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Russia Behind Bulgarian Natural Gas Anti-Fracking Protests?

Politics / Natural Gas Feb 09, 2012 - 03:00 PM GMT

By: OilPrice_Com

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticlePity the poor Eastern Europeans. Fifty years under the domination of their massive Soviet eastern neighbor then the collapse of Communism there two decades ago offered undreamed of opportunities to join both the European Union and NATO.

But they still remain dependent on the Russian Federation for the majority of their oil and gas needs, and the new capitalists in Moscow do not hesitate to charge the highest prices possible.


According a number of East European nations, particularly Poland and Bulgaria, are actively investigating the possibility of establishing hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations on their territory to develop an indigenous natural gas industry and undercut the Russian Federation's state-owned natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Mindful however of the possible negative environmental effects of fracking last month 166 members of the Bulgarian National Assembly's 240 parliamentarians voted to impose an indefinite ban on shale gas exploration and extraction in Bulgaria using hydraulic fracturing or other similar technology.

Now a hard-hitting editorial in the Trud newspaper by Ivan Sotirov entitled, "Russian Lobby Against Shale Gas," accuses pro-Russian Bulgarian supporters of fomenting protests against shale gas operations in the country.

Commenting that "nightmare" protest rallies against fracking have taken place in the capital's Sofia streets Sotirov wrote of their effects, "The ostensibly rightist majority at the National Assembly has capitulated, without any serious arguments, to this pseudo-civic pressure, and has adopted a moratorium on prospecting and extracting shale gas in Bulgaria. In other words, the National Assembly has banned Bulgaria from learning whether it has shale gas deposits - information which could have released us from the total energy dependence on Russia. The majority in the National Assembly has allowed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), and several semi self-disintegrating mini-parties to insult the Minister of Energy (Traycho Traykov), who has been appointed by the same confused and helpless majority... It has been inadmissible for the chairman of the Union of Democratic Forces (Martin Dimitrov) and rightist deputies to support this decision, which contradicts the Bulgarian national interest and protects our total energy dependence on Russia. In addition, all this has been done without any serious motivation because the campaign against the shale gas prospecting has been based on cheap manipulations and lies. This has been an attempt to disguise a political issue as a purely ecological matter."

Writing about the campaign as one of disinformation Sotirov continues, "The first lie has been that experiments with a new technology will be conducted in Bulgaria. This is totally untrue... Second - the so-called defenders of environment protection among the politicians have not cited even a single example of a serious case of pollution after fracking."

Finally, Sotirov names names: "Noted chiefs of the Sixth Department (of State Security - the Communist era secret service), led by Dimitur Ivanov - Mityo the Gestapo and the supporters of (former President) Georgi Purvanov's Grand Slam (the 'Belene' Nuclear Power Plant construction, the 'South Stream' (natural gas pipeline to export Gazprom gas) project, and the 'Burgas-Alexandroupolis' oil pipeline project, are among the protestors against shale gas prospecting...

Sotirov concludes, "The most shameful fact is the realization that after 22 years of democracy Bulgaria's policy continues to be dictated by oligarchic pro-Russian circles, which, hiding behind nationalistic and ecological rhetoric have not allowed a single serious strategic Western investor to set a foot in Bulgaria. The question is when somebody will finally stop them."

Why would Bulgarian pro-Russian interests do such a thing?

Could it be that because of a long-term contract, Gazprom delivers more than 90 percent of the natural gas consumed in Bulgaria?

Or that last November it was announced that Gazprom will enter Bulgaria's retail fuel market by buying gas stations in the country through its Serbian unit Naftna Industrija Srbije?

Or that, according to Gazprom CEO Aleksei Millter, addressing Gazprom's Annual General Shareholders Meeting on 30 June 2011, during his presentation "Gazprom: New Horizons," outlined a series pf projected natural gas pipelines across Bulgaria to deepen Gazprom's market share in Eastern and Central Europe?

Or that in December 2010 Gazprom acquired a 50 percent stake in the South Stream Bulgaria AD pipeline project?

Or the fact that the natural gas contract between Bulgaria and Gazprom expires later this year?

Or that Gazprom is forecasting its consolidated net profit for 2011 at $40 billion, or 25 percent more than in 2010?

Nah, surely none of the above - Bulgarian parliamentarians are only being good custodians of the country's environment, surely.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Poland-Gives-Green-Light-to-Massive-Fracking-Efforts.html

This article was written by Dr. John CK Daly for Oilprice.com who offer detailed analysis on Crude Oil, Geopolitics, Gold and most other commodities. They also provide free political and economic intelligence to help investors gain a greater understanding of world events and the impact they have on certain regions and sectors. Visit: http://www.oilprice.com

© 2012 Copyright OilPrice.com- All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Vladimir Venkov
10 Feb 12, 05:07
Russia Behind Bulgarian Natural Gas Anti-Fracking Protests?

The reason for the protests is not Gasprom, but we the Bulgarian people and our Nature.

Shale gas fracking is a disaster. It was banned in some parts of IK too - for example Lancashire.

We prefer to be poorer, healthier and dependant on Russia than to kill our nature and be dependant USA.


Andrew MCKILLOP
12 Feb 12, 06:45
GAZPROM GAS MAFIA

US market prices for gas are around $2.50 per million BTU in Feb 2012. This is due to shale and coalseam gas supply expansion in the US

Gazprom gets $11.45 per million BTU in Feb 2012 on its gas shipments to Europe

What we want to know is why several European political leaderships, not just ex-Communist Bulgaria, but also Italy and France, to name two, have acted fast to ban or impede shale gas development on "environmental grounds" inside Italy and France.

At the same time, their national oil and energy corporations, including ENI of Italy and Total of France, are developing very high cost gas supplies from ex-Soviet Central Asia (Kazakhstan), from Russia, and from Qatar


Vladimir Venkov
13 Feb 12, 02:01
shale gas

Judging by your name Andrew you are from the UK. I ask you why did british goverment ban shale gas development in Lancanshire??? I will answer you - because it was the reason for the quakes there. This is just one of the side effects of development of shale gas.


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