Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Russia/Ukraine Gangster Gas

Thieve's Quarrel by Gwynne Dyer explains the behind the scenes machinations in the most recent Russia/Ukraine battle over natural gas. RosUkrEnergo is half owned by Gazprom and half owned by unidentified Ukranian businessmen. The bottom line is that the murky middlemen of RosUkEnergo are not getting along.

Maybe Ukraine was technically a month late in paying the bill (and maybe not), but whoever heard of a forty percent fine for one month's late payment? The glaring lack of detail about this "fine" reinforces the suspicion that the sum involved is really money creamed off the sale of Gazprom's sales to RosUkrEnergo and on to Ukraine that is now in dispute between the Russian and Ukrainian beneficiaries of a sweet little scam.

This episode will reinforce the conviction in EU circles that it is unwise to remain heavily dependent on gas that comes through Russia and Ukraine, not so much because they fear the return of Joseph Stalin as because they dislike dealing with a bunch of Al Capones.