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From the timesonline.co.uk article:

Frantic efforts to restore gas supplies to millions of European consumers failed yesterday after Russia refused to turn the pipeline back on in its showdown with Ukraine.

A European Union plan to send monitors to both countries, agreed in principle by Moscow and Kiev as a way of breaking the deadlock between them, faltered at the 11th hour when Russia demanded that its own inspectors should be sent to Ukraine alongside independent experts. Last night the EU decided to send its monitors to Ukraine anyway, in the hope of persuading Russia to re-open the taps.

The row has left 12 countries without deliveries in freezing temperatures and meant hundreds of schools and factories have closed to conserve fuel. Hundreds of thousands of people across the Balkans, the worst-affected region, found themselves without heating and some hospitals were forced to close in Serbia as temperatures dipped below minus 10C (14F).

A senior US diplomat warned that Nato might have to intervene to help alliance members such as Bulgaria and Romania if the crisis drags on. “There is a commercial dispute at the heart of this, but this also has political overtones [becasue] we have seen Russia over time using such events to gain political leverage,” Kurt Volker, the US Ambassador to Nato, said.

Read the full article here.

There is a great series of maps and graphics that clarify this situation here.

Thanks to Aesthetic Traditionalist for pointing out this article.

From the jpost.com article:
Russians, Qataris and Iranians met in Teheran on Tuesday to discuss setting up a natural gas cartel, similar to the oil-based Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The notion of a gas cartel was brought up in January 2007 by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but it is now gaining momentum and may require just a few more meetings before an accord is finalized.

Iran, Russia and Qatar account for nearly a third of the world’s natural gas exporters.

The European Union relies on Russia for a large part of its natural gas imports and is concerned that any such cartel will affect supply and prices.

Read the article here.

From the telegraph.co.uk article:
“We must finalise and adopt a federal law on the southern border of Russia’s Arctic zone,” Mr Medvedev told a meeting of the Security Council, in remarks carried by Interfax news agency.

“This is our responsibility, and simply our direct duty, to our descendents,” he said. “We must surely, and for the long-term future, secure Russia’s interests in the Arctic.”

Global warming has stepped up the fight for the disputed Arctic, believed to be laden with vast reserves of oil and gas. Russia has pitted itself against Canada, Denmark, Norway and the United States to fight for a greater part of the region, arguing that most of it is Russian territory since an underwater ridge links Siberia to the North Pole’s seabed.

Under international law, each of the five countries that lay claim to the Arctic own a 320-kilometre zone that extends north from their shores. That arrangement is up for UN review in May next year.

Medvedev’s statements on the heated Arctic issue came one day after Putin said that Russia’s defence spending would rise 27 per cent next year to nearly $100 billion (£30 million).

Read the article here.

From the article:
The United States is worried that Russia, China and OPEC oil-producing countries could use their growing financial clout to advance political goals, the top U.S. spy chief told Congress on Tuesday.

Such economic matters joined terrorism, nuclear proliferation and computer-network vulnerabilities as top U.S. security threats described by National Director of Intelligence Michael McConnell in an annual assessment.

McConnell said U.S. intelligence agencies had “concerns about the financial capabilities of Russia, China and OPEC countries and the potential use of their market access to exert financial leverage to political ends.”

Russia, bolstered in part by oil revenues, was positioning itself to control an energy supply and transportation network from Europe to East Asia, and the Russian military had begun to reverse a long decline, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

China has pursued a policy of global engagement out of a desire to expand its growing economy and obtain access markets, resources, technology and expertise, McConnell said.

It seeks a constructive relationship with the United States and other countries, but as its influence grows “Beijing probably will increasingly expect its interests to be respected by other countries,” he said.

Russia and China have long been able to target U.S. computer systems to collect intelligence, he said. “The worrisome part is, today, they also could target information infrastructure systems for degradation or destruction.”

In the energy sector, a weak U.S. dollar had prompted some oil suppliers, including Iran, Syria and Libya, to ask for payment in other currencies, or to delink their currencies from the dollar, McConnell said. “Continued concerns about dollar depreciation could tempt other producers to follow suit.”

Read the article here.

This is like a chess match with multiple players and real consequences.

From the article:
Is the Caspian a sea or a lake?

The answer has immense repercussions for the energy industry. If it is a lake, there are no obligations by countries that flank it to grant permits to foreign vessels or drilling companies. But if it is sea, there are international treaties obliging those countries to an array of permits.

The Caspian, one of the world’s largest enclosed bodies of water, has become the center of a new power game involving the United States and Russia as well as its bordering countries, including Iran, over who should control the vast energy reserves under its depths.

Read the article here.

See the Wikipedia link regarding the Caspian Sea which includes a map showing the borders of all the countries involved in the story.

From the article:
Russian leader Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Tuesday and implicitly warned the U.S. not to use a former Soviet republic to stage an attack on Iran. He also said nations shouldn’t pursue oil pipeline projects in the area if they weren’t backed by regional powers.

At a summit of the five nations that border the inland Caspian Sea, Putin said none of the nations’ territory should be used by any outside countries for use of military force against any nation in the region. It was a clear reference to long-standing rumors that the U.S. was planning to use Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, as a staging ground for any possible military action against Iran.

Read the article here.

From the article:
A shadowy leftist guerrilla group took credit for a string of explosions that ripped apart at least six Mexican oil and gas pipelines Monday, rattling financial markets and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in lost production.

Read the article here.

Diplomacide Mothballed

Diplomacide has been mothballed.
June 2017
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