Nord Stream ties EU to Russian gas

Oct. 10, 2012 at 7:51 AM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Russian efforts to diversify its natural gas transit network in Europe increases Moscow's geopolitical clout, an analysis stated.

Russian energy company Gazprom this week started delivering natural gas through the second line of the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea to Germany. European countries get about 20 percent of their natural gas from Russia, though about 80 percent of that runs through Ukraine's transit system.

Stratfor, an independent intelligence company in Texas, said not only do projects like Nord Stream put Ukraine at a disadvantage but it gives Russia more political influence.

"While constructing underwater pipelines is incredibly expensive, such pipelines give Moscow significant geopolitical advantages," a Statfor report read.

Gazprom said a study of Nord Stream indicated a potential third or fourth string could be developed. A link may tie Great Britain to Russian natural gas supplies, the Russian company added.

"Russia's efforts to ensure consistently high volumes of natural gas to key European markets goes beyond its attempts to bring back some of its former Soviet states within its influence," notes Stratfor.

Europe is pushing for alternative suppliers for its Southern Corridor, a network planned from natural gas suppliers in the Caspian region.

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