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China finally switching to Russian gas

Article in Global Times complains of irregular deliveries of gas from Central Asia; hinting at preference for Russian gas

Alexander Mercouris

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As the giant Power of Siberia pipeline intended to transport natural gas from Yakutia and the Irkutsk areas of Russia to China approaches completion, with Gazprom saying that it is now two-thirds complete, the semi-official Chinese newspaper Global Times has published an article complaining about irregularities in the supply of gas from China’s traditional Central Asian gas suppliers, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The sharp drop of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments through a key Central Asian pipeline network has put the already-tight domestic LNG supply situation to the test.

There are two reasons for the plunging shipments: first, LNG demand increased in the supplier countries themselves; second, the suppliers were withholding LNG in hopes of getting better prices in other markets. Those factors prompted the suppliers to break the terms of their contracts with China.

According to a statement by China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) issued on January 31, the nation’s LNG supply situation has been deteriorating. The volume of LNG received through central Asian pipeline networks has fallen by nearly half, domestic news portal jiemian.com reported. The sudden cuts by two Central Asian countries, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, added a new risk to the Chinese energy supply network. China needs to re-evaluate the security of its energy supply network in Central Asia.

According to insiders at China’s three major State-owned oil companies, the Central Asian countries failed to provide China with the contracted volumes of LNG with the excuse that they didn’t have enough money to repair broken LNG equipment. A notice issued by CNPC stated that Central Asian countries owe China an average LNG volume of 30 million cubic meters per day, according to jiemian.com

Sources also said that China National United Oil Corp is negotiating with these LNG suppliers. But it seems that Chinese oil companies have no bargaining chip if the suppliers don’t keep their end of the deal. Instead of China, the suppliers can potentially send LNG to Europe at a higher price.

The cut in LNG supplies has added a new risk factor to China’s energy security, with domestic LNG inventories at record lows. Data from the Beijing oil & gas transportation center showed that the domestic natural gas pipeline network had “emergency” storage of 1.99 billion cubic meters at the end of January. According to jiemian.com, as of January 30, the volume available for sale in the current pipeline network was 420 million cubic meters per day whereas demand was 445 million cubic meters per day, in addition to the network’s own use of 5 million cubic meters per day. So the domestic supply gas is about 30 million cubic meters per day.

As a result, CNPC must ration the supply and sale of LNG to avoid a total collapse of the LNG pipeline system.

The China-Central Asia LNG pipeline, which starts at the border between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the banks of the Amu Darya River, is one of the world’s longest LNG pipeline. The gas pipeline runs about 10,000 kilometers, with 188 kilometers in Turkmenistan, 530 kilometers in Uzbekistan, 1,300 kilometers in Kazakhstan and 8,000 kilometers in China.

Turkmenistan is the largest pipeline LNG exporter to China. But since January, the gas concern there has shut down supply three times.

If all these figures are true, the risk is obvious: Central Asia has emerged as a broken link in the international energy security network that China has made such effort to forge.

With China participating in globalization as the “world’s factory,” ensuring energy security is vital for China. China has put huge resources (in banking, diplomacy, investment, markets and public finance) and effort into building a five-channel international energy supply network to satisfy the world’s largest oil and gas demand.

As China adjusts its energy consumption structure, switching to green energy, the demand for LNG will constantly grow and create a heavy dependency on foreign resources. The high dependency on LNG from Turkmenistan has become a potential security risk.

If this situation continues, it will not only lead to unexpected problems for State-owned petroleum corporations, it will also leave the Chinese government unprepared. If the key passage of LNG is not stable, the security of China’s international energy supply network must be re-evaluated.

Russia and the Power of Siberia pipeline are conspicuously never mentioned in this article.  Nonetheless Chinese anger and concern about the breaches of contract by their traditional Central Asian gas suppliers is clear enough, as is the urgently expressed need for China to diversify away from them to a more reliable supplier, which can only be Russia.

The article in fact highlights the key role of natural gas in China’s future energy mix.

A visit to Shanghai in August impressed on me the extent to which the disastrous state of air pollution has become a major political and social in China, with China having a pressing need to move towards a ‘greener’ energy mix and to move away from its present over-reliance on coal.

As the article in Global Times shows, natural gas plays a critical role in all this, even as China forges ahead with alternative energy technologies, and a stable and reliable supply of gas to the Chinese energy market is regarded by China as essential for its energy security.

It turns out that the Chinese are finding that the Central Asian states upon which they have up to now relied for their gas are unable to maintain their gas pipeline infrastructure – much of which was built by the USSR – and are not above abusing their monopoly positions in China’s gas market to extort from China a higher price for their gas, even if this involves breaking their contracts with China.

This contrasts with Gazprom, which has a well-earned reputation for being an exceptionally reliable supplier, invariably honouring its gas supply contracts, and having all the technical and logistical resources needed to maintain its gas pipeline and gas transportation infrastructure and network in good working order.

The logic of substituting Gazprom and Russia for the Central Asian states as China’s main source of natural gas is obvious, and the Global Times article both highlights it and hints at it.

The Global Times article highlights a key point about Russian-Chinese economy cooperation.

Though trade between the countries does not approach the volumes of trade between China and the US or the EU, it is rising rapidly, with the two countries having resources which compliment each other.

Moreover Russia looks to be becoming an increasingly important source for China’s energy and raw material imports, as China discovers the difficulty of importing them reliably from elsewhere, and must also worry about US threats to blockade China’s main sea route, the South China Sea.

Russia has already replaced Saudi Arabia as China’s main source of oil.  It looks increasingly positioned to replace the Central Asian states as China’s main source of natural gas as well.

The economic linkages between the two countries are growing bigger and stronger, with their importance to each country starting to transcend their physical volume, as each comes to rely more on the other for the critical imports each needs.

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First Venezuela, now Nicaragua? Bolton says Ortega’s days ‘numbered’ & people ‘will soon be free’

The Central American nation has been rocked by unrest since April last year, with protesters demanding the resignation of Sandinista party leader Ortega.

RT

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Via RT…


US President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy advisor John Bolton appears dead set on resuming his decades-long stand-off with Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, hinting that Washington-backed regime change may be in the offing.

“The Ortega regime has sentenced three farm leaders to 550 years in prison for their roles in protests in 2018, where Ortega’s police forces reportedly killed 300 activists. As President Trump said Monday, Ortega’s days are numbered and the Nicaraguan people will soon be free,” the national security advisor to the US president tweeted on Wednesday.

The leaders of anti-Ortega protests were given jail terms this week, after they were implicated in the deaths of four policemen and a teacher during a shootout last July.

The Central American nation has been rocked by unrest since April last year, with protesters demanding the resignation of Sandinista party leader Ortega, who has been president since 2007, and convincingly won another five-year term in 2016.

The US has repeatedly backed the uprising against the left-wing government, and last November Bolton made a keynote speech calling for the “crumbling” of what he called the “Troika of Tyranny” – Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba – saying the states represented a “a sordid cradle of communism in the Western hemisphere.”

On Monday, Trump name-checked the same three countries, saying their “great potential” would be unlocked with the collapse of socialism. To expedite the process, Congress last year imposed financial measures that would make it difficult for the economically-stricken Nicaragua to obtain international loans, as well as slapping sanctions on top officials in Managua.

Revenge served ice-cold

Bolton’s history with Ortega goes back to the 1980s. Just as now, Ortega was the leader of Nicaragua, first as he spearheaded the revolution in 1979, and when he was elected president in 1985.

The Ronald Reagan administration spent significant financial resources backing the right-wing Contra rebels during the civil war, which lasted nearly the entire decade.

Bolton, at that time a legal specialist, held a number of senior positions in the Reagan White House, and was more than a witness to its shadowy CIA-aided schemes to bypass a Democrat-run Congress ban on helping the opposition militants.

He reportedly played a crucial part in hobbling both the scope of the Iran-Contra investigation and an inquiry into drug- and gun-running militants, who were enabled by Washington.

 

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After he returned to prominence under George W. Bush in yet another chapter of an unsinkable career, Bolton failed to dislodge Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the Sandinistas, or Cuba’s Fidel Castro (at one point, he accused Havana of developing biological weapons, without solid evidence). But as a man who with permission from Donald Trump now seems to be steering US foreign policy on dozens of key issues, Bolton has more resources than ever before to settle his lifelong ideological grudges.

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Hungary Prime Minister Attacks Juncker and Soros in Billboard Ad

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán attacked EC President Jean Claude Jucker and George Soros in a billboard ad.

The Duran

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The EU has never seen anything quite like this. Orbán has a billboard campaign that claims European Commission president Juncker and and George Soros are “Endangering Hungary’s Safety”.

Opening a new front against Brussels a few months before European [parliament] elections, the poster shows the European commission president alongside the Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, a familiar target in Hungary.

“You have the right to know what Brussels is planning to do,” the poster says. On its official Facebook page, the Hungarian government says the poster is part of an information campaign to tell the public about Brussels’ migration plans, which it claims “fundamentally endangered Hungary’s safety”.

Although the government has previously run a “Stop Brussels” campaign, the decision to use an image of Junker is an escalation in the Orbán government’s public relations war with the EU’s most senior leaders.

It also exposes the rift in the centre-right European People’s party in the European parliament, which counts Juncker and Orbán, as members.

Orbán was re-elected for a third straight term last April, after a campaign dominated by immigration. A long-term critic of the EU, Orbán has accused NGOs and critical media of being part of a plot orchestrated by Soros to send millions of people to Hungary.

In recent weeks, Orbán has spoken of his hopes that the next European parliament will be dominated by anti-immigration parties.

Birds of a Feather Not

​Juncker once met Orbán with the jokey greeting “hello, dictator” and playfully tapped his face.

Today, Juncker responded Orban Should Leave Europe’s Centre-Right.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party should leave the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament (EP).

“Against lies there’s not much you can do,” Juncker was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency, adding that he had called for Fidesz’s expulsion from the EPP.

​”They didn’t vote for me in the European Parliament,” he said in Stuttgart, Germany, in a speech. “The far right didn’t either. I remember Ms. Le Pen, she said: ‘I’m not voting for you.’ I said: ‘I don’t want your vote.’ There are certain votes you just don’t want,” Juncker said, referring to the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Eurointelligence Comments

Looking at Orbán’s previous record, and noting that one cannot of be sure, we continue doubt that Hungary’s Prime Minister has changed his European strategy and is now working to provoke the exclusion of his party from the EPP. Rather, Orbán seems to be doing one his classic hit-and-runs.

There is little doubt that the new smear campaign will make life on the campaign trail much more difficult for Manfred Weber, the CSU MEP and EPP spitzenkandidat. Juncker himself has now declared more forcefully than ever before that the EPP values are not consistent with keeping Fidesz in.

But we note that the CSU leadership in Munich has in the past consistently worked to maintain close and even warm ties with Orban.

Spitzenkandidat

US readers no doubt need an explanation of Spitzenkandidat. The following video explains.

In short, the term refers to an election process instead of an appointment process to determine the head of the European Commission.

63% of Europeans want the commission president determined by vote. Those in power still support the behind closed doors process for obvious reasons.

Orbán’s mission

Orbán’s mission is to weaken the EU from within. Italy has the same mission, for different reasons, as does President Trump.

EU Splintering

Two days ago I reported a Commerce Study Deems “European Cars a Threat to US National Security”. That’s nonsensical, of course. But Trump’s mission is easy to spot. He is doing his best to bust up the EU.

And now Trump has a lot of help on the inside: Marine Le Pen in France, Victor Orbán in Hungary, and Matteo Salvini in Italy.

I response to Trump, I noted, EU Pokes Trump Again, This Time Over Huawei’ s 5G Technology.

In the UK, Seven UK MPs Split from Labour Party Over Brexit. More MPs joined that parade today.

The splintering of the EU continues with escalating infighting at unprecedented levels.

It is illogical for the UK to want to part of this mess. Yet, the UK Remainers want to stay in.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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Is Venezuela On The Verge Of Becoming Another Syria?

It should not be considered a coincidence that the situation with Venezuela is being accelerated at the same time as tensions between the US , China and Russia are hitting a crescendo.

The Duran

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Establishment elites have always had a predilection for regime change. Obviously, this strategy helps weed out nation states that might be uncooperative with their future plans for a fully centralized global economic and political order. We have also seen regime change occur when former puppet leaders go rogue and refuse to follow the script they have been given. Most of these men have acted as dictators and are not very empathetic public figures, so we rarely care when they get overthrown or murdered. That said, there are always wider implications to such events.

I believe the reasons for regime change and the destabilization of particular countries have evolved in recent years. In the past it was about bringing each countries under the new world order umbrella. Today, the goal seems to be an attempt to create points of global contention. That is to say, the elites want to draw much of the world into various forms of conflict, and they are using special regions of the globe as nexus points for these conflicts.

Syria was and still is one of those nexus points. The transmutation of Syria began as an extension of the Arab Spring. Western funded and organized coups in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt inspired even more extremism as well as a vast flow of black market military grade armaments. The CIA under the Obama Administration in particular took advantage of this chaos to fill training camps in Jordan with “moderate rebels”, the same rebels that would go on to launch ISIS and start a civil war in Syria.

While the billion dollar program to arm and supply Syrian rebel groups, many of which were closely tied to ISIS, was finally “officially ended” under the Trump administration in 2017, more covert US support continued for these groups as well support for Israeli incursions into sovereign Syrian air space.

Syria has had the potential to draw multiple nations into close and hostile proximity with each other, including the US, Russia, Israel and Iran. This was not a mistake, it was entirely deliberate.

I warned of the potential exploitation of Syria as a global point of contention for years before the actual insurgency took place because of the unique military alliances in the region. The only reason Syria has not yet been exploited to its full potential is because of the effective exposure of the conspiracy by the alternative media. The establishment push to use American troops to help ISIS extremists overthrow Bashar al-Assad presidency was thwarted. The mainstream media originally portrayed ISIS groups as courageous clean cut rebels fighting for freedom. This ended after the alternative media flooded the web with evidence of rebel led genocide and atrocities.

Had the American public and American troops been tricked into even deeper involvement in Syria as well as helping ISIS overthrow Assad, this could have potentially pushed us into direct confrontation with either Russia or Iran or both. We would be seen as the villains, supporting monsters as they commit war crimes in the name of an ideology many Americans despise.

Those unfamiliar with the concept of the False East/West Paradigm will probably be at a loss as to why the establishment would WANT to deliberately undermine America’s geopolitical or economic position. Once they understand that both China and Russia maintain close ties to the globalist framework, and that they represent false opposition to the “new world order”, the reality of the situation becomes more clear.

I recommend my article ‘In The New “Multipolar World” The Globalists Still Control All The Players’ for facts and evidence on this dynamic. The engineered destabilization of the US and parts of Europe and the rise of the East is intended to cause the removal of the current economic model of sovereign nations and currencies led by the US dollar as the world reserve. This would leave quite a void in the global economic structure, a void which the elites plan to fill with a new centralized one world currency system.

This system, to be managed by the IMF, has been openly supported by both the Chinese and Russian governments. The delusion that the East is somehow opposed to the NWO melts away when we examine their long time alliances to the banking cabal, as well as the IMF programs the East now champions. But how do the elites plan to get the masses to go along with such a historic and painful shift in global economic architecture?

In my view, the confrontations in regions of confluence like Syria are intended to lead to World War; not in the form of a nuclear war, but in the form of a full spectrum economic war and smaller regional wars. There is another nation beyond Syria that I have also been warning about for many years as a potential nexus, or what the elites might call a “linchpin”. That region is Venezuela.

In my article ‘How A Collapse In Venezuela Could Trigger Martial Law In the US’, published in May of 2016, I outlined how the socialist structure of Venezuela in particular was so unstable that the slightest push could cause the entire country to topple. Venezuela did indeed crash economically to the point that martial law is the only mainstay holding the system together.

I have also warned that a collapse in Venezuela could spread into surrounding countries, already weakened by fiscal uncertainty and debt. Such a collapse in South America rather strangely matches the scenario described in Operation Garden Plot and Rex 84, a secret Pentagon plan exposed during the Iran/Contra affair which would use mass migrations from South or Central America as a rationale to enforce martial law measures within the United States.

In recent months, however, the Trump Administration has added a new dimension to the problem. Expanding sanctions against Venezuela are adding fire to the flames of economic collapse. With an even more aggressive stance against Nicolas Madruro including possible military action, the prospect of a direct US led coup is now on the table.

One would think that if the US government wanted a breakdown in Venezuela, all they would have to do is sit back and wait as the socialist nation imploded under it’s own faulty economic policies. But apparently the country was not collapsing fast enough for the elites. My theory – the goal is to create another Syria, but this time much closer to US borders.

Venezuela has close ties to not only Russia, but also China. Venezuela’s military ties to Russia are well known. Their military is supplied to this day by Russia, and Russia has been very vocal in their opposition to any US military involvement in the region.

Both China and Russia continue to support Nicolas Madruro as the president of Venezuela in the face of opposition from assembly leader Juan Guaido. The US and a number of European nations support Guaido. The question is, how far will a confrontation in Venezuela go?

US involvement in South and Central America does not paint a pretty picture. Reagan era coups in countries like El Salvador in the name of stopping communism created not only civil war, but also the installation of more violent dictators and regimes (look up the White Hand death squads in El Salvador for the ugly details). Not coincidentally, we also saw the use of death squads and extremists in the destabilization of Syria.

I find it interesting that extreme leftists like Ilhan Omar are suddenly interested in exposing the underhanded nature of such tactics. They remain decidedly quiet on the same kind of subversion in Syria, and aggressively push for a continued American presence there. My suspicion is that this might be an establishment attempt to gain conservative support for a US led coup in Venezuela. Whatever their leftist puppets attack, we are supposed to defend, right?

But in this case, the Trump Administration is just as insidious as the leftists in its activities, and support for such a coup would be an affront to true conservative principles.

It should be noted that the arming and training of insurgents in Syria started out undercover. At the time it was labeled “humanitarian aid”. In Venezuela, the US is once again offering “aid” to the people of Venezuela and the opposition party, backed by a US military aircraft. The establishment is not generally very creative in their tactics; they simply use the same methods over and over again because historically they succeed more than they fail.

If this dynamic happens again in Venezuela, I predict immediate and aggressive economic response from Russia and China, including yet another excuse for China to dump its US Treasury Bond holdings and dollar reserves, effectively killing the dollar’s world reserve status. The US would be hit the hardest by this reset, and with the Trump Administration driven by globalist warmongers like John Bolton, there would be little sympathy from the rest of the world when the consequences land on our doorstep.

It should not be considered a coincidence that the situation with Venezuela is being accelerated at the same time as tensions between the US , China and Russia are hitting a crescendo. Add yet another regional conflict similar to Syria on top of the trade war, and the potential for a financial “World War III” is high. If allowed to play out uninterrupted, such an event provides even more cover for the “global reset” and the shift to a one world economic model.  Not only this, but a collapse epidemic in South America could lead to vast migrant caravans swarming to the southern US border far beyond what we have already seen.  As Operation Garden Plot outlines, this would inevitably be used as a rationale for martial law measures.

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