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Six Million Britons Could Face Power Rationing If Russia Cuts Supplies 

Six Million Britons Could Face Power Rationing If Russia Cuts Supplies 

Millions of UK households could face a treacherous winter riddled with power blackouts if Russian natural gas supplies to Europe stop, according to The Times, citing a government report.

Officials from Whitehall have drawn up a “reasonable” worst-case scenario, outlining widespread natgas shortages are possible if Russia continues to tighten the supplies to Europe.

A Whitehall source said:

 “As a responsible government, it is right that we plan for every single extreme scenario, however unlikely.

“Britain is well prepared for any supply disruptions. Unlike EU countries, our North Sea gas reserves are being pumped out at full pelt, Norwegian rigs are directly connected into the UK, and we have the second-largest LNG import infrastructure in Europe – whereas Germany has none.”

The model assumes UK natgas imports from Norway could be slashed by half. Then it assumes no imports of natgas from interconnectors in the Netherlands and Belgium, due to protectionist measures. This would cause authorities to shutter UK natgas power plants and energy-intensive industrial facilities to keep natgas flowing to households.

Reducing natgas power generating capacity on the grid would trigger rolling blackouts for six million homes. Rationing of power would be during peak weekdays between 0700-1000 to 1600-2100.

The UK has vowed to phase out Russian fossil fuels and simultaneously extend the lifespan of Somerset nuclear power plant Hinkley Point B for 18 months despite decommissioning plans at the aging facility and extending the life at coal-fired power plants despite the greenifying of the economy (this will outrage climate alarmist Greta Thunberg).

The Whitehall source added: “Given the EU’s historical dependence on Putin’s gas, the winter could be very hard for countries on the continent.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm”

European Natural Gas Prices To Triple In “Perfect Storm”

A top commodity research firm in Norway warns a “perfect storm” is brewing as European energy security worsens following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could result in the tripling of natural gas prices.

“There simply is not enough LNG around to meet demand. In the short term, this will make for a hard winter in Europe

“For producers, it suggests the next LNG boom is here, but it will arrive too late to meet the sharp spike in demand. The stage is set for a sustained supply deficit, high prices, extreme volatility, bullish markets, and heightened LNG geopolitics,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst for Gas and LNG at Rystad Energy, wrote. 

Rystad Energy said the EU has an “ambitious target to reduce dependence on Russian gas by 66% within this year – an aim that will clash with the EU’s goal of replenishing gas storage to 80% of capacity by 1 November.”

The firm said shunning Russian natgas from the continent destabilizes the entire global natgas market, which had a turbulent 2021 year-end with prices skyrocketing across Europe because of the lack of supplies. EU is currently reducing reliance on Russian natgas and has unveiled the possibility of banning Russian fossil fuels. This will only lead to more trouble for the EU, where prices could rise even higher.

Learn more with Rystad Energy’s GasMarketCube.

According to the report, 155 billion cubic meters of Russian natgas flowed into Europe in 2021, representing about 31% of the continent’s natgas supply.

Replacing a significant portion of this will be exceedingly difficult, with far-reaching consequences for Europe’s population, economy, and for the role of gas in the region’s energy transition,” Rystad Energy noted.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rockefeller Foundation President Starts Countdown Until All Hell Breaks Loose

Rockefeller Foundation President Starts Countdown Until All Hell Breaks Loose

Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah told Bloomberg Television’s David Westin a “massive, immediate food crisis” is on the horizon.

Shah provides what could be a timeline for the next global food crisis that could begin “in the next six months.” 

He said global fertilizer supply disruptions caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine would have an “even worse” impact on the crisis, slashing crop yields worldwide.

Shah said debt relief and emergency aid for emerging market countries are needed to mitigate the effects of the food crisis.

Shah’s appearance on Bloomberg is interesting because of the foundation’s repetitive talk about the need for the global food supply to be reset to a more sustainable one. The foundation has closely aligned views with the World Economic Forum (WEF), advocating for a ‘global reset‘.

WEF founder Klaus Schwab famously said in early 2020, months after the virus pandemic began, “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.”

While Schwab and other global elites have been calling for a global reset, Rockefeller Foundation’s managing director of Food Initiative Sara Farley has echoed the same message.

Farley’s note published on WEF’s website titled “How to reimagine our food systems for a post-COVID world” outlined the need to “redesign supply chains with nutrition and human health in mind.”

Rockefeller Foundation’s senior vice president of Food Initiative Roy Steiner recently said, “the world is spending far too much on foods that are bad for people and bad for the planet.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Renewables Can’t Solve Europe’s Energy Crisis

Why Renewables Can’t Solve Europe’s Energy Crisis

  • Europe has been aggressively pursuing a clean energy future and the end of fossil fuels, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the shortcomings of renewables.
  • The soaring prices of key metals and the length of time it takes to implement renewable energy projects have meant Europe is turning to fossil fuels to solve its energy crisis.
  • The EU is planning to replace Russian gas with LNG imports, coal, and even fuel oil, with a relatively small amount of the gas to be replaced by wind and solar.

Germany is preparing for gas rationing. France’s power grid operator is asking consumers to use less electricity. In the UK, protests are breaking out over the latest electricity price hike that plunged millions of households into what one local think tank called fuel stress. Europe has a serious energy problem.

The problem dates back years and points to a persistent complacency on the part of European governments that whatever happens, there will always be gas from Russia. After all, even during the Cold War Russia pumped billions of cubic meters of gas to European countries. Now, things are different, and it’s not just because of the war in Ukraine.

Europe has been enthusiastically trying to reduce its dependence on all fossil fuels, not just Russian gas, for a few years now. The EU recently boasted that in 2022 renewable energy sources accounted for 37.5 percent of gross electricity consumption, with wind and hydro constituting two-thirds of the total renewable energy output. Why, then, one wonders, would Germany have to brace for gas rationing and France ask its citizens to consume less electricity? Now that has a bit to do with the war in Ukraine…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Limits to Growth: Natural gas fertilizer that feeds 4 billion of us

Limits to Growth: Natural gas fertilizer that feeds 4 billion of us

Preface.  In chapter 4 of my book “Life After Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Energy“, I explain how it came to be that fertilizer is made out of natural gas, using the energy of natural gas, and why it allows at least 4 billion of us to be alive. Yet natural gas is finite. And now there are shortages due to high prices.  In the U.S. Congress voted to allow natural gas to be exported several years ago, partly to help Europeans not become dependent on Russian gas and fall into their sphere of influence.  But now it’s costing farmers all over the world so much many will go out of business. In the U.S., especially small farmers who don’t get subsidies like the huge farms do.

High Natural gas prices in the news:

2022 Rising price of fertilizer is forcing NC farmers out of the business. North Carolina farmers say the cost of fertilizer has tripled over the past two years and is threatening to drive smaller farms out of the business entirely. The spike in cost has left family farms looking for ways to stay afloat while still producing enough food. As one of the most essential tools in agriculture, fertilizer makes up 15% of all farming costs in the U.S., according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. But since September 2020, the cost of fertilizer nationwide has spiked up to 300% as demand for its primary ingredients like ammonia and liquid nitrogen has soared. One farmer said that “Now everybody’s going to chicken litter, and we can’t even find the chicken litter now to do for our farm.”

***

2021 This Chemical Is in Short Supply, and the Whole World Feels It. New York Times.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia-Ukraine War and the Changing Energy Landscape.

Russia-Ukraine War and the Changing Energy Landscape.

The can of worms that is our global use of energy, has been levered open yet further by the escalating war in Ukraine. Prices of all types of energy had already been hiked dramatically as a result of a strong economic rebound post-covid, but with limited capacity to meet additional demand. As a result of a potential embargo on Russian fuels, the UK price of natural gas briefly hit 800p per therm, or sixteen times that of March 2021. Oil prices too, are at a high not seen since just before the Great Recession of 2008, with Brent crude spiking at $128 a barrel, and driving record prices for petrol and diesel. Since energy underpins everything we do, its cost sets the baseline for all other commodities, including food, whose prices are also surging globally.

Europe is dependent on Russia for around 40% of its gas, thus making any supply restrictions extremely problematic, to put it mildly: for example, if Russia were to carry out its threat to cut off the gas. Similarly, refusals by the West to buy Russian oil beg the question of whether matching quantities can be secured from elsewhere. Given that oil is the lifeblood of industrial civilization, and we run the risk of a demand/supply gap, leading to soaring prices – $200 a barrel has been suggested – the economic consequences would almost certainly be catastrophic.

The European Commission has now pledged to curb massively its purchase of Russian gas: by some two thirds by the end of this year. The proposed mechanism for this includes establishing a greater diversity of suppliers, biomethane production, and energy efficiency strategies for buildings, including behavioural changes such as turning down thermostats to curb energy demand. Indeed, demand reduction must be a salient part of any viable future energy blueprint.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

All the World is a Stage: How the Global Drama is Being Played Out

All the World is a Stage: How the Global Drama is Being Played Out

The “Commedia dell’Arte” was a form of popular theatre, often played without a script. The masked actors would improvise according to the characteristics of their “persona”, their mask.

There are many ways of predicting the future, and my remote ancestors, the Etruscan Haruspices, would do it by examining the liver of a freshly killed goat. I may have inherited from them my interest in the future, although I don’t usually go around killing goats.

A gentler way of studying the future consists in considering the world as a stage. You know what the characters are, what they want, the way they usually behave. Then, when you put them on stage, they may act and create a drama even without following a script. It was the way the ancient Commedia dell’Arte worked. No script, actors would just play their part, according to their “persona.” a term that in Latin means “mask” and that in our times came to be related to “personality,”

It may also work for states. They have a certain persona, a way to behave that may be predictable. About two months ago, I proposed an interpretation of the current drama patterned on an older drama: the European tragedy of World War 2. The actors, the states, were different, but their masks were very similar, and I sketched out what their behavior could have been.
You see how things are going: the world powers are acting on stage as their masks impose them to do. In particular, the EU is playing the role that was of Italy in 1940. The lack of natural resources forces the EU to depend on foreign sources, in particular on importing natural gas from Russia — which plays the role that was of Britain in the 1930s: that of fossil fuel exporter…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

European NatGas Jumps 64% As Chance Of Russian Energy Ban Ignites Mayhem

European NatGas Jumps 64% As Chance Of Russian Energy Ban Ignites Mayhem

European natural gas futures soared Monday after reports the Biden administration was considering curbs on Russian crude imports sent shock waves across commodity markets.

Brent surged to $137/bbl and quickly pared gains to trade near $125/bbl around 0630 ET. The focus is European natgas futures, Dutch gas, which jumped as high as 64% to 335 euros a megawatt-hour — the equivalent of around $600 a barrel of oil.

Chaotic energy markets came after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC this past weekend that the Biden administration is in “very active discussions” with European leaders to restrict Russian oil imports.

Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S, told Bloomberg he’s at a “lost for words” for the latest price action of natgas. “Margin calls and very illiquid and uncertain markets driving this move,” he said.

Bloomberg notes that EU GDP could be slashed by as much as 1% or 2.2% annually should Russia’s natgas flows drop to zero. Even in today’s high price environment, the continent is expected to take a 0.6% hit. To ensure energy security, EU leaders have accelerated renewable energy projects and are also talking with other energy exporters, such as the US, Qatar, Norway, Egypt, Algeria, and Azerbaijan, to meet their natgas needs.

Even though spring is less than two weeks away, heating demand is still elevated, and energy inflation is crushing the pocketbooks of households across the continent. Also, one energy provider ceased to provide heating oil to the parliament building of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo because of soaring prices, newspaper Faktor reported, which means the facilities are currently without heat.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia bans ammonium nitrate exports until April to support domestic farmers

Russia bans ammonium nitrate exports until April to support domestic farmers

Russia has banned the export of ammonium nitrate (AN) from Feb. 2 to April 1, in a widely-expected move by the government as it seeks to guarantee affordable supplies for domestic farmers following the spike in global fertilizer prices.

Ammonia gas, one of the key materials in AN production, has seen prices rise more than fivefold since October 2020. Rising costs for natural gas, a key input of AN production, have also impacted AN prices. Those higher prices have forced farmers to reconsider their nitrogen fertilizer usage, favoring legumes such as soybeans, which require less nitrogen fertilizer than corn and wheat. Ammonium nitrate is one of two main sources of nitrogen fertilizer, with the other main source of nitrogen being derived from urea.

“Additional demand has arisen on the domestic market for ammonium nitrate from both agricultural producers and industrial businesses,” Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement released late Feb. 1 on its website. It said that the warm winter in southern Russia had brought forward spring sowing by several weeks and so stimulated demand for nitrogen fertilizers.

It is unclear what the effect of this news will have on further increases in fertilizer prices. However, one source importing European fertilizer to the UK said Feb. 2 that the news “had already been in the pipeline, and [AN] stocks have been built, certainly in the UK.”

Russia represents around two thirds of the world’s annual 20 million mt ammonium nitrate production, most of which is used in fertilizers to improve yields for crops such as corn, cotton and wheat.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations expects total nitrogen fertilizer production to be around 190 million mt in 2022, according to its most recent market outlook published in 2019. Non-nitrogen fertilizers can also be produced from phosphoric acid and potash, and the FAO put production of those two substances at 64 million mt and 65 million mt, respectively.

Russia Warns Of “Brave New World” Of Higher Gas Prices After Germany Halts Nord Stream 2

Russia Warns Of “Brave New World” Of Higher Gas Prices After Germany Halts Nord Stream 2

Update (0900ET): Europe’s energy crisis deepened Tuesday as Germany halted the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. Putin’s right hand man, Dmitry Medvedev responded to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s comments about the certification of the controversial Russia-to-Germany natural gas pipeline that ‘can’t happen right now’ by tweeting:

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has issued an order to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Well. Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2.000 for 1.000 cubic meters of natural gas!

Based on Medvedev’s tweet, translating MWh to cubic meters, it appears gas prices for Europe could be headed back to crisis levels not seen since late 2021.

Europe is heavily reliant on Russia for its gas needs, and to block the Nord Stream 2’s certification will only create havoc in European energy markets.

Europe’s ultra-low gas storage levels for this time of year will keep the market very tight even beyond the winter season.

* * *

At a moment the United States and Europe are busy mulling over what sanctions to impose on Moscow for Putin’s independence recognition for Ukraine’s separatist republics – on the one hand wanting Russia to feel the pain as a warning against moving further into Ukraine (beyond what the Kremlin is dubbing “peacekeeping” troops in Donetsk and Luhansk, which entered the republics overnight), and on the other wanting to avoid severe enough economic measures that would almost guarantee immediate escalation – Germany on Tuesday has announced it has halted the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Europe relies primarily on imports to meet its natural gas needs

Europe relies primarily on imports to meet its natural gas needs

Europe (EU-27) and the United Kingdom (UK) natural gas supply

Source: Graph created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from Eurostat and the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL) annual liquefied natural gas trade reports
Note: Due to reporting requirements, some volumes of pipeline-imported natural gas are not attributed to a source country.

Imports of natural gas by both pipeline and as liquefied natural gas (LNG) provided more than 80% of the supply of natural gas to the countries of the European Union (EU-27) and the United Kingdom (UK) in 2020, up from 65% a decade earlier. During 2020, natural gas imported into the region by pipeline made up 74% of all natural gas imports, and LNG accounted for the remaining 26% of total imports.

Pipeline imports of natural gas into the region come from Russia, Norway, North Africa, and Azerbaijan. Pipeline imports originating in Russia—the largest supplier in the region—grew from about 11 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2010 to more than 13 Bcf/d in 2020 (a low consumption year due to COVID-19 related impacts). Despite construction of new pipelines, imports from Norway averaged around 9 Bcf/d between 2010 and 2020, as development of new fields in the Barents Sea section of the Norwegian offshore Continental Shelf was insufficient to offset declines from mature fields in the North Sea.

major natural gas delivery routes into the European market

Source: Map created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from Fluxsystem; Gazprom; BBL, TANAP; TAP; Norske Petroleum; Gassco; Ireland 2050; National Grid; Hrvatska LNG; SNAM; Orsted; and CRE.fr

Although LNG imports made up about 26% of all natural gas imports, they provided about 20% of all of the natural gas supplied to the EU-27 countries and the UK in 2020. LNG imports tend to fluctuate from year to year—from as low as 3.6 Bcf/d in 2014 to as high as 10.1 Bcf/d in 2019…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The gas price crisis – in a hole, stop digging, here’s how to climb out…

Does it seem odd that in a gas price crisis, there are people arguing we should dig ourselves deeper into the grip of that particular fuel? We’ve been here before – and it never ends well. A poorly regulated banking system crashes and its defenders say that even less rules are needed to recover. Or, house prices go through the roof and instead of controlling property speculation, more money is poured into the market without building more homes.

In the grip of yet another fossil fuel price crisis, there are already voices saying that we need more of what got us into the mess in order to escape it. It’s like thinking, ‘my head hurts because I knocked it, if I hit it even harder the second knock will take away the pain of the first.’ When it comes to the energy issue, some seem incapable of even imagining a situation in which economies stop hitting themselves on the head with further fossil fuel addiction.

And, that’s a shame, because there’s an abundance of evidence of the ability to shift rapidly to much less economically and ecologically painful energy systems.

Collaborating with UK research body Nesta, the Rapid Transition Alliance looked at several cases of successful escape pathways from dependence on gas, with all its pollution and price volatility.

The first flush of transition

Gas is still a very common fuel used for heating homes, being literally plumbed into our daily lives. The idea that this could change quickly is hard to grasp. But it’s easy to forget how recently and radically home life has changed in many European homes. Only two generations ago, one in four homes in England and Wales still lacked an indoor shower, bath or toilet. In just over two decades, that number fell to 1%.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ray McGovern asks: Is Nord Stream 2 Dead in the Water?

Ray McGovern asks: Is Nord Stream 2 Dead in the Water?

Does President Joe Biden consider himself King of Europe, with a kind of eminent (or is it “imminent”) domain over multi-billion-dollar projects like the German-Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline? That’s sure what it sounded line yesterday at the joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Biden’s royal deportment was discussed yesterday on The Critical Hour, as well as the various visits of top European leaders in recent days; Macron to Moscow, as well as Scholz to Washington.

Never before has the subjunctive mood carried such alarming connotation. Everything depends, you see, on IF Russia Invades Ukraine. I have told my interviewers that, IF Russian troops outrace Godot into Kiev (See: Godot Likely To Arrive Before Russia Invades Ukraine), I will stand corrected. Today, when I referred back to my insistence for months that Putin is not stupid enough to invade Ukraine (See, for example, this), my radio hosts mercifully avoided asking whether I thought an invasion was “imminent.”

The ‘Botch From Hell’ on Nordstream 2

Some congress members have been saying for months that, IF the Russians invade Ukraine, “sanctions from hell” will be imposed on Russia. Biden’s misbegotten gaffe, however, might well be described as “the botch from hell”, since he asserted imminent – sorry, I mean eminent – domain over Nord Stream 2. Poor Chancellor Scholz was standing right there, no doubt wishing he could hide behind his podium until the next question. He did stay, of course, and in the process proved himself quite accomplished in evasiveness and circumlocution.

By pre-arrangement, Biden picked a Reuters reporter to ask the first question:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dwindling French Gas Stockpiles Stoke Fears Of Winter Blackouts

Dwindling French Gas Stockpiles Stoke Fears Of Winter Blackouts

The Brits aren’t the only European nation to find itself on the verge of a full-blown energy crisis.

On Thursday, French natural gas pipeline operator GRTgaz warned that French gas stockpiles are much lower at this point in the year than they have been during years past – and as a result, they run the risk of potentially being depleted before the winter is up, a disaster that could make last year’s deep freeze in Texas look tame if a sudden cold snap sends demand soaring.

According to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe, France’s stockpiles were about 34% full as of Feb. 1, which is well below the five-year average of 42%. Inventories are now at the lowest seasonal level since 2018, when a brutal winter cold snap nicknamed “the Beast from the East” left French reserves standing at just 3% when the heating season was over.

“We’ll probably be close to zero toward the end of March, and we remain vigilant on that topic,” GRTgaz chief Thierry Trouve said in a presentation in Paris Thursday.

It’s the most precarious for French gas inventories since they arrived at their lowest seasonal level since 2018. Inventories are now at the lowest seasonal level since 2018, when the country ended the heating season with storage at a record-low of just 3%.

And gas prices are much higher today than they were back then.

Fortunately, mild weather is expected to continue across much of Europe this month. But further down the road, limited Russian shipments to Europe and surging demand as economies reopen following the omicron wave could create problems, especially if a late-season cold snap should arise.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows

Turkey Hit By Unprecedented Power Outages As Iran Halts Gas Flows

  • A disruption to natural gas imports from Iran has caused an unprecedented level of power cuts in Turkey.
  • The power cuts have largely impacted major industrial zones, with some companies forced to halt production as a result.
  • Iran claims that its natural gas flows have been restored but Turkey has said its supplies and gas pressure remain very low.

Turkey is undergoing massive power cuts to industrial customers this week at an unprecedented level never seen before after the country’s natural gas supplies dipped following a disruption of imports from Iran. Major industrial zones and clusters and major production sites, including those of foreign car manufacturers, are being hit by power outages after Iran said at the end of last week it would halt natural gas exports to Turkey for ten days, due to technical issues.

On Friday, Iran announced that gas flows were restored, but Turkey said supplies were very low and at low pressure.

“The system is being disrupted due to the low amount and pressure. The compressor stations on the Turkey side are ready, operational, and there are no technical issues on the Turkish side,” a Turkish official told Reuters on Friday.

Gas supply from Iran to Turkey has yet to fully resume, which puts major industries under power cuts this week, according to Turkey’s main electricity distribution company TEIAS, cited by Bloomberg.

As of Monday, Turkey’s industrial production will stop completely for at least three days, Daily Sabah reported on Sunday.

Gas accounts for more than half of the country’s electricity generation, and Iran’s halting of flows comes at a time of surging gas imports for Turkey, which have become much more expensive due to the crumbling Turkish currency, the lira.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

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