Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 18/07/14

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

· TTIP gefährdet weit mehr als nur den Verbraucherschutz

· EnBW to buy Eni’s stake in gas joint venture

· US Legislators Introduce North Atlantic Energy Security Act

· Charif Souki – The Export King * Meet America’s Unlikeliest Gas Mogul

· Croatia could become regional energy hub – senior U.S. official-Victoria Nuland

· The Virginia GOP’s Medicaid charade

· CELL-CELL COMMUNICATION IN TUMOR MICROENVIRONMENT, CARCINOGENESIS, AND ANTICANCER TREATMENT

Massenbach* The Post’s View: U.S. does pointless damage to its relationship with Germany*

By Editorial Board July 11 at 6:59 PM

THE LATEST blow-up between the United States and Germany over spying suggests that the Obama administration has not been observing the president’s pithiest foreign policy maxim, “Don’t do stupid [stuff].” For a year relations with Berlin have been strained by disclosures of National Security Agency surveillance of German communications and the subsequent refusal of the Obama administration to accept Chancellor Angela Merkel’s demand for a no-spying agreement. When it was revealed last fall that Ms. Merkel’s cellphone had been monitored, President Obama rightly stopped the operation; he had previously ordered a review of foreign spying.

Yet now German investigators appear to have uncovered at least one and possibly two U.S. espionage operations in Berlin using human sources, including an employee of Germany’s intelligence agency who allegedly handed over documents in exchange for cash. Dissatisfied with Washington’s laconic response to the revelations, Ms. Merkel’s government demanded Thursday that the CIA station chief in Berlin leave the country, even as it dismissed the intelligence the agency allegedly collected — including information on a parliamentary investigation into the NSA surveillance — as “laughable.

If there was one clear lesson from the dust-up over Ms. Merkel’s cellphone, it was that such operations against allies are almost certainly not worth the damage caused when they are revealed, as they too often are. This is particularly true of Germany, where the public is sensitive about questions of spying and surveillance and where there is currently a generally pro-U.S. government whose cooperation is critical to managing the crisis in Ukraine, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and a prospective trans-Atlantic free-trade deal, among other matters.

We don’t yet know the details of the new cases. But judging from news reports, it appears that, in spite of the review ordered by Mr. Obama, the CIA failed to shut down low-value spying operations whose exposure was bound to inflict new damage on a critical relationship. CIA Director John Brennan may have compounded the trouble with damage-control phone calls that only convinced senior German officials that their demands for explanations were not taken seriously. It’s hard to disagree with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaüble, who said, “So much stupidity just makes you want to cry.”

As we have said before, there are good reasons for operations such as the NSA’s collection of Internet and phone data in Germany and other friendly countries, including defense against terrorists who plot attacks against or from European cities. For a variety of reasons, a no-spying deal with Germany is probably not practicable. That doesn’t mean that intelligence-gathering of the kind apparently revealed this week is sensible. It may compromise the more important counterterrorism work with which German intelligence agencies have quietly cooperated. The revelations fuel anti-Americanism among the German public and strengthen political leaders who would like to loosen Berlin’s ties to the United States.

Ms. Merkel is known both for her pro-American inclinations and for her sensitivity to German public opinion, so her decision to take the extraordinary step of ordering out the CIA station chief shows just how damaging the latest spying revelations have been. Her intent seems to be to induce Mr. Obama to take seriously a matter that, in German eyes, he has brushed off. The correct response would be for him to act quickly and forcefully to repair the damage.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/us-spying-on-germany-does-pointless-damage-to-its-relationship-with-an-ally/2014/07/11/4495f9e6-0924-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html?hpid=z3

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Strukturelle Schwächen des transatlantischen Abkommens*

TTIP gefährdet weit mehr als nur den Verbraucherschutz*

SWP-Aktuell 2014/A 41, Juni 2014, 4 Seiten

In der Diskussion um das geplante transatlantische Handels- und Investitionsabkommen TTIP dominieren bislang Fragen des Verbraucherschutzes. Dies überrascht, denn mit dem Abkommen steht sehr viel mehr auf dem Spiel. Zum einen gefährden TTIP und ähnliche Großprojekte die Zukunft der multilateralen Handelsordnung. Zum anderen sind vor Abschluss des Vertrages gravierende Hürden zu überwinden, die bislang nicht einmal erörtert wurden; das gilt etwa für die Frage der zwischenstaatlichen Streitschlichtung. Außerdem wird der ökonomische Nutzen von TTIP geringer ausfallen als erhofft, während der langfristige politische Schaden – gerade für Deutschland – erheblich sein dürfte. Zum Volltext (PDF)

http://www.swp-berlin.org/de/publikationen/swp-aktuell-de/swp-aktuell-detail/article/ttip_strukturelle_schwaechen.html

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* The Virginia GOP’s Medicaid charade*

By Editorial Board July 11 at 6:56 PM

HAVING HANDED Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) a stinging defeat by refusing to extend Medicaid coverage under Obamacare to as many as 400,000 low-income Virginians, Republican leaders in Richmond now say they intend to convene the legislature in September to conduct a “full and fair” discussion of the question — which they have already decided.

By transforming the General Assembly into a stage for Kabuki theater, the GOP leaders have called attention to their glaring failure to propose any alternative to expanding Medicaid.

In the months-long impasse that ended last month with Mr. McAuliffe’s acquiescence to a budget that does not expand Medicaid, Republicans in the House of Delegates were nearly unanimous in refusing to consider expansion of the low-income insurance in any form — even so-called market-based options that have found favor in a number of Republican-led states. They were equally unanimous in refusing to put forth any other plausible plan that would cover those thousands of citizens who lack health coverage.

Nor is there any suggestion that they are working now to devise such a plan, as Republicans in a growing number of states have done in response to the gauntlet thrown down by the Affordable Care Act. Under that law, the federal government would cover the entire cost of Medicaid expansion until 2018, then gradually phase down to paying 90 percent of the cost in 2022, with states picking up the other 10 percent.

That’s an excellent deal for Virginia, as it has been for other states that have signed on, which explains why some GOP governors who are among Mr. Obama’s most bitter critics have acceded to it in one form or another. But among Republicans in Richmond, the calculus simply stops at their apparent delight in being able to deal a political defeat to both Mr. Obama and Mr. McAuliffe.

And what of the Virginians who lack health care and would benefit from some compromise on Medicaid? The speaker of the House of Delegates, William J. Howell (R-Stafford), has been silent. He prefers to engage in charades, like calling the legislature into session this fall.

Mr. Howell is concerned aboutMr. McAuliffe’s promise to formulate a plan to bypass the legislature and expand Medicaid unilaterally. We doubt the governor can do that constitutionally, but he has asked the state’s health secretary, William A. Hazel Jr., to submit a plan by Sept. 1.

If Mr. Howell were truly interested in avoiding a new clash in Richmond, he wouldn’t be indulging in empty gestures like reconvening the legislature.

He’d be instructing Republican policy wonks to formulate a competing plan to provide health coverage to Virginians who need it.

Sadly, there’s no sign of that.

See attached comments. (UvM)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-virginia-gops-medicaid-charade/2014/07/11/16977ea0-0903-11e4-a0dd-f2b22a257353_story.html

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* *Report: Germany turned down US spy deal*

07/11/14 04:57 PM EDT

The Obama administration offered Germany a rare and exclusive deal to share intelligence, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel balked, according to a new report.

Citing an anonymous U.S. official, Bloomberg reported on Friday that U.S. Ambassador John Emerson proposed the deal to German officials on Wednesday, the same morning the government kicked out the CIA station chief in the country.

On the table was a deal similar to the one the U.S. has with just four other nations: Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, which join together as the so-called “Five Eyes” alliance.

The agreement would have allowed intelligence agencies at the five English-speaking nations and Germany to share the electronic messages and clues they pick up from their surveillance. The deal also would have come with a consensus for the countries to limit spying on each other.

A White House spokesperson did not deny the report on Friday and said that the U.S. is "open to discussions" about new intelligence arrangements.

"As we’ve said, we do not have ’no-spy‘ agreements with any country in the world," Caitlin Hayden said in a statement to The Hill.

"Further, we are not currently looking to alter the Five Eyes structure. But we remain open to discussions with our close allies and partners, including Germany, about how we can better coordinate our intelligence efforts.

According to Bloomberg, Merkel’s government rejected the idea because it would have led to an expansion of German intelligence operations. Instead, German officials decided to kick out the top American spy in the country.

That almost unprecedented action exposed a deepening rift between the two nations that first came to light last year, when documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed the National Security Agency (NSA) had secretly monitored Merkel’s cellphone communications.

In the months after that news, Merkel has repeatedly pushed the White House to accept a “no-spying” agreement to totally cut off snooping operations. President Obama and other top officials have repeatedly ruled that out, however, claiming that no country can be totally immune from U.S. surveillance.

Recent revelations that two men had secretly slipped hundreds of classified German files to the CIA have heightened tensions between the two countries and outraged the German public, many of whom have vivid memories of living under a totalitarian police state.

Secretary of State John Kerry tried to soothe relations on Friday in a visit to Berlin.

Ahead of that meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that his government wanted “to reinvigorate our partnership, our friendship on an honest basis.”

This story was updated at 8:30 p.m.

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/212019-report-germany-turned-down-us-spy-deal

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Health

*CELL-CELL COMMUNICATION IN TUMOR MICROENVIRONMENT, CARCINOGENESIS, AND ANTICANCER TREATMENT*

has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal, CELL PHYSIOL BIOCHEM.

The paper adresses the dynamic interplay of cell-cell communication in carcinogenesis and the tumor microenvironment, coupling and migration, anticancer treatments with their underlying components, cell-cell and sub-cellular communication mechanisms (signaling) and finally, aspects of recent research on cell-cell communication.

The delineation of key molecular pathways has enhanced our knowledge of the biology of the tumor microenvironment, tumor dissemination, and carcinogenesis.

Essential components of cell-cell communication involve different structures and pathways through which communication occurs and affects the extracellular matrix (ECM) via different transmembrane adhesion proteins (Cadherins and Integrins).

The complexities of cell-cell communication and the possibilities for modulation of such communication opens up new opportunities for treating cancers and present additional foci for advancing cancer treatment.

The scientist’s affiliations are from the following global/individual Academic Centers /Countries/States (Cities):

1

THEODOR-BILLROTH-ACADEMY® (TBA®), Germany – USA

2

INCORE, International Consortium of Research Excellence of the TBA®, Germany – USA

3

Bon Secours Cancer Institute, Richmond, Virginia, USA

4

Risk-Based Decisions, Inc., Sacramento, California, USA

If this is of interest to you, please find attached the weblink of the manuscript for your convenience.

http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/362978#abstract

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*Massenbach’s

Recommendation*

*Reuters: EnBW to buy Eni’s stake in gas joint venture*

* Stake worth more than 150 million euros – sources

* EnBW aims for further growth in gas sector – CEO

FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) – German utility EnBW said on Friday it would buy the 50 percent stake owned by Italy’s Eni in a jointly-held gas grid company, taking full ownership of an asset that is expected to generate stable returns over the coming years.

EnBW said both parties had agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

Sources familiar with the process told Reuters late on Thursday that a deal had been agreed, putting the value of the stake at more than 150 million euros ($205 million).

"EnBW executes on its gas strategy through expanding its position in the gas supply and transmission business significantly and is also aiming for further growth," Frank Mastiaux, EnBW’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Infrastructure investors and utilities are looking to buy into safer assets that yield guaranteed returns, such as power and gas grids, amid turbulent stock markets and low interest rates.

EnBW will buy the 50 percent it does not already own in EnBW Eni Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, established in 2002, which comprises gas grid Terranets BW GmbH as well as gas supplier Gasversorgung Sueddeutschland (GVS).

Together, Terranets – which operates a 2,000 km gas pipeline system in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg – and GVS made sales of 1.7 billion euros last year and employ 278 staff.

Eni said in October it was in talks with EnBW over the future of EnBW/Eni Verwaltungsgesellschaft, amid speculation the oil and gas group could sell its stake.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/11/enbw-energie-eni-mergers-idUSL6N0PM1S620140711

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*Croatia could become regional energy hub – senior U.S. official-Victoria Nuland*

DUBROVNIK, Croatia, July 12 (Reuters) – Croatia can play a vital role in ensuring regional energy security by diversifying supply options for European countries and allowing them to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said.

A prolonged price row between Russia and Ukraine has wider energy implications for Europe, which gets a third of its gas needs from Russia, and almost half of these supplies via Ukraine. Central and southeast Europe could face higher gas prices and potential shortages this winter.

Nuland said the price dispute, Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and fighting in eastern Ukraine underlined the energy security threat facing Europe.

"Now, more than ever, we have to work to secure Europe’s energy security, by ensuring diversity of supply, building up diverse flow capabilities and capacities and building up deeper networks throughout the continent," she said at the Croatia Forum diplomatic conference in Dubrovnik late on Friday.

"Croatia has an essential role to play, as an energy security hub for the 21st century… You (Croatia) have spectacular assets to do that so long you as you make smart choices as you are going forward," Nuland said.

Croatia, which joined the European Union last year, in April published a tender for gas and oil exploration off the Adriatic coast and will next week invite bidders to express interest for on-shore exploration of potential fields in the country’s north.

It recently got a location permit that will allow a long-delayed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project in the northern Adriatic to move ahead.

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*Croatia confirms plans for new LNG terminal in 2016*

* Total cost of 600 mln euros

* Hopes EU will fund 25 pct of investment

* Expected annual capacity of 5 billion cubic metres

* Rival Adria LNG project remains on hold

ZAGREB, July 3 (Reuters) – Croatia plans to build its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northern Adriatic and hopes to have it up and running in 2016, Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Cacic told an energy conference on Tuesday.

"The investment’s value is expected to be 600 million euros ($755 million) and we hope to get 25 percent of the money from European Union development funds," said Cacic, who is also the economy minister.

Croatia’s two state-owned energy companies, power board HEP and gas transport operator Plinacro, formed the LNG Hrvatska consortium for the construction of the terminal.

"We would need four years to complete the project if we are very efficient," Cacic said. "The capacity of the terminal, at least in the first stage, will be 5 billion cubic metres of gas per year."

The LNG project is an alternative to a previously planned terminal at the same site on the northern Adriatic island of Krk. That project was started by an international Adria LNG consortium comprising four European energy companies: Germany’s E.ON-Ruhrgas, Austria’s OMV Group, France’s Total and Slovenia’s Geoplin.

However, the consortium postponed a final investment decision until 2013 because of falling gas demand on European markets amid the economic crisis. It declined to comment on Croatia’s new plans and said only that the project was on hold until next year.

Croatia’s slow decision-making process was blamed widely for the limited progress of the Adria LNG terminal, which was expected to have annual capacity of up to 15 billion cubic metres of gas.

Croatia consumes about 3 billion cubic metres of gas a year and imports between 30 and 40 percent of that. As well as diversifying its energy supply, Croatia hopes that the new terminal will make it a key transit country for gas transportation.

Cacic and other energy officials visited Poland last week for talks on possible gas links between the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic, but few details were made public.

Poland is building a terminal at Swinoujscie, a port in the western part of Poland’s Baltic coast. The terminal, which is expected to become operational in 2014, is planned to provide access to 5 billion cubic metres of gas a year.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/03/croatia-lng-project-idUSL6E8I36O620120703

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FT: Energy security: The price of diversity

*Central European nations want LNG supplies to cut their dependence on Russia, but there are costs*

New dawn: the EU is seeking different suppliers to meet its demand for gas

Lithuanians are relying on South Korean shipbuilders to live up to their reputation for beating deadlines. To the Baltic country of 3m people, the $330m vessel launched from the port of Ulsan last week represents a far more effective weapon against its former overlord Russia than any frigate. The vessel’s strategic importance is even obvious from her name: Independence.

If all goes to plan, she will be operational by December and will act as a floating terminal for Lithuania to take delivery of cargoes of liquefied natural gas at the port of Klaipeda. The timing is vital because Independence is intended as the trump card in negotiations to secure cheaper pipeline gas from Russia’s Gazprom from 2015.

The ship is Vilnius’s signal to Moscow that it has other sources for its energy. The Lithuanians insist that they will no longer tolerate paying some of Europe’s highest gas prices or live with the perpetual sense of vulnerability that comes from knowing that Russia could shut off pipelines at any moment in a political dispute.

One Lithuanian official describes it as a “matter of life and death” that the vessel should be ready at Klaipeda in time to be used as leverage in price talks with Gazprom.

While Lithuania’s case is extreme, it is a microcosm of eastern Europe’s growing enthusiasm for LNG as a way to reduce dependence on Russia. The protracted crisis in Kiev has revived memories of how Moscow cut gas exports through Ukraine as a political weapon in 2009, hitting supplies to 18 countries over an icy January. In total, Russia supplies 30 per cent of Europe’s gas.

Poland, eastern Europe’s leading economy, is also due to complete a large LNG terminal on the Baltic this year, building a €1bn facility near the beach resort of Swinoujscie. While Russia supplies about 9bn cubic metres a year of the country’s gas, the new terminal will have a capacity of 5bcm, which can be increased to 7.5bcm. Also on the Baltic, Finland and Estonia are squabbling over which of them should host a terminal.

To many governments across the eastern EU, LNG is now mentioned in the same breath as shale gas as a way to diversify supply and haggle costs down. The strategic merits of LNG terminals will become even more evident, they argue, when the US reaps the full benefits of its shale boom and exports its cheap gas (loaded on to tankers as LNG) to its Nato allies on Russia’s borders.

Vaclav Bartuska, the Czech Republic’s national energy ambassador, says that any new gas entering the market is important because the Russians tailor their negotiating position to each country’s weaknesses. “They talk about a formula [for gas prices] but there is no single formula. They always know how independent you are and factor that in,” he says.

Gazprom has always denied playing politics with its pricing. But it is coming under pressure from regulators in Europe. The European Commission launched an antitrust probe in 2012 to examine whether the company is impeding the free flow of gas, blocking rival suppliers and imposing unfair prices by indexing its gas to the price of crude oil. Gazprom rejects the accusations.

More broadly, not everyone believes that LNG will help Europe diversify. Many analysts contend that there could hardly be a worse time to diversify into LNG. Prices in Asia can be up to 50 per cent higher than those in Europe, undercutting shipments to the EU, where LNG plants are in danger of lying idle. Andrzej Szczesniak, a Polish energy analyst, dismissed Swinoujscie as a “political project”.

“It makes no economic sense,” says Mr Szczesniak. “It violates the laws of economics because gas delivered by tanker will never be able to compete with gas delivered by pipeline.”

At least initially, greater energy security carries a high cost. The 1.5bcm of gas that Poland is set to receive annually from Qatar under a 20-year contract comes at a heavy premium. Tomasz Kasowicz, an analyst with Bank Zachodni WBK, estimates Poland will pay about $600 per thousand cubic metres, 50 per cent more than the Gazprom pipeline price.

“When this project was launched, the main priority was security and diversification. It was very difficult to predict at the time but gas from Gazprom is thought to cost about $400 per thousand cubic metres,” he says.

PGNiG, Poland’s former gas monopoly, is still negotiating with Qatar. But if the current conditions remain, Mr Kasowicz estimates the company will face an annual loss of about 500m zlotys ($164m) on the LNG purchases.

The commission is not so downhearted about LNG imports. Officials in Brussels accept that Russia will never be dethroned as the energy kingpin for central Europe but reckon that the gas terminals will eventually prove to be a crucial “disruptive” force in pricing. That optimism is based partly on hopes that within the next two to four years the EU will benefit from a bonanza of new exports from Africa, Australia and, most critically, the US.

In a display of longer-term faith in this year’s LNG projects, the commission has supported both Klaipeda and Swinoujscie. In Lithuania’s case, it gave the green light to €448m of state aid. In Poland, it is contributing €80m directly to Swinoujscie and has also approved €465m of state aid to nationwide gas infrastructure that will link into the new terminal.

Anita Orban, Hungary’s energy ambassador, also dismisses the idea that LNG terminals are an act of political folly, saying that they have already contributed to Russia’s price cuts in the region. “It is a signal that we have a credible option. Having LNG terminals is already having an effect [on price],” she says.

She adds that the terminals help create a north-south gas supply corridor through central Europe, while the Russians exercise influence through Soviet-era infrastructure laid out east to west. Ultimately, the Swinoujscie terminal is intended to sit at the north of a pipeline network running down to another LNG terminal in Croatia. But since the Croatian terminal planned on the island of Krk has been long plagued by delays, central Europeans are now looking more to Italy and Greece as southern terminals on the north-south corridor.

Ms Orban stresses that the terminals are only one component of profound infrastructure changes intended to cut the dominance of east-west supply routes. Eastern EU countries have greatly improved their storage facilities and their cross-border interconnectors so they can trade more with each other. Additionally, the southern EU’s access to alternative gas supplies should be boosted by exports from Azerbaijan, which are due to be piped across into the heel of Italy via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline from 2019.

While Azeri exports will probably not have a huge impact on volumes, many Europeans are hoping that the US shale boom will live up to expectations and fundamentally lower global prices. Even if it does, the EU’s access to America’s LNG exports is one of the most critical questions in determining Europe’s energy security and industrial competitiveness. It is also far from clear that the US gas will come at better prices than Gazprom’s.

Mr Bartuska and Ms Orban are spearheading their countries’ campaigns in Washington, seeking to overturn US restrictions on gas exports. (The US cannot currently export to any country without a trade agreement). Both the Czechs and the Hungarians are arguing that US exports should be seen as strategic, supporting Nato allies that sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.

But they face opponents. In part, they must counter US politicians who are prioritizing President Barack Obama’s strategic and commercial pivot to Asia. They are also pitted against influential US companies such as Dow Chemical and Alcoa, the aluminium group, which are campaigning against gas exports, arguing that America should not be exporting its competitive windfall from shale. America’s current advantage is stark: benchmark gas prices in the US are about $5 per million British thermal units, while LNG cargoes in Asia can fetch as much as $20 per mBTU.

Ms Orban counters that the volumes involved would not dull America’s competitive edge. “It is a sign of the transatlantic alliance,” she says. “It raises the issue of US leadership and the extent to which it wishes to help its allies.”

America does have political concerns, though. Hungary, for example, will have to address consternation in Washington over a lurch towards Moscow following the award of a multibillion-dollar nuclear reactor deal to the Russians. This was a volte-face by Viktor Orban, the prime minister, who once said Hungary should not become “the happiest barrack of Gazprom”.

Still, most analysts expect that the US will ultimately export LNG to Europe. To overcome the legal hurdles, Michael Turner, a Republican congressman, has even proposed the Expedited LNG for American Allies bill.

Europe is unlikely to be the biggest beneficiary, however. Wood Mackenzie, a consultancy, predicts that the US will export 10bcm to 15bcm of gas by 2020 with the lion’s share flowing to Asia. Analysts also argue the cost of cooling America’s gas to below -160C and then shipping it to the EU will add about $6 per mBTU, lifting the final US price.

With those added costs, Gazprom is expected to remain highly competitive. Indeed, its market share in Europe is growing, rising to 30 per cent last year from 26 per cent in 2012. Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom, argued late last year that the market would only improve. “By 2025, Europe will need 140bcm of additional imports a year,” he said. “That’s in just 10 years’ time and there’s not enough infrastructure to deliver this gas.”

Thierry Bros, senior LNG analyst at Société Générale, agrees that the terminals will not bring down prices. In the near term, he says, Qatar will not engage Russia in a price war. In the longer term, he argues that new projects, some of them highly expensive, will only slowly chip away at the current prices. “If Poland is really willing to go for cheaper gas, the only option is to go for shale,” he says.

The argument over the economic merits of importing LNG will rage for years. But for many in the eastern EU, the issue of energy dependence runs deeper than costs. Mr Bartuska says negotiations with the Russians sometimes carried echoes of his confrontations with his jailers as a student leader in the late 1980s. “You do not want to go into a room with those guys and not have other options.”

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/67308bb8-97f2-11e3-8c0e-00144feab7de.html

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US Legislators Introduce North Atlantic Energy Security Act

Four U.S. senators introduced the North Atlantic Energy Security Act Friday, which they say will cut the red tape inhibiting energy production and infrastructure development, reduce natural gas flaring, and speed up the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to U.S. allies.

Through this legislation, Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are seeking to amend U.S. federal law by requiring U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz to approve LNG exports to the Ukraine, Japan and U.S. allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in addition to free trade countries.

Russia’s seizure of the Crimea in the Ukraine in March of this year underscores the importance of Europe’s drive for greater energy security, Reuters reported in March of this year. Since the takeover, Ukrainian forces and separatists have been fighting in the country. Reuters reported Thursday that Ukrainian forces regained more ground but sustained further casualties, and two Western allies urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert more pressure on rebels to negotiate to end the conflict.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will also be required to make a decision for other LNG export applications within 45 days after a company finishes the pre-file process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

To date, DOE has fully approved one LNG export terminal, Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass export plant. Six other terminals are conditionally approved and approval is pending for 26 other terminals. The majority of these terminals have been waiting for a decision for over a year, according to a press statement released Friday by the senators.

FERC last month awarded final U.S. approval to Sempra Energy to build an LNG export terminal, according to a June 19 Bloomberg report.

“Achieving energy independence needs to be a priority for our economy, and also for our national security,” said Hoeven in a July 11 press statement. “We’re producing more than 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in our country, but use only 26 Tcf. That means we can not only produce more energy than we use in the United States to create jobs, reduce flaring and decrease our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, but also produce enough energy to help our allies, including countries like Ukraine, avert conflicts over energy with hostile neighbors.”

McCain said in a statement that speeding up LNG exports to Ukraine and Europe would enable the U.S. its goal of leveraging its energy boom to reduce dependence of U.S. allies on Russian natural resources.

“The U.S. renaissance in oil and natural gas production has been a rare bright spot in our economy, but the vast majority of that production has occurred on state and private lands. This bill takes several important and long overdue steps to bolster our energy security, our economy, and our allies across the Atlantic,” said Murkowski in a July 11 statement.

Some U.S. legislators have called for the United States to speed up approval of proposed LNG export terminals to soften Russia’s grip on European energy supplies, Bloomberg reported in March. Chevron Corp. Chairman and CEO John Watson told attendees at the 2014 CERAWeek in Houston that the U.S. should move forward with LNG exports, noting that it would benefit U.S. consumers and allies.

An analyst told Rigzone in March that LNG was the most powerful weapon the United States had in addressing the Ukraine crisis. But with one approved license, LNG will not flow for some time, with the next set of LNG shipments estimated to leave the U.S. until 2017 or 2018, Moniz was quoted as saying in the Bloomberg report. Moniz told reporters at CERAWeek that he would “welcome consultation” with U.S. Congress on altering the U.S. LNG export approval process.

The four legislators are seeking to streamline the onshore production process by reforming the leasing process for onshore oil and gas projects on federal lands to eliminate unnecessary delays. The bill would seek to encourage timely development of federal U.S. resources, and set clear rules for the development of U.S. oil shale resources. It would also “establish common sense steps to create an all-of-the-above American energy plan for U.S. federal resources, and allow Internet-based oil and gas lease auctions”.

The approval time for a drilling permit for public lands in North Dakota currently is between 180 and 270 days, according to the legislators.

The senators said the bill would expedite natural gas gathering systems by providing a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act for certain gas gathering lines on federal and Indian lands and service any oil, but not gas, wells. Lines on lands include the U.S. national park system, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Wilderness Preservation System. This portion of the bill is based on Barrasso’s S.2112, which was introduced in March to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and would have authorized the approval of gas pipelines and establish deadlines for expediting permits for certain gas gathering lines on federal and Indian lands.

The Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture will be required to issue right-of-ways for gas gathering lines that qualify for a categorical exclusion within 30 days, and rights-of-way for all other gas gathering lines servicing oil wells within 60 days.

Forty percent of all gas produced on public lands in North Dakota is flared, and 212 billion cubic feet of gas is flared across the United States. The level of natural gas flaring in North Dakota prompted the North Dakota Industrial Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulating entity, to pass this year more restrictive regulations to reduce gas flaring from existing and new gas wells in the state. Estimates prior to the new regulations found that as much as 30 percent of gas found in the Bakken was flared, higher than the national average of less than one percent.

By expediting permits for gas pipelines and LNG export terminals, the bill would allow other nations that “desperately” want to buy gas access to U.S. gas, creating a “win-win” for the environment, U.S. workers, and the energy security of U.S. allies and strategic partners.

http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/133997/US_Legislators_Introduce_North_Atlantic_Energy_Security_Act/?all=HG2

Re: Sabine Pass, TX.

Why Cheniere Energy’s CEO Souki Is Worth His $142 Million A Year

( )

Charif Souki – The Export King * Meet America’s Unlikeliest Gas Mogul

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/140250/gregory-zuckerman/the-export-king

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see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

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Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat – Edith Suter

UdovonMassenbachMail

Edith.SuterJoergBarandat

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