The Globe And Mail

How fracking weakens Gazprom, the bedrock beneath Putin’s feet
The Globe And Mail

When the head of Bulgaria’s state gas company sat down with officials from Russian energy giant Gazprom a couple of months ago to negotiate a new supply contract, it should have been an unremarkable event. Not this time.

For years, there had been no real negotiations: Bulgaria imports all its gas from Gazprom and the Russians simply dictated the terms of any deal and charged the small country up to four times the going price for natural gas. But this time Bulgaria pushed back and demanded a 20-per-cent discount. To the shock of many analysts, Gazprom agreed.

The concessions to Bulgaria were just the latest example of a seismic shift in energy geopolitics that is under way as Gazprom’s dominance fades. But now Gazprom is under threat. Over the past five years, the technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked vast amounts of shale gas in the United States, Canada, North Africa and the Middle East. Suddenly gas is in abundance, prices are falling and the possibilities of shipping liquefied natural gas, or LNG, on tankers around the world seem endless.

Mr. Putin has tried to hit back, deriding fracking as dangerous and warning the EU that its competition probe could result in less gas flowing to the West.

Maintenant que l’on sait que Vladimir Poutine déteste le gaz de schiste, le processus de réconciliation entre le président russe et la gauche peut débuter.