Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Natural Gas

While we're enjoying natural gas prices in the $6 per decatherm, or million BTU, or 1,000 cubic feet price range here in the U.S. thanks to the mild winter and abundant supply, the ongoing nat gas crisis involving Belarus is nothing short of astrounding. The Stratfor people (see link in the right column) sent this email dispatch a little while ago as part of their daily updates of problems around the world:

"BELARUS: Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko said Belarus will increase transit fees for Russian natural gas going though its territory to Western Europe if Russian energy giant Gazprom increases its prices for gas to Belarus. Semashko's comment follows Gazprom's announcement that it will increase the cost of gas for Belarus from $46 per 1,000 cubic meters to $200."

Keep in mind 1 cubic meters = 35.3146667 cubic feet (ah, what would we do without Google), so even at $200 per 1,000 cubic meters that price is still pretty darned good... but still a gargantuan shock to various parties involved. Read more about the situation via this Business Week story. Bigger and nastier natural resources disputes are just one more pleasant thing to look forward to as we move deeper into the 21st century.

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