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Presuming Regularity

Today I was surprised to read the attached analysis of Gazprom’s South Eastern Europe strategy published by ISN – usually a trusted source of high quality intelligence. The researcher simply mentions Gazprom’s increased stakes in Sakhalin and Kovykta as though these were normal transactions, failing to discuss the invented regulatory pressures and the unlawful tactics used in concert with the authorities to seize control of these properties. ISN: Gazprom eyes Southeastern Europe

Subsequently, Gazprom has intensified efforts to take over Russia’s major gas deposits. On 15 June, Gazprom announced a deal to acquire a 63 percent stake in the giant gas field Kovykta in Eastern Siberian from the British Petroleum Russian arm, TNK-BP. In December 2006, Gazprom agreed to buy a controlling stake in Sakhalin Energy, operator of the world’s largest liquefied natural gas project, Sakhalin-2, off Russia’s east coast.

This seems like quite a gullible and misleading revisionist history of the events. It is a reminder that we are dealing with a government and state-owned firm with an established record of mendacity, misinformation, and overtly political motives – one cannot presume regularity in regards to statements made by the Kremlin or Gazprom. You may as well believe Medvedev’s statements today that their strategy is motivated only by “economic factors” and that they have enough supply to meet their commitments. Many former Soviet states under Gazprom’s hammer would beg to differ, and many energy experts would dispute that in fact Russia could very well face a gas shortage in the near future. Be more cynical.