Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Local Time: 06:50 PM
Another Celente Prediction Comes to Pass
Back in September, Gerald Celente was talking about Russia cutting of gas to Europe this winter as well as action by Venezuela affecting the northeast US - attributed to retaliation for South Ossetia. Hmmm.
Gas row flares as supplies to Europe cut - CNN.com
Gas row flares as supplies to Europe cut
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Several European countries said Tuesday their supply of natural gas from Russia had been cut or reduced amid a dispute over payments between Russia and Ukraine.
A woman passes in front of a manometer set on a gas pipe in the Ukrainian city of Boyarka, near Kiev.
Ukraine's state-run gas company said Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, had shut three of four export pipelines that take natural gas through Ukraine to the rest of Europe, significantly reducing supply.
Gazprom said Ukraine was to blame for shutting the pipelines to Europe.
"Ukraine is in obvious breach of obligations as a transit country," Gazprom's deputy chief executive, Alexander Medvedev, said. Read why the gas dispute has blown up
Amid the finger-pointing, at least five European countries and Turkey told CNN they were suffering a reduction or cut in natural gas coming from Russia via Ukraine.
Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Austria, the Czech Republic and Greece did not blame either side in the dispute for the cuts -- only the dispute itself.
It is the latest twist in an ongoing dispute between Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz Ukrainy, which normally receives natural gas from Russia.
Gazprom shut Ukraine's gas supply last week after saying Naftogaz had failed to pay for past deliveries. Ukraine denies owing the money and is currently meeting its domestic needs with supplies from storage facilities.
With Ukraine's natural gas supply shut down, Gazprom has accused the country of siphoning off gas from the export pipelines to Europe. Medvedev said the company plans to file suit in the coming days to end the alleged practice.
A spokesman from Bulgaria's Ministry of Economy and Energy told CNN their supply was halted Tuesday, and a spokesman for Romania's Economic Ministry told CNN it had suffered a 75-percent reduction "as a direct result of the dispute."
A Turkish Energy Ministry spokesman told CNN that Russian gas supplied to Turkey through Ukraine had been completely cut. The country was raising supplies of gas from another pipeline in order to compensate, he said.
The Czech Republic's supplies from Russia via Ukraine will be cut by 75 percent Tuesday, a spokesman from the Interior Ministry told CNN, and Austria was only receiving 10 percent of Russian-supplied gas via Ukraine, according to OMV, the country's central gas company.
Greece was receiving no gas from Russia because of the dispute with Ukraine, said Makis Papgeorgiou, chief executive of Greek natural gas operator DEPA. He said the country was relying on domestic production and imports from Algeria and France in the meantime.
"The situation has changed dramatically," said Jiri Frantisek Potuznik, a spokesman for the Czech presidency of the European Union.
He said the Czech Republic can't be an arbiter because the dispute is between two companies, not two governments, but he said it would monitor the situation.
"From a long-term point of view, it's unacceptable," Potuznik said.
Gazprom shut off Ukraine's gas supply last Thursday after saying it had missed $2 billion in payments. It acknowledged that Ukraine may have paid part of that amount, but said that still leaves Kiev $614 million in debt. Ukraine denied owing the money and is currently meeting its domestic needs with supplies from storage facilities.
Gazprom had reassured Europe that its natural gas supply, which runs through Ukraine, would not be affected by the dispute with Kiev. However, analysts are concerned that if the two sides fail to strike a deal soon more supplies will be cut in the next two weeks.
Russia is the world's biggest producer of natural gas and supplies Europe with more than 40 percent of its imports -- mainly via the pipelines through Ukraine.
Venezuela suspends US fuel aid
Joseph Kennedy addresses reporters about Citgo's decision on 5 January
Citizens Energy chairman Joseph Kennedy said the Citgo help was vital
Citgo, Venezuela's Texas-based oil subsidiary, has suspended its scheme to provide cheap heating oil to thousands of low-income families in the US.
The programme is being halted because of falling world oil prices, the group that administers the scheme said.
The Venezuelan government says that since 2005, some 220,000 poor families in the US have benefited.
When the scheme was launched, critics said it was a publicity stunt by the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Citgo, the US refining arm of the Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA, distributed fuel to communities in 23 states, including Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania, at a 40% discount.
The scheme amounted to some $100m (£68m) of heating oil last year.
Joseph Kennedy of Citizens Energy, the charitable organisation that administers the scheme, said it had become a casualty of the fall in the global oil price.
"The current economic meltdown," he said, "has forced Citgo to re-evaluate all the assistance programnes that they provide."
Mr Kennedy, who is the nephew of the late President John F Kennedy, urged Americans who had benefited from the programme to write to President Chavez to tell him what a difference it had made to their lives.
"All of us at Citizens Energy continue to do everything we can to advocate a continuation of this vital assistance," he said in a statement.
It is probably the Venezuelan government's highest profile cutback to date as a result of the low oil price and it will provide Mr Chavez's critics with ammunition for their argument that such schemes were a misuse of the country's oil resources, says the BBC's Will Grant in Caracas.
Mr Kennedy, however, criticised US oil companies for not taking part in efforts to give heating assistance to low-income households.
"This shouldn't be the responsibility of another country. I don't get one barrel from one US company. Not one," he said.
Mr Kennedy said he had received assurances from Citgo that the programme was only being suspended and not cancelled altogether.
But no date could be given for when it might be resumed and around 20 employees from Citizens Energy have been given a leave of absence.