Why Ukraine needs Norwegian gas



Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

I remember the events of 2001 very well, when the governments of Poland and Norway agreed on supplying Norwegian gas to Poland. Poland’s prime minister at the time, Jerzy Buzek, the future head of the European Parliament, considered the agreement important not only for Poland but for the all of Central Europe.

Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s prime minister at the time and now the Secretary General of NATO, called the signing of the contract historic. Moscow, however,  was in a frenzy and called the Polish-Norwegian contract “political.”  The agreement with the Norwegians — though only its  framework — was the last one that Jerzy Buzek concluded as prime minister. In the 2001 parliamentary elections, the left-wing parties won in Poland. Leszek Miller, the new prime minister and a future active participant in the Valdai Club gatherings ( the Valdai International Discussion Club is a forum organized by the Kremlin that brings together Russian government officials and international Russia experts — Ed.) did everything possible to prevent the realization of the Norwegian contract. He had plenty of economic reasons for his actions. The Russian gas was indeed much cheaper and affordable.

And much more dangerous. The Kremlin does not supply gas. It uses it as an opportunity to apply pressure on the recipient countries, to influence their foreign policy, and to determine their possible response to certain events. Given that gas, unlike oil, represents a small part of Russia’s budget revenues, Putin can experiment with the supply of gas as much as he wants — until he achieves the desired result. And we know all this very well from the Ukrainian experience.

Russian gas means corruption, underdevelopment, poverty, war, and death. The sooner we get rid of its supply, the fewer opportunities there will be for the bony, aged hand of the Kremlin ruler to squeeze Ukraine’s throat.

After 23 years of Ukrainian independence, we have discovered Norwegian gas. The head of Naftogaz of Ukraine, Andriy Kobolev, has announced the beginning of its supply. Of course, Norwegian gas may turn out to be more expensive than Russian gas. But Stavanger, the headquarters location of the Norwegian Statoil ASA company, will never behave like Moscow. Professionals work in Stavanger — in Moscow, blackmailers. In Stavanger, people are guided by the interests of the company — in Moscow, by Putin’s instructions. In Stavanger, honest people work — in Moscow, thieves. In Stavanger, Ukrainian statehood is respected — in Moscow, they want to destroy it.

It is worth paying more.

Translator’s note: According to Naftogaz Chairman Andriy Kobolev, Naftogaz of Ukraine has signed an agreement with Statoil on the delivery of natural gas. The Norwegian company began to supply gas to Ukraine through Slovakia on  October 1.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda

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  • Dirk Smith

    Exactly right. F#$% Moscow.

  • Michel Cloarec

    It was time that someone dare to stand up to Putin´s blackmail.
    EU can be strong and that Putin will have to accept that there are democraties in this world which is bigger than Moscow and suburds.

  • Jacks Channel

    I would pay twice as much for gas rather than get it from Moscow. The people would have to pay more, but thats the price of freedom.

    My advice? Pursue your national interests, and ignore mentally unstable Putin.

  • Paul P. Valtos

    Well since the average Russian pays more for groceries (up to 7 1/2 times more) than its European neighbors only the Russian consumer gets screwed. If Poles or Ukrainians have to pay more for Norwegian gas they are at least free.

  • Carol Dijkhuyzen

    Thief Putin is killing Russia…let him!The backward mentality of evil thief Putin is bringing ruble down the gutter..Russian dough is beyond worthless because of thief Putin,thsi guy once a KGB clerk!!!LOL.

  • Murf

    It’s a shame when Norway shows more intestinal fortitude than Obama.

    • LorCanada

      I see it as Norway being more favourably located to provide than USA would be.

      • James

        Your both right. Plus I think Norway and its people just like fucking with people who tell them what to do.

  • George

    It’s time for the rest of Europe to become free of this gas/energy blackmail. Poland has huge reserves of coal, Germany could also exploit hydro-thermal power, enormous variety of options together with importing LPG. Have other sources of energy not been investigated because palms have been greased?

  • Terry Ross

    Russia needs to pursue Ukraine’s gas debt with vigor and not allow it to use excuse after excuse for non payment. In the long term this can only be good for Ukraine as it will help Naftogaz develop a sense of financial responsibility towards its suppliers. Ukraine’s PM should take a personal role in ensuring that these and future debts are dealt with in a timely manner.