Tag Archives: Natural gas

We Already Have Clean Energy, by Paul Rosenberg

Nuclear power is as clean as you’re going to get for a non-intermittent energy source. From Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

The phrase “clean energy” has emanated from official podiums, world over, in recent years. The implication, of course, is that the energy sources we’ve been using are filthy. That, however, is not the case. We already have and use clean energy. And it is far, far better than replacements the podiums expect us to suffer for.

We use clean energy every day, and it works exceedingly well. I think we should be happy about that.

I was confronted with this fact quite some years ago, while working on an alternative energy project. Here are the pounds of particulate matter (aka, dirt), produced when generating a billion BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measurement of heat):

Coal               2,744

Oil                      84

Natural Gas        7

Nuclear               0

As you can see, we already have clean energy, in the form of natural gas and nuclear power. (Burning wood in a fireplace, by the way, dwarfs all the figures above.)

Continue reading→

Russia Is Quietly Making The Case For Owning Gold, by Schiffgold

The Russian government and its central bank prefer to use a medium of exchange that can’t be “cancelled” by a foreign government or central bank. From Schiffgold at schiffgold.com:

Russia has quietly made the case for owning gold.

The head of the Russian Parliament, Pavel Zavalny, made comments recently addressing the subject of economic and financial sanctions. It’s clear that gold is playing a large role in protecting Russian wealth. That role may get bigger and it could create a paradigm shift in how the world does business.

Russia has a lot of natural gas and oil. And it sells a lot of natural gas and oil to the world. Zavalny made it clear that Russia is happy to sell — in hard currency. And what is hard currency? Not dollars.

If they want to buy, let them pay either in hard currency, and this is gold for us, or pay as it is convenient for us, this is the national currency. As for friendly countries, China or Turkey, which are not involved in the sanctions pressure. We have been proposing to China for a long time to switch to settlements in national currencies for rubles and yuan. With Turkey, it will be lira and rubles. The set of currencies can be different and this is normal practice. You can also trade bitcoins.”

Zavalny said Russia has no interest in dollars, saying “this currency turns into candy wrappers for us.”

Continue reading→

Meet the New, Resource-Based Global Reserve Currency, by Pepe Escobar

The petrodollar is no more, and the dollar is no longer considered the reserve currency in a substantial portion of the world. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

A new reality is being formed: the unipolar world is irrevocably becoming a thing of the past, a multipolar one is taking shape

It was something to behold. Dmitri Medvedev, former Russian President, unrepentant Atlanticist, current deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, decided to go totally unplugged in an outburst matching the combat star turn of Mr. Khinzal that delivered palpable shock and awe all across NATOstan.

Medvedev said “hellish” Western sanctions not only have failed to cripple Russia, but are instead “returning to the West like a boomerang.” Confidence in reserve currencies is “fading like the morning mist”, and ditching the US dollar and the euro is not unrealistic anymore: “The era of regional currencies is coming.”

After all, he added, “no matter if they want it or not, they’ll have to negotiate a new financial order (…) And the decisive voice will then be with those countries that have a strong and advanced economy, healthy public finances and a reliable monetary system.”

Continue reading→

Edging towards a gold standard, by Alasdair Macleod

The Ukraine-Russia war is become as much a financial as a military war, if not more so. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Commentators are trying to make sense of Russian moves. However, there is a back story which differs from much of the speculation, which this article addresses.

The Russians have not put the rouble on some sort of gold standard. Instead, they have repeated the Nixon/Kissinger strategy which created the petrodollar in 1973 by getting the Saudis to agree to accept only dollars for oil. This time, nations deemed by Russia to be unfriendly will be forced to buy roubles – roughly 2 trillion by the EU alone based on last year’s natural gas and oil imports from Russia — driving up the exchange rate. The rouble has now doubled against the dollar from its low point of RUB 150 to RUB 75 yesterday in just over three weeks. The Russian Central Bank will soon be able to normalise the domestic economy by reducing interest rates and removing exchange controls

The Russians and Chinese will be acutely aware that Western currencies, particularly the yen and euro, are likely to be undermined by recent developments. The financial war, which has always been in the background, is emerging into plain sight and becoming a battlefield between fiat currencies, and it is full on.

The winner by default is almost certainly gold, now the only reliable reserve asset for those not aligned with Russia’s “unfriendlies”. But it is still a long way from backing any currency.

Continue reading→

Europe Energy Independence Is Impossible with The Current Policies, by Daniel Lacalle

Europe would have to deemphasize wind and solar, allow more development of oil and natural gas, and promote nuclear energy to get within field-goal range of energy independence. From Daniel Lacalle at dlacalle.com:

Europe is not going to achieve a competitive energy transition with the current interventionist policies. Europe does not depend on Russian gas due to a coincidence, but because of a chain of mistaken policies. Banning nuclear in Germany, prohibiting the development of domestic natural gas resources throughout the European Union, added to a massive and expensive renewable roll-out without building a reliable back-up.

Solar and wind do not reduce dependency on Russian natural gas. They are necessary but volatile and intermittent. They need back-up for security of supply from nuclear, hydro, and natural gas. Dependency rises in periods of low wind and little sun, just when prices are highest.

“Solar goes to zero for twelve hours a day, and that is guaranteed. The wind blows sometimes, and sometimes it does not, also guaranteed. They both depend on weather, which is 100% out of human control. They are on their best day a supplement” wrote a Navy pilot follower.

Batteries are not an option either. It is impossible to build an industrial-size network of enormous batteries, the cost would be prohibitive and the dependency on China build them (lithium etc.) would be even more of a problem. At current prices, a battery storage system of Europe’s size would cost more than $2.5 trillion, according to an MIT Technology Review paper. Massively more expensive than any other alternative.

Just the added cost of a battery grid plus the distribution and transmission network would make household bills soar even further.

Inflation was already out of control in Europe before the invasion of Ukraine was even a risk. CPI in Spain was 7.6%, in Portugal it was 4.2% and in Germany, 5.1%. Euro area CPI was 5.8%.

Continue reading→

The West’s Green Delusions Empowered Putin, by Michael Shellenberger

Anything that raises the price of oil and natural gas benefits Russia, and green energy policies are doing just that. From Michael Shellenberger at bariweiss.substack.com:

While we banned plastic straws, Russia drilled and doubled nuclear energy production.

In a Greenpeace action, a CO-2 sign stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate with flames coming out of it. (Jörg Carstensen via Getty Images)

How has Vladimir Putin—a man ruling a country with an economy smaller than that of Texas, with an average life expectancy 10 years lower than that of France—managed to launch an unprovoked full-scale assault on Ukraine?

There is a deep psychological, political and almost civilizational answer to that question: He wants Ukraine to be part of Russia more than the West wants it to be free. He is willing to risk tremendous loss of life and treasure to get it. There are serious limits to how much the U.S. and Europe are willing to do militarily. And Putin knows it.

Missing from that explanation, though, is a story about material reality and basic economics—two things that Putin seems to understand far better than his counterparts in the free world and especially in Europe.

Putin knows that Europe produces 3.6 million barrels of oil a day but uses 15 million barrels of oil a day. Putin knows that Europe produces 230 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year but uses 560 billion cubic meters. He knows that Europe uses 950 million tons of coal a year but produces half that.

The former KGB agent knows Russia produces 11 million barrels of oil per day but only uses 3.4 million. He knows Russia now produces over 700 billion cubic meters of gas a year but only uses around 400 billion. Russia mines 800 million tons of coal each year but uses 300.

That’s how Russia ends up supplying about 20 percent of Europe’s oil, 40 percent of its gas, and 20 percent of its coal.

The math is simple. A child could do it.

Continue reading→

Re-Gretas, Ukraine has a few, by Alex Berenson

There are probably more than a few Europeans questioning policy makers devotion to renewable energy. From Alex Berenson at alexberenson.substack.com:

How the European obsession with decarbonization has driven energy and electricity prices through the roof and helped give Vladimir Putin license to do whatever he likes

Once again, Western political and media elites find themselves in the unfortunate position of denying reality obvious to anyone with eyes, or a wallet.

This time, they are lying about the economic and now political crises their “green” energy policies are causing, particularly in Europe. These lies may damage them even more than their Covid fantasies did, because they are even more obvious to people outside their bubble.

Anyone who drives is aware of the recent spike in oil prices, now nearly $100 a barrel – a rise due in part to Democratic efforts to discourage American oil production.

But Americans may not know about the catastrophe in Europe’s electricity and natural gas markets. That crisis is even more directly linked to broader efforts to “sustainable” fuels that so far have proven distinctly unsustainable.

Unlike the United States, Europe doesn’t have much oil or natural gas. For generations, it has used a mix of fuels – coal, nuclear, imported natural gas and a little oil, and renewables – to power its electric plants. That mix worked just fine.

But even before World Minister for Energy Policy Greta Thunberg banged her shoe against a desk at the United Nations in 2019, the Europeans were getting very worried about carbon dioxide.

Continue reading→

Russia Warns Of “Brave New World” Of Higher Gas Prices After Germany Halts NordStream 2, by Tyler Durden

Germany is imposing a sanction on Russia that will hurt Germany far more than Russia. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

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.

Continue reading→

Putin Has The Power To Intensify Europe’s Energy Crisis, by Haley Zaremba

Putin is not without options should the U.S. and Europe levy sanctions against Russia. In fact, it looks like he can hurt Europe far worse than they can hurt Russia. From Haley Zaremba at oilprice.com:

  • Europe’s energy crisis has already cost governments tens of billions of dollars and a looming confrontation with Russia would only make that worse.
  • European households are already set to see a 54% increase in the cost of gas and electricity despite the best efforts by governments to keep prices down
  • Russia provides about 40% of Europe’s natural gas, and if Russia does invade Ukraine and European governments respond with sanctions, there is a chance that supply could be cut off

Europe’s energy crunch is intensifying even as governments across the continent struggle to stop the crisis through stop-gap policy measures and subsidies. The past year has seen a stunning 330% surge in gas prices across European markets, hitting consumers extremely hard at the same time that the global economy is attempting to recover from and adapt to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. To date, European governments have been largely helpless to stop skyrocketing inflation. The forces they are up against – economic, health, and political – far outgun the abilities of the European Union.

So far European leaders “have spent tens of billions of euros trying to shield consumers from record-high energy prices, and themselves from voters’ wrath” according to reporting and analysis by Reuters, but the efforts are going to fall far, far short of the economic fallout continuing to batter European consumers. “BofA analysts estimate the average western European households spent around 1,200 euros ($1,370) a year on gas and electricity in 2020,” Reuters writes. “Based on current wholesale prices, they estimate this will rise by 54% to 1,850 euros.”

Continue reading→

No SWIFT, No Gas: Russia Responds To Western Threats As US Tries To Orchestrate Workaround, by Tyler Durden

Russia is not without economic weapons of its own, particularly if the U.S. and Europe should try to bar it from SWIFT, the international banking network. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

While the situation along the Ukrainian border appears to be deescalating – aside from US/UK’s panic coalition, a top Russian official says that if the West follows through on a threat to cut the Kremlin off from the SWIFT payment system, Europe won’t receive Russian oil, gas, or metals.

Vladimir Putin signs a natural gas pipeline in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok on September 8, 2011. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was in discussions to ban Russia from the Swift global payments system with the United States, calling it a “very potent weapon.”

“I’m afraid it can only really be deployed with the assistance of the United States though. We are in discussions about that,” he added.

Nikolay Zhuravlev, Vice Speaker of the Federation Council, responded to Johnson’s threat – telling Russia’s state-owned TASS that Europe would suffer the consequences of such a move.

SWIFT is a settlement system, it is a service. Therefore, if Russia is disconnected from SWIFT, then we will not receive [foreign] currency, but buyers, European countries in the first place, will not receive our goods – oil, gas, metals and other important components of their imports. Do they need it? I am not sure,” said Zhuravlev – who noted that while SWIFT is convenient and fast – it’s not the only game in town when it comes to financial transactions.

Continue reading→