GAS SECURITY 17 April, 2018 10:00 am   
COMMENTS: Mateusz Gibała

Żurawski vel Grajewski: Russia exports gas, oil, corruption and destabilization

During the Third National Scientific Conference: “Energy security. Pillars and the prospect of development” the speech opening the panel on the gas sector and international politics was given by prof. Przemysław Żurawski vel Grajewski. He described the conditions of Polish gas policy at the international level.

He reminded the mysterious deaths of people fighting the domination of Russian Gazprom in Europe. – Sometimes it is a game for life and death – admitted the adviser to the minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Poland. – Currently, but it probably will not be that in the future, Polish energy industry depends on coal, and gas is not the main source of energy. The dependence of Poland on gas supplies from the East is not an energy dependence. In this direction, however, is the evolution of the energy mix, also under the influence of several players, not only a Russian partner. You can talk about the European Union widely, but you can point to Germany, France and Italy, which promote a different model of energy, whether based on an atom, such as France or another – counted the speaker.

– This encourages these countries to promote the policy of decarbonisation. This will be aimed at strengthening gas energy. The US’s interest in the issue of introducing US commodities to the Central European market is in question. We have a situation defined in the previous decade by high prices of energy resources, which resulted in the profitability of new technologies. They already exist and there is no return to the past. It is about the development of shale technologies and LNG export – said Żurawski vel Grajewski.

He said that one of the dimensions of the concept of development of regional infrastructure known as the Three Seas Initiative is energy. – The prices of raw materials in the world also depend on stability or instability in the Middle East, North Africa, Nigeria and Venezuela, as well as the dynamics of China’s economic development – he said. – From my diagnosis, it appears that the Americans do not intend, even in the context of a sharp clash with Iran, to introduce strict sanctions in order not to affect the market – he added.

– Under the influence of Germany’s political power, the territorial waters of the Baltic Sea, and thus also the gas pipeline located at its bottom, will not be subject to EU law, although it lies within the territory of the Union. The situation is similar in the case of the OPAL gas pipeline, which, due to Germany’s power, is not subject to such regulations – Żurawski warned. – Relations in the EU between Germany and the rest of the countries will change with the growing role of Berlin, although we have unpredictability here by political changes of the biggest players: political confusion in Italy, political revolution in France, the beginning of changes in the German alternative. This system will not be able to withstand another term – he added.

– Russia is not an economically motivated player. It has clear geopolitical goals. It would be a simplification to perceive it exclusively in the imperial dimension. 78 percent of Russia’s political elites originate from the KGB or GRU. In the fall of this year, this percentage increased by the dismissal of old officers and the promotion of new charges of the Putin elite. All this serves to keep the siloviki in power. The rest is context – convinced the Foreign Ministry adviser. – Russia has no more potential for modernization based on energy resources. It will be increasingly described by four export products. It exports oil, gas, corruption and destabilization.

– The penetration of the energy market in the West is corrupt, in Central and Eastern Europe it is destabilizing, as exemplified by subsequent gas wars – he said.

– Slovakia has so far had the strategic ability of the gas reverse to Ukraine as an instrument of breaking the Russian pressure tool. In gratitude for her exposure to Russia, she received a Nord Stream 2 gift that undermined the Slovak budget as the main transit country in the European Union. On the other hand, we have a variable policy of Hungary. Finally, there is Poland, which after Stockholm arbitration with Ukrainians rejected by Russia entered the action. The dominant perception is that politics serves to solve energy security problems. Sometimes, however, the infrastructural and technological capacity is the servant of politics, that is, it builds interstate relations. The efficient Polish reaction in a few hours undoubtedly had a positive impact on relations with Ukraine – said the guest of the conference.

He also mentioned Scandinavia. – The resistance of the Scandinavians to Nord Stream 1 has been broken by tariffs on wood. We must reckon with the fact that our Scandinavian partners can, despite their interests indicating cooperation with Poland, be sensitive to Russian pressure. The Swedish Admiralty, however, warned that along the Nord Stream 2 it could be used to position the optical fiber used to monitor the movement of ships in the Baltic Sea, i.e. to have intelligence and military significance – warned Żurawski vel Grajewski.

– Without Poland, any infrastructure initiatives allowing for the release of the region from domination are impossible – he concluded.