an agreement between Sarkozy and Putin, but Francois Holland canceled the deal after the crisis in Ukraine.

Map of the Middle East

Saudi Arabia will finance a significant part of the new Egyptian toys. Saudi Arabia wants to create an Arab Force in order to look Turkey and Iran in the eye. Saudi Arabia and Egypt will be at the core of this Arab force. Egypt is the largest Arab country, and her great importance makes Egypt a very expensive ally. Saudi Arabia is watching a rising Turkish influence over Qatar, and rising Iranian influence over Oman and other small Arab countries, and she desperately needs a strong Arab coalition with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt also bought from France 24 Rafale aircrafts in a 6 billion dollar deal. I guess that Saudi Arabia must have covered a part of this deal too. Qatar bought another 24 Rafale aircrafts, and the United Arab Emirates are discussing with France the purchase of some more. Therefore, no one should be surprised by seeing the French supporting the Arabs against Syria and Iran, but also against Turkey. The French bombing of ISIS is a move that is more important for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, given Qatar’s alliance with Turkey, and Turkey’s influence over ISIS. Besides their alliance with the Arabs, the French have problematic relations with Turkey and Iran, with whom they are fighting for the uranium and other resources of Africa. France was the great power that mostly objected the agreement about Iran’s nuclear program, and I do not thing her alliance with the Arabs was the only reason. France is also fighting with Iran and China for the uranium of Niger, and if Iran expands its nuclear program, this struggle will become more intense.

The funny thing is that France’s relations with the Arabs were very problematic until the 1960s, because Algeria was a French colony, and there was a war between France and the Arabs. There was also the issue with the socialist dictator of Egypt, Gamal Nasser, who was a Russian ally and who wanted to close the Suez Canal. As a result, France had many problems with the Arabs, and she was very close to Israel. France was Israel’s main arms supplier until the special relation developed between Israel and the United States in the 60s under President Kennedy. Once France lost her colonies, and the United States became the dominant power of the Middle East, France normalized her relations with the Arabs. France wanted to cooperate with the Arabs in the energy sector and also in order to sell arms to them.

However until recently the Islamist Arab dictators of the Persian Gulf were mainly buying arms from the United States, and the socialist Arab dictators were buying arms from the Russians. But after the Arab-Chinese rapprochement and the American-Iranian rapprochement, the Islamist Arabs of the Gulf started feeling less comfortably about by purchasing arms only from the United States. After all, they know that the Americans will have to adopt a more neutral stance between the Arabs and their new friends the Iranians. To make things worse, they cannot go only for Chinese or Russian arms because China and Russia have much stronger ties with Iran than they have with Saudi Arabia. Russia is also Saudi Arabia’s main competitor in the oil markets.

Map of the Middle East

With the French on the other hand, the Arabs do not have such a problem. The French are fighting with the Iranians and the Chinese for the raw materials of North and Central Africa, and the Arabs know that the French will not be neutral between the Arabs and the Iranians. That’s what it is meant by the following Time article, titled “The Real Reason Egypt Is Buying Fighter Jets From France”, February 2015. According to the Time, the real reason the Egyptians want to buy French weapons is because they want to diversify their supplies. That is also true for the Arabs of the Gulf as I already said. Especially now that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt want to form an Arab Force, which will be able to withstand the Turks and the Iranians. They need to buy weapons from a source a bit hostile towards the Iranians to have support in case of a potential crisis.

I must also say that the further strengthening of the Franco-Arab relations should generate a strengthening of the German-Iranian relations. It is true that there is the issue of Israel which is a thorn in the German-Iranian relations. Iran is openly asking for the extermination of Israel while Germany has been protecting Israel after World War 2. Germany has asked Iran to cool its position on Israel if Iran wants to bring the German-Iranian relations where they were in the past. For the last 60 years, the Germans have put Israel above their economic interests, and they have backed Israel both financially and diplomatically.

But can the Germans afford to keep protecting Israel in a period of deep economic crisis, with so many opportunities in Iran? The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that Germany will never be neutral towards Israel, as you can read at the following Jerusalem Post article, titled “Merkel: Germany will never be neutral on Israel”, September 2013. Only time will tell.

Relevant Articles

“France makes first air strikes against Isis in Syria”, September 2015

“France ‘opens war crimes inquiry against Assad regime’ in Syria: UN debate”, September 2015

“Egypt to buy Mistral-class warships France originally built for Russia”, September 2015

“Qatar agrees to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets from France”, May 2015

“UAE Restarts Rafale Talks With France”, May 2015

“The Real Reason Egypt Is Buying Fighter Jets From France”, February 2015

“Merkel: Germany will never be neutral on Israel”, September 2013

“The Iran deal puts Germany between a rock and a hard place”, July 2015

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The Map of the Arms Trade

With sky blue you can see the countries that buy their arms from the United States. With red the ones that buy their arms from Russia, and with yellow the ones that buy from China. With dark blue you can see the countries that buy their arms from all three i.e. USA, Russia and China. With sky blue-red you can see the ones that buy arms from USA and Russia, with sky blue-yellow the ones that buy from USA and China, and with red-yellow the ones that buy from Russia and China. See maps 1,2 and 3.

Map 1

Map of Arms Trade 1

Map 2

Map of Arms Trade 2

Map 3

Map of Arms Trade 3

“This map shows where the world’s 3 biggest arms exporters are sending their weapons”, March 2015

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The Balkanization of Western Europe

Catalonia is a Spanish province, but the Catalans do not consider themselves Spanish, and they want Catalonia to be independent. Catalonia is autonomous and also has its own parliament. On September 27th 2015 the pro-independence coalition won the Catalonian elections, as you can read at the following Guardian article. “Catalan elections: secessionists claim victory – as it happened”, September 2015.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s richest and most industrialized regions, as you can read at the following BBC article, titled “Catalonia profile”, January 2015.

80% of the Catalans believe that Catalonia pays too many taxes to support Spain, and they also believe that the investments of the central Spanish government to Catalonia are very small when compared to Catalonia’s tax burden and contribution to the Spanish GDP.

See “Catalonia’s tax burden: If you put up with it, they keep taking your money”, November 2012,

The discussion between the Spanish and the Catalans resembles the discussion between the northern Europeans and the southern Europeans, with the Catalans accusing the rest of Spain for not trying enough, and the rest of Spain accusing the Catalans for a lack of solidarity. The Catalans are not the only ones to claim independence in the European Union. There is the issue of Scotland in Great Britain, of Flanders in Belgium, of the Basque Country in Spain and of Venice in Italy. See the following maps.

Map 1 (rough) Catalonia

Map of Catalonia

Map 2 The Basque Country

Map of the Basque Country

Map 3 Flanders

Map of Flanders

Map 4 Scotland (Great Britain)

Map of Scotland

Map 5 Venice (Italy)

Map of Venice,_2014#/media/File:Veneto_in_Italy.svg

The European Union and NATO see with great anxiety all these separatists movements, because they could destabilize and Balkanize Western Europe. For Russia on the other hand all these separatist movements are a gift from heaven. The Basque, the Catalan and the Venice independence would destabilize Northern Spain and Northern Italy and would make it harder for the Algerian and Libyan natural gas and oil to travel to Europe and compete with the Russian state owned giants Gazprom and Rosneft. The Nigerian natural gas can also travel to Europe through Algeria, Spain and Italy if the Trans-Saharan pipeline manages to pass from the Sunni Islamist terrorists organization of Boko Haram.

Map 6 Catalonia, Basque Country and Venice (rough map)

Map of Catalonia Basque Country and Venice

Actually Russia and Spain have a long rivalry that goes back to the 1930s and the Spanish civil war, when Hitler and Mussolini were supporting General Franco’s nationalist socialists and Stalin was supporting the Spanish communists. The nationalists finally won the war in 1939. After the end of the Second World War, Spain and Russia had very problematic relations. In the 1960s the Russian-Spanish relations were improved, and in 1977 Spain and Russia established full diplomatic relations. However in 1982 Spain joined NATO and relations between the two countries deteriorated again. The Spaniards were accusing the Soviets of supporting ETA, the Basque terrorist organization which stands for Basque independence, as you can read at the following New York Times article, titled “Premier says foreign states foment terror in spain”, May 1981.

4η, 5η, 6η , 7η, 8η Παράγραφος

He said others ”want deceitfully to prevent our people from reaching the objectives of a peaceful and modern life, crowned with liberties, in the place that corresponds to us as a free nation.”

A high Government official said later that the Prime Minister was referring to ”the Soviet Union and its satellites,” which the official said included Cuba, Libya and Algeria.

For some time, Spanish politicians and others have speculated that the Soviet Union might be assisting the Basque terrorist organization E.T.A., hoping to precipitate a military coup that would prevent Spain from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But Mr. Calvo Sotelo was the first to make the accusation, however veiled, in public. 2 Soviet Aides Expelled

Since Mr. Calvo Sotelo took office – the formal vote installing him was interrupted Feb. 23 by an aborted military coup – relations with the Soviet Union have markedly cooled. Two high-ranking Soviet officials have been expelled, and 20 other Soviet citizens have been told that their residence permits will not be renewed. The Government has also taken measures to reduce the Soviet fishing fleet near the Canary Islands.

A central feature of Mr. Calvo Sotelo’s program has been a commitment to bring Spain into NATO, a process he hopes to start this year by a vote in Parliament.

However there was something uniting Spain and the Soviets, and that was the conflict between the Spaniards and the English over Gibraltar. Gibraltar is of great strategic importance for controlling the straits connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Map 7 Gibraltar

Map of Gibraltar

Gibraltar has been under English control since 1713, but the Spanish want to regain its control, as you can read at the following Financial Times article, titled “UK accuses Spain of ‘clear violation’ of Gibraltar’s sovereignty”, Augusts 2015.

The conflict between Spain and England over Gibraltar was the main argument of the Spanish left which wanted Spain aligned with the Soviets outside NATO. However in 1982 Spain joined NATO under the leadership of the center-right Spanish Prime Minister Leopoldo Sotelo. One of the main arguments for joining NATO was that it would help Spain to join the European Union. And indeed in 1986 Spain joined the European Union too.

I have mentioned in the past that Spain wants to provide Europe with an alternative to the Russian natural gas. Spain has the largest LNG facilities in Europe as you can read at the following Bloomberg article, titled “Gas Carousel Making Spain Europe’s Biggest LNG Exporter”, April 2014.

Spain is also connected to Algeria with the Maghreb and Medgaz pipelines, and can be connected to Nigeria if the Trans-Saharan pipeline is constructed at some point (Nigiera-Niger-Algeria-Spain + Italy).

Map 8 Spain-Algeria-Natural Gas

Map of Spain

However Spain is not yet connected with the rest of Europe with pipeline networks, but that can change if the European Union decides to finance such pipeline networks. As you can read at the following Euractiv article, titled “Spanish MIDCAT pipeline to replace 10% of Russian gas imports”, January 2015, at the moment there is only one pipeline connecting Spain and France, the Larrau pipeline, which can only transfer 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. In the same article you will read that Spain expects from the European Union to finance the MIDCAT pipeline, which will connect Spain and France and will reduce Russian imports to the EU by 10%.

“Spanish MIDCAT pipeline to replace 10% of Russian gas imports”, January 2015.

1st and 2nd Paragraphs

Spain’s sophisticated gas infrastructure could help Europe reduce its dependence on Russian supplies once projects to pump gas across the Pyrenees become a reality, the head of a Spanish gas association said yesterday (27 March).

Europe’s most highly diversified gas importer has vast untapped import capacity which it could use to route gas into France and beyond. But underdeveloped pipeline links with other countries have effectively made Spain a gas island.

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Paragraphs

Spain, meanwhile, does not receive any of its natural gas from Russia and was entirely shielded from the EU gas crises of 2006 and 2009 when rows over unpaid bills between Kyiv and Moscow led to the disruption of gas exports to western Europe.

Strategically positioned on the Mediterranean, about half of its gas comes from Algeria and the remainder from ten different countries around the world, mainly in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is shipped on tankers.

Spain spent billions of euros on its gas infrastructure during an economic boom. With seven LNG regasification plants, it has more capacity to turn liquefied natural gas back into gas than any other European country.

Now it is lobbying the EU to forge ahead with plans for a new pipeline, called MIDCAT, to transport gas into Europe.

MIDCAT, which is currently on the European Commission’s list of strategically important projects, would put Spain’s interconnection capacity with France at 14 billion cubic metres a year (bcm/y). The 190-km pipeline is planned to run along the Mediterranean coast.

“With this pipeline Spain could replace 10% of what Europe currently receives from Russia,” Peris of Sedigas said.

Right now there is only one gas pipeline between Spain and France, called Larrau, which can transport 5.2 billion cubic metres (bcm/y), a fraction of the 462 bcm of gas consumed by the EU last year.

A new pipeline called Biriatou, running from Spain’s Basque Country into France, could add another 2 bcm/y of interconnection capacity when it is completed in 2015, Peris said.

As you can read at the following Financial Times article, titled “France, Spain and Portugal look to unlock Algeria gas exports”, June 2015, France, Spain and Portugal are promoting a plan which will bring the Algerian gas to Europe through the Pyrenees Mountains. The Pyrenees Mountains are the natural border between France and Spain.

Map 9 Pyrenees Mountains

Map of the Pyrenees Mountains

Map 10 Algerian Pipelines to Europe

Map of Algerian Pipelines to Europe

Source: FT

“France, Spain and Portugal look to unlock Algeria gas exports”, June 2015.

I hope that it is by now obvious how useful it would be for Russia, Turkey and Iran if there were disputes in northern Italy and Spain. These disputes would make much harder the transfer of Algerian and Nigerian gas to Europe.

Map 11 The Basque Country, Catalonia and Venice

Map of Catalonia Basque Country and Venice

Spain is a NATO member, and if the Basques and the Catalonians were to gain their independence, problems would probably arise between them and the Spanish government. Maybe the Basques and the Catalans would have to turn to Russia for help since Spain is a NATO member. For the Basques of ETA that would not be a tough decision because they are communists. That’s why the Russians have so much enthusiasm over the Basque and Catalan issues, even though they try not to show it in order not to spoil their relations with Spain. Russia and Spain have descent relations even though they have somewhat antagonistic interests.

At the north of Spain, there is the issue of Flanders in Belgium. Most Belgians at the south of the country are of French origin, and most Belgians at the north of the country are of Dutch and German origin. If the Flemish people decide to go for independence problems between France and Germany could arise, and that would push Germany closer to Russia.

For Scotland the situation is almost the same. Since the 1970, when oil and natural gas was discovered at the North Sea, the Scottish people started asking for their independence.  But the prices of oil and gas exhibit significant fluctuations and the Scottish people are not sure whether an independent Scotland will be able to finance her public spending. That’s why the Scottish people vote against Scottish independence as you can read at the following BBC article titled “Scottish referendum: Scotland votes No to independence”, September 2014. However if oil and gas become scarcer, and prices rise, for example due to a new war in the Persian Gulf, the Scottish people might come back with a new referendum for independence.

See also “The Oil and Natural Gas of the North Sea : The Case for Scottish Independence”

The Arctic Ocean is very rich in oil and natural gas, and USA (Alaska), Norway, Denmark (Greenland), Canada and Russia, have conflicting claims over these oil and gas reserves. With gray you can see the oil and natural gas reserves of the Arctic region.

Map 12 Oil and Gas Reserves of the Arctic Ocean

Map of the Natural Gas and Oil Reserves of the Arctic

The United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway, are all NATO members, and even though they have some internal disagreements they are united against Russia. If Scotland becomes an independent state and has disputes with England, Scotland might have a motive to turn to Russia, since England is a NATO member. Something like that would greatly destabilize NATO in the Arctic region.

Mar 13 Arctic Ocean and North Pole

Map of the Globe

At the following Guardian article, titled “Russian ambassadors: next we’ll take Catalonia, Venice, Scotland and Alaska”, April 2014, you can read that a conversation between the Russian ambassadors of Eritrea and Zimbabwe was recorded. In this conversation the two Russian diplomats were saying that Russia must take Crimea, Catalonia, Scotland, Venice and Alaska. The conversation does not really matter because the two ambassadors were just kidding, but it shows what the Russian interests are.

“Russian ambassadors: next we’ll take Catalonia, Venice, Scotland and Alaska”, April 2014.

The European Union is worried with the possibility of a balkanization of Europe, and has clearly said to Scotland and Catalonia that if they become independent states they will have to wait in the queue in order to join the European Union. See the following Euractiv article, titled “Brussels says an independent Catalonia would need to leave EU”, September 2013.

Moreover as you can read at the following article of the Independent, titled “Catalan independence: Voters head to polls in ‘de facto referendum’ on seceding from Spain”, September 2015, Barack Obama and the United States are very devout supporters of Spanish unity. The article also mentions that the British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Catalonia will have to wait in the queue if she becomes an independent state.

3rd Paragraph

The government of Spain and a host of political leaders across Europe have said that an independent Catalonia will have no automatic right to join the European Union or other institutions. Last week, Barack Obama threw his weight behind Spanish unity.

10th Paragraph

At the heart of the issue is any future Catalan state’s membership of the European Union, which Mr Mas and his allies say is automatic. Mr Rajoy has moved to scotch this idea and has persuaded other European leaders, including David Cameron, to say that Catalonia would be forced to “take its place at the back of the queue”, of EU accession countries. Speaking to reporters last week Mr Rajoy said that Catalans would “lose the rights they have as Europeans and Spaniards” if Catalonia became an independent state.

 Therefore it seems that the Scottish, the Catalonian, the Basque and the Flemish independence could significantly destabilize Western Europe, which for the moment is Europe’s safest part. For Russia on the other hand this destabilization could be a great gift as I explained.

I must also mention that the Russians have tried to purchase a stake in the Spanish energy giant Repsol, as you can read at the following article from the Russian state owned Sputnik, titled “Gazprom looks at buying 20% in Spain’s Repsol”, November 2008.

In the past the Russians also tried to purchase Sonatrach, the Algerian state owned energy giant. See “Gazprom VS NATO : The War for Europe”.

With all the above I do not mean to say that Russia and Spain are in some kind of war as it is the case with Russia and Turkey. Russia and Spain have conflicting economic interests. Actually when the socialists were in power in Spain, the Spaniards and the Russians made some energy deals as you can read at the following Reuters article, titled “Russia, Spain sign energy deal, smoothing investments”, March 2009. Socialists do not have many concerns about national interests and they are always easy prey for the Russians.

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The Geopolitics of the Dutch Natural Gas Fields

The Groningen field is a Dutch natural gas field, and it is Europe’s largest gas field.

Picture 1

Map of the Groningen Natural Gas Field

There are larger Russian gas fields, but they are located in West Siberia and not in Russia’s European part, and therefore they are Asian gas fields. The South Pars/ North Fields is the king of the gas fields, located in the Persian Gulf. The South Pars/North Fields belongs to Qatar (2/3) and Iran (1/3). At the following Wikipedia table you can see the world’s ten largest gas fields.

Picture 2

The World's Largest Natural Gas Fields

The table is outdated though, and the second largest gas field in the world is the field of Galkynysh in Turkmenistan, which in the table appears as the 6th largest. You can read about it at the following BBC article titled “China’s growing demand for Turkmenistan’s gas”, November 2014. The Galkynysh holds approximately 13 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

As you can read at the following Reuters article, titled “Dutch government cuts Groningen gas field production”, June 2015, the Dutch government decided to reduce Groningen’s production, due to the earthquake activity that is associated with its exploitation. This is an old story but the Dutch governments never dared to stop exploiting Groningen. According to Reuters it will be difficult for the Netherlands, and for Europe too, to replace the natural gas quantity which will be lost due to Groningen’s reduced output.

“Dutch government cuts Groningen gas field production”, June 2015

At the following article from the Russian state owned RT (Russia Today), titled “Dutch govt says sorry for ignoring danger over gas field earthquakes”, March 2015, you will read that the Russians accuse the Dutch for not taking the necessary measures in order to protect the Dutch citizens from the earthquakes caused by Groningen.

“Dutch govt says ‘sorry’ for ignoring danger over gas field earthquakes”, March 2015.

The Groningen field is competing with Russia’s Gazprom in Northern Europe. The Russian gas already travels to the Netherlands through the Nord Stream and NEL pipelines (Russia-Baltic Sea-Germany-Netherlands). See picture 3.

Picture 3

Map of Nord Stream and NEL Pipelines

Moreover the agreement for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was signed in September 2015, and which will double the Russian gas which will travel to Germany through the Baltic Sea from 55 to 110 billion cubic meters  is not irrelevant to the problems posed by the Groningen field.

England is also facing problems with her energy security too, because the British gas production of the North Sea is falling, and England has already become a net importer of gas. Norway and the Netherlands are facing falling productions too, and the British have turned to the Qataris for liquefied natural gas (LNG). However the Persian Gulf is a very insecure region and no one can assure the British that there will not be a war in the future, which will interrupt the flow of Qatari gas to Great Britain.

The Baltic Sea energy corridor is by far the safest energy corridor for Northern and Northwestern Europe. If however the leftist parties of the European South flood northern Europe with Muslim immigrants, as Mateo Renzi did in Italy in 2014 and Alexis Tsipras did in Greece in 2015, there will be a sharp rise of Islamism in Northern Europe, and the Russo-German pipeline networks will not be that safe anymore.

Neither it is an accident that Geremy Corbyn, the new president of the Labor Party in England, is an anti-American who believes that the American soldiers are similar to ISIS. Remember that many Russian oligarchs have their billions in the City of London, and they make massive investments in England, gaining political support. It is true of course that Jeremy Corbyn also loves the Islamists and asks for more Muslims immigrants in the UK. Qatar is another country that massively invests in the UK, and Qatar promotes Muslim immigrants in Europe. Finally remember that the Russians gave to the Royal Dutch Shell a 10% stake in the Nord Stream 2 project.

Picture 4

Oil and Gas Fields of North Sea


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The Oil and Natural Gas of the North Sea : The Case for Scottish Independence

As you can read at the following Spectator article, a British magazine which was published almost two centuries ago, since the oil and natural gas fields of the North Sea were discovered in the 1970’s, the Scottish people started demanding Scotland’s independence. With red and green dots you can see the gas and oil fields.

Oil and Natural Gas Fields of the North Sea

Map 2

Oil and Gas Fields of North Sea


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