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Piebalgs Warns Russia Not to Form Gas Cartel

European Union Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs has said the “C” word again in regards to Russia’s efforts to coordinate with other natural gas exporters. It is good to see that someone is awake in Europe.

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From the WSJ:

Mr. Piebalgs said Russian and Algerian officials had told him they agreed to cooperate only on “issues of technological challenges, research activities, perhaps some swaps,” but he added, “I can’t exclude at this stage that there won’t be moves to establish a gas cartel.” Mr. Piebalgs said a cartel would jeopardize the development of gas markets and damage EU relations with cartel members. He also said “consumers would definitely lose confidence in the gas supplies.” “To be fair, gas could be replaced,” he said. “It’s not a good choice for the European Union, because natural gas is very clean as a fossil fuel, but it could be replaced by other means such as coal or lignite or by nuclear.” Mr. Piebalgs said the U.S. encouraged the EU to continue its plan to diversify its supplies. Russia accounts for 25% of the EU’s natural-gas imports and Algeria 10%. Analysts said one reason the U.S. wants to encourage the EU to diversify its energy mix is to erode the political power Russia holds through its gas and oil exports.