Tightening sanctions against Russia will not force the Kremlin to make concessions, since the country has managed to occupy quite strong positions in the gas market. This opinion was expressed by Financial Times columnist Nick Butler.
“Anyone who believes that the fines regime closes trade and puts Putin on his knees should think about the international gas market,” he said. As noted by Butler, despite the sanctions, Russia continues to increase its potential for maintaining and strengthening gas control as the market becomes more competitive.
He recalled that in September last year, Ryan Zinke, the then US Secretary of the Interior, spoke about blocking Russian gas exports. US President Donald Trump said that Nord Stream II is inappropriate and a threat to NATO. This had no effect on the Russian side and its European partners, the construction of the gas pipeline continues and on schedule will be completed by the end of this year.
Russia’s role in the international gas market outside Europe is also growing. The Power of Siberia pipeline should be commissioned by December. According to a brief note prepared by the Center for Energy Research at Columbia University, the Russian company Novatek plans to increase its export capacity to 70 million tons of fuel per year by 2030.
“The mastery of Putin’s approach to the energy market is to attract international partners to the infrastructure associated with each project. This creates an incentive for importers to remain with suppliers, even when the market is unstable, which means that Russia can avoid fierce price wars, ”Butler believes. As the observer noted, the pipeline network between Russia and Europe will become a unique advantage, which other suppliers, in particular, the United States, Qatar or Egypt, are deprived of.
The risks to energy security are clearly insufficient to keep consumers, in particular Germans, from buying more gas. Therefore, according to the expert, the sanctions will not achieve their goal and will only play the role of “external decorations of the United States prohibitive power.”
Earlier, Donald Trump and Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini jointly opposed the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, calling it a geopolitical weapon.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website