Following controversial remarks from President Trump at yesterday’s NATO summit meeting, ASP’s Chief Operating Officer Andrew Holland was asked to contribute an article to POLITICO.
Trump remarked, “Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they are getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.“ In response, Holland’s article is titled “What Trump Should Have Told Germany About Russian Gas.”
Holland clarifies that Trump’s statement was based on existing US policy of opposing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would carry large amounts of gas from Russia to Germany. But Holland adds some important context:
“Germany currently receives about half its gas supplies from Russia — if the new pipeline were to replace other sources of gas on a one-to-one basis, it could indeed rise to 60 to 70 percent. However, gas makes up less than 20 percent of Germany’s energy mix for power production, with renewables, coal and nuclear making up the balance. There are good reasons to oppose the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but “total control” of Germany by Russia is not one of them.”
Additionally, Holland suggests that the President look further East to find countries that depend on Russian gas to a concerning degree.
“Due to the long history of Soviet-era gas infrastructure, countries like Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the three Baltic states — all members of NATO and the EU — are far more reliant on Russian gas. In these countries, there is a long history of high-level corruption related to gas contracts along with threats to abruptly raise prices or cut supplies.”
Finally, Holland offers this recommendation for Trump’s upcoming summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin on July 16:
“[Trump] should tell President Vladimir Putin to reduce the culture of corruption in Gazprom, to stop trying to undermine European democracies with crass threats and shakedowns, and to support free and open trade in energy across the continent.”