Thursday, January 05, 2006

Winners and losers in the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis

In purely financial terms, probably Russia is the winner. When all the figures are computed in the complex arrangement, some analysts say that Ukraine will be paying Russia about $160 per Mcm for the gas it receives from that country, which is what they wanted in the first place, before Gazprom/Kremlin put its black mask and knuckledusters on.

For RosUkrEnergo and its 'unidentified ultimate owners' - a terrific off-the-books earner for the next few years, so a good result for them.

Ukrainians in general, I guess will feel pleased with themselves for standing up to 'older brother'. The tirades of anti-Ukrainian comment on Russian TV were counterproductive, so 'zero points' for the Kremlin's spin-doctors [again].

Yushchenko emerges with credit, statesman-like, shaking off his reputation as a cautious ditherer, his political opponents in Ukraine somewhat disorientated, so for him, a good result. It will be interesting to see the effects on the next lot of Parliamentary Election opinion polls.

For Turkmenistan, which provides about 1/2 of Ukraine's total gas needs, and which could significantly increase production without too much capital investment, any chance of dealing direct with European customers has now disappeared; Turkmenistan’s gas from now on, is completely and formally controlled by Gazprom, so, a looser.

The biggest looser - Putin, for it is he who was undoubtedly responsible for the thuggish tactics of this week when he tried to 'bounce' Ukraine into a cripplingly expensive deal. The order to turn off the taps on 1st January must have come from the very top - the volte-face when the taps were turned on again within 24 hours - a humiliation, almost a fiasco. He achieved nothing apart from negative press and huge tremors of anxiety in Europe and beyond. His boys in Gazprom have not done a bad deal for him, but he must be hurting bad inside…

1 comment:

Taras said...


Do you believe in market-based miracles? It's about time: You pay $95, she gets $230. What remains to be seen, though, is how long the honeymoon will last. Hopefully, the Kremlin's gas injection will spur Ukraine to waste no time in modernizing its energy guzzling industry. In the meantime, diversification is back on the table in the EU, a burning issue propelled by the "energy empire's" evil conduct.

Tip of the Day

How do you calculate the residual value of the Orange Revolution?
Step 1: Accept the Russian media at face value.
Step 2: Discount it at rates found in the Western media.
Step 3: Praise Ukraine’s democracy by learning that Russia’s doesn’t exist.

Now don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?
--Counting Crows “Big Yellow Taxi”

Surf Russian. Savor Ukrainian.