Republican Senators Introduce Bill To Snuff Out Europe's Independence

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In a meeting with Russia’s ambassadors and permanent representatives on July 19, President Vladimir Putin said that “the principles of competition and openness in global trade are increasingly being replaced by protectionism, while economic gain and expediency are being swapped for partisan agendas and political pressure. Economic ties and entrepreneurial freedom are being politicized.” He feels that Russia must counter this trend. There is ample evidence to prove his point. 

There is a large group of US lawmakers chomping at the bit to support anything that would bring Europe to heel and hurt Russia.

Their target is the Nord Stream 2 gas project that has a pipeline running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. That joint venture between Russian energy giant Gazprom and the French company Engie, Austria’s OMV AG, the British-Danish Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall is expected to be operational by the end of 2019. The US president has the authority to impose sanctions on the project under the CAATSA sanctions law, but there is a risk that he will not. And so some US lawmakers believe that should be rectified by making those punitive measures mandatory.  

On July 18, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), to allow NATO member states to — in his words — “escape from Russia’s political coercion and manipulation.” That’s too much of a good thing, but then nobody in Europe asked for such “help.”  The senator’s website claims “the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act, or the ‘ESCAPE Act,’ enhances the energy security of NATO members by providing those countries with reliable and dependable American energy. It also mandates sanctions on the Nord Stream II pipeline that would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany, along with other Russian energy export pipelines.”

In short, the legislation is intended to provide Europeans with guidance on what to do, as they clearly lack the ability to understand what’s good for them without the benefit of highly valuable advice from overseas. They just fail to see the need to “diversify their energy supplies and routes in order to enhance their energy security,” as that insidious “Russian President Vladimir Putin uses his country's natural gas to ‘extort and threaten’ US allies.” Gullible enough to be easily manipulated, Europeans are too short-sighted to realize they are being “threatened.”  America’s Republican senators know better.

Take Germany for instance. It receives between 50-75% of its gas supplies from Russia. US President Donald Trump lambasted Berlin at the July NATO summit for its reliance on Russian oil and gas supplies, which are "inappropriate" and make Berlin "captive" to Moscow. This can’t go on and their American friend is determined to put an end to it and shore up the president’s tough stance with legislation.  Gas makes up only around 20% of Germany’s total energy mix, but the Americans are happy to ignore that inconvenient fact.

Mr. Barrasso wasted no time launching an effort to save his friends from falling into the trap laid by those wily Russians who dare to offer the stable, cheap energy that Europe needs so badly to boost its economic performance. The best way to do it is to punish the EU (for its own good), by authorizing mandatory sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas project, while promoting America’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The legislation includes a number of requirements that force the administration to exert pressure on the Europeans. “Lending a helping hand” to those who aren’t asking for it is a way to strong-arm them into compliance.

The US policy obviously runs counter to the interests of the EU, which does not need the US LNG at all, as its members are linked via pipeline to Russia, Norway, and Algeria. That’s cheaper and much more reliable.  Europe is far from being fully dependent on Nord Stream. It has competitive options, but Europe’s demand for gas is growing, which emphasizes the importance of lower prices. The Russian gas delivered under the sea can offset the declining production in the UK, Netherlands, and Denmark. It should be noted that Nord Stream 1 was already being utilized at full capacity in 2018. Europe will need an additional 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) of imported gas by 2035.

Russia’s gas exports to Europe rose 8.1% last year to a record level of 193.9 billion cubic meters (bcm), despite growing competition. More than 670 companies from 23 countries are involved in the project. As a result of these investments, Germany alone will benefit economically to the tune of over two billion euros and 13,000 full-time jobs. This positive effects will be even greater during the construction phase. Things may change as time goes by, but at present LNG is not as economically attractive as piped-in gas, because of the time needed for transportation by sea, regasification, and storage. Europe needs to spend money to construct facilities in order to increase the number of ports able to receive and reprocess the LNG. That’s a lot of time and effort. 

Europe’s right to make its own decisions is at stake as the ongoing battle over Nord Stream 2 heats up. It has the tools to stand up to America’s pressure. There is no doubt the bill will be pushed through Congress via an expedited process, but it can be fought. A strong European resistance could make US lawmakers think twice before throwing their support behind a bill curtailing the US president’s foreign-policy prerogatives. This is the time for the EU to stand tall and refuse to bow to outright pressure. The choice is between a strong and independent Europe that is able to defend its own interests and independence or a puppet on a string dancing to Washington’s tune. 

Comments

Looney Leakanthrophy Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

 

This is a re-post from a few days ago:

The US simply doesn’t produce enough LNG to replace the pipeline.

Here are some numbers:

The US exported 1,200 BCF (billion cubic feet) of LNG between February 2016 and April 2018 (link: breakdown by country) or 533 BCF per year (or 15 Billion Cubic Meters per year).

Our total liquefaction capacity is 17 BCM a year.

Compare it to the Nord Stream 2 – its annual capacity is 55 BCM.

Now, even if we were to stop exporting LNG to all other countries (see the link above) and direct our total output to Europe, we wouldn’t be able to replace even one third of the Nord Stream 2.

When it comes to prices, LNG simply cannot compete against Pipelines.

Looney

In reply to by Leakanthrophy

Dickweed Wang rejected Sun, 07/22/2018 - 18:28 Permalink

Sooner or later the corrupt and arrogant assholes in the US CONgress are going to push things too far and the rest of the world is going to band together and say 'Fuck You USA'.  This is going to happen just like night follows day. Taken to the extreme the US could get the kind of treatment from the rest of the world that Germany and Japan got in WWII (i.e. treated like a rogue government).  There is no positive outcome from the USA continually sticking their noses in other country's business.

In reply to by rejected

new game JibjeResearch Sun, 07/22/2018 - 13:13 Permalink

hard to understand and believe what i read anymore as being something a  nation state would do.

i am guessing rome did shit like this. euro will say piss off merican fuks and rightfully so.

russia is still on the high ground. i doubt they will leave it while putin is prez. one party/war party tyranny, r and d alike

need one serious bitch slap. i hope euro does just that...

In reply to by JibjeResearch

just the tip tmosley Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:12 Permalink

i keep wondering about independence.  and wondering who is independent of whom.  and who is the vassal in this circle jerk.

commenters here at ZH are no help either.

US is the vassal of UK.

US is the vassal of Israel.

UK is the vassal of US.

UK is the vassal of Israel.

Israel is the vassal of US.  this of course is the vast minority opinion.

Israel is the vassal of UK.

i'm sure there are some combinations i've left out, but i keep wondering, who exactly is calling the shots.  one would think that the see eye aye would be, due to the vast population difference and sheer number of resources that could be brought to bear.  however, this being ZH, who controls the purse strings will be brought up.  still leaving me without a clear delineation as to who is the vassal here?

In reply to by tmosley

Tao 4 the Show css1971 Sun, 07/22/2018 - 15:19 Permalink

Those at the top of the black heap did not get there by being sloppy. I seriously doubt that they have ever been named here on ZH. The system seems to be interlocking secret societies. But ultimately all the high level groups are working under some ideology and believe they have some sort of divine right. What they mostly don't understand is that they are expendable by the highest levels. Some awareness of this fact has begun to creep in and I believe this is one reason for the current infighting. 

There is no honor among thieves. When the heist is nearly complete, plans for betrayal are initiated. This is where we are now, IMO.

In reply to by css1971

falconflight just the tip Sun, 07/22/2018 - 19:47 Permalink

Gazprom signs 20 year deal with Israeli firm
February 26, 2013, 12:21 pm

The Tamara gas field’s reserves are estimated at 238 billion cubic metres [Getty Images]

In a bid to diversify away from traditional European customers, Russia’s oil and gas giant Gazprom has signed a deal with an Israeli firm on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

 

A subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom has signed a 20-year deal with Levant LNG Marketing Corp. to exclusively purchase LNG from Israel’s Tamar offshore gas field in the Mediterranean, Gazprom said on Tuesday.

The agreement will expand Gazprom’s LNG exports and trading portfolio and follows a letter of intent signed by Gazprom in March 2012.

“This is an important milestone for strengthening Gazprom’s position in the global LNG market,” Vitaly Vasilievm, Gazprom’s marketing & trading CEO said.

“We are confident that this deal will not only help strengthen and diversify Gazprom’s LNG portfolio, but also help GM&T build on our success in the Asia-Pacific region, where we have recently closed long and medium-term deals with numerous counterparties in India and North East Asia.”

The Tamar floating LNG project will produce gas from the Tamar and Dalit gas fields off Israel’s east Mediterranean coast.

The project is being implemented by the Tamar upstream consortium comprising Noble Energy Mediterranean (36 per cent), Delek Drilling (15.6 per cent), Avner Oil Exploration (15.6 per cent), Isramco Negev-2 (28.75 per cent) and Dor Gas (4 per cent).

In November 2011 the Tamar partners signed an agreement with DSME, NextDecade and D&H Solutions to initiate the joint development and implementation of a floating LNG facility scheduled for commissioning in 2017 with an estimated annual output of 3 million tons per year.

Shortly after, the midstream project company Levant LNG Marketing Corporation was established to conduct discussions with potential LNG buyers.

Israel has two large offshore gas fields – Tamar and Leviathan – off the coast of the city of Haifa.

The Tamara gas field’s reserves are estimated at 238 billion cubic metres and the potential of the Leviathan field is estimated at 453 billion cubic metres.

Source: Agencies

http://thebricspost.com/gazprom-signs-20-year-deal-with-israeli-firm/

In reply to by just the tip

just the tip Free This Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:03 Permalink

FT, you forget where you are posting.  this is ZH.  no one will remember that.  just because it happened and you remind ZH of the fact that it did, you get the downvotes.

Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-21/trump-lines-up-powel…

even if you give them a link, they would still downvote you.  that most recent was 2009.  no ukraine talk then.

In reply to by Free This

Greed is King Free This Sun, 07/22/2018 - 14:13 Permalink

"Do you all recall Russia cutting off the gas supplies not so long ago?"

When the hell did that happen ?, Russia has NEVER cut off the gas to Europe, Russia HAS cut off the gas to America`s puppet state of Ukraine because Ukraine did`nt pay its bills and was siphoning off Europes gas from the pipeline on their land, but Europe has never had its gas cut off.

You really should not believe all of the bullshit propaganda.

 

In reply to by Free This

GiantDesertRat Free This Sun, 07/22/2018 - 15:03 Permalink

Yes, indeed.  What POTUS wants is to build larger LNG facilities in US, ship then to Euros. Putin knows No HEAT NO LIFE  he's been building since 2007.  When Russkie science dudes and dude-ettes PROVED climate change!

Just not what everyone SWORE what the long-range would be. Temps going lower from lowered sun activity.

They knew.  They proved it. Ivan says Monopoly starts, good. 

 

Now, 'bout that Ozone hole...

In reply to by Free This

IronForge Looney Sun, 07/22/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Looney:

Looks like the Evil RUSsiaGate Election Meddlers are going to DOUBLE the Trafficking Capacity of that Drug of Industry, CNG, in 2019 to 110 BCM. DEU will be hooked on smoking RUSsian GasPipe Forever.

How DARE THEY!!! Insolent Fiefs...

 

********

POTUS is wasting his breath, spewing MIC and Oilygarch Smoke out of his Blowhole.

He should walk away from NATOCEANIA; but the MIC, Bankers, Oilygarchs, and Zionistas (who need NATOCEANIA Business and War Support in the Future -  and also want UKR/LNR/DNR/Crimea, aka Khazarian Khaganate) won't Let Him.

Since his Daughter Converted to Modern Orthodoxy and his Progeny through her will be considered Jewish/ISR Citizenry by all Conventions - we can consider Trump as an In-Law to the Tribes.

Just like Yitro/Jethro - Moishe/Moses' Father-in-Law.

Best we can hope for is for reducing the USA Troop Footprint and Budget. 

In reply to by Looney

TechnoCaveman Ignatius Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:27 Permalink

   So why is America not building offshore LNG platforms?
   Yes, DHS says "Large LNG ships are a hazard. Do not bring them into port" but our natural gas supply grows. 
   Gas flows both ways. Let Germany build the pipeline. It might work.
   Russia might not turn the gas off one cold morning like they did to others.  
   If things go badly we can supply Germany and even ship natural gas to Russia. 
   Gas flows both ways. 
   Take the long view. 

In reply to by Ignatius

Jackprong TechnoCaveman Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:52 Permalink

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait_crossing

A Bering Strait crossing is a hypothetical bridge and/or tunnel spanning the relatively narrow and shallow Bering Strait between the Chukotka Peninsula in Russia and the Seward Peninsula in the U.S. state of Alaska. The bridge/tunnel would provide a connection linking North America (and potentially South America, see: Darién Gap) and Eurasia.

With the two Diomede Islands between the peninsulas, the Bering Strait could be spanned by a bridge/tunnel. There might be one long bridge, almost 40 km (25 mi) long, connecting Alaska and the Diomede Islands, and a tunnel connecting the Diomede Islands and Russia. The earth bored from the tunnel could be used as landfill to connect the two islands.

There have been several proposals for a Bering Strait crossing made by various individuals, television channels, magazines, etc. The names used for them include The Intercontinental Peace Bridge and Eurasia-America Transport Link. Tunnel names have included "TKM-World Link" and "AmerAsian Peace Tunnel". In April 2007, Russian government officials told the press that the Russian government will back a $65 billion plan by a consortium of companies to build a Bering Strait tunnel.

In reply to by TechnoCaveman

el buitre TechnoCaveman Sun, 07/22/2018 - 12:54 Permalink

Most gas today in the USA is produced by fracking.  Fracking involves injection into the earth of huge amounts of toxic chemicals, which by law are being kept hidden, in order to function.  There are places in the USA today where you can get ignition from your faucet.  These chemicals are already obviously taking a toll on agriculture and will eventually reach a point in accelerating cancer death and failure of other internal human organs, particularly the liver, where the pitchforks and and torches will come out.  Additionally, the life of a new fracked gas well is a small fraction (if you pardon the pun) of natural gas wells.  The whole stupid thing is leading to both economic and health catastrophes.  This is another aspect for Europe to consider.  I for one hope these idiots, at the moment mainly Repugs from primarily gas states, pass this idiotic bill.  It will lead almost instantly to a further split between Europe and the USA and further weaken US global hegemony.  Countries in Europe could convince their corporations not to kowtow by placing fines on their compliance to these sanctions even greater than the sanctions themselves.  This will give the European governments additional revenues to import more MENA rapefugees.

In reply to by TechnoCaveman