Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Energy supplies

Another interesting article from February's Prospect - Gazprom and the snarling bear:
Gazprom’s compromise with Ukraine came at the expense of central Asia, whose gas can only reach western Europe through Gazprom’s Russian pipelines. While Russia is no longer subsidising Ukraine, the Turkmens and Kazakhs are. Thanks to its monopoly power, Gazprom was able to reduce the average price of gas supplied to Ukraine to around $95 per thousand cubic metres - nearly double what it paid before, but less than half the $230 it now pays for Russian gas.

This low price is part of the hidden cost of Moscow’s political support for central Asia’s authoritarian regimes and for allowing millions of "gastarbeiter" – mainly Uzbeks—to work on Russian construction sites, farms and factories. They send back remittances which keep their families alive and help dictators like Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov and Turkmenistan’s Saparmurat Niyazov remain in power.
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