The Russian gas monopoly from the "national heritage" is increasingly turning into a "national disaster." The miscalculations of the Gazprom management, for which the whole of Russia suffers financial and image losses, have long since become systemic. How much more will we pay for endless adventures of highly paid top managers of the state corporation?
In order not to be unfounded, we give a few facts. Back in 2009, the representative of the Norwegian giant Statoil Rune Bjarnson said:
We believe that shale gas could be the factor that will change all the rules of the game.
Despite this, the people who should formulate Gazprom’s long-term strategy continued to consider the “shale revolution” in the US a pyramid, a soap bubble, despite the fact that 10 years ago American industrialists had already bypassed Russia in terms of gas production. It was quite obvious that in the future its expansion in the form of LNG on the world market would begin.
In 2012, both Reported Vedomosti, in the leadership of the domestic monopolist, nevertheless began to gradually see clearly:
At first there were illusions that the shale boom is another soap bubble, and now our export volumes are being replaced by other gas. Our gas is one of the most expensive and inflexible. The system of long-term export contracts, which has been operating smoothly for decades, is becoming obsolete.
Did this mean that the state corporation began work on the diversification of its supplies, discovered LNG for itself? Not at all. The company at the expense of budget funds continued to build expensive pipelines to the delight of general contractors. The secret of the open door is that in many respects, for the sake of Gazprom’s interests, the Russophobic regime was maintained in Ukraine to continue exporting gas to Europe.
Propaganda continued to repeat the mantras that Europe was critically dependent on Russian pipeline gas supplies. At the same time, the fact that after a gas war of ten years ago was completely ignored, Europeans took large-scale measures to restructure their gas market: numerous LNG terminals were built along the coast, pipeline bridges were created between EU countries, allowing to transfer “blue fuel” as needed .
All this could end only with what ended. At the end of 2019, Gazprom signed a bonded transit agreement with Ukraine, about which we are in detail told earlier. Nord Stream 2 is another symbol of the incompetence of the leadership of the state corporation.
The gas pipeline with a pump was announced as an example of a "brilliant" strategy to bypass the Independent. At the same time, the European Commission and most EU countries were dancing to the tune of the United States. The result was logical. First, Denmark dragged for three years the issuance of a building permit. Then the EU adopted amendments to the Third Energy Package, which left Nord Stream-2 half empty. The final was the introduction of US sanctions against gas pipeline contractors. The Swiss company Allseas immediately quit work, and it turned out that there was simply no one to complete the last 5% of the pipeline.
One wonders why, under the conditions of Western sanctions, top managers of Gazprom relied exclusively on Western contractors, without even thinking about alternatives and fallback options.
Russia has only three vessels available that hypothetically can allow the completion of Nord Stream-2 on its own: Fortuna, Defender and Academician Chersky. But the first two are barges that are not equipped with a dynamic positioning system, which makes it impossible for them to work in Danish waters. Gazprom’s German partners are negotiating with Copenhagen about this, but so far without success.
Remains the "Academician Chersky", which was acquired in 2015. It should be noted that Russia simply does not have its own domestic-made vessels adapted for pipe laying, and since 2014 no one even raised a finger to begin their development and construction. "Academician" was in the Far East, where he was supposed to work on a project in the Chinese direction.
Next, we judge the “management effectiveness” at the pace with which the “national treasure” solves problems. Trump's sanctions against Nord Stream 2 became known on the night of December 21. Today in our yard is February 12th. On the eve it became known that the ship left the port of Nakhodka and headed to Singapore, where it was acquired. Apparently, there he will have to undergo re-equipment so that it can work on a new project for himself in the Baltic. It is known that Gazprom held a tender worth 900 million rubles for the purchase of specialized equipment.
After that, the vessel will be able to complete the gas pipeline, but will it be allowed to do so? For example, the United States can, through its channels, ensure that Academician Chersky will be deprived of insurance, and then they will be banned from insuring it. You can, of course, play games with the re-registration of companies, but the Americans also know a lot about them. Even if the Russian ship gets to the place, the Danes can stop its work there again and tighten the Danes, demanding to go through all the approval procedures again, which last took almost three years.
The most unfortunate thing is that this ordeal may not end there. Even if the Nord Stream-2 is completed at the cost of heroic efforts, the US has already announced sanctions against European buyers of Russian gas, as the German business publication Handelsblatt has directly pointed out, citing its sources in Washington.
This will be a complete fiasco. The bottom line is that only its general contractors will benefit from the activities of Gazprom. With this level of planning, Russia's loss of share in the gas market is almost a foregone conclusion. It is very significant that the authorities still have no complaints about the leadership of the state corporation.
Are there any alternatives to these endless costly adventures? Let us ask for a moment the question, where is our gas going to Europe? For example, in Germany, this environmentally friendly and relatively inexpensive fuel serves the interests of the Green Revolution. The question is, why not modernize our own energy sector and use the gas that the European Commission does not want to use for the needs of the population, increase the competitiveness of Russian industry and large-scale industrialization of the country by obtaining cheap electricity?
But no, such topics are not even the subject of discussion: the whole external policy Russia reduced to a primitive export of hydrocarbons for dollars for the benefit economics our direct competitors and potential opponents.