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Energy Crisis-UK Industry Could Grind to a Halt

Energy Crisis-UK Industry Could Grind to a Halt

British Army Begins Deliveries To Ease Fuel Crisis

British Army Begins Deliveries To Ease Fuel Crisis

Last week, British Army personnel were on standby as service station pumps ran dry across the country, forcing vendors to ration sales as a shortage of truck drivers strained supply chains of major oil and gas suppliers. AFP reports Monday that as many as 200 military tanker personnel have been deployed to alleviate the energy crisis.

Troops in military fatigue were spotted across London and southeast England, delivering various fuel grades to gas stations to alleviate fuel shortages.

“More than half of those who have completed training to make fuel deliveries are being deployed to terminals serving London and the south east of England, demonstrating that the sector is allocating drivers to areas most affected in this first phase from Monday,” a UK government spokesperson said.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the fuel crisis is abating, and signs of stabilization were materializing.

“While the situation is stabilizing, our Armed Forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts,” Wallace said. 

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), representing 65% of the country’s independent service stations, welcomed the news of military supporting efforts to resupply service stations but warned the soldiers were likely to have minimal effect.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said 20% of the fueling stations in London and southeast England were out of fuel, and the rest of the country had adequate supply.

For two weeks, long queues of motorists at gas stations extended into city streets as people panic hoarded fuel due to the uncertainties of shortages.

The Looming Energy Crisis: People Are Going To Die This Winter

For many months myself and many of the investors I work with have become increasingly concerned at the growing instability and insecurity of energy markets. The 4 times spike in Gas prices this year has been a shocking wake-up call, highlighting energy insecurity in Europe and particularly the UK. Gas prices will remain elevated for months to come. The consequences are going to be brutal – and fatal for some.

Energy – whether derived from fossil fuels, nuclear or renewables – is a commodity and the critical thing about commodities is: “You can’t print commodities like you can print money. The rules are not the same,” says my good friend and head of commodities at Shard, Ashley Boolell.

Commodities are volatile and dangerous. Oil has doubled in recent months. But the thing about Gold, Silver, Palladium and copper prices is; no matter how volatile they are, they are simply investment opportunities or traps, and are unlikely to kill us.

Energy is different. It can kill us.

That was conclusively demonstrated earlier this year in Texas. A swift series of winter storms crashed the Texan grid when gas infrastructure failed in the cold, renewables weren’t delivering, and the deregulation of its energy system had delinked Texas from both US power Grids – making it difficult to import energy. Over 200 people died as a result of power outages.

Fast forward to this winter, and the UK and Europe are in the direct firing line of the coming energy storm. The security of energy supplies has never looked less certain. In the UK, neglected storage means we have the capacity to story 3-4 days of Gas…

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

UK Energy Crisis Shows Danger of Net Zero Emissions Policies: Aussie Senator

UK Energy Crisis Shows Danger of Net Zero Emissions Policies: Aussie Senator

The push for Australia to legislate a net zero emissions target has spurred discord from some government officials who firmly believe the climate policy could harm Australia’s energy security and industry amid the UK’s own unravelling energy crisis.

Australia has faced criticism for not setting a 2050 net zero target—a goal already undertaken by many of the world’s developed countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

But Nationals Senator Matt Canavan suggested that the UK’s unfolding energy crisis is a direct consequence of its “net zero” emissions plans via a shift to so-called renewables and banning coal power.

“The UK has been trying to reach net zero. They’ve passed legislation to do that,” Canavan told 2GB radio. “They’re not there yet, but they’re on the path. And already down that path, they are seeing a situation where industry is being asked to shut down just to keep the lights on.”

Over the last 50 years, the UK has weaned itself of coal generation and become more dependent on gas as its primary source of electricity generation—much of which is imported from Europe.

Further, heavy investment into renewables over the last decade has also boosted wind output, contributing to 24 percent of total generation in 2020.

Epoch Times Photo
The United Kingdom’s coal, gas, nuclear and renewable energy consumption from 1965 to 2019. Source: Our World in Data. (The Epoch Times)

However, the UK has recently experienced a 400 percent spike in gas prices, and a 250 percent price rise for electricity after a confluence of unforeseen factors throttled the country’s supply—including record low wind levels, a fire at a major France-UK electricity interconnector, nuclear plant outages, and a gas shortfall sweeping Europe.

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UK To Deploy Reserve Tanker Fleet And Military To Ease Energy Crisis

UK To Deploy Reserve Tanker Fleet And Military To Ease Energy Crisis

Gas stations in English metro areas are running dry after six days of buying panic worsened shortages caused by insufficient truck drivers. For days, the UK government has contemplated the use of military truck drivers to replenish gas stations. Now there’s word the government’s reserve tanker fleet will be operational on Wednesday afternoon, and military truck drivers will be coming online in days.

On Wednesday, Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said the government’s Reserve Tanker Fleet will be on the road by this afternoon to boost deliveries of fuel to gas stations. The force is comprised of civilians and will provide logistical capacity to the fuel industry.

“A senior defense source says troops are set to start driving fuel lorries to petrol stations later this week after the Ministry of Defence approved an official request for assistance.”

Kwarteng elaborated today on the plan to field upwards of 150 soldiers to deliver fuel.

“The last few days have been difficult; we’ve seen large queues. But I think the situation is stabilizing; we’re getting petrol into the forecourts. I think we’re going to see our way through this,” he said.

The Petrol Retailers Association, which oversees about 5,500 independent petrol stations, said 37% of its members’ stations were out of fuel on Tuesday.

A shortage of approximately 100,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers caused supply chain stress through the petrol industry – there’s plenty of fuel at refiners. Still, the issue has been the lack of drivers to transport fuel to gas stations.

Besides calling in the military, the world’s fifth-largest economy has begun to issue temporary visas to 5,000 foreign HGV drivers.

The shortage of drivers has fractured supply chains as an energy crisis has also rippled through power markets and the food industry. The scenes playing out in the UK over the last six days are reminiscent of the chaos of the 1970s.

Millions of Britons Could Face ‘National Shortage’ of Turkeys This Christmas

Millions of Britons Could Face ‘National Shortage’ of Turkeys This Christmas

Trees and toys also at risk, suppliers say

Millions of Britons could face a “national shortage” of turkeys, toys, and trees this Christmas due to a lack of skilled European employees following Brexit, according to the chair of a farming association.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) last month said the UK is facing a shortage of around 100,000 HGV drivers, which along with Brexit, has been further exacerbated by people leaving the industry as well as the pandemic, which halted driver training and testing for nearly a year.

As a result, food supply chains have been drastically disrupted, leading to shortages across some UK supermarket shelves.

Kate Martin of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA) told the PA news agency that Christmas could see a “national shortage” of turkeys on the UK’s supermarket shelves, driven by the declining supply of skilled European workers.

While small British farms that use local workers have been less affected by the undersupply, supermarkets are likely to see the worst of it, the TFTA said.

“This year it’s looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we’re talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm,” Martin said.

“It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier on turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground, only because the big processers know that they will not get them processed.”

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

Panic-Buying Could Leave 90% Of UK Gas Stations Dry; BoJo Considers Calling In Army To Resupply

Panic-Buying Could Leave 90% Of UK Gas Stations Dry; BoJo Considers Calling In Army To Resupply

UK politicians panic as similarities to the 1970s-style “winter of discontent” of shortages and socio-economic distress have already materialized. Prime Minister Boris Johnson requested the Army to begin fuel deliveries to petrol stations.

According to Reuters, 90% of petrol stations could run dry across major metro areas on Monday after buying panic accelerated the crisis of low fuel supplies due to a shortage of truck drivers.

The buying panic began shortly after BP plc, a multinational oil and gas company, warned last Thursday that a shortage of truck drivers is inhibiting the oil company’s ability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations. By Saturday, lines of cars spilled over into the streets at petrol stations and continued into the new week. The shortage has been made worse because of hoarding.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), which oversees about 5,500 independent petrol stations, said about two-thirds had run dry by Sunday night, and the Reuters figure is 90% by Monday.

PRA chairman, Brian Madderson, said hoarding had worsened the crisis as it may take weeks to restock fuel supplies in the country. He said the government’s plan to increase heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers would not be a quick fix.

Speaking with BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, Madderson warned:

“I’ve talked to a lot of our members… They serve the main roads, the rural areas, the urban roads, and anywhere in between 50% and 90% of their forecourts are currently dry, and those that aren’t dry are partly dry and running out soon.”

In a move to boost HGV drivers, the government is considering calling the military to transport fuel to petrol stations. The country needs at least 5,000 more HGV drivers after it lost drivers post-Brexit and after the COVID-19 pandemic, which adds even more woes not just to the fuel supply chain network but has also disrupted food supplies at supermarkets.

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

UK’s Fertilizer Crisis Spreads To EU After Another Firm Slashes Output

UK’s Fertilizer Crisis Spreads To EU After Another Firm Slashes Output

Europe’s energy crisis has claimed another victim, with Austrian fertilizer producer Borealis AG slashing the output of ammonia after the cost of the primary feedstock, natural gas, compresses margins in an industry already facing tight supplies, according to Bloomberg.

Borealis’ ammonia-producing plant uses natural gas to make fertilizer. The high cost of natgas makes fertilizer uneconomical to make. This is yet another sign of deepening woes for the industry after the UK government said it would provide “limited financial support” to help CF Industries restart one of its fertilizer plants this week.

The culprit behind surging natgas prices has been declining flows into Europe via Russia, though there are signs natgas shipments could increase in November. But that won’t alleviate high prices because stocks on the continent are well below average ahead of the winter season, indicating Europe’s energy crisis may drag on for months.

Disruptions of ammonia supply and other fertilizers have had a significant impact on the production of carbon dioxide supply in the UK, sending the industry into a tizzy and rippling through food supply chains, such as slaughterhouses to packaging to carbonated drinks to dry ice production.

Commodity analysts at CRU Group said half the continent’s ammonia capacity could be at risk due to dwindling production because of elevated natgas prices. Spot prices  of ammonia per ton in Western Europe have surged from around $225 per ton at the beginning of the virus pandemic to $700 per ton this month.

Borealis’ reduction in ammonia production is a sign the fertilizer crisis continues to ripple across the continent. The company said Thursday it would analyze the situation” regarding its plants in Austria, France, and the Netherlands – not much detail was given.

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Soaring energy prices in Europe are forcing U.K. factories to shut down

Soaring energy prices in Europe are forcing U.K. factories to shut down

Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for energy supplies, with gas and power prices breaking records day after day

Europe’s energy crunch has forced a major fertilizer maker to shut down two U.K. plants, the first sign that a record rally in gas and power prices is threatening to slow the region’s economic recovery.
CF Industries Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it’s halting operations at its Billingham and Ince manufacturing complexes due to high natural gas prices, with no estimate for when production will resume. European gas and power futures tumbled Thursday on signs energy-intensive industries are curbing consumption.The move comes as Europe is facing an extreme squeeze for energy supplies, with gas and power prices breaking records day after day. The continent is running out of time to refill storage facilities before the start of the winter as flows from top suppliers Russia and Norway remain limited. There’s also a fight for shipments of liquefied natural gas, with Asia buying up cargoes to meet its own demand.

The crisis could have severe economic consequences. Soaring prices are exposing the risk of power outages this winter, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Blackouts would likely send energy prices even higher, compounding concerns about inflation and adding to the rising costs businesses are already shouldering for raw materials.

CF has so far taken the most drastic move of companies operating in the region, but others are warning of the likely blow-back.High energy prices are creating “inflationary pressure on every other cost” that will end up being passed on to customers, said Pascal Leroy, senior vice-president of core ingredients at Roquette Freres SA, a food processing company based in northern France. And France’s top sugar producer, Tereos, warned of surging natural gas prices raising production cost for the company “tremendously.”

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

Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards “Winter Of Discontent”

Panic Hoarding Gasoline Begins As UK Plunges Towards “Winter Of Discontent”

One day after oil giant BP warned about rationing gasoline and diesel at UK service stations, Brits began to panic buy fuel as the government tried to calm fears.

Lines of cars and trucks are spilling over into the streets at service stations across the country. A BP spokesperson said Thursday that a truck driver shortage has resulted in its inability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations. These words spooked the public, which could cause a more severe shortage due to the hoarding.

The scenes of long lines at gas stations bring back memories of the 1973 Opec Oil Crisis, the 2000 fuel shortage, and the virus pandemic disruptions amid fears the country is diving headfirst into a 1970s-style “winter of discontent” of shortages and socio-economic distress.

On Friday afternoon, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Brits on Sky News that there was no fuel shortage and for “everyone to carry on as normal.” His soothing words weren’t enough to stop the buying panic, which is expected to continue into the weekend.

Gasoline and diesel shortages will only stoke higher prices amid an expanding energy crisis that has resulted in another shortage: natural gas. This has caused power prices to erupt and disrupted chemical plants that halted fertilizer production, and has caused headaches for major food supply chains. Brits are also panic hoarding food.

The Daily Mail provides a list of issues that threatens a winter of discontent:

1. A shortage of natural gas causing a spike in gas bills for millions of Britons, along with the possibility of dozens of small energy firms going bust; 

2. However ministers say ‘there is question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes. There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s’; 

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Crisis by design

Crisis by design

Believe it or not, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has every right to stand before the nations of the world and lecture them on climate change.  Not that Johnson himself has done much to address the crisis (indeed, given that having children is the single biggest cause of climate change at this point, Johnson’s inability to keep his willy in his pants makes him an exemplar of much that is toxic in our culture).  But as the current political head of a country which has done more than most to pursue the bright green vision of a world without fossil fuels, he has every right to ask others to follow Britain’s lead.

They won’t do it, of course.  US President Biden has already restated American motorists’ God-given right to cheap gasoline.  Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping may be promising to cut other people’s access to coal-power, but China still consumes half of the world’s coal and shows no sign of curbing its own coal-fired growth.  Germany talks a good Energiewende, but it still depends upon fossil fuels for two-thirds of its electricity, and is not pledged to end coal-fired generation until 2038.

In fact, Britain appears to be the only developed state to swallow the Big Green Lie at face value:  The claim that it is entirely possible to operate a fossil fuel-based industrial economy without fossil fuels.  Starting with the smallest, and easiest to transform, sector of the economy – electricity generation – we were promised not only that a seamless transition was possible, but that it would be cheap and easy.  Indeed, it was precisely the promise that wind turbines and solar panels were getting cheaper which persuaded the Blair government to sign up to a policy to generate 20 percent of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources.

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

UK Tells People To Stop “Panic Buying” As “Winter Of Discontent” Fears Emerge

UK Tells People To Stop “Panic Buying” As “Winter Of Discontent” Fears Emerge

UK politicians are in utter panic as similarities to the 1970s-style “winter of discontent” of shortages and socio-economic distress could rear its ugly head in the coming months, according to Reuters.

A significant driver in what could very well be a hellacious winter for Brits is soaring natural gas and electricity prices that have already disrupted segments of the UK economy and sent shockwaves through energy markets, chemical producers, and the food industry, among others. Compound this all with labor shortages thanks to Brexit, and the dire situation may worsen.

Some Brits who remember the past worry a winter of discontent could be imminent. Many are facing extraordinary high power bills and sharp food inflation that are eating away at wages, along with shortages of goods at supermarkets.

The primary driver of this chaos is soaring natural gas prices due to declines in Russian flows to Europe, along with a drop in renewable power output. The soaring cost of natgas has pressured chemical firms that use the gas in production to limit or halt operations. One such industry is fertilizer that is a byproduct of natgas. From there, the decline of fertilizer has affected CO2 production, which heavily impacts food supply chains.

People are paying attention to the developments of the energy crisis and its immediate ripple effect across the economy and are taking no chances of being left without food. Many are panic buying food as government officials try to calm everyone down, reassuring everyone the winter of discontent is not upon them.

“There is no need for people to go out and panic buy,” Small Business Minister Paul Scully told Times Radio.

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

BP Prepares To Ration Gas At UK Service Stations Amid Supply Woes

BP Prepares To Ration Gas At UK Service Stations Amid Supply Woes

Compounding the ongoing UK energy crisis is BP plc, a multinational oil and gas company, which said it plans to restrict deliveries of gasoline and diesel across its network of service stations in the country amid a truck driver shortage, according to ITV.

ITV, citing a BP spokesperson, said a shortage of truck drivers is inhibiting the oil company’s ability to transport fuel from refineries to its network of service stations.

According to ITV, the disruption is expected to cause BP to announce fuel “restrictions” at service stations “very soon.” 

The spokesperson said a “handful” of service stations have already closed due to the lack of unleaded gasoline and diesel.

Last Thursday, BP’s Head of UK Retail, Hanna Hofer, spoke with the Cabinet Office about the diminishing supplies and said BP had two-thirds of fuel stock levels required for normal operations. She expects fuel stocks to stabilize and began rebuilding in October, but there could be a few weeks of disruptions at the pump.

The spokesperson added:

“These have been caused by delays in the supply chain, which has been impacted by industry-wide driver shortages across the UK and we are working hard to address this issue.”

A lack of truck drivers is due to several factors, including Brexit and the virus pandemic. Since Brexit, there are estimates that several thousand truck drivers from the EU are thought to have been lost.

This is more bad news for Brits, who are already experiencing hyperinflating natural gas and electricity prices, along with other disruptions caused by the energy crisis.

‘Revolutionary in a quiet way’: the rise of community gardens in the UK

Royal Horticultural Society sets up first Community Awards as community gardens become more common

Lucy Mitchell, a community project worker with the Golden Hill Community Garden, in Horfield, Bristol.
Lucy Mitchell, a community project worker with the Golden Hill community garden, in Horfield, Bristol. Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/The Guardian
“The first melon of the season always tastes amazing,” says Lucy Mitchell. “I don’t think anyone has ever taken one home – every year, we just cut them into as many slices as there are people in the garden and make sure everyone gets a melon moment.”

After almost a decade of being involved with the Golden Hill community garden in Horfield, Bristol, she never gets complacent about the significance of these simple things. “We remember ‘Big Jim’, the biggest sunflower who ever grew here, or the miracle sunflowers that grew in the gravel and we wait for the frogs to return to the pond. These things all layer into our story and we look forward to them.”

Community gardens are becoming ever more common across the UK, and at the end of September, the Royal Horticultural Society will announce the winners of its first Community Awards.

“Where groups like this existed, communities seemed to be more resilient when it came to a crisis [like Covid] because they had a pre-established network of volunteers and people already knew each other so they could easily offer support,” says Kay Clark, who heads up the RHS community gardening programme. “With wellbeing and nature connection becoming top priority during lockdown, we had this massive surge of interest in gardening and the community groups were there to help people learn how to garden, teach skills, share knowledge, plants, tools and all sorts as well as inspire people and cheer them up.”

Gardeners chatting at the Golden Hill community garden in Bristol
Gardeners chatting at the Golden Hill community garden in Bristol Photograph: Adrian Sherratt/Alamy

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UK Power Suppliers Halt Adding New Customers As Energy Crisis Worsens

UK Power Suppliers Halt Adding New Customers As Energy Crisis Worsens

There’s a growing risk that a bankruptcy wave of power providers is nearing as several small firms stopped accepting new customers Tuesday amid a worsening energy crisis, according to Bloomberg.

Ampower, Green, Igloo, NEO, and Utilita Energy posted notices on their websites earlier today that they weren’t accepting new customers. This comes as several weaker rivals have already gone bankrupt as natural gas and power prices surge to record levels, leaving power suppliers who sold energy at lower prices underwater.

We noted Monday, out of the 55 or so power suppliers, only six to ten will be left standing after the smoke clears. So far, five have gone bust since the start of August, which coincides with surging wholesale costs of natural gas and electricity.

“A lot of the smaller ones are probably going to go,” said Niall Trimble, managing director of consultant Energy Contract Co. “If you were planning to buy gas for 50 pence and it’s 150 pence, that’s a hell of a blow to your finances.”

Bloomberg Intelligence’s Patricio Alvarez said low inventories in Europe ahead of the winter season are primarily the triggers for U.K.’s energy crisis. Here’s more:

Low gas inventories in Europe, ebbing pipeline imports and strong Asian demand driving liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo diversions form a constructive backdrop for regional wholesale gas prices into heating season. Tapering domestic output, competitive global LNG markets and increased gas burn for power generation amid carbon-price volatility may keep balances tight in 2022 as a post-pandemic recovery unfolds. A mild winter could ease prices from record highs, while piped supplies could improve from higher Norway volume and the potential startup of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 by year-end.

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