Europe Needs to Diversify Natural Gas Supplies     Print Email
Monday, 25 February 2008

From the Guardian (UK) (Feb 23, 2008):

The Bush administration yesterday urged the EU to stop dithering over the building of a $6bn (£3bn) gas pipeline from the Caspian basin to central Europe and reduce its growing dependence on Russia’s Gazprom.

“Follow your wallet,” Matthew Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state, said, arguing that the troubled Nabucco project made sound commercial sense and would cut Europe’s dependence on Gazprom by up to a quarter.

Bryza’s outspoken comments came after talks with senior EU officials, including energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, and took sideswipes at the “gigantic rents” [excessive prices] Gazprom is charging Europe for gas. They underline the growing geo-political importance of gas.

“Helping Europe diversify its gas supplies has become extremely urgent,” said Bryza, adding that US backing for Nabucco was in the country’s national interests even though no American companies are involved….

“We want to help Gazprom to move from a monopoly towards more market-based behaviour,” he said. “We want it to be reliable and produce more gas at home in a more competitive domestic market rather than buying up as much infrastructure here in Europe or the cheapest possible gas it can find in Central Asia.”

Mr. Bryza addresses Russia’s monopoly on natural gas supplies to Europe in an article entitled Outflanking Russia’s Energy Grip on Europe in the Summer/Fall 2007 issue of European Affairs.

Related Article: U.S. official says Europe needs alternatives to Russian natural gas, Associated Press, 22 February 2008.