So, Russia and Germany agree on a $5bn project to supply natural gas:
Officials including Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov presided over the ceremonial welding of the first section of pipe at Babayevo in Russia’s Vologda region, where the Baltic link will diverge from an existing trunk pipeline and head for the coast.
Gazprom has teamed up with Germany’s E.on and Wintershall, part of BASF, to build the pipeline and is looking for a potential fourth partner, although it will retain a controlling stake of 51% in the project.
The onshore section of the pipeline will run 917 kilometres to the port of Vyborg, close to Russia’s second city of St Petersburg. The 1200 kilometre subsea link will terminate at Greifswald in Germany.
Gerhard Schroeder, Chancellor of Germany up until about three weeks ago, was looking as though he was out of a job. Not so. As Lyndon at Scraps of Moscow reports, it looks as though he has found himself another job:
Gerhard SchrÃ¶der, the former German chancellor, is to be a director of a Russian-German pipeline consortium controlled by Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas group said on Friday.
If true, this stinks to high heaven. Unsurprisingly, the European press has raised barely a murmur over this. Can you imagine the noise that would be made if the US signed an historic deal to export Alaskan crude to China, and George W. Bush took the reigns of the pipeline consortium weeks after leaving office?