Irina Pominova: "US sanctions are dangerous for Europe's energy security"
US President Donald Trump signed a bill, earlier adopted by the Congress, on introduction of new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. Deputy head of Fuel and Energy Department of the Analytical Center under Russian government, Irina Pominova, discussed how new sanctions will affect energy security of Russia and other countries.
- What are the main threats of the US sanctions policy?
- New sanctions can damage energy security not only in Russia, but also in other countries. First of all, it is associated with the fact that investment activity is currently being undermined. Additional pressure is created in such unfavorable price environment, because Russia plays a very significant role as a producing country. But even if we don't take into account our contribution to overall production level, sanctions also threaten Europe's energy security. Yes, some European countries support American sanctions, they are ready to pay a higher price, they are ready to build terminals. They consciously choose more expensive resources. But they are not main producers. Are German companies, who currently compete against American business, ready to accept the fact that they will have to pay a higher price? Moreover, how stable will these supplies be? How much will the United States offer Europe? It seems to me that these are the issues that concern the EU and Germany in particular the most at the moment. That's why I think we should not forget about our "Nord Stream-2": the risks are mutual, both for Russia and for Europe.
- Despite the fact that confrontation continues to escalate, Russian gas supplies are still growing. Why is this paradox happening?
- Supply and demand balance affects this situation. Right now the economy is recovering, this fragile balance can be disrupted by new sanctions. However, on the one hand, demand is still growing, and on the other hand, there is an opportunity to supply more. Thanks to decision on OPAL, we were able to balance our supplies.
- How will sanctions policy of the West affect Russian-Turkish relations in the energy sphere?
- The situation with Turkey is difficult. On the one hand, Turkey is Russia's partner, who is also interested in gas. There are certain agreements already. On the other hand, Turkey has its own interests in the European direction: we know that Turkey tries to become member of the EU for a long time. Although right now Ankara is not that interested in the idea of speedy integration into Europe and its internal problems and interests are at the forefront. Perhaps we should not expect any drastic changes in this direction.
- Are Ukraine's statements about arrest of Gazprom's foreign assets justified?
- This issue lies in the political plane. Right now our country and Ukraine are constantly bickering. I would consider this a part of a bigger story. This won't improve our relations. But I think that overall, we are ready for difficulties regarding Ukraine. Unfortunately, it's a normal situation for our relations.