Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trump/Putin - Part III (Aug. 1)

As the controversy over Donald Trump’s remarks about Russia and Ukraine go viral, the monumental ignorance of America’s political leaders about world events has finally come front and center.  Donald Trump doesn’t know that Russia never invaded Ukraine, but he seems to think they might, while his Democratic adversaries are convinced it has, and that it annexed Crimea under military threat when in fact over 80% of its inhabitants are Russia and they overwhelmingly voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia, which the Crimea has always been part of except after 1954 when Khruschev, believing the Soviet Union was forever, gave it to Ukraine in a gesture of brotherly love.

This brings us to the subject of Paul Manafort’s past ties with the Ukrainian pro-Russian President, Viktor Yanukovich, who was ousted in an American-backed Neo-Nazi coup in 2014.  The media has mentioned these ties before, but probably because it hasn’t a clue as to Russia/Ukraine relations past or present, it has avoided going into any detail.  Today it is mentioned a friend of Manafort’s is involved in Black Sea oil.  (Note that the Crimea is a Black Sea peninsula…)

Here is a quote from today’s Guardian:

</blockquote>The coordinator of the Washington diplomatic corps for the Republicans in Cleveland was Frank Mermoud, a former state department official involved in business ventures in Ukraine via Cub Energy, a Black Sea-focused oil and gas company of which he is a director. He is also on the board of the US Ukraine Business Council.

Mermoud has longstanding ties to Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who in 2010 helped pro-Russia Viktor Yanukovych refashion his image and win a presidential election in Ukraine.…</blockquote/>

Hmmm, Cub Energy, here’s what its website says:

<blockquote> According to The World Fact Book, estimated oil production in 2012 was 80,400 Bbls/d, ranking Ukraine 52nd in the world in oil production. 

Naftogaz is the largest of the Ukrainian state-owned companies and it dominates exploration and production.  Naftogaz also owns the main oil and gas pipelines, gas processing facilities, the import and transit rights of gas and gas distribution rights in Ukraine.  Naftogaz has entered into agreements with many foreign companies to enable an acceleration of hydrocarbon development in Ukraine.  Cub is among the foreign companies active in Ukraine along with the recent entry by Shell and Chevron. <blockquote>  

It doesn’t make the front pages of American media, but some erudite figures in Washington have probably heard of Russia’s various pipe-line projects to bring gas to Europe.  One of them was set to pass through Ukraine, however after the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Russia sought other solutions including one which would bypass Ukraine for Turkey.

Further of interest to the campaign currently gathering steam to impale Trump on his relations with Russia, further links on the CUb energy website clarify the US claim that Russia could invade Moldova after biting off a chunk of Ukrainian real estate in the east.

</blockquote> Transcarpathian Basin
The Transcarpathian basin means the approximate 7,500 km2 region located in Western Ukraine bordering Hungary, Slovakia and Romania. The basin is estimated to have 4 Tcf of natural gas which, to date, remains vastly under-explored with only approximately three percent of the region’s hydrocarbon potential discovered. Cub Energy has a 100% working interest in two licenses and a 50% working interest in the third license for a total of 99,000 gross acres (net 61,500 acres).<blockquote/> 

Moldova is part of the Transcarpathian basin. 

And lo and behold, the two Russian-majority rebel areas in the east of Ukraine are part of the

</blockquote> Dnieper-Donets Basin
Located in Eastern Ukraine, the Dnieper-Donets Basin has produced vast amounts of coal, oil and gas. Despite the long history of production, this vast 31,000 km2 region still has immense untapped potential.  Cub’s application of western drilling technology combined with high domestic natural gas prices has resulted in wells with rapid payback periods and high IRRs for the Company.</blockquote>

The question is whether the US-installed government of Petro Poroshenko, its security dependent on Neo-Nazi militias, can be relied upon by Cub Energy to fulfill whatever its role is in the twin energy project.

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