Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 12
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
The signing of agreement on the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project is a huge mistake by European partners, former US Assistant Secretary for South Caucasus, ex-ambassador to Azerbaijan, director of the International Centre for Defense Studies in Tallinn Matthew Bryza believes.
"It sends absolutely the wrong signal to Russia as many are concerned that President Vladimir Putin is thinking he's got no choice to get out of the box he's put himself in than to become more aggressive toward Ukraine," Bryza told in an interview to Natural Gas Europe.
"By showing some daylight between the thrust of the EU sanctions policies and commercial partnerships, as Shell has just signed for Nord Stream, you're undermining the best leverage that the West has to convince President Putin that the costs of such aggressive adventurism outweigh the benefits," he added.
He believes that it doesn't make sense at all for diversification in Europe.
"The Nord Stream expansion is a semi desperate effort by President Putin to get some oxygen from the West geopolitically, and to maintain some hold on European markets - it's going to have to be by lowering price, when there is this threat of LNG coming from many directions; not just the US, but eventually Qatari gas will be displaced from the Middle East as Australian gas comes onstream, there's going to be a lot of LNG from Mozambique, and even Eastern Mediterranean - Israel, Cyprus, and now Egypt could be exporting some natural gas soon," Bryza said.
"So Russia's got to hang on to its market share, and I think that's what this is about," he added.
In early September Russia's Gazprom and its European partners signed a shareholders' agreement on the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project that will run beneath the Baltic Sea to Europe. The agreement was signed between Gazprom PJSC, BASF/Wintershall, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, EON AG and ENGIE.
The Nord Stream-2 project envisages the construction of two pipelines directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing transit countries including Ukraine and Poland. The capacity of the two pipelines will be up to 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year.
According to Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, Nord Stream-2 project will be in line with the European laws, obviously referring to the Third Energy Package.
Earlier a spokesperson of European Commission told Trend that it will assess the compliance of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project with the EU laws.