Ukraine's new government, formed by President Viktor Yanukovych after he was inaugurated in March, this week affirmed that the country's gas transportation network is for sale to no one, including Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. At the same time, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to cooperate with the European Union in any project to modernize the network, which includes more than 60,000 kilometers of pipe plus 71 compressed air plants and 13 underground gas storage facilities. Last year, it carried over three-quarters of natural gas exports from Russia to Europe.
Continue reading "Ukraine seeks pipeline threesome" »
The EU should recall Talleyrand’s dictum that “the devil is in the details” when evaluating Turkish constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, writes Robert M Cutler for ISN Security Watch.
Continue reading "EU Uncritical of Turkish Constitution Plan" »
A record surge in Chinese property prices has added new tension to China's high-wire act of maintaining the economic growth required for social stability while warding off overheating and at the same snubbing demands from the United States that the government allow the Chinese currency to appreciate.
Continue reading "China's economy feels the heat" »
The election of Derviş Eroğlu as president in northern Cyprus complicates Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, as well as the already thorny negotiations over the island republic’s reunification.
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Wybór Dervisa Eroglu na prezydenta w północnym Cyprze komplikuje negocjacje akcesyjne Turcji z UE jak również już wcześniej trudne negocjacje na temat zjednoczenia wyspiarskiej republiki.
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Two events coincided this week to point towards further complications in Euro-Caspian energy geo-economics. Azerbaijan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Georgia and Romania to promote liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation across the Black Sea, and has separately announced the possibility of postponing a decision on the start-up of production from the offshore Shah Deniz Two natural gas field until 2017 (press reports cite various years from 2016 to 2018).
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Last month, after years of on-again, off-again negotiations, Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement for a bilateral natural gas pipeline to be sourced from the South Pars deposit. India has since asked to reopen negotiations, from which it had earlier withdrawn, to make the project trilateral. While pricing issues between Iran and Pakistan appear to be resolved, questions about pipeline security in Pakistan, pricing with India, and the role or non-role of China, are only three of the sets of problems still awaiting resolution.
Continue reading "India Seeks to Re-enter New Iran-Pakistan Gas Deal" »
Concern continues to mount over a property bubble in China in the near term. Whereas earlier this year economic observers were suggesting that a bubble might burst in one to three years, the overdrive of the Chinese economic recovery has led BNP Paribas, for example, to warn of a 20% fall in real estate prices in the second half of the year. Bloomberg News this week quotes the head of Citigroup’s global head of real estate Thomas Flexner as calling the bubble in the Chinese housing market "very real".
Continue reading "China bubbles away" »