By Simon Cox – 4 June 2017It was the end of the week and there were more than a dozen big winners.
The biggest was a Russian-controlled joint venture called Gazprom.
It had bought the gas rights to a field owned by a group of Russian-based companies.
These included the Rosneft-owned Petropavlovskoye and Lukoil-owned Novatek.
Together they were worth more than US$100 billion.
The deal meant that Gazprom would have control over the entire Siberian Basin of gas, and its gas would have to be liquefied, which means it would flow through pipes to the rest of the world.
But the deal was controversial.
Russia was concerned that it would not be able to deliver the gas needed for the UK to meet its energy needs.
So it bought a licence from the US to export natural gas to Europe.
But the deal did not come cheap.
Gazprom has been able to extract almost $1.5 trillion from the Siberian Basin.
The US has been keen to get a piece of that pie.
Its natural gas export pipeline runs from California through the Gulf of Mexico, which carries the gas to markets in Asia.
The company has also been able a buy back the gas that is being sold in the US.
And the US has put more than $1 trillion into the pipeline, which it hopes to build into a network of pipelines across the US and the world in the next few years.
The first Russian-owned pipeline was a small one that ran from the port of Baikal in Russia to Vladivostok in Siberia.
The second was a much bigger one running through Russia and China.
Both were signed in the 1990s.
But in the late 2000s, when Russia’s economy was in a tailspin and the collapse of the Soviet Union had already set in, there was a major push to find a solution to the gas crisis.
Russia and the US agreed that the two countries should build a pipeline from the Black Sea to Europe via the Atlantic, so that the European Union could feed into it.
This was a big political win for Russia.
It gave it a foothold in the European market, a lucrative source of cheap gas.
The pipeline was also a great boon to Gazprom, because it meant that it could continue to sell Russian gas to the US at the same time that it did so to Europe and Asia.
Russia also benefited from a deal that came with some hefty upfront costs.
The deal called for Gazprom to get up to $15 billion from a $60 billion gas-liquefaction project in the Arctic.
But that project, which would have cost the US $2.5 billion, was canceled by the Obama administration.
The project had been set to be built by Russian state-owned company Gazprom under a 20-year contract.
But in November last year, the company’s board decided that the company had not fulfilled its financial obligations and had no intention of continuing with the project.
So the contract was cancelled.
Gazprom then turned to the European Commission for an alternative gas project.
This was the $5.5-billion Southern Gas project.
The Southern Gas pipeline was supposed to have been built under the Black and Caspian Seas and carry gas from Siberia to Europe through the Baltic Sea and through Europe to the UK.
But Gazprom had a problem.
The cost of building the pipeline was much higher than expected, and it had to go to a new supplier.
So Gazprom turned to Germany.
The company had already signed a deal with Germany’s Schoenefeld-owned ThyssenKrupp AG to build a gas pipeline between the German-owned Alstom-owned EWE pipeline and the EWE-owned OAO-owned Nordstream pipeline.
So why would Gazprom seek to make a deal in the middle of the crisis with its biggest rival?
In part, it was about money.
Gazpro had a very low debt rating and it was in the best financial shape it could be, said Alissa Shevchenko, an analyst at energy consultancy Energy Aspects in Brussels.
But a bigger reason was the politics of gas.
A deal to sell to Europe meant that Russia would be able more easily access its markets for energy, and that meant that Europe could feed its domestic energy needs with Russian gas.
And it would give Russia the right to export the gas in bulk to the EU and the rest.
This is why Gazprom was so keen to see the US sign a gas deal.
And its willingness to sell Russia gas to EU countries is also important.
Gas prices in Europe are notoriously low, and many countries have been unwilling to pay for Russian gas at market rates.
But US President Donald Trump was keen to do a deal to give him leverage over Russia and to boost his own domestic energy sector.
He has made clear his preference for a deal