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Cyprus gets bailout offer from Russian gas giant Gazprom

Cyprus could get an economic boost from Russia's Gazprom if Cyprus is willing to sell exploration rights to the promising offshore natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea, Kennedy writes.

By Charles KennedyGuest blogger / March 21, 2013

People queue at an ATM outside a closed Laiki Bank branch in capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday. Securing the rights to Cyprus’s undeveloped gas reserves would give Gazprom a strong supply of gas and continued power for generations to come, Kennedy writes.

Petros Giannakouris/AP

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Cyprus is in a bit of a piggle, but the European Union has offered a solution; they will bail out the Cypriot banks and in return take a percentage of all deposits held in those banks. Obviously this is a rather extreme solution, and one that has been met with rage by the millions of people who keep their savings in Cypriot accounts.

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Russia’s business and political elite rely heavily on Cypriot offshore accounts to avoid taxes and political risks at home, and according to Moodys, they stand to lose around $3.1 billion due to the proposed offer.

Gazprom has apparently offered a deal to save the Cypriot economy, and the Russian wealth held there, by suggesting that Cyprus sell it the exploration rights to the promising offshore natural gas deposits in the Mediterranean Sea.

This offer just highlights Gazprom’s willingness to seize any opportunity and exploit any weakness in an attempt to increase its position and power within Europe

Securing the rights to Cyprus’s undeveloped gas reserves would give Gazprom a strong supply of gas and continued power for generations to come, and also prevent any potential competitors from extracting the reserves to threaten Gazprom’s monopoly in Europe.

Hardly surprisingly the Cypriot government flatly rejected the EU bailout plan, but no announcement has been made in regards to the Gazprom offer.

Original source: http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Gazprom-Offers-to-Bail-out-Cyprus-in-Exchange-for-Exploration-Rights.html

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