Showdown In Ukraine: Putin’s Quest for Ports, Oil, Pipelines & Gas

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Claude Salhani via,

Yes, Russia is guilty of meddling in Ukraine, but then again so are the United States and the European Union. The major difference is that far less was said and much less reported by the international media over the Americans’ and Europeans’ interference than of Russia’s actions and the reactions it caused.

Where Russia is involved many in the West believe that one only needs to scratch the surface to see traces of the old Soviet Union begin to resurface. After all, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a former KGB officer. The truth is much more complicated than that: or perhaps somewhat simpler.

The Cold War that divided the East and West maybe over but the old rivalry still lingers. The rivalry between the West and Russia is no longer one over diverging political philosophies, but purely over resources – and the capitalistic gains they produce from mainly oil, gas and pipelines.

The West and in particular the United States seems to be suffering from collective memory disorder and have forgotten all the mud they slapped onto Putin’s face during the past 15 or so years. Or at least they expected him to forget and forgive.

But then again Russian troops did move in to grab control of Crimea, taking over the territory from the Ukrainians. You can counter that argument by pointing to the US and NATO, who not only interfered, but swallowed former Soviet domains bringing them into the North Atlantic alliance, pushing NATO closer to Russia’s borders.

Yes, Russia needs access to warm water ports for its Black Sea fleet and many analysts also believe that this is a major issue of concern for Moscow, which it is. But the plot, as they say, thickens.

There is also another reason for Putin’s intervention in Ukraine and that has to do with Russia elbowing for dominance of the very lucrative and strategically important “energy corridors.”
That is very likely to be the major reason why Putin is willing to risk going to war with the West over Crimea, the pipelines that traverses the Caucasus and the oil and natural gas these pipelines carry westwards to Europe.

Given the geography of the region there are only so many lanes where the pipelines can be laid; and most of them transit through Ukraine. Others travel across Azerbaijan and Turkey. Most of Western Europe’s gas and much of Eastern Europe’s gas travels through Ukraine.

If Russia has vested interest in “recolonizing” Ukraine, the United States on the other hand has its own interests in Ukraine and other former Soviet areas.

What is going on today is nothing short of a race for control of what’s going to dominate the energy markets over the next two or three decades: the energy corridors from Central Asia, the Caucuses and through Russia and Ukraine.

As stated in a report published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “the proclamation of independence, the adoption of state symbols and a national anthem, the establishment of armed forces and even the presence on Ukrainian territory of nuclear missiles—all important elements of independent statehood—amount little if another power, Russia, controls access to fuel without which Ukraine cannot survive economically.

That same report denotes that "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities," make the country "a potentially crucial player in European energy transit" - a position that will "grow as Western European demands for Russian and Caspian gas and oil continue to increase."

Ukraine's dependence on Russian energy imports has had "negative implications for US strategy in the region."

As long as Russia controls the flow of oil and gas it has the upper hand. Russia's Gazprom currently controls almost a fifth of the world's gas reserves.

More than half of Ukraine’s and nearly 30% of Europe's gas comes from Russia.  Moscow wants to try and keep things going its way; Washington and Brussels find it in their interests to try and alter that by creating multiple channels for central Asian and Caspian oil to flow westwards.
Ukraine today finds itself in the center of the new East-West dispute.

Ironically, the very assets that make Ukraine an important player in the new geopolitical game being played out between Washington and Moscow is also its greatest disadvantage.

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Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:11 | 4596974 ApollyonDestroy
ApollyonDestroy's picture

There's just no more avoiding war at this point.  Too many people, not enough resources.  War for energy, people for slaves.  NWO crashes into the world, no more acquiesence 

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:28 | 4597039 Latina Lover
Latina Lover's picture

Russian short man, small dick 1,  Bisexual Mulatto 0

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 03:00 | 4597581 kashey
kashey's picture

Russia's actions has nothing to do with control over pipelines because all pipelines go through nationalist anti-Russian Western Ukraine and in any scenario of splitting the country along ethnic regions Russia will have parts if pipelines still going through independebt Western Ukrainian territory.
Then, Russian Black sea fleet has always, including soviet time been not strong or important because Black sea is land locked and any fleet there is doomed to be local defensive.
As a Russian I see no other reason but protection of ethnic Russians in Ukraine from forced assimilation, as well preventing NATO aifields and missiles stationed 500 km from Moscow...

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 10:25 | 4598336 Sofa King Confused
Sofa King Confused's picture

The Black Sea is not landlocked dumbass

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:14 | 4596991 holmes
holmes's picture

Why the fuck does/should the USA care how nat gas gets from Russia to Europe. Obama should get his dumb ass back here and get our Keystone pipeline built.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:23 | 4597024 Rakshas
Rakshas's picture

Short dumb answer - Petrodollar Plummet; and since that is the loveliest camel in the herd ...... it's gonna get nuts...

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:25 | 4597478 HardlyZero
HardlyZero's picture

and...why is there a meeting with the Pope ?   all of a sudden ?    Maybe this is more serious game than normal and it is time to belly up to the big boys bar (in a metrosexual way) ?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 02:25 | 4597554 Ifigenia
Ifigenia's picture

someone want to gave our souls to Creator? So he need to confess his sin?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:32 | 4597052 DIgnified
DIgnified's picture

"Qatar is the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world, and the country's exports of LNG, crude oil, and petroleum products provide a significant portion of government revenues."


Syria said no.


"Qatar unlikely to abandon favoured Syria rebels"

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:06 | 4597158 ILLILLILLI
ILLILLILLI's picture

I always look for tiny bits of interesting new information...keep it coming.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:03 | 4597327 philipat
philipat's picture

Yup, Qatar gas needs a pipeline to the Med/Europe. In view of Russia's actions, I think Syria just got wiped out?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:56 | 4597432 LMAOLORI
Thu, 03/27/2014 - 02:28 | 4597556 Ifigenia
Ifigenia's picture

so Obama sacrifice the life of those voters for oil?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:20 | 4597006 DIgnified
DIgnified's picture

Watching the worst people in history get beat in war-chess without a shot being fired (not for lack of effort) is grand.  I want a powerful country that is respected.  Not a reviled country that is fucking evil, if there is such a thing.


Good day.  Assholes learning everywhere today.  Obama with the cold-shoulder in Europe. The foiled-at-every-turn warmongering.  CalState Sen Anti-Gun Democrat Leland Yee was arrested for corruption, bribery, and illegal firearms trafficking (or at least offering to make an illegal sale happen). He was joined by NY state senators John Sampson and Malcom Smith in the "I got arrested for corruption charges today" club.   Aaaaaand once he's (Yee) bounced out of office shortly, that will eliminate the California Democrat SuperMajority.


Good day indeed.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:35 | 4597062 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Ding, ding. We're to all fall in love and become world government dependants. It's recorded on that HD, wiped from Google.  Hillary pushed this agenda during their attempts to pass free health care provisions. The negro has himself painted against the wall. Couldn't happen to a better clan of progressives aiming to kill off the US Dollar to partake a global seat. 

NSA, can you hear me now? Get fucking busy. 


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 04:24 | 4597632 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

obama is not a communist, socialist, liberal or progressive in any important way.  he talks like one on occasion.  he almost never acts like one.  he and bush are nearly the same but for style and window dressing. 

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 06:29 | 4597715 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

Amen, Brother.  "Communist, socialist, liberal or progressive" are words that have meanings far beyond "Thing I Don't Like."  When I read in May 2008 that Obama was getting more contributions from the Finance Industry than either McCain or HRC I lost all doubt that he was anything but a different wrapper for the exact same entity.  Misusing name-labels merely distracts people from understanding what's right in front of them.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:57 | 4597142 Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

"But then again Russian troops did move in to grab control of Crimea, taking over the territory from the Ukrainians. You can counter that argument by pointing to the US and NATO, who not only interfered, but swallowed former Soviet domains bringing them into the North Atlantic alliance, pushing NATO closer to Russia’s borders."

For the umpteenth time: Russia had thousands of army troops stationed in Crimea under a leagle treaty with the Ukraine... and Russia has a lease on the seaport until 2042...all PRIOR TO the coup that ousted the gov of the Ukraine. Russia did not need to 'move to grab control of the Crimea' cause Russian troops were already in Crimea under a legal treaty with Ukraine.

I call bs on this article.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:53 | 4597297 philipat
philipat's picture

If you can't even spell "Legal", I call BS on your post!

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 04:28 | 4597636 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

the spelling was wrong but the facts largely right.  russia could have added thousands more troops and still been in compliance with that treaty.  and, to me, at least as telling is that over 90% of both the voters and the ukrainian army (!) in crimea chose to join the russians.  

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:14 | 4597347 Idi_ocracy
Idi_ocracy's picture

What the fuck does the lease have to do with anything? before this crisis, the Crimea was governed politically and millitarily, by Kiev. Now it is governed by Moscow. I also call BS on your comment.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:33 | 4597494 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

I call bs on our response ("there will be no military move to oust the Russians from Crimea.") Wow...we have an electoral strategy for victory? even Catherine the Great is laughing her boobs off with that one. (and a fine set of boobs she had I might add.)

"Bwhahahahaha. hello Mr non-monarchy guy. in Russia we vote you...not other way around."

And of course I better get five hundred up arrows for this because everyone living on the Planet...even the plants...know I'm right.

by my count athat should be at least 5 trillion up arrows. I means chimps might disagree...they're kinda like that...but no one asks for their vote. those things are crazy...especially when you mess with their appearance. "it makes them sad...and when chimps get sad...they get angry. and when chimps get angry they start to ideate. and when chimps start ideating...well let's just you better have a top flight military staff college to deal with that issue."

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 04:37 | 4597641 jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

doesn't look like those up arrows are coming.  not everyone likes war as much as vets seem to. 

wonder if russia as any anti-drone drones?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:19 | 4597008 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"There is also another reason for Putin’s intervention in Ukraine and that has to do with Russia elbowing for dominance of the very lucrative and strategically important “energy corridors.”

Oh, my gosh, I never thought of that.

"As stated in a report published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars,..."

Goose, this is Maverick, we're in a flat spin.  I'm punching out.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:20 | 4597009 exartizo
exartizo's picture

(reprinted by Popular Demand.)




Fly On The Wall Productions


A  recently tapped (Non NSA) wireless conversation between Herr Merkel and Mr. Obama


Herr Merkel: Mr. Obama I am in possession of our most recent intelligence regarding the Russian advance of troops and military possessions further into Ukraine.


Mr. Obama: Yes. I’ve been following events too. I made a speech, without my teleprompter, condemning Putin’s increasing use of force.


Herr Merkel: It appears Putin intends to secure his borders for energy control purposes as we have discussed in the past. Short of direct military conflict with him we are now powerless.


Mr. Obama: I’ve been considering our alternatives also. I think we’re going to have to let Ukraine go back into Russian hands. Mr. Putin has outfoxed us again!


Herr Merkel: He is so bold! What is to stop him from re-annexing all of the former USSR bloc republics?


Mr. Obama: My golf game has been off lately. I’m sure I can figure this out when I get back.


Herr Merkel: The Bundestag is panicking! We are certain that we will be under Mr. Putin’s thumb for the foreseeable future with our natural gas requirements.


Mr. Obama: Yes you’re right Frau Merkel. I’m really sorry about that. What choice do  we have?


I mean, the man has nukes, and I’m afraid he’s likely not afraid to use them if he has to. Plus the rest of the civilized world is happy that someone finally has the balls to stand up to us.


Where does he get the balls from, that’s what I want to know. He must be eating some kind of Russian bear gonads to give that kind of cahones.


Herr Merkel: I wouldn’t know about that Mr. Obama. But I think we need some kind of counter strategy going forward.


Mr. Obama: Well. At this point I think we should wait and see how well the sanctions work. I mean sanctions really seemed to work with Iran. Maybe Putin will come around to the bargaining table once the sanctions we’ve placed really start to hit home.


Herr Merkel: Mr. Obama! You must be joking!


Mr. Obama: No ma’am. I never joke about my golf handicap.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:38 | 4597076 chinoslims
chinoslims's picture

Obama think - Why should I care?  I have Nat Gas and Crude.  Fuck the EU, literally. Hope they pay up the ying yang for nat gas and gasoline. This would also give me brownie points with the oil lobby, the banks and the military industrial complex.  Nothing sells and justifies weapons like international conflict.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:49 | 4597120 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

We can always deport the Chicago Muslim family members to Siberia. Won't be hard to find them wandering off the plantation on a white snow ground covering. We won't have to spend on GITO stay. 

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:20 | 4597011 kurt
kurt's picture

Hey Chevron Boy!

Bla fukin' bla

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:29 | 4597040 BullyBearish
BullyBearish's picture

We are underwater in debt, spying on and lying to the world, failing in Iraq and Afghanistan, led by a weak and unrespected president, a puppet of the banker luciferians and ripe for trial.  Russia and China both know this well.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:33 | 4597057 chinoslims
chinoslims's picture

Obama think - time to block the Bosphorus.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:18 | 4597470 HardlyZero
HardlyZero's picture

Whose Athenian hips can gird that span ?    Where is Ray Harryhausen when you need him ?   Jason of the Argonauts ?   Colossus of Rhodes ?

Or maybe they can float the full unabidged edition of ACA documents down the minimum width 700 m (0.38 nmi) between Kandilli Point and Aiyan ?  That should stuff it up tight.   It would be green and a win-win if it ended healthcare and might be somewhat divine.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:39 | 4597084 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture

the usual worthlessness from

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 22:47 | 4597112 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Agree, another bull**** article, although not as bad as The Diplomat. I would re-evaluate if the author came up with some evidence that Putin would have "absorbed" Crimea absent the provocation of the US funding the overthrow of the Ukranian government.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:12 | 4597182 ILLILLILLI
ILLILLILLI's picture

Hey, never let a crisis go to waste.

I seem to remember hearing that somewhere...


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:08 | 4597462 HardlyZero
HardlyZero's picture

Creative Destruction is the central kernal of the modern thesis...destroy it and they will come and fix it.

Hope that works out ?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:14 | 4597186 HyeM
HyeM's picture

i read previously on ZH that Russia is getting serious about selling their oil/gas to China and India. granted it would take some time to develop those strategies (pipelines have to be built, etc.) but if they exploit that alternative market for their energy resources, then the European market (and by definition Ukraine) mean nothing to Russia; certainly not worth fighting for.

in my opinion European energy markets play a role but a very small role in Putin's calculations...i think he's real reason to risk going to war in Ukraine is to prevent NATO/Western encroachment on their border. oil/gas he can always sell to others, Europe is not the only game in town.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:15 | 4597345 sangell
sangell's picture

You are being too rational for Zero Hedge comments. Putin is a genius not an atavistic imperialist according to most here. Rather than wait until May when he was to go and sign a deal with Xi Jinping over that gas deal, Putin tipped his hand and, in a fit of pique over Yunokovich being overthrown while Vlad was preening before the world at Sochi, he burned his bridges to Europe. Now he has the unenviable task of convincing Xi Jinping he is not the unstable megalomaniac Angela Merkel discovered, but a reliable supplier of gas and oil. Will Xi buy it? Not at a high prices he won't. He will tell Vlad if you want Chinese support ( and financing) for your pipeline you will have to lower your price. A lot. That China has huge trade relations with the EU and the US that it cannot jeapordize simply to prop up your geopolitical ambitions.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:21 | 4597468 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

To focus on just one aspect of your post, I doubt that Merkel said Putin was "not in touch with reality", or an "unstable megalomaniac" to use your words.  Apparently the NY Times originated the story, and I would hope most here know from the NY Times reporting on the leadup to the Iraq war, they are not always a reliable source of info.

Did Angela Merkel really say Putin was unhinged?

"... The current example of this is the New York Times' report posted online Sunday and in its Page 1 lead story on Monday purporting to know what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after her conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In that story, the Times quotes an identified Obama aide supposedly briefed on the conversation that Merkel described Putin as "in another world." Here's how that story reported it: "Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. 'In another world,' she said. That makes for a crisis significantly different from others on Mr. Obama’s watch." The quote was too good to ignore and became the reporting line for every talking head and commentator for the next several news cycles...

As for the German chancellory, it's not exactly endorsing the Times's account. Die Welt, the German newspaper, reported that "The chancellery was not pleased with the reporting on the conversation. They claim that what the chancellor said was that Putin has a different perception on Crimea, which is why she is pushing for a fact finding mission on the matter." Government spokesman Jens Alberts told Claudia Himmelreich, a McClatchy special correspondent, exactly what the government said on Monday: no comment on the contents of the chancellor's confidential phone conversations -- with either Putin or Obama. In defining the German view, Alberts said he would "not dwell on reports and rumors of someone claiming she possibly said this or that. However, what is undisputed is that President Putin has a completely different view of the situation and the events on Crimea than the German government and our western allies." A different view. Obviously. But unhinged? ..."


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 02:44 | 4597567 Ifigenia
Ifigenia's picture

the zio-jews media always want to instill fight and wars. Cui bono?

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 02:13 | 4597545 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Your analysis is rubbish as usual.  Only crap this bad comes from US Govt "workers" or their lap dog contractors.  Which one are you?

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:30 | 4597224 Aussie V
Aussie V's picture

Merkel has just come out and announced that "Germany is not ready to place sanctions on Russia. She wants to deflate the situation not inflate it."

I suppose that is another way of saying "Get Fucked Barry"

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:50 | 4597431 Freddie
Freddie's picture

A few things I have read around on blogs is that this entire mess will push the Germans closer towards Germany.  Putin is very smart.   He will keep charming Germany while Obama and his dual citizen stooges in the State Dept/CIA keep making a mess of this. The See Eye Al CHi-da is own by the dual citizens now.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 03:36 | 4597602 Volkodav
Volkodav's picture

She was trattling off death threat for Russia would suffer recently...I can't stand her...I wish Germans make referendem take their country back...


Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:03 | 4597261 Gadfly
Gadfly's picture

There goes the MSM -- the Cabal's propaganda mouthpiece -- churning out lies and trying to drum up support for sending our tax money to Ukraine (and someday our children to spill thier blood for soneone's oil profits).  Oh my God, the big bad Bear is gobbling up everything in its path and must be stopped!  This is "Weapons of Mass Destruction" under a different name.  Ask me if I give a fuck about what Russia does in its back yard, or who controls the energy cooridors over there.  Oil companies and oligarchs care about that...because they are greedy fucks with no conscience and no regard for anyone else but themselves. (Which is why the article is brought to you by  Classic sociopaths.  Check that... Psychopaths (since it involves killing others without remorse).  I, for one, will not lay down my life for thier pathology and insanity, nor will I ever allow any of my kids to do so. If the American public falls for this line of bull shit all over again, I fucking give up.

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 23:57 | 4597295 Ifigenia
Ifigenia's picture

"Yes, Russia is guilty of meddling in Ukraine, but then again so are the United States and the European Union. The major difference is that far less was said and much less reported by the international media over the Americans’ and Europeans’ interference than of Russia’s actions and the reactions it caused."

Is this real? BBC, Spiegel, etc. in Europe only point Russia as the culprit of present mess. Well, i go to reread the Vitoria Nulland`s free cookies to take some auspices.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:32 | 4597388 Volkodav
Volkodav's picture

ooops what?  useless...

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:52 | 4597434 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Ignore Flakmeister as he is an Obama voter and friend of the dual citizen types.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 00:56 | 4597446 Rock On Roger
Rock On Roger's picture

Ya, and doncha know the climate is changing?

No wonder they can't ship the crude.

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 01:51 | 4597516 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Freddie wouldn't grasp the significance of Russian tanker based oil exports being down from the one port that would likely be directed to Asia....

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