EU – how to lose friends and alienate people

Having come out in almost unanimous revulsion when Trump was elected as US President, the EU now finds itself potentially on the receiving end of the US Presidents’ hard-line approach to Russia.

Last autumn the EU, like much of the political elite across Europe, went into meltdown over Donald Trump’s election success;

Jean Claude-Juncker, who said, “The election of Trump poses the risk of upsetting intercontinental relations in their foundation and in their structure.”

and

Verhofstadt: Donald Trump poses profound threat to EU

and

one senior member even said President Trump would not be welcome in Europe

and

It’s a sad day for the world. Trump is the expression of a virus spreading across the US & Europe. EU should be the anti-body to this virus

and

electing Trump, “today is a sad day; A sad day for the entire world

In the mean time, Trump has united both US houses in looking to pass legislation to enable them to fine companies that are seen to be aiding Russia’s oil and gas expansion plans – some might think that the EU would welcome this, as they have also attempted to sanction Russia over its involvement in Crimea.

However, these new US rules are likely to hit a number of European companies including several German engineering firms.

So now the EU is faced with having to ask President Trump to make exceptions for EU businesses – something that would have been considerably easier had they taken the diplomatic decision to acknowledge that Trump was democratically selected by his Party to be their presidential candidate and, more importantly, democratically elected by the people of the United States of America to be their president. But then democracy has never been the EUs strong point.

Qatar Gas where UK fracked gas should be

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From a recent article in Downstream Today.

Qatargas, the world’s largest LNG producer, signed a five-year sales and purchase agreement with Petronas LNG UK on Wednesday . . . Under the agreement Qatargas will deliver 1.1 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year to the UK-based venture until Dec. 31 2023, extending a current five-year contract that was due to expire on Dec. 31 2018.

Why are we importing a million tonnes of LNG from Qatar?  Because we’re not producing enough gas of our own and as coal and oil fired power stations are shut down thanks to EU directives we’re becoming more reliant on importing the energy that we need.

Of course if the government stopped faffing about and got on with promoting fracking in this country we’d have a massive reserve of natural gas that we could tap into for years to come.

 

 

New industry coming to Ras al-Khair

Here’s another interesting story from Saudi Arabia.

Khursania3

State oil giant Saudi Aramco has extended bidding for dredging and reclamation work at its marine terminal in Ras al-Khair by almost one month, industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Aramco (the national Oil company) are planning to build a large marine terminal in the east of the Country at a place called Ras al-Khair (RAK) – this is a place I know, as I’ve visited there when working on a project for the Saudi national mining company Ma’aden.

Ma’aden are in the middle of a major expansion of their operations in the north of the country (where large phosphate deposits exist) and intend to send some of the products and intermediates by rail to RAK (where they have a fertiliser and animal feed facility at the moment) for further processing and export.

Part of the Ma’aden project was to extend the jetty area around their facility, but this project is;

the first phase of a huge ship repair and shipbuilding complex in the east of the country seen as key in the kingdom’s economic transformation plan.

It’s certainly a prime area for development, with a large expanse of space surrounding the existing RAK port and industrial area. There are already some rail links but I expect these will be upgraded significantly once the marine terminal is built.

As well as the Ma’aden phosphate plant at the site, it’s not too far to other Aramco installations including Ras Tanura, Jubail and Khursaniyah (pictured above).

It’s interesting that Aramco are spearheading the project at this stage although the completed complex will be;

operated by a joint venture between Aramco, the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri), United Arab Emirates-based Lamprell and South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

I guess that a large project like this is the sort of thing Aramco has more experience of than any other entity in the Kingdom and when you look at the potential boost to the economy it’s not surprising that they want a piece of it;

Saudi Aramco has said it expects the complex, which is projected to create 80,000 jobs and allow Saudi Arabia to reduce its imports by $12 billion as well as increase gross domestic product by $17 billion, will be fully operational by 2021.

Pipeline policy follow-up

As a follow-up to my post from late August about the lack of joined up thinking within the EU for its gas pipeline plans, a more comprehensive article has emerged about the new relationship being forged between Russia and Turkey;

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The article talks at length about how Russia will be able to increase its dominance in European gas markets – directly through a new TurkStream pipeline and indirectly through Turkey’s influence over the TANAP pipeline.

If this happens, Russia’s state-owned Gazprom will exercise high levels of control over both projects.

As a further embarrassment to the EU; Russia and Azerbaijan are looking to be involved with Iranian gas reserves (which are vast) and which were

also coveted by the West, which hopes to ship them into the EU as a hedge against Russia.

Far from reducing the EUs reliance on Russian gas “which supplies a third of the EU’s natural gas overall—though a much higher percentage to Germany and other northern EU nations” it seems that Russia is likely to increase its share unless another avenue can be found.

The most likely option at the moment is LNG from the US which has a glut of gas available thanks to fracking which has opened up new export opportunities as well as reducing domestic energy prices – too bad the EU (and previous UK governments) seem determined to ignore this fantastic opportunity on this side of the Atlantic.