Δευτέρα, 25 Μαρτίου 2013

EU Caught Playing Dirty and it’s all about Russian Gas


There was a lot going on this week, but it’s all being overshadowed by the fascinating geopolitical game over Cyprus. This is a stage on which a country’s pending financial collapse hinges explicitly on its hydrocarbons potential, and whoever turns up with aid will win access to exploration blocks.
This all came after the EU tried to get Cyprus to agree to partially fund an EU bailout package by putting a levy on bank deposits and offering account-holders compensation in the form of potential gas futures. This is where the EU was caught playing dirty—and it’s all about Russia. Russian oligarchs use Cyprus for their offshore banking needs, and as such hold a lot of the bigger accounts that would have been targeted under this scheme.
The EU would never have done this in the past because Russia would have just turned off the gas spigots that control European supplies. What’s behind the new bravado? Quite simply, 122 trillion cubic feet of Mediterranean gas in the Levant Basin, discovered by Israel (in a US-Israeli partnership), and in Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus. If all goes well, the estimated 425 billion cubic meters (16 trillion cubic feet) of gas found in Israel’s Leviathan field will eventually be pumped via undersea pipeline directly to Turkey and then on to Europe. Another Israeli gasfield, Tamar, has 250 billion cubic meters (9 trillion cubic feet) and production should begin in April. This is Europe’s answer to the Russian gas stranglehold. It’s no longer afraid of Russia turning the spigot off.
However, it gets tricky when Cyprus isn’t playing along. The Greek Cypriots rejected the EU bailout scheme and headed straight for Moscow, knowing full well the power of negotiation behind the island’s estimated 60 trillion cubic feet of gas.

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