Schröder Defeats Nabucco?

Is there any subject more frustrating than European energy politics?  These bureaucrats just can’t seem to get their act together nor show any sense of awareness of what the Russians are doing.  Below is the conclusion of a pretty good article on the Nabucco pipeline project by Peter Glover at Energy Tribune.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is chairman of the Nord Stream shareholders’ committee. And Schroder has been earning his pay check. While Gazprom owns 51 percent of Nord Stream, German energy majors E.On and BASF own 20 percent each. Dutch company Gasunie (remember it was the Netherlands who sided with Germany to get Nabucco downgraded at the recent summit) holds the other 9 percent. That Nabucco threatens Gazprom’s energy, and thus Putin’s geopolitical interests, is clear. With gas exports to Europe having declined by 40 percent since the beginning of 2009, Gazprom has developed, in Germany, a major ally at the heart of the EU to assist Russian interests. It’s a growing relationship that helps explain Germany’s opposition, even threatening an EU veto, to Georgia and the Ukraine’s United States-backed bid for NATO membership in 2008.

Given the EU’s sense of urgency in achieving greater energy diversification, it now finds itself caught in a pincer movement of external geopolitical realities and internal national self-interest. The EU may soon be forced to admit defeat and raise the white flag over Nabucco. But however the Russo-EU energy plot-line plays out, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is revealing only too clearly that sticking to the Eurocratic official text is one thing, conspiring with Putin over the subtext – national self-interest when it comes to energy security – is another. Europe, take note.