The European Union has softened its stance on Russian natural gas imports in new guidelines issued by the EU Commission, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
The move reflects a recent acknowledgment that European economies simply can’t find alternative sources for Russian gas, marking a major departure from the EU’s previous insistence that any payments made via such a mechanism would violate new anti-Russia sanctions.
The new regulations pave the way for the dozens of European companies who’ve opened accounts with Gazprombank in recent weeks to continue doing business with the Russian company.
The language implies Europe intends to leave up to Russia the conversion from euros or dollars to rubles required by new Russian regulations implemented in response to Western economic sanctions.
Italian energy giant Eni SpA reportedly expressed intentions to open accounts in both rubles and euros with Gazprombank by Wednesday to keep supplies flowing. Germany’s Uniper SE and Austria’s OMV AG reportedly echoed the sentiment.
According to economist Dr. Jack Rasmus, the decision boils down to pure European desperation: Unlike Russian oil, they can’t find alternative sources for Russian gas.
Citing a shortage of modern Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) ships and a lack of deepwater ports in Europe necessary to accommodate them, Rasmus told Sputnik News Monday that currently, there just isn’t any way to increase the flow of gas.
According to Lloyd’s Register, there are currently only four yards across the world building full-size LNG carriers in any number.
The Times reported Sunday that British energy companies expect further reductions at the country’s three LNG terminals in the coming months, even as oil and gas-rich countries offer to ramp up supplies.
While European nations could wean themselves off [Russian] oil, probably by next winter, Rasmus says they’re still 5 years away from removing Russian natural gas from their supply.
Regarding long-term efforts to marginalize Russia, Rasmus says the elites in Western Europe are pretty much united except for a few exceptions there–Hungary, Serbia, Croatia.
Maybe Italy’s wavering a little bit, but the rest of the European ruling class is very much in lockstep with the USA, like what he describes as the US foreign policy establishment’s Brzezinski 2.0 strategy to debilitate Russia economically and militarily.
The energy shortage has already proved to be enormously profitable for the major energy corporations. The Wall Street Journal explained that one of the biggest winners in the crisis is British oil giant BP, whose four European refineries, they say, are minting money.
In the USA, energy industry lobbyists have used skyrocketing prices to push for new permits to be issued for gas and oil drilling. But Rasmus says the talking points merely mask a push for higher profits.
Though elites on both sides of the Atlantic may be willing to take advantage of Russian energy for now, there seems to be little doubt about the long-term direction of the West.
I don’t think the US wants an end to the Ukrainian crisis. There’s a lot to be gained by just dragging it out… There’s too much to be gained in Western Europe, geopolitically and economically for the USA to do otherwise.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2022.