US War on Russian Natural Gas
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
According to US Energy Information Agency data, America, Russia, and Iran are the world's leading natural gas producers, in that order — followed by Qatar, Canada and China.
US shale oil and gas development made it the world's leading producer of both energy sources.
According to data compiled by Forbes magazine, published in early July, the US has a "23.1% share of global natural gas production" — ahead of Russia's 17% and 17.4% for Middle East countries combined.
In 2019, the world's top 10 natural gas producing nations accounted for around 70% of global supply.
The US has a 40% market share of global liquified natural gas (LNG) — what it's pressuring and bullying EU countries to buy in lieu of much cheaper and readily available natural gas from neighboring Russia.
When completed, Moscow's 745-mile-long Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea will deliver 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually to Germany and other EU countries.
Together with Nord Stream 1, both pipelines will deliver 110 billion cubic feet of natural gas to Western Europe.
Nord Stream 2 gas will come through exclusive economic zone territorial waters of five countries: Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
Russian natural gas is around 30% cheaper than US liquified natural gas (LNG), why Western Europe highly values it.
Trump regime hardliners are going all-out to block completion of the project — projected to be operational by yearend or early 2021.
On July 15, the State Department "updated…guidance for Section 232 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)" that imposed unlawful US sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea.
The measure signed into law by Trump on August 2, 2017 flagrantly breached the UN Charter and other international law.
At the time, CAATSA was congressionally adopted with only 2 Senate and 3 House profile in courage members voting against the illegitimate measure.
Nations complying with it are complicit in US lawlessness against three nonbelligerent UN member-states threatening no one.
The State Department updated its so-called "guidance" to include threatened lawless sanctions on "investments or other activities related to a broader scope of Russian energy export pipelines, including Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream (a joint project with Turkey to go through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary to Vienna)," adding:
"Persons making such investments or engaging in such activities, including but not limited to financing partners, as well as pipe-laying vessels and related engineering service providers engaging in the deployment of the pipelines, may be subject to (lawless) sanctions pursuant to Section 232."
Both right wings of the US war party consider legitimate actions by Russia, China, Iran, and other nations on its target list for regime change "threats to US national security and foreign policy interests" — including completion of Nord Stream 2.
Defying reality, the Trump regime's State Department falsely claimed that Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream "strengthen Russia's ability to use its energy resources to coerce our European partners and allies (sic)," adding:
"The projects would hinder the process of European energy diversification (sic)."
"These projects could also severely limit gas transit through Ukraine, depriving the Ukrainian government of significant transit revenues and reducing a large deterrent against further Russian aggression against Ukraine (sic)."
Last December, Moscow and Kiev agreed on delivering 65 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to and through Ukraine in 2020, another 40 billion cubic meters from 2021 - 2024 at a discounted price - on condition that the recipient country enables deliveries to Western Europe.
The State Department "encourage(d)" nations and entities "to reassess their participation in Russian energy export pipelines subject to Section 232" — threatening sanctions on noncompliars with its unacceptable demands.
In response to the above threats, Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed what she called a textbook example of politicized "unfair competition," adding:
It shows "weakness of the American system…Except for raw power, (Trump regime hardliners) don't have any effective tools."
Pompeo warned participants in Russia's Nord Stream 2 project to "(g)et out now or risk the consequences."
A Final Comment
According to Germany's Die Welt, Gazprom's Akademik Cherskiy pipe-laying vessel is completing Nord Stream 2, overcoming US aims to block the pipeline from becoming operational.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak explained that the "project has already been completed in terms of investment and economic viability."
"All possible technical means are used for the purely physical completion of construction work."
Vladimir Putin said Nord Stream 2 will be completed and become operational no later than early 2021, two Russian pipe-laying vessels finishing its construction.
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My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"
"Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity"