Putin Ready To Turn Off Europe’s Gas Supply

russia gasRussia threatened yesterday to disrupt gas supplies to Europe within days, opening a new front in the showdown over Ukraine. President Putin demanded immediate advance payments from Kiev to keep the gas taps on in the depths of winter. Cutting off gas would be likely to hit transit flows to Europe. His ultimatum came on the day that the EU announced ambitious plans for an “energy union” to end Russia’s energy stranglehold over the continent. –David Charter, The Times, 26 February 2015

In a setback to Europe’s nascent shale-gas industry, Chevron Corp. said Friday it is relinquishing its interests in shale-gas concessions in Romania, the U.S. oil giant’s last shale-gas project in Europe. It follows Chevron’s announcement last month that it was quitting shale-exploration activities in Poland. Last year Chevron terminated shale-gas agreements in Lithuania and Ukraine. Chevron’s pullback on European shale development will be disappointing to some European governments that have been eager to replicate the U.S. shale-gas boom, hoping to reduce reliance on imported gas supplies, in particular from Russia. –Selina Williams, The Wall Street Journal, 21 February 2015

As the U.S. wages a high-profile campaign against Russia over Ukraine, it is also battling Kremlin-dominance on another front – energy in Eastern Europe. The U.S. moves come amid renewed charges that Russia – through its state-controlled energy company, Gazprom – has successfully blocked shale gas exploration in Bulgaria through a shadowy but well-funded campaign waged to protect its regional energy dominance. –Mark Snowiss, Voice of America, 23 February 2015

Lancashire county councillors have rejected plans for fracking company Cuadrilla to carry out seismic and pressure monitoring at a county site. A Cuadrilla spokesman said the company was “perplexed and disappointed” by the decision. —BBC News, 25 February 2015

A year ago, Russia’s lunge into Ukraine focused European minds on the dangers of depending on Moscow for their energy supplies, pushing countries across the continent to scramble onto the shale-gas bandwagon in a quest to copy U.S. success and move toward having the ability to produce all the energy they need on their own. Now, after a series of disappointments, Europe’s shale dreams seem to have all but evaporated. This will have implications for Europe’s economic competitiveness and energy security at a time when a sluggish economy and a snarling Russia worry European leaders in equal measure. –Keith Johnson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 February 2015

Certainly the policymakers in Brussels and the Scottish government are just completely wedded to this vision of a renewable-energy future where we can phase out fossil fuels. The most fervent of them don’t want to see shale gas developed because that might deflect focus from renewables. — Howard Rogers, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 15 February 2015

The European Commission’s latest set of proposals for a UN climate deal could “severely undermine” efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, UK climate and energy chief Ed Davey has warned. A perception the EU is trying to wriggle out of its climate commitments could impact alliances with other countries in the run-up to Paris, where a UN deal is set to be agreed in December, he added. –Ed King, Responding to Climate Change, 26 February 2015

One of the world’s most influential organizations in the sphere of climate change — the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — should be drastically reformed, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) urged Wednesday following the resignation of the IPCC chairman amid sexual harassment allegations. “The IPCC is seen as a green lobby-group rather than a scientific authority. And that is a problem because governments themselves need to trust this organization,” GPWF director Benny Peiser told Sputnik news agency Wednesday. –Daria Chernyshova, Sputnik International, 26 February 2015

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