Oil & Gas

21 Feb 2022

Ukraine and Putin: An Expanded Perspective

21 Feb 2022  by   
Approximately 80% or 400 million barrels of Ukraine's proven oil reserves and 90% of Natural Gas production is located in Dnieper - Donetsk. This region is also known as Donbass and is located north along the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus border. The two vital gas fields are located inside Ukraine at Krestiche and Shebelymka. Russian Troops are housed along the Ukraine / Russia, Belarus border.

The North Carpathian basin, located along the Ukraine and Polish border is responsible for 13% of Ukraine's proven oil reserves and 6% production.

The Azov facility located in South Ukraine in Crimea is bound by 6% of proven reserves and 5% of total oil and gas production. Dashava is the major gas field and located safely inside Ukraine.

Ukraine is the largest natural gas transit system in the world, particularly to Europe and earns roughly $1.2 billion per year from transit fees at $2.66 per 1000 cubic meters and per 100 kilometers or 62 miles based on the Oxford Institute for Energy studies.

Ukraine contains 28,000 mles of pipelines and 13 underground gas storage facilities to house 1.1 TCF or 1.1 trillion cubic feet. As of 2021, Ukraine owns 3 quadtrillion cubic feet of proved Natural gas reserves and consumes 1.0 trillion cubic reserves per year and down 50% since 2010.

Russia transports approximately 2.9 to 3.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year to a large assortment of European nations to include Austria, Bosnia, Greece, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Moldova and the Czech Republic.

Gazprom reduced fees to Ukraine by 65% in 2007, 50% in 2004 and delivers natural gas to France, Germany and Belgium through the Nordstream 1 pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

Nordstream 1 is an operational pipeline since 2011 and runs from Griefswald Germany across the Baltic Sea to supply Natural Gas to Sweden Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Finland. Gazprom reports 55 billion cubic meters per year of natural gas is delivered or 38.2 petajoules factored as 1.06 X 10 to 10th power per Kiliowatt hour.

Nordstream 2, a 2018 construction project, is an extension pipeline to Nordstream 1 to deliver natural gas to Germany. Gazprom proposes to replace Nordstream 2 and Turkstream so not to run through Ukraine. Turkstream is a pipeline to supply natural gas to Turkey and southern European nations. The pipeline eliminates 760 miles or 1224 kilometers in fees to Ukraine.

Europe imports 2/3 of its crude oil to meet current energy needs and 27% natural gas. Russia as the EU's largest supplier imported 27% crude oil and 41 % of natural gas. Europe imports based on 2021 figures, 23 billion per month in energy products Crude oil accounts for 69% in total energy imports.

Europe's relationship with Russia and Gazprom dates to easily the early 2000's and the 2004 proposal to construct Nordstream 1. Yet the overall relationships from nation to nation is consummated by agreement and contracts through private and state owned companies inside tha various nations. East and west Germany for example received Natural Gas from Verbundnetz Gas and Ruhrgas since 1973.

Gazprom delivers crude and natural gas to 30 nations and more nations are on the way as pipelines are in construction phases. A proposed pipeline will deliver natural gas to China. The Yamal pipeline to Poland is complete. Vietnam is in the planning and development stages since 2015. Bolivia is complete since 2007. The Asian markets are wide open and set for Gazprom's next advance.

Despite Ukraine's $150 billion in GDP in 2019 and current world bank estimates at $137 billion, the 2014 Russian takeover of Crimea forced a reduction to oil and Natural Gas output at the Azov facility. Ukraine's purchases from Russia accounted for the shortfall of 244,000 necessary daily barrels Ukraine requires.

The protagonists to the Ukraine story are Europe, Putin and Gazprom, Ukraine and thousands of miles of pipelines. Then the question why 150,000 Russian soldiers on Ukraine's border and what is Putin's game plan.

Ukraine's only guilt was charge exorbitant transit fees yet not a reason for a Russian invasion. An invasion risks valuable pipeline breaks and cost to Ukraine, Poland to the Yamal pipeline and on assumption, Gazprom and Putin.

An invasion and pipeline break would force retaliation to Nordstream and other valuable pipelines. Destroy Nordstream 1 automatically eliminates Nordstream 2 as Nordstream 2 is developing alongside Nordstream 1.

Putin envisions to reconstitute the old Soviet Union is an erroneous statement as the old Soviet Union encompassed 15 Republics and Georgia was the only Republic Putin invaded.

Ukraine's cooperation with NATO began in 1991 and intensified over the years. Essentially, Ukraine is a NATO member with full NATO backing yet only lacks a formal vote. Ukraine's President Zelensky signed a 2020 agreement to allow future Ukraine membership.

Crimea lacks any argument to a Russian invasion as Russia owned Crimea since the Russian Turkish war in 1783. Ukraine and Russia operated on formal agreements to Crimea such as joint military usage of the military base at Sevastopol. Both Ukraine and Russia contain multiple access points to the Black Sea.

A Russian invasion and risks to pipeline breaks represents an economic catastrophe to all Europe, Sweden, Belarus and to former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The economic power amassed by Putin and Gazprom over the past decade is enormous. More than economic power is the control Putin contains over many, many nations. Is Putin willing to risk loss to this power by invasion. I say not as a deeper perspective is involved to a risk so great to world prosperity.


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