On top of all the other coronavirus pandemic troubles that plague her, an unprecedented drop economics and protests that barely subsided in the country, the American administration received another one. All leading countries of the European Union rebelled against their overseas "allies" and "senior partners". Representatives of the Old World expressed their own disagreement with the actions of the United States so sharply and amicably as it had not happened for a long time.
The most unpleasant thing for Washington is that all this demarche is aimed at nothing more than protecting the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the completion of which the Europeans, as it turned out, already consider their vital interest. However, this project is not alone. What else?
It's not up to you!
This is an official note of protest transmitted to representatives of the US Department of State during a videoconference that took place between them and the delegation of the European Union. Having put their signatures on this document, in support of the demands to end the sanctions pressure aimed at disrupting the construction of Nord Stream-2, 24 states out of 27 EU members expressed their support. Sources in European diplomatic circles, from which, in fact, the information about the demarche that took place, categorically do not want to name the three countries that refused to join the general opinion. But something suggests that, most likely, this is Poland and a couple of the Baltic countries. Washington does not have more faithful satellites in the Old World today, and their Russophobic position is well known to everyone. From the capitals there, where they are trying to weave far-fetched political components, attacks on Nord Stream 2 are heard regularly, so there is nothing surprising. For the rest of the European states, Washington's unceremonious and extremely aggressive diktat is already, as they say, across the throat.
The current note is, in fact, almost a literal repetition of the claims made to the American side just a month ago by the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Josep Borrell. Then he said that the endless ultimatums and threats from the United States against the companies involved in laying the pipeline are a flagrant violation of all conceivable and inconceivable norms of international law. "European issues should be resolved in Europe, and not in third countries!" Monsieur Borrell proclaimed passionately.
I must say that the indignation that gripped Brussels and a good two dozen other capitals of the Old World has very specific reasons. Always distinguished in foreign policy issues by a fair amount of shamelessness, the Yankees have lost even the slightest sense of proportion in everything related to Nord Stream 2 and have begun to dispose of the states separated from them by the ocean, as on their own ranches. That there is only one letter sent to the leadership of the ferry port of Mukran in the German city of Sassnitz by American senators Ted Cruise, Tom Cotton and Ron Johnson, who can be ranked among the far from glorious cohort of the most implacable fighters against Nord Stream 2. This is not even an ultimatum - it is a set of completely undisguised threats, only appropriate in combination with a Colt put to the forehead of the person to whom they are addressing. The "celestials" from Capitol Hill directly declare to the port workers from Mukran: "If you continue to provide goods, services and support for the Russian gas pipeline, then your" future financial destruction "is guaranteed. Nobody will survive! "
This is somehow too much even for the Americans, who have completely forgotten that Germany has not been a territory occupied by them for many decades. It is not surprising that the anti-American "gas front" is headed by Berlin, which is already sick and tired of picking up various wiseacres from Washington worse than a bitter radish. Did the United States dream of stopping the construction of Nord Stream 2, shutting up a gas monopoly in the Old World and filling it with its own LNG, starting from Germany? We can congratulate them - with their unbearably obsessive "courtship" they have achieved the exact opposite effect.
Get behind with your LNG!
It got to the point where, finally, they began to speak openly about completely obvious things, such as, for example, the absolute economic inexpediency of refusing to supply Russian energy resources in favor of overseas LNG. For example, the Minister of Energy, Infrastructure and Digital of technologies in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Christian Pegel clearly justified the unwillingness of his compatriots to get involved with American supplies. According to him, the costs of liquefying "blue fuel", transporting it across half the world and further logistics in the Old World, superimposed on the really low cost of production, make gas from the United States completely uncompetitive in European markets. "The question of whether we should buy American LNG is not worth it at all!" - snapped Herr Pegel. But what about the LNG terminals under construction and already commissioned? They, according to the minister, are needed exclusively as a "fallback for alternative supplies" and theoretical "to provide opportunities for competition." Just in case, in one word.
With truly German tough directness, Pegel expressed confidence that Washington is putting pressure on Nord Stream-2 solely because he understands perfectly well that RAO Gazprom will not be able to squeeze out on the EU markets by at least relatively fair competition. ... At the same time, the official considers "outrageous" attempts to "interfere in the issues of the sovereignty of energy supplies" not only by the United States, but in general "by any state from outside the Baltic region." As for the likelihood and feasibility of completing the construction, Herr Pegel looks at this issue, again, like a true German - that is, extremely pragmatically. According to him, “at the bottom of the Baltic Sea today there are no less than 10 billion euros,” which gives all project participants “more than compelling reasons to bring it to an end” despite any opposition from outside.
And, by the way, with regard to "hydrogen energy", using the bogey of which some are already in a hurry to prophesy "the imminent end of the Russian gas expansion into Europe." Here, too, everything is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. For example, the same Waldemar Gerdt, who is a member of the Bundestag Committee on International Affairs, not so long ago, talking about the prospects for the supply of American LNG to Germany, stressed that this fuel, in addition to its “excessively expensive”, is also “terrible” from an environmental point of view. because when used, it gives 30% more CO2 emissions than much cheaper gas from Russia. Yes, the process of "greening" Europe is proceeding - albeit not as quickly as planned, but it seems to be steady.
Recently, eleven local gas companies from nine countries - Enagás (Spain), Energinet (Denmark), Fluxys (Belgium), Gasunie (Netherlands), GRTgaz and Teréga (France), NET4GAS (Czech Republic), OGE and ONTRAS (Germany), Snam ( Italy), Swedegas (Sweden), have unveiled a plan to create a special infrastructure for the transportation of hydrogen European Hydrogen. According to their representatives, the network of hydrogen pipelines connecting the centers of production and consumption of "environmentally friendly gas" by 2030 can reach a length of 6,8 thousand kilometers. And by 2040 it will grow up to 23 thousand kilometers. The plans are exciting - but the creation of such a "hydrogen web" (and then only on the condition that it will consist of 75% of the converted current pipelines) will cost about 65 billion euros. And this, I repeat, is the price of only infrastructure for the transportation of "green hydrogen". What will be the most complete transfer to its use in industry, energy, transport, today hardly anyone will undertake to calculate even approximately.
It is because of these and some other reasons that scientists from the Institute for the Study of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne (EWI) and experts from the Berlin Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP), who recently conducted independently of each other special studies on Germany's transition to a "hydrogen economy" ) came to similar conclusions. Berlin is simply unable to carry out such a grandiose project from start to finish on its own. At the first stages of its implementation, which, most likely, will be quite long, according to EWI and SWP analysts, Germany willy-nilly import something - either huge amounts of electricity needed to produce "pure" hydrogen by electrolysis, or this hydrogen produced somewhere. There is also a third option - purchasing not "green" hydrogen, but its so-called "blue" or "turquoise" types. Both of these types of H2 are obtained from all the same natural gas (methane), the first is by the method of steam reforming, and the second is from pyrolysis. However, these are already technical subtleties. The bottom line is that even Europe striving for “decarbonization” and “carbon neutrality” will have to either buy “blue fuel” from us for its own processing into “green” for a very long time, or receive ready-made products from Russia. natural gas. Be it differently, tight-fisted Germans in no way "threw tens of billions of euros on the bottom of the Baltic." And even less so, they would not go into open confrontation with Washington. And they would hardly have succeeded in convincing the vast majority of their own neighbors in the European Union of the need to rebuff American intrigues regarding Nord Stream 2 without extremely weighty arguments.
Having acted as a united "gas front", the Europeans secured the right to decide for themselves how, from whom and at what prices to acquire energy resources. Of course, this step should in no way be viewed as support for Russia or "defending its interests." Europeans, as always, are concerned exclusively with their own convenience and benefits. It so happened that on this issue their position coincides with ours. So what? We must use it!