A large part of natural gas consumed in the Czech Republic comes from Russia. Usually nobody worries about the fact that the supply of this energy source can be stopped, but it is better to know how and why gas flows in the Czech Republic. About this, as well as Russian oil told at the faculty of social Sciences of the University. Masaryk James Henderson of the Oxford Institute for energy studies.
Henderson came at the invitation of the Department of international relations and European studies, and its specialists on energy security. The best lecturer to choose would be impossible. British expert analyzes Russian oil and gas business over the last twenty years. Oil and gas are critical to the Eastern giant. But for different reasons. “Oil brings Russian money is the main source of their income. Gas, in turn, important as a source of geopolitical influence, although does not bring the same big income,” said Henderson.
According to him, the oil trade is less pronounced political character, because there are many oil fields. The oil market is volatile, liberalised and global, so it is not so easy to influence. “Russia is so dependent on oil revenues that can’t afford to use this energy as a means to promote their interests.”
Despite the fact that oil and gas is traded like any other commodity, this trade has its own rules. Especially if we talk about Russian companies. Trade in oil and gas is a business, however, to state they are so important that it allows itself to intervene.
In Russia the oil trade of eight major companies: private, state-controlled or fully owned by him. “All are closely associated with the Kremlin — even LUKOIL, which is a completely private company, can not ignore those or other wishes of the Kremlin. If companies want to license and generally work without problems in the future, they must take into account the official policy,” said Henderson about the specifics of this business.
Even more with the policy associated with the gas trade, which was dominated giant Gazprom. In his hands 17% of the world reserves of natural gas in Russia, Gazprom is more like the Ministry of gas. The company occupies a privileged position and the only one has the right to export.
Other companies sell gas only to domestic consumers. “Gazprom operates as a commercial company, its employees addressing the issues of competition and pricing. But Gazprom thinks like a political organization, and all the major strategic decisions are taken by President Putin,” — said the British expert.
Czech gas consumers unknown names of the original suppliers of gas, as the Czech households gas provide local intermediaries. The Russian giant can notice — some may even surprise European football stadiums. Firm is the official partner of the most prestigious European football tournament “Champions League”. In addition, Gazprom is a sponsor of the club in a separate football leagues, for example, Schalke 04 from Gelsenkirchen.
So the Russian (almost) public money literally affect the most popular European sport. Should it bother Europe? Does this mean something? According to Henderson, this is a concern, however small. “Not exactly Gazprom sell more gas just because the sponsors of the European football. It is highly likely that this activity is related to the fact that the representatives of the top management is just like football. But, in addition, I see here an attempt to present itself as an independent company with no connection to the Kremlin, and perhaps to prove that Russia is not the big bad bear, which need to be afraid”.
Gazprom to protect the safety of Russians
More publicly the company’s position in Russia. A lot about him you can understand, remembering the autumn report of a single TV channel that broadcast a telephone conversation between Putin and the head of Gazprom. The goal was to assure the population that the coming winter gas, and hence heat to Russian homes will be. Protecting the security of ordinary Russians — that’s an important part of the image of the company in the domestic market.
“Such gestures are reminiscent of the Soviet era, but there is nothing surprising. In the firm there are still those who worked there during the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some things haven’t changed. The task of Gazprom is still the same: it needs to provide gas to 50% of the population, primarily those living on the periphery,” says Henderson, explaining why these phone conversations have meaning and give people the impression.
The link with last era is manifested in the other. The company “Gazprom” is a symbol of corruption, inefficiency and inability to make a serious strategic decision that has propelled the company forward. But no one has to pressure Gazprom to make such decisions because it could jeopardize the situation that Russia is satisfied. Nobody wants to break the sense of security that gives Gazprom. And nobody wants to risk it and stay freeze at home of the fierce Russian winter.
Russia ranks second after Iran in terms of gas reserves and is the largest exporter of this energy source. Revenues from oil and gas in the modern Russian budget is 36%. So their importance for the present and the future of the country is obvious.
However, according to James Henderson, Russia expects that the demand for these energy resources in the coming years will remain at the current level. In Russia, no one wants to hear about that, as he writes in his forecast of the International energy Agency (IEA), the consumption of oil and coal will be reduced, and the gas consumption will remain at the same level, and that, on the contrary, will increase demand for renewable energy.
“It is widely believed that such things as planetary climate change is not as important as talking about them in the rest of Europe. And the greater the shock in the case that people will start to think differently and will choose other sources of energy,” warned the British.
But while the Russian debate on energy is developing in a different direction. Russia strengthens trade relations and exports with China, and reflects how most cheaply to reach previously inaccessible deposits in Siberia and the great depths of the sea.