Russia Soon to Be Europe's #1 Nat Gas Supplier
Source: Globe and Mail, William Stoichevski (6/22/11)
"Russian producers best Norwegian prices to win the German market."
When cold winds begin to blow this fall, Russia will begin eclipsing Norway to become Europe's No. 1 supplier of natural gas.
By October, the 55-billion-cubic-meter-a-year Nord Stream pipeline—with the power-generating capacity of 14 nuclear plants or 15 using coal—will bring Siberian gas across the Baltic Sea to Germany, where 17 nuclear plants are to be closed by 2022. As the gas tap is turned on, banks will meet to finance a second massive Russo-German pipeline: South Stream, with 63 Bcm/y of strategic gas.
Nord Stream will wean Germany off "expensive" Norwegian piped gas, while the landfall of South Stream in Eastern Europe and then Italy in 2014 will make Russia the largest energy supplier to Europe. It has become clear that the only viable alternate energy source for 80 million Germans free of nuclear power is Russian gas, despite turbine installations that have turned Germany into Europe's largest wind-power market.
It isn't just the secure volumes in the two pipeline projects of consortia partners Gazprom of Russia and Wintershall of Germany. It's about prices, and German gas retailers have protested these by turning away supplies.