This is the first post for "An Energy Eye on Russia." Russian energy deals, policies, and plans for the future (something I don't currently follow, but want to learn.)
Not forgetting that Russia is the third largest oil producer and almost monopolizes the energy supply to Europe, the following article from back in October is what brought my attention to Russia.
A Killing in Siberia Injures Russia's Green Movement
which can be found in full here: http://www.pacificenvironment.org/article.php?id=2614
The article cites Russia's goal to be the Nuclear energy provider to countries without the capability, as well as environmental protest against Nuclear power and a little bit of political oppression and intrigue.
I have an interest in the debate over whether or not Nuclear is a renewable/clean energy or not. I am also intrigued by the reasoning behind and against protests that Nuclear Fusion research removes funding from other, more friendly (?) renewables (e.g. Solar Energy.) The cleanliness of Nuclear has already been approached this blogging week in Nuclear Power, Should we be using it? and Nuclear Power is Not Clean.
But today we turn to Russia's sealed deal with Bulgaria:
"The South Stream gas scheme, said to be worth 10bn euros ($14.66bn; £7.4bn), is being jointly developed by Gazprom and the Italian firm, ENI.
The ...pipeline is expected to take Russian gas under the Black Sea and overland across Bulgaria to markets in southern Europe. Russia has offered to site a major gas hub in Serbia, a traditional ally.
Bulgaria had also received an offer from the US and EU to join the rival Nabucco project.
Nabucco envisages bringing Central Asian gas through Bulgaria to Europe, in a move intended to reduce Europe's reliance on Russian resources."
Russia is most certainly an energy heavy weight flexing its muscles, and I'm interested to see how the EU and US respond in order to avoid Russia's Energy Power (haha) from increasing. Particularly in the old USSR. Will it come down to old friendships and grudges? Future security? Or plain old price? Russia did use its power to persuade the Ukraine by cutting off gas exports in 2006.
The deal also included plans for a Nuclear plant in Bulgaria,
The article has a map of both the Russian South Stream pipeline - connecting Russia and Italy, and the Nabucco pipeline - going through Turkey to Central Asia. However, the article cites the largest block to the EU and US aim to challenge Russia's energy prowess by transporting gas from Turkmenistan. However, Turkmenistan just sold its supplies to Russia. Turkmenistan using the unofficial (after all, worst case scenario, the two pipelines will be "complementary") contest as leverage.
Next time: I hope to get more into the recent events (Serbian sale to Gazprom and EU membership) of Russian energy deals and the influence of former Soviet Union politics. Supposed to be signed by the 28th. (See last week's BBC article)