For weeks, everyone with a keyboard and Internet access has been checking how WikiLeaks could affect their corner of the world — and the natural gas world is apparently no exception.
During the last few days some odd things have developed connecting the natural gas industry to WikiLeaks. It began when some folks over at Reddit began tracking who is combing through the endless data released by WikiLeaks. Not surprisingly, the leading city in terms of WikiLeaks searches is Herndon, Va., home of the CIA and other private intelligence contracting companies. The second city in this particular list is Sterling, Va. This has lead to some interesting and perhaps wild speculation.
The speculation surrounds a company known as NGI, or Natural Gas Intelligence, based in Sterling. NGI is basically a trade publication for the natural gas industry, and a company whose website serves as a clearinghouse for all things natural gas. Still, for the sake of feeding the speculation, many are asking why a natural gas information hub would care about what is released in WikiLeaks. Most of the speculation surrounds natural gas interests in Russia. Yep, Russia.
One site quotes a Guardian report that claims WikiLeaks has released cables that reveal “gas supplies from Russia to Ukraine and the E.U. states are partially linked to the Russian mafia.” Now, if you’re still reading this, you may be thinking that these sources seem a little sketchy. Would you feel any better if I told you this same report appeared in the crime and mafia trade publication, MafiaToday.com? (I know I feel better just knowing this publication exists. I mean, all my life I have been looking for a way to easily get all my organized crime information in one place. Now I can end my search. Still, no word if the site has developed a Droid or iPhone app.)
Other speculation surrounding WikiLeaks and the natural gas industry has to do with the location of what the United States claims is one of the most important pipelines in the world. Once again, like all ridiculous scare tactics ranging from Joseph McCarthy to Golden Eye, it has to do with Russia. This time the speculation surrounds the Yamal-Europe pipeline that delivers massive amounts of natural gas from the Siberian towns of Yamal and Nadym to several points in western Europe. The security concerns may have to do with the location of the pipeline as a potential terror attack. But, I find this hard to believe. After all, it is (the very public) Wikipedia and not WikiLeaks that reveals the location of the pipeline.
My personal opinion, for whatever that's worth, is that Sterling, Va.’s high rank on the WikiLeaks search list has nothing to do with the natural gas industry, NGI or Russia. A lot of people who work for the government and can’t search WikiLeaks at work live in Sterling. Perhaps they go home and check it out after dinner. Or, maybe the CIA has servers down there or something nerdy like that. Or perhaps it is a huge Russian-natural gas scandal and I’m in on it, too. After all, I am a sucker for good vodka. (Who am I kidding? I’m also a sucker for bad vodka.)
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