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May 11, 2016
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Former Russian Energy Minister Yuri Shafranik: Russia Will Continue to Serve as Europe's Main Source of Energy

#5484 | 06:41
Source: Russia Today TV (Russia)

In an interview with the Lebanese Mayadeen TV channel, former Russian Energy Minister Yuri Shafranik said that despite the increased production of American oil, Russia would continue to serve as Europe's main source of energy. Shafranik, the chairman of the union of Russian oil and gas producers, dismissed the possibility of Qatar and Iran constituting real competition to Russian gas in the European market. He explained that a decade of stability would be needed to establish a corridor from Iran, through Iraq, to Syria and from there to Europe, and that only Russia was capable of meeting emergency demand in the global energy market, as proven in the Fukushima disaster. The interview aired on May 11, 2016.

Yuri Shafranik: "Europe used to depend solely on oil produced in Russia, but America has begun to produce more oil, and its oil tankers can reach Europe more quickly. This constitutes a revolution in the field of oil production.


"The European market is an important and promising market for US companies, and this is the basic problem. We need to acknowledge that the oil producers and exporters can no longer dictate the rules of the game, which are now dictated by the importers.


"For a long time, Saudi Arabia was a top American priority. Now, however, things have changed, and Saudi Arabia has found itself in the 4th, the 5th, or maybe the 10th place on the list of American priorities. How can [Saudi Arabia] influence the price of oil? OPEC can no longer control this policy. It seems that in the transformation from oil to politics, Iran has become the top priority in American policy. This is the basic variable in the region that influenced the prices of oil.


"With regard to the [European] market, history attests that Russia invested in the infrastructure.


"The pipelines constructed by Russia cannot be laid overnight - not from Iran, and not from Qatar. I believe that Russia will continue to serve as Europe's main source of energy. It may not be the only source, but it will be the main one. Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the price of gas soared. 20 million cubic meters of liquid gas were sent to Japan. Who can supply such a demand overnight? Only Russia has the capability to meet such an emergency demand in the energy market. Therefore, Europe must acknowledge Russia's ability to meet the global energy demands.


"There is a great competition and a powerful war over who will control the [European] market."

Host: "What about the competition over the reconstruction of Syria? Did you discuss the reconstruction of Syria in your meetings in Washington, D.C.? Did you discuss the investments, the reconstruction of infrastructure? What did you say to the Americans in this regard?"

Yuri Shafranik: "We are not extremely pragmatic like the United States. Therefore, Russia did not discuss Iraq, Iran or Syria in this respect. We don't discuss what one can get in the future as a result of one's position today.


"International law should be above all considerations. International law should trump the will to change regimes, because this game is not in the best interests of Russia. It is not in the best interests of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.


"The Russian position is that the sanctions should be lifted, to create stability and to stop the flow of refugees. Syria should be allowed to breathe after this war."


Host: "Is it possible that one day we will see a competition between the two strategic allies [Russia and Iran] over the oil and gas markets?"

Yuri Shafranik: "Iran is only beginning its recovery in this aspect. One cannot talk about large quantities that Iran will be able to export. Personally, I support restoring the quota Iran had in OPEC before the sanctions. Russia does not fear the Iranian competition. Iran is a gas-exporting country, and the Iran-Iraq-Syria corridor will be influential, but it necessitates stability in Iraq and in Syria. What is needed is not just one year of stability. A decade of stability is necessary to establish this corridor, from Iran to Iraq, and from there to Syria. You cannot lay pipelines in a state of instability. When this issue becomes viable, we can discuss the export of gas with Iran in accordance with the market's demands."

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