Thursday, May 7, 2009

Iran-US back-channel deal on natural gas

First spotted on Uruknet, from Gerson Lehrman Group (a consulting firm).

Back-channel discussions between the United States and Iran show agreement on southern export terminus for Iranian natural gas sales free of Russian pipeline dominance
May 6, 2009

US and Iran agree to cooperate in how Iranian gas exports will be made available to western markets

It is a new gesture and one that has been on close hold for some time. It was likely given added impetus owing to the Saturday announcement by the respective governments of Abkhazia and south Ossetia requesting for the presence of and endorsing the use of Russian Border troops to patrol inside their nation's borders. These troops are the legacy of the old KGB border troops wearing the distinctive green and blue peaked caps. They are now under the control of the KGB successor force FSB. Their significance is that they receive similar training as Russian Alpha troops and Spetznaz special force units. This development is a worrisome sign of an already tense bilateral relationship between Georgia and Russia.

Following the two week war last August the Russian's annexed the former Georgian loading port at Poti on the Black Sea and have built a major ongoing naval presence there that now forces Georgia to export crude oil transiting its borders from Kazakhstan Azerbaijan as well as natural gas via Turkmenistan and the other former CIS "stans" via the terminus at Tuapse. BP, the operator of the pipeline allowing for crude oil transit from Chevron's Kazakhstan and other producers in Azerbaijan was forced to shut the line down for almost three weeks last August. In another parlous development twelve people were murdered last Friday at the Oil Academy in Baku by forces yet unknown- but who may have been contracted by the Russian "organs" for some wet work to stir up the pot so to speak. Far from harmonic the convergence of these events perhaps led the USG to speed up its announcement of favoring Tehran's use of the Nabucco outlet which, as I understand it, was on the agenda of the ongoing backroom discussions between the USG and RGI. Certainly a nod in this direction is favorable to US interests in the G2K region, as the Russian's used the Georgian conflict to steal a march on its real coup- that being the Assad government in Damascus rush to grant Russia a permanent naval facility for the Russian Navy at Banias and Tartous.

Read the complete analysis here ...

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