Sarkozy Counters Russia's Gazprom

Douglas Hanson
Russia's huge oil and gas conglomerate, Gazprom, is not only the world's largest energy distributor, but also controls most of the gas supplies shipped to Eastern and Central Europe.  Because of this near monopoly, Russian President Putin routinely punishes newly democratic former Soviet Republics and Eastern European nations for aligning with the West by restricting or completely shutting off their natural gas supplies.  All with the help  of former Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder I might add.

However, steps are being taken by French President Sarkozy to counter Putin's resource nationalism by pushing the merger of two of France's utility giants.  Voice of America reports  today that a merger between state-owned energy company Gaz de France, and the private utility Suez is expected to be complete in early 2008.  The new company, called GDF Suez, will have an estimated value of $123 million and will be the world's fourth largest energy distributor.  Negotiations between GDF and Suez have been going on for 18 months, but have been held up over,

...legal and financial disputes, and public protest over the potential privatization of the state-owned utility.

Sarkozy is now getting both parties off the dime to reach a deal, even agreeing to cut France's interest in GDF from 80 percent down to 35 percent.  It's clear Sarkozy's goal is to provide an energy alternative to Gazprom, thereby opening the door for Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics, such as Ukraine and Georgia to get out from under Putin's energy blackmail scheme.
Good news  continues to come from France under Sarkozy's administration.  Let's hope this trend continues.
Russia's huge oil and gas conglomerate, Gazprom, is not only the world's largest energy distributor, but also controls most of the gas supplies shipped to Eastern and Central Europe.  Because of this near monopoly, Russian President Putin routinely punishes newly democratic former Soviet Republics and Eastern European nations for aligning with the West by restricting or completely shutting off their natural gas supplies.  All with the help  of former Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder I might add.

However, steps are being taken by French President Sarkozy to counter Putin's resource nationalism by pushing the merger of two of France's utility giants.  Voice of America reports  today that a merger between state-owned energy company Gaz de France, and the private utility Suez is expected to be complete in early 2008.  The new company, called GDF Suez, will have an estimated value of $123 million and will be the world's fourth largest energy distributor.  Negotiations between GDF and Suez have been going on for 18 months, but have been held up over,

...legal and financial disputes, and public protest over the potential privatization of the state-owned utility.

Sarkozy is now getting both parties off the dime to reach a deal, even agreeing to cut France's interest in GDF from 80 percent down to 35 percent.  It's clear Sarkozy's goal is to provide an energy alternative to Gazprom, thereby opening the door for Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics, such as Ukraine and Georgia to get out from under Putin's energy blackmail scheme.
Good news  continues to come from France under Sarkozy's administration.  Let's hope this trend continues.