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Surprise: Gazprom “Completely Halts” Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak

Surprise: Gazprom “Completely Halts” Nord Stream Gas Supplies Due To “Unexpected” Leak

After a 3-day halt, Russian energy giant Gazprom was expected to resume critical supplies of nat gas to Europe via Nord Stream 1 tomorrow, but it appears that Putin is enjoying the game of cat and mouse a little too much, and gas flows won’t be getting restored any time soon, because moments ago Gazprom announced that it had “completely halted” transport of gas to Nord Stream until a previously undetected oil leakage is rectified. That could takes hours, days… or months.

  • GAZPROM ISSUES STATEMENT ON NORD STREAM 1 MAINTENANCE
  • GAZPROM: TRANSPORT OF GAS TO THE NORD STREAM PIPELINE HAS BEEN COMPLETELY HALTED UNTIL FAULTS ARE RECTIFIED
  • GAZPROM: DURING ROUTINE MAINTENANCE WORKS OIL LEAKAGE WAS DETECTED
  • GAS SUPPLIES TO NORD STREAM FULLY STOPPED
  • GAZPROM STATEMENT GIVES NO TIME FRAME FOR RESTART OF GAS SUPPLY THROUGH NORD STREAM 1

To quote Walter Sobchak, “Mark it zero” for the foreseeable future.

That means that Europe will now be forced to rely even more on… well… Russian gas, in the form of much more expensive LNG resold by China. And after tumbling by more than 50% in the past few days, we fully expect European gas prices are about to go super parabolic and take out all time highs as soon as trading returns on Monday.

The news promptly sent spoos sliding back under 4000.

European power prices shatter records as energy crisis intensifies

Power prices in Europe continue to smash records, intensifying the region’s energy crisis and fanning fears about access to electricity and heating as the weather begins to cool.

Russia is one of the world’s top producers of oil and natural gas.
German power prices for next year, which are considered Europe’s benchmark, briefly jumped above €1,000 ($999.80) per megawatt hour on Monday before falling back to €840 ($839.69) per megawatt hour.

“This is not normal at all. It’s incredibly volatile,” said Fabian Rønningen, a senior analyst at Rystad Energy. “These prices are reaching levels now that we thought we would never see.”

Prices have jumped since Russia’s Gazprom announced that it would shut down the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline for three days starting Wednesday to perform maintenance work, reigniting fears that Moscow could completely shut off gas to Europe, which is racing to stockpile supplies ahead of the winter.

When the crucial pipeline went offline for repairs for 10 days in July, many policymakers feared it wouldn’t come back. When Russia did restart operations, flows were significantly reduced.

France’s nuclear sector, which provides about 70% of the country’s electricity, is also struggling with lower output, pushing up the country’s energy prices.

The Czech Republic announced Monday that it would convene an emergency meeting of Europe’s energy ministers in Brussels next week as the region hunts for solutions.

Businesses are concerned they may have to periodically halt operations over the winter if power is in short supply, while households could struggle to pay soaring heating bills. The fallout could trigger a deep recession.

There was some reason for optimism on Monday. German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said the country’s gas inventories were filling up, and the country won’t have to pay the high prices currently commanded by the market.

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

Oil and Natural Gas Energy at the Crossroads

Oil and Natural Gas Energy at the Crossroads

Paradigm Shift: End of the Oil Age

The world thinks it’s in an energy crisis today and indeed there are shortages in some places but the world is undergoing an energy crisis more fundamental than the simple shortage happening today in Europe. A shortage can be remedied.

The larger problem is that oil use began to decline from 48% of total world energy consumption after 1977 (Figure 1). This was the beginning of the end of the oil age.

Figure 1. The end of the oil age began with the price shocks of the 1970s. Oil consumption has fallen from 48% to 36% of total energy use since 1977. Source: EIA, BLS & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

 

Per-capita oil consumption has been flat since since 1985 (Figure 2). That means that individual worker productivity is not growing as it did before the oil shocks.

Figure 2. World per-capita oil consumption reached a peak in 1978 and has been on an undulating plateau since 1985. Source: EIA,FRED, OWID, BP & Labyrinth Consulting Services.

The world thinks that an energy transition is underway but fails to understand that transitions are additive. The relative percent of fuels changes but volumes rarely decrease. The world uses, for example, as much biomass today as in 1800 (Figure 3). Nor is there any likelihood that this transition will take 30 years instead of the century or longer period for earlier transitions.

Figure 3. Energy transitions are additive. The relative percent of fuels changes but volumes rarely decrease. The world uses as much biomass today as in 1800. Source: EIA, BP, IEA, FRED, OWWD, World Bank & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.

The real crisis today is that oil is the economy. The oil age has been ending for 50 years but there is no substitute for oil. Wind, solar and nuclear only address electric power generation which accounts for only 18% of world energy consumption…

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

Washington steals over 80 percent of Syria’s oil output per day

Washington steals over 80 percent of Syria’s oil output per day

The losses incurred by the trafficking campaign surpass $100bln, according to Syria’s oil ministry
https://media.thecradle.co/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/ustroopssyria2.jpg

(Photo credit: USA Today)

The Syrian Oil Ministry released a statement on 9 August accusing US forces occupying Syria of being responsible for the theft of most of the country’s oil.

“The amount of oil production during the first half of 2022 amounted to some 14.5 million barrels, with an average daily production of 80.3 thousand barrels, of which 14.2 thousand are delivered daily to refineries,” the oil ministry’s statement said.

The statement went on to say that “US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.

According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses nearing “about 105 billion dollars since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.

Additionally, the statement added that alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”

On 10 August, footage filmed by a Russian attack helicopter was released on social media, showing a convoy of trucks operated by the US military, smuggling stolen oil destined for Iraq, out of Raqqah.

Recently, the US army, which currently occupies northeast Syria, has been consistently looting the country’s oil and smuggling it into their bases in Iraq through several illegal border crossings.

Local sources in Syria’s Hasakah governorate reported on 6 August that the US army looted and smuggled dozens of oil tankers out of the country, making it the second stolen oil shipment by the US that week.

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

By wis.dom project: Regress in Progress: Who is responsible?

By wis.dom project: Regress in Progress: Who is responsible?

Dire Evolutionary Timeline by Blu

This is an essay from reader wis.dom project who describes his painful personal journey of connecting dots to achieve awareness of our overshoot predicament.

I was born in 1969, at a time when everything still seemed possible. On July 20, two people walked on the moon, which is probably the greatest technological achievement of man to this day. In my youth, I devoured novels by Asimov, Clarke, Lem, Dick and Herbert. The galaxy’s colonization seemed within reach.

45 years later, I realized that I was a victim of mass hypnosis, what I refer to today as techno-utopia – a belief in the limitless human development, genius and almost divine uniqueness of Homo Sapiens. I realized that industrial civilization, like any other dissipative structure, is doomed to inevitable collapse.

In 1972 – 3 years after my birth, a book titled The Limits to Growth was released by the Club of Rome. It was the first scientifically compiled report analyzing future scenarios for humanity. It indicated that unlimited development is not possible on a finite planet. The book was published in 30 million copies and was one of the most popular at the time. Surprisingly, despite the wide range of my readings, the book did not appear on my horizon for a long time. As if it was covered by another intellectual  “Säuberung”. In fact, it was the subject of an intellectual blitzkrieg and relatively quickly evaporated from the media circulation. I experienced this myself by talking to several university professors. Every one of them dismissed the LtG concept with a shrug and an unequivocal, non-debatable conclusion that the theory had long been discredited.

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

Is Saudi Oil Production At Capacity?

Is Saudi Oil Production At Capacity?

Use it or lose it – this principle might apply to Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity that is now eyed by the Western world to fill the Russia-sized gap in supply left behind by embargoes.

However, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below, Saudi Arabia in the past three years only approached its declared maximum production capacity of 12 million barrels per day in one month, casting doubts on the kingdom’s ability to quickly up its production to stabilize world markets. According to Bloomberg, such predictions have come from UAE leadership, who together with the Saudis are the only OPEC members who have spare production capacity – at least on paper.

Infographic: Is Saudi Oil Production at Capacity? | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Joe Biden is traveling to Saudi Arabia this week and the increase of the global oil supply will be on the top of the agenda for the U.S. president. Up until now, the Gulf kingdom and its OPEC allies have been reluctant to make major changes as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. OPEC stuck to its slow production increases that were scheduled to reverse Covid-era cuts between March and June, and only recently agreed to up production quotas faster in the coming months in the light of the dramatic world market developments. Saudi Arabia’s OPEC production quota for August 2022 stands at 11 million barrels a day – more than it has been in a long time and still a whole million barrels a day below the country’s elusive maximum quota.

As seen in data by the organization, Saudi Arabia has remained below its production quota prior to the Covid-19 epidemic and only once approached its declared maximum production capacity in April 2020 amidst a row with Russia that saw production quotas go out the window…

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

Is Saudi Arabia Exaggerating Its Oil Production Potential?

Is Saudi Arabia Exaggerating Its Oil Production Potential?

  • For years, Saudi Arabia has made some pretty hefty claims about its oil potential.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the Kingdom may be stretching the truth a little too far.
  • Analysts are now beginning to doubt that Saudi Arabia even has the reserves it says it has.

For many years now, Saudi Arabia has been wildly exaggerating every metric connected to its oil business, from how much crude it can produce to its level of reserves and everything in between, as analyzed in depth in my first book on the oil sector in 2015 and the latest one in 2021. Why does it lie so much and so often about these figures? Because without the power it has in the world directly associated with its crude oil production, spare capacity, and reserves it has no real power at all, so enormously exaggerating each of these figures is geared towards puffing itself up in terms of its geopolitical importance. The problem Saudi Arabia has right now, however, is that the U.S. and all other developed market countries whose economies are suffering under the weight of ongoing high oil prices are pressuring Riyadh to deliver on these claims, in order to bring these oil prices down. If Saudi Arabia had not been lying all these years about the amount of oil it can produce then it will not have a problem, but it has been, so it does.

To the figures themselves, then, and firstly, Saudi Arabia’s crude oil reserves figures. At the beginning of 1989, Saudi Arabia claimed proven oil reserves of 170 billion barrels, but only a year later, and without the discovery of any major new oil fields, the official reserves estimate had somehow increased by 51.2 percent, to 257 billion barrels…

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

Oil turbulence could last five years, ExxonMobil boss warns

Oil turbulence could last five years, ExxonMobil boss warns

Consumers must be prepared to endure up to five years of turbulent oil markets, the head of ExxonMobil said Tuesday, citing under-investment and the coronavirus pandemic.

Energy markets have been roiled by the Ukraine war as Russia has reduced some exports and faced sanctions while Europe has announced plans to wean itself off dependency on Russian fossil fuels in coming years.

Speaking ahead of ExxonMobil’s unveiling as the fourth international partner for Qatar’s natural gas expansion, chairman and chief executive Darren Woods said major uncertainty lies ahead.

“You are probably looking at three to five years of continued fairly tight markets,” Woods told the Qatar Economic Forum. “How that manifests itself in price will obviously be a big function of demand, which is difficult to predict.”

On top of under-investment in finding new oil sources in 2014-2015, Woods said the pandemic “really sucked a lot of revenues out of the industry”.

Woods said companies and governments needed to think long-term. “We are going to see a lot of volatility and discontinuity in the market place if we don’t get to more thoughtful policies,” he predicted.

Representatives from the Middle East energy industry also renewed calls for better planning in consumer countries.

Sheikh Nawaf Saud al-Sabah, chief executive of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, said the company was supplying all customers, but that multinational oil firms were not matching the investment of national oil enterprises.

– ‘Tremendous disruption’ –

As part of the Gulf state’s response, Kuwait was starting its first offshore oil exploration and building the world’s biggest oil refinery.

“We have never touched the offshore in Kuwait. The first offshore drill rig arrived in Kuwait a week ago and will start soon,” he said.

The new refinery would come online by the end of 2022, Sabah added.

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

Running on Empty, Part II

Running on Empty, Part II

How the Petrodollar Poisoned Foreign Policy with Financial Profiteering

Welcome to Part II of Running on Empty, my three-part analysis of the Petrodollar system. Part I of this series explained what the petrodollar system is, how it came to be, and what its financial effects have been on the United States. In Part II, I’ll explain the petrodollar’s implications for foreign policy. In Part III, I’ll show how those implications paved the way for the Russo-Ukraine War, and why that’s causing the system to break down.

America’s Chief Export is the US Dollar

As explained in the previous installment, the petrodollar system is based on an agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the deal, the US guarantees the security of Saudi Arabia and in exchange, Saudi Arabia guarantees that all petroleum is sold by OPEC for US dollars, with the US dollars re-invested into America via petrodollar recycling. The result: Since everyone needs petroleum, everyone needs US dollars. Oil replaces gold as the hard backing for the dollar. 1

Since the petrodollar system was put in place, the US has enjoyed a comparative advantage in manufacturing currency that no other nation enjoys. Under conditions of free trade, a country produces and exports more of a good for which it a comparative advantage, and produces less and imports more of the goods for which it doesn’t. And that’s what has happened: Since the petrodollar system was put in place in 1973, America has produced more and more dollars and produced less and less of everything else. The dollar is today our nation’s #1 export.

How large is the circulation of US dollars? As of April 2022, the American money supply, which economists call M2, stands at $21,728 Billion Dollars. M2 includes three types of money:

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

An Economic ‘Atomic Bomb’: Hungary Threatens EU’s Latest Sanctions Against Russia, Including Oil Embargo

An Economic ‘Atomic Bomb’: Hungary Threatens EU’s Latest Sanctions Against Russia, Including Oil Embargo

KEY FACTS

Orban, an ally to Putin who was reelected for a fourth term as prime minister in April, told Hungarian state radio on Friday that Hungary could not support proposed EU sanctions against Russia in their current form, according to multiple news reports.

Plans to ban Russian oil are far too costly and would amount to an “atomic bomb” being dropped on the Hungarian economy, he said.

Hungary would need at least five years and massive investment on infrastructure in order to manage without Russian oil, Orban said.

He said he is willing to negotiate a sanctions proposal that meets Hungary’s interests and is waiting on a new proposal from the European Commission.

While Orban’s objections are not surprising—Hungary is heavily dependent on Russian oil and has consistently shot down proposed energy sanctions against Moscow since it invaded Ukraine in February—they are a major obstacle for finalizing the bloc’s latest round of sanctions, which require unanimity from all 27 member states.

KEY BACKGROUND

Current plans would see most of the EU phase out Russian oil imports within six months, alongside disconnecting some of Russia’s largest banks from the SWIFT international finance system and banning Russian broadcasters from the region. When outlining the sanctions package on Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said ending the bloc’s “dependency on Russian oil…

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

Russia’s Oil Output Is Plummeting, And It May Never Recover

Russia’s Oil Output Is Plummeting, And It May Never Recover

  • Russia’s oil output is plummeting, and the decline is expected to worsen in May.
  • OPEC recently warned that markets could see the loss of more than 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquids exports.
  • With many global producers constrained in their capacity to boost production fast, oil prices are likely to remain elevated for the foreseeable future.

Russian oil production is falling. In March, it shed half a million bpd, which by the end of April reached a full 1 million bpd, according to BP’s CEO, Bernard Looney. And this may well grow to 2 million bpd this month. These barrels may not be returning to the market any time soon. As the European Union targeted a barrage of sanctions on Moscow, oil was excluded as a direct target but financial and maritime sanctions affected the industry. Now, the EU is proposing a full oil embargo, save for a handful of member states too dependent on Russian oil to comply, and this will mean a further loss of barrels at a time when the global oil market is already stretched thin.

“We could potentially see the loss of more than 7 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil and other liquids exports, resulting from current and future sanctions or other voluntary actions,” the secretary-general of OPEC, Mohammed Barkindo, told the European Union last month.

This does not appear to have made any lasting impression on the decision-makers in Brussels, who are moving full steam ahead with the oil embargo. Meanwhile, alternative suppliers would struggle to fill the void left by Russian oil.

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

The world has a major crude oil problem; expect conflict ahead

The world has a major crude oil problem; expect conflict ahead

Media outlets tend to make it sound as if all our economic problems are temporary problems, related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In fact, world crude oil production has been falling behind needed levels since 2019. This problem, by itself, encourages the world economy to contract in unexpected ways, including in the form of economic lockdowns and aggression between countries. This crude oil shortfall seems likely to become greater in the years ahead, pushing the world economy toward conflict and the elimination of inefficient players.

To me, crude oil production is of particular importance because this form of oil is especially useful. With refining, it can operate tractors used to cultivate crops, and it can operate trucks to bring food to stores to sell. With refining, it can be used to make jet fuel. It can also be refined to make fuel for earth moving equipment used in road building. In recent years, it has become common to publish “all liquids” amounts, which include liquid fuels such as ethanol and natural gas liquids. These fuels have uses when energy density is not important, but they do not operate the heavy machinery needed to maintain today’s economy.

In this post, I provide an overview of the crude oil situation as I see it. In my analysis, I utilize crude oil production data by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) that has only recently become available for the full year of 2021. In some exhibits, I also make estimates for the first quarter of 2022 based on preliminary information for this period.

[1] World crude oil production grew marginally in 2021.

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

What Is Oil and Why Is It So Special?

What Is Oil and Why Is It So Special?

I have written in here several times that no other form of energy can match fossil hydrocarbons in their energy density except for uranium, but uranium requires a nuclear reactor to be utilized; something that cannot be carried by hand (like a container of gasoline can). Oil is especially important not only because of its density, but also because of its portability and versatility. No other form of energy can be transported and utilized as easily as oil. Most of us are familiar with oil in the form of gasoline or diesel, but perhaps also in kerosene or fuel oil as well. Natural gas is actually higher in density, but requires slightly different storage and engines. This portability and versatility explains why so many power tools such as lawn mowers, chainsaws, spin trimmers, lawn edgers, and more are powered by gasoline. The same advantages are also why most cars, trucks, tractors, agricultural machines, mining equipment, and roadbuilding equipment all use gasoline or diesel as their source for energy (although there ARE quite a few commercial trucks and forklifts which use natural gas or propane).

In this article and podcast, two energy experts, Nate Hagens and Art Berman, answer these questions and more regarding oil:

  • How is oil formed?
  • How did we become dependent on fossil fuels?
  • How much human labor is equal to the amount of energy in one barrel of oil?
  • Where do the majority of carbon emissions come from, and what role can we humans play in helping us reduce emissions?
  • How much oil is left and what are future prospects for oil production and the economy?
For those who want to see the slideshow while they listen, here it is.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russian Ruble relaunched linked to Gold and Commodities – RT.com Q and A

Russian Ruble relaunched linked to Gold and Commodities – RT.com Q and A

With Russia’s central bank having just profoundly altered the international trade and monetary system by linking the Russian ruble to both gold and commodities, the journalists at RT.com in Moscow asked me to write a Q and A article on what these developments mean, and the ramifications of these changes on the Russian ruble, the US dollar, the gold price and the global system of currencies. This article has been published on the RT.com website here.

Regular readers will recall that I have contributed to quite a few RT.com articles before, such as about Australian gold (see BullionStar here), US Treasury gold (see BullionStar here), Poland’s gold (see RT site here), China’s gold (see RT’s Spanish site here), why buy physical gold (see RT site here), and gold price manipulation (see RT site here).

However, since RT.com is now blocked and censored in many Western locations such as the EU, UK, US and Canada, and since many readers may not be able to access the RT.com website (unless using a VPN), my Questions and Answers that are in the new RT.com article are now published here in their entirety.

Who would have thought that citizens of ‘free speech’ Western countries would need a VPN to read a Russian news site?

Why is setting a Fixed Price for Gold in Rubles significant?

By offering to buy gold from Russian banks at a fixed price of 5000 rubles per gram, the Bank of Russia has both linked the ruble to gold and, since gold trades in US dollars, set a floor price for the ruble in terms of the US dollar.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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