Why Russia finances anti-fracking protests in Europe

The logic is rather simple.

  1. Russia has very large natural gas reserves.
  2. Russia has even larger shale reserves but these have, deliberately, not been developed yet.
  3. Russia has a very large investment in the transport of natural gas to Europe.
  4. Gazprom policy is to maximise returns on natural gas before developing shale reserves.
  5. The return to Gazprom is maximised if Europe does not develop its own shale reserves and instead increases its dependence on Russian gas.

It is not at all surprising then that the anti-fracking movement in Europe is both funded and covertly directed by Russia. The biggest success for the Russian campaign was in 2014 when many European countries succumbed to the Russian-backed, “environmental” lobbies and banned fracking. And Gazprom’s exports to Europe continue to increase steadily. Since 2014 annual exports have grown from about 145 to 190 billion cubic meters.

National ReviewIn 2014, after multiple European countries banned fracking following protests, NATO secretary general Fogh Anders Rasmussen warned that “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” 

In 2015 alone, the intelligence community found that RT, Russia’s state-run media outlet, produced over 60 anti-fracking stories. “There are a lot of studies that say fracking is dangerous,” one RT segment began, “So why do you think some countries and companies think it’s worth the risk?” RT conveniently left out the fact that over 60 percent of Russian exports are oil and natural gas, and that countries that “risk” fracking would no longer be dependent on the Kremlin. In addition to peddling anti-fracking propaganda in the U.S., Russia is allegedly using an offshore shell company to directly fund American environmental groups. On June 29, Republican representatives Lamar Smith and Randy Weber wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding an investigation into the shell company:

According to the reports, entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation, the Sea Change Foundation (Sea Change). This money appears to move in the form of anonymous donations. Sea Change then passes the money originating in Russia to various U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations such as the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, and others. These funds are dispersed as grants that will be used to execute a political agenda driven by Russian entities. The purpose of this circuitous exchange of foreign funds is to shield the source of the money.

Before it was revealed publicly, members of the Sierra Club, et al., were likely clueless that Putin and the Russians had been funding their anti-fracking initiatives. 

Russian gas exports to Europe are at record levels.

Bloomberg: 

Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018 after the continent’s biggest supplier, Gazprom said its deliveries this year signal it is achieving on its ambitions to expand. The state-controlled gas giant plans to ship a minimum of 180 billion cubic meters next year, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said in an interview in St. Petersburg. That volume would be the second highest ever after at least 190 billion cubic meters expected this year, which is a record. 

Gazprom meets more than a third of Europe’s demand for natural gas, Russia’s biggest and most lucrative market worth some $37 billion in revenue this year. Tighter trade links with the Kremlin-backed company contrast with increasing tensions on the military and political front.

source Gazprom


 

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