Why Hasn't The U.S. Gone After Gazprom?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Daly via OilPrice.com,

Amidst the deepening war of words over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, U.S. President Barack Obama on April 28 added more Russian individuals and companies to a sanctions list that already included influential members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and Bank Rossiya, which has close ties to the Russian leadership. The new list freezes the assets of Igor Sechin, head of Russia's major oil company, Rosneft, six other individuals and 17 companies.

Significantly, the new U.S. list does not include Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian natural gas state monopoly, Gazprom.

Although the European Union has imposed its own tough sanctions on 48 Russian individuals, Gazprom is arguably where daylight exists between the Obama administration and the EU on the issue of penalizing Moscow for its actions in Ukraine.

The numbers make it clear why. Russia is the EU’s third-biggest trading partner, after the U.S. and China; in 2012, bilateral EU-Russian trade amounted to almost $370 billion. The same year, U.S. trade with Russia amounted to just $26 billion.

More than half of Russia's exports go to Europe, and 45 percent of its imports come from Europe, according to the EU EUROSTAT agency. Out of 485 billion cubic meters of gas consumed by the EU annually, Russia supplies about 160 billion cubic meters, or almost one-third the total volume.

Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, has been explicit about the costs for the German economy from increased sanctions. Anton Börner, the president of Germany’s main trade group, BGA, warned that more than 6,000 German businesses with $105 billion of turnover are interlinked with Russia and stand to lose if sanctions are ratcheted up.

U.S. Representative Lois Frankel (D-FL), who recently visited Ukraine with a Congressional delegation, has offered the likeliest official explanation for why the White House left Gazprom and CEO Miller untouched in the most recent round of sanctions.

In an April 28 appearance on MSNBC, Frankel said, "I think our president is taking a cautious approach warranted because our European allies are...trade partners with Russia, they depend on Russia's energy. And so we have [to] be careful because sanctions against Russia also have the good probability of hurting our allies.”

Other members of Congress have shown less willingness to accommodate the EU’s delicate economic position. In recent days, senior members of the U.S. Senate have increased their calls for the White House to move against Gazprom. Carl Levin (D -MI), John McCain (R-AZ) and Bob Corker (R-TN) want Obama to use an executive order that allows him to punish broad sectors of the Russian economy in response to Russia’s actions in Crimea.

The lawmakers’ statements on the issue have been widely covered in the Ukrainian and Russian press.

In an April 12 letter to Obama, Corker, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Unless Russia ends its destabilization of eastern Ukraine and drastically reduces troop levels on the Ukrainian border immediately, further sanctions against strategic sectors of the Russian economy, particularly targeting Gazprom and additional important financial institutions, should be imposed within days.”

After the latest round of U.S. sanctions this week, Corker repeated that call in a joint statement with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee, in which he said, “Until Putin feels the real pain of sanctions targeting entities like Gazprom, which the Kremlin uses to coerce Ukraine and other neighbors, as well as some significant financial institutions, I don’t think diplomacy will change Russian behavior and de-escalate this crisis.”

During an April 25 visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, Levin told reporters, “The existing authority is sufficient to take very strong sanctioning action against Russian banks that have correspondent accounts in the United States. The authority exists. It should be used, and that includes Gazprom.”

McCain advocated in an April 25 press release, “The United States needs to expand sanctions to major Russian banks, energy companies, and sectors of its economy, such as the arms industry, which serve as instruments of Putin’s foreign policy. NATO needs to move toward a robust and persistent military presence in central Europe and the Baltic countries, including increased missile defense capabilities. We need a transatlantic energy strategy to break Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas,” which would include sanctions against Gazprom, according to his office.

McCain recently suggested he has a broader agenda in mind when he said, “The strategy of the U.S. for saving Ukraine must be built in opposition to Russia's gas strategy, as this will be the end of Putin and his empire."

Given Gazprom’s centrality to the Russian economy, it’s unlikely that Putin won’t react if and when the company comes in for Western sanctions. In preparation for that possibility, Gazprom’s subsidiary, Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest, last month transferred nearly $7 billion to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

Gazprom has already warned that further Western sanctions could disrupt gas exports to Europe.

And Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi has made it explicit that there will be consequences for Western energy firms that comply with sanctions. Speaking on April 24 to journalists in Russia’s far eastern city of Birobidzhan, Donskoi said, "It is obvious that they won't return in the near future if they sever investment agreements with us, I mean there are consequences as well. Russia is one of the most promising countries in terms of hydrocarbons production. If some contracts are severed here, then, colleagues, you lose a serious lump of your future pie."

Donskoi also expressed the certainty that if Western firms leave Russia, other foreign energy companies would take their place.

That kind of threatening rhetoric will only make it harder for U.S. officials to sell an already nervous Brussels on the idea of more sanctions, if it comes to that, and on targeting Gazprom, in particular.

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TruthTalker's picture

The US was the aggressor and for all any of us know Russia is in cahoots with them!  We need to replace our oligarchy with patriots! 

Latina Lover's picture

Can anyone explain why the USSA must intervene in the Ukraine for reasons other than geopolitical domination, feeding the Military Industrial complex, creating wedges between the EU and Russia, stealing Ukrainian resources under the management of the IMF? 

Urban Roman's picture

We'll just bankrupt 'em with cheap abundant gas.

We'll buy it from, um, what was that big gas company? No matter how much it costs, 'cause we can just print the money!

philipat's picture

I think you means because they hate us for our freedoms. No, wait..

Edward1290's picture

its just THEATER.......as was JFK, Watergate, Monica Lewinsky.........anytime a major 'Monetary Event' takes place the 'money changers' are working behind the scenes..........NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS........



logicalman's picture

Was going to mention the theatrical aspect.

Kicking myself for neglecting the pizza.

boogerbently's picture

We're getting our butt kicked because we currently have worse "actors".

Carpenter1's picture

I used to think that, but the US having its ass handed to it in a humiliating way by Syria/Iran/Russia after 2 years of intense propaganda and covert attemots to overthrow Assad convinced me otherwise. 


Is there a theatrical aspect both sides are working? Absolutely, but are there real agendas on both sides?  


james.connolly's picture

Look 30+ years ago  CIA got the IRAQi's and IRANIAN's to kill 10 million of one another,

CIA has one goal other than USD protection, and that GOAL is MASS genocide of the entire world, but with NO BLOOD on USA hands.

Everywhere the USA goes, they create civil war, which leads to millions of deaths, ... the NAZI's did this and we called it the HOLOCAUST, now we just scratch our ass and watch.

Like I say, +100 MILLION humans have died to make the USD the reserve currency it is,...


StormShadow's picture

So true. Took me years to wake up n see this. Now it's infuriating living in a world where so few others see it for what it is. By the time they realize our country as a whole has been hijacked it'll be far to late and many, many more will have to die before we can rebuild the republic, if we even can.

james.connolly's picture

It's so fucking sad,... I mean millions of Vietnamese Died, ... +100 of Million for a 100 years now.

Today the CIA over-threw  THAILAND government for like the 30'th time since the 1940's. Because the CIA wants to create the 'image' of democracy, they let people vote, they vote for the poor, who represent the poor, then the CIA has to come in and kick out that government to reassert their control,... everywhere its the same, I'm surprised that the CIA hasn't made 'democracy' illegal all over the world.

It appears they do this on purpose, engineering frequent civil-war all over the world, maximizes genocide. All cleverly desgined to minimize 'cost to kill'.

The POOR who are the majority hold the Northeast which are valuable lands, and most of central is valuable for rice, but these people will not budge, so engineer a civil war, knock them off their 'rent free land', and sell all hat land to CHINA. Rinse and Repeat, ... how many people will die? Millions? For what? So a few billionaires can become trillionaires,...

Today we have war's in UKRAINE, war in THAILAND, ... war in SYRIA, Libya,... everytime somebody dies it means the PTB can steal their property.

Nobody gives a fuck, the Majority on ZH just watch stock market and count their star's not unlike the French book "The little prince"

The world is mad, and nobody gives a flying fuck.


It's coming home to roost, I guess that the good news soon 10's of millions of US citizens will kill each other,... its coming.


TruthTalker's picture

gee thanks now I'm hungry!

Aussie V's picture

As I see it the world and, specifically, the US and the western world changed for the worse after the JFK assassination. It took a turn for the worse and has headed head long down that road.

If this is just theatre you will HAVE to show me what is really happening because I see the very real possibility that all this Ukraine parry and thrusting may be the beginning of WW3 or, at least, another Vietnam for a new generation who missed the last one.

After all, everyone deserves a Vietnam of their own!

Lore's picture

Everything went to shit with the removal of the dollar peg. Every major historical event since then has dollar hegemony as an underlier. 

The sanctions may be penny-ante so far, but the chutzpah is impressive.  These people think their shit doesn't stink.

I've been talking with Germans who are FURIOUS with Merkel for straddling middle ground.

james.connolly's picture

German's Lost WW2, Nazi's WON..

Do you ever remind your German friends there are dozen of USA bases in GERMANY, and that GERMANY like Japan, TAIWAN, are just war time colony's for  imperialist power?

The GERMAN people have been turned into pussy''s, they're not even legally allowed to mention that They're ran by the Nazi's out USA/UK/ISRAEL.



Lore's picture

You touch on an interesting point that came up, one among many. They see things quite differently and with much greater grasp of history. Nothing is what it seems. Obama provides neat cover. Who thinks to look for racist eugenicists behind Obama? 

Treason Season's picture

The plural of pussy is pussies.

Incubus's picture

no, it's not.


It's just like numbers. the more commas/apostrophes, the greater the implied pluracie'''''s.

DirkDiggler11's picture

By "resources" do you mean the US stealing their GOLD ???

socalbeach's picture

No.  Which is why this is a 1 star article, he's asking the wrong question.

denverdolomte's picture


I.E. Arab Spring part duex. It's happening in many other places as well, just not as publicized, look into things happening in S. America.

Beyond theories of a that NWO stuff, I really can't offer you any other purpose for the said destabilization beyond them all being fucking insane beyond comprehention.

JuliaS's picture

Because we're pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan and it's much cheaper to find something else to do around Eurasia than to take all the gear back home.

harposox's picture

We're trapped in the paradox of the infinite growth paradigm. Because we're a debt-based economy, it takes ever increasing rates of growth in order pay off an exponentially increasing debt. The source of our crazy growth to date – cheap fossil fuel energy – is drying up, so we've resorted to other methods in order to artificially create it (primarily war, cannibalization of productive industry, and the financialization of everything under the sun). Otherwise the whole Ponzi comes crashing down. Mathematical reality has finally caught up to us.

We're witnessing the death throes of a dying empire, and of the collective delusion that we can perpetually live beyond our means. Ukraine merely has the misfortunate of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

matrix2012's picture

@ Latina Lover ... it's mainly for TTIP


TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and Ukrainian Mess


These two recent posts by Tabarnaque summarized the plot to go in Ukraine and WHY.

"If you read this article you will understand that Ukraine is a manufactured side show to force Europe into quickly signing the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)."


>>>> TTIP : Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


Read them here: post #1, and post #2 is right below it... read Saker as well!


Some more links, mainly about TTIP and TPP: 


The US plan for the Ukraine - a hypothesis (Saker)

The corporate endgame: Why you should be concerned about TPP and TTIP



The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: The TPP’s Corporate-Friendly European Counterpart

TPP & TTIP - Policy Implications Environmental Research Irrelevant


Trans-Atlantic global leadership at stake in Ukraine – Kerry


 . . .  just search "TPP TTIP" for further refs


And here's a CARTOON version:

CHX's picture

To cling on to hegemony, and by doing so support the dollar. When the dollar collapses, the (E)USSA hologram comes crushing down.

Old Man River's picture

Under my plan Gazprom prices will necessarily skyrocket

whoflungdung's picture

TT I don't think they're in cahoots.

US is the agressor, no doubt about it.

Check this talk on YouTube and remember it was spoken in 2008 before Obama became president!!


socalbeach's picture

Excellent, +106, thanks for posting that.  He called it.  Here's his website.



sonoftx's picture

Thanks for posting. Pretty omniscient.

matrix2012's picture

EXCELLENT Video.... it's AMAZING how Tarpley already saw it in 2008 or even earlier!


And this video was uploaded on Oct 29, 2008



Read the full transcript here... thanks to the DeepJournal


The audio version can be found here: http://www.deepjournal.com/images/uploaded/16/editorial/id=2025.mp3 -- Webster Tarpley is really sharp... he already saw it many years ago when many still fell asleep!
lakecity55's picture

Excellent, but so far it looks like Bath House has fucked it all up.

Check out the Tarpley piece on Holdren, the "science" guy for Bath House. Scary. He is a fanatic on world genocide.

matrix2012's picture

thanks for tip lakecity55


Dr. Tarpley reviews the writings of John P. Holdren, the current White House science advisor

June 2011

Webster Tarpley: The Elite's Plan for Global Extermination




Addendum video with Webster Griffin Tarpley "Webster Griffin Tarpley: Quackademic Darwinian Charlatans"


Helg Saracen's picture

You really have no control.

Ski12568's picture

The next Bush will be put there to try and satisfy your want

Helg Saracen's picture


 Understanding what is happening. :)))))))))))))))

Edward1290's picture

This shit was all set up in 2009 after Lehman died......you people are all being played for fools......Russia/China WILL get a bigger seat at the (IMF) table.........The money changers are 10 steps ahead of current events.....I dont trust Jim Rickards as far as I can throw his bald head...........but i listen to him.....he is telegraphing for the 'deep state'..........

Can you say INFLATION?

what's that smell's picture

john daly is a stupid fuck.

the wording itself is state department hack.

"there's a bad smell but those russians suck"

great thinking, dipshit.

if you read it and believe it you a dipshit also.


Postal's picture

Because it's one of the Teleprompter-In-Chief's green-energy partners. Duh!

lakecity55's picture

Bath House has a chicken brain. I mean, it's really really small. And corrupt.

One And Only's picture

Obama should send Ukraine solar panels.

Seriously though. You know why no one goes to war over solar panels?

THEY DON'T FUCKING WORK OBAMA. Neither do windmills or algae you stupid fuck.

william114085's picture

King Jew Rothschild has a large stake in Gazprom....nuff sed

sangell's picture

Perhaps another Oilprice.com article that got wider play than this one would explain it. GAZPROM's production has dropped 8% in recent months. Russian oil production has fallen for 4 straight months! When your enemy is destroying himself why interfere. Iran and others are eager to supply Europe. Europe can drill for its own gas or buy American coal and propane. The only 'crisis' is in Russian revenue.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

Gazprom can make up the production loss by charging full price to their european-leaning neighbors. I'm sure that will go over well. If they drop the subsidies eastern europe will be fucked and everyone knows it. They can go to the ME, but enjoy paying full price anyway. Same result. Russia has leverage and location, the US doesn't have shit or they would have played it already. And that's why the germans and others are saying no to sanctions.

sangell's picture

Tell it to Xi Jinping. He ain't buying your commie 'cost' problems. He wants to have the "China" price and Putin's bowling ball headed people can't offer it. Putin's finished, wake up and smell the vodka vomit!

CHX's picture

It's pretty obvious who is awake and who isn't.

fauxhammer's picture

Fuggin KAOS and KONTROL agents everywhere

Hongcha's picture

Vlad, Rothschild and Yours Truly.

It was obvious at the outset OGZPY was too big to go after; and that the bottom was going in.  I have 40% of my position and am buying dips with a long-term hold stance and a + 300% outlook by the time Messiah leaves office.  I have Sberbank too.  Largest bank in Russia by far, employs more people than JP Morgan and no one has heard of them.  2.5 p/e, dividend around 6%.