Chevron holds four shale concessions in Poland—Frampol, Grabowiec, Krasnik and Zwierzyniec—which total approximately one million acres. In the Grabowiec concession, drilling of the first well was completed in March 2012, followed by a diagnostic fracture integrity test in December 2012. A first well also was drilled in the Frampol concession in 2012. In the Zwierzyniec concession, drilling began in December 2012. Continued exploration drilling is planned for 2013.
Chevron holds more than 2 million acres in Romania, including a 1.6-million-acre concession in the Barlad Shale. We plan to drill an exploration well in 2013. We hold three additional concession agreements covering 670,000 acres in southeast Romania. Acquisition of 2-D seismic data across these concessions is expected to begin in 2013.
Chevron successfully bid for the right to exclusively negotiate with the government of Ukraine for the Oleska Block. The company is expected to operate and hold a 50 percent interest in the 1.6 million-acre concession.Ukraine holds promise for shale gas despite uncertainty
This gas pipeline map graphically illustrates Gazprom's real problem. A major competing gas field is appearing literally underneath a major existing east-west gas pipeline running into central Europe. Drill wells and immediately begin selling to Germany and other existing Gazprom customers. And also undercut Gazprom's pricing by a touch.
The extent to which US-based multinational oil and gas firms are directly displacing Russian enterprises in supplying the EU is remarkable. Chevron and Exxon are very prominent in the emerging offshore and shale plays.
I think the imminent threat of Ukrainian shale gas development is a factor in forcing Putin's hand over the EU trade deal. Putin's regional Great Power ambitions are backed entirely by strong arm hydrocarbon diplomacy. Putin's domestic political position equally rests on stable and elevated hydrocarbon prices to fund the state budget.
He has no revolutionary ideology with mass appeal in religion, politics or economics. Nor does he possess a large internationally recognized sphere of dominance like Stalin obtained at Yalta in 1945.
Nor does he have a large land army with which to intimidate and subdue neighboring states. He's only managed to convert a portion of the shrunken Army to "kontraktniki" (well-paid professional volunteers). These guys are the ones suppressing the Muslim insurgents in the Caucasus. If Putin attempted to openly intervene in the Ukraine with the available and virtually untrained conscript military forces it would produce a political explosion in Russia's own internal politics. This is addition to the surge of Ukrainian nationalist opposition that would ensue.
Putin's risk arises not just from the example being set for Russian domestic opponents. If Putin is seen to be responsible for alienating and finally "losing" the Ukraine he'll find himself in trouble with the Russian Deep State.
Will Ukraine Break Apart (New Yorker)
As this piece notes, modern Ukraine in its present form is an artifact of the 1945 Yalta Conference and the post World War II order. Just like Yugoslavia. Unfortunately for all concerned, this latent instability is now compounded by a happenstance of geology and the recent maturation of the technology for exploiting shale gas reserves. Adjoining neighbors like Poland now have motives that were missing when the Ukraine was a poor and primarily agrarian land.
The gas pipeline map shows the major incentives and rational objectives of a partition strategy from Putin's perspective. He can't stop development in Polish Lublin or near Lviv. He at least needs to keep control of infrastructure in the eastern Ukraine. Offshore Black Sea oil and gas tract concessions are also at stake.This suggests that the interests of all parties align in supporting a de facto partition rather than a civil war in Ukraine in which neither side could establish stable, long-term control of the other.
The short two-part answer is:
1. Frustrate Moscow's ambitions to dominate Eurasia. The operative strategic analyses employed are MacKinder's World-Island Theory as subsequently and heavily modified by modern hydro-carbon fuel economics: The Geographical Pivot of History.
2. Continue to improve the EU's Central European position with respect to its hydrocarbon fuel supplies. The Neocons were already deeply worried about the growth of NATO dependence on Gazprom and the eastern pipelines in the mid-1980s. This has been on their radar for decades.
The overall objective is to destroy Putin's capacity to set marginal natural gas prices in Europe. If pipelines under the Baltic and Black Seas are feasible so are pipelines under the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to France, and from the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean to Greece and southeastern Europe. Add some LPG terminals and European shale gas operations and this is achieved.
There may be a third goal in trying to set an example for domestic Russian opponents, which exist in great numbers. I think it's more likely the Russian Federation's Deep State will find another leader first.Thank you, A.C., for your perspective on this complex, fast-evolving situation.Sometimes strategic goals can be met not by establishing overt control (i.e. becoming a target) but by indirectly thwarting the goals of competing Deep States.
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