Russian President Vladimir Putin at a plenary session of the Russian Energy Week international forum. Photo: Mikhail Metzel / TASS
Russian Energy Week is such a main gathering for raw materials producers, where experts can fully discuss the oil, gas and electricity markets. Almost all talk this year about the so-called energy transition is about rebuilding the global economy to green technologies to reduce carbon emissions. Approximately what Greta Thunberg is seeking from politicians from the rostrum of the UN.
As expected, the most popular event on the first day of REW was Vladimir Putin’s speech. Top managers of foreign oil giants, ministers, governors began to gather in the plenary hall a couple of hours before the president’s arrival.
Federal security officers sat in jeans modestly between the oligarchs and top officials. They could be easily identified by their red nylon packages with “self-rescuers” (such as personal oxygen masks).
– In case of fire, – one of the security officials answered my dumb question.
In principle, it is logical. The REW arena has already burned once. The roof here, though restored, is wooden. Therefore, vigilance will not be superfluous.
WHY GAS INCREASED IN EUROPE
Putin began with “common truths.” The President added that for the assembled professionals, his words “will seem obvious”, but they must be repeated.
– Recently, various responsible persons have replaced the analysis of the situation with empty political slogans. Over the past ten years, the share of renewable energy sources in the European energy mix has grown dramatically. Kind of like thank God. However, the main distinguishing feature of this sector is the volatility of power generation. If serious generation failures occur, then the reserves are simply not enough. This is exactly what happened this year, – Putin briefly explained why gas prices in the EU went crazy.
The President, speaking at REW, was not too lazy to repeat the same thought several times: Russia is ready to sell as much gas as the buyers ask for. This year alone, we supplied it to the EU 15% more than planned. And the more expensive heating in Europe has nothing to do with us.
– The rise in gas prices in Europe was the result of a shortage of electricity, and not vice versa. And there is no need, as they say, to shift from a sore head to a healthy one, as some of our partners are trying to do, ” Putin asked.
MOSCOW THREATS THE EU WITH ENERGY AS A WEAPON?
Such a question was asked by the host of the plenary session, American TV journalist Headley Gamble. The moderator was chosen successfully – she did not hesitate to openly ask provocative questions to our president, which is why the answers of the head of the country only became more challenging and brighter.
– Russia does not use any weapons at all. What conflicts are we in? Even during the Cold War, we consistently supplied gas to Europe. And the United States fought this even then, they were against the “pipes for gas” project (an agreement between the FRG and the USSR on the supply of large-diameter pipes to us in exchange for blue fuel – Ed.), – Putin replied.
The President added that the journalist’s question is the very “politically motivated chatter”. And if anyone is using energy to pressure markets, it is the United States.
– The supplies of American LNG sailed from Europe to Asia when the corresponding price conjuncture developed. Half of the dropped volume of supplies of liquefied gas to the EU (about 7 billion cubic meters – Ed.) Was not supplied by the US operators. And you say that we are using the energy market as a weapon, ”Putin replied.
Headley Gamble did not give up, and immediately after the president’s answer asked again why Russia does not “supply gas to Europe through pipes.”
“I am one thing for her, and you are another for me,” retorted the head of the country.
The President reiterated that it was we, unlike America, who sold more of the planned gas to Europe. Even through Ukraine they pumped 10% over the contract.
– Let them say thank you (the Kiev authorities – Ed.), Otherwise there is one abuse addressed to us. But it is impossible to increase the volumes there anymore, the Ukrainian system has not been repaired for decades. If you increase the pressure, everything will burst. The equipment is worn out by 80%, – said Putin.
The presenter clarified whether Moscow plans to extend the contract with Kiev for gas pumping after 2024. Putin briefly replied that we are “ready.” But first you need to decide on your future buyers.
– When Europe says to us: “We are moving away from hydrocarbons, but at the same time after 2024 you have to pump gas through Ukraine for another 100 years,” are you out of your mind or not? – the head of Russia was indignant.
Will there be $ 100 oil
“It is quite possible,” Putin said.
The President added that Russia is not interested in a rapid rise in the price of black gold. The more stable the market, the better. And now we are coordinating our oil production with OPEC so that everything is predictable.
GERMANY’S REFUSAL OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS AND ELECTRIC CARS
The head of the country noted that the Germans are wasting their nuclear energy in vain.
– In France, more than 80% of the energy is provided by nuclear power plants. What is the point of closing them at home, if there is nuclear power through the fence? – said Putin, adding that “everything is crowded” in Europe. If we are to give up the peaceful atom, then at the European level.
At the meeting, the head of the Daimler concern, Ola Kallenius, said that Mercedes plans to complete the production of cars with conventional internal combustion engines in the near future. Our president commented on this news caustically.
– Car manufacturers are being forced to switch to electric vehicles. OK then! Road transport is one of the most important pollutants. But what is the primary source? Electricity is not drawn from the outlet. If in the same Germany in the energy balance of 30-35% coal generation, which most of all emits CO2. You can produce as many electric cars as you want, but coal-fired generation at a power plant will have its effect in terms of emissions, ”Putin said.
The head of the country noted with regret that the arms race between Russia and America had not just begun, it was already “on the march”. We are now competing in hyperweapons. Headley Gamble clarified that our rockets accelerate to three speeds of sound.
– Mach 3 – this is being developed in the States, and then more. And our systems fly at speeds over Mach 20. This is not just a hypersonic missile, it is an intercontinental missile. This is a much more serious weapon than you just said. And they are already on alert in Russia, ”the president boasted.
Putin said that the arms race was unleashed in Washington when America withdrew from the ABM Treaty.
– Missile defense is not only defense, but also an attempt to gain an advantage over the enemy. In response, it is necessary either to create the same system, which costs a lot of money and it is not known how effectively it will work. Or create another system that will certainly overcome missile defense. I said that we will do it. We did it – what are the claims? And now they don’t like it – they say: “oh-oh-oh, what a hyper-weapon you have,” the president replied.
RUSSIA IS NOT READY FOR DEMOCRACY
An American TV journalist said that Putin once claimed this.
“I don’t remember when I said that Russia is not ready for a full-fledged democracy,” retorted the president.
The head of the country added that “democracy” is understood in different ways.
– When in Europe and the USA various mass events are dispersed with the help of rubber bullets and tear gas – is this freedom or not? It doesn’t sound like freedom. Worries about the death of democracy in Russia are greatly exaggerated, Putin said, suggesting that the West “take better care of itself.”
The President recalled that political corruption has actually been legalized in the United States. It’s just called lobbying. Businesses are officially allowed to bribe politicians to defend their interests.
Another argument in favor of the fact that the West is not doing well with democracy: the American elections.
“What is the indirect election of the president in the United States? This has already happened three times, in my opinion, when people who have been voted for by a smaller number of voters are in power,” Putin recalled.
MURATOV AND BULK
The President, perhaps for the first time, commented on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov. Headley Gamble asked if the journalist was now recognized as a foreign agent.
“If he doesn’t break the law,” the Russian leader replied.
Putin added that this will not happen if Muratov “does not hide behind the prize as a shield in order to deliberately violate the law and draw attention to himself.”
At the end, the moderator of the plenary session asked if the president was afraid of the “fifth column of Navalny.” The head of the country replied that the oppositionist was not imprisoned for political activity.
– As for the defendants you mentioned, they are in places of imprisonment not for political activity, but for criminal offenses, including against foreign entrepreneurs working in Russia. And more than once. Moreover, they were, in fact, repeatedly forgiven for their violations of the law. This should someday have some consequences for those who do it, – said the head of the country.
In the end, Putin recalled that the country’s main opposition radio is funded by Gazprom. It’s about Echo of Moscow, which really belongs to the Gazprom Media holding.