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.

 

 

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;

pipes-1

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.

Plan for new connector is not joined up thinking

Two interesting stories about the European gas market have emerged recently.

Gas Holder 2

The first, points to an EU funded plan to build the “Balticconnector”, between Finland and Estonia, to help reduce the Baltic states’ dependence on Russian gas imports.

This article states that the EU is funding 75% of the Project – the maximum allowed. What’s interesting here is that this implies that there is no business case for the project – i.e. there’s no profit in it – otherwise an energy provider or gas company would be funding the project. So clearly it is politically motivated.

This is further proven by the fact that;

The pipeline will be constructed by Finnish Baltic Connector Oy, a project company set up by the Finnish government, and Estonian Elering AS, operator of the country’s gas and power grid.

And that

The Finnish government decided to go ahead with the pipeline last year, despite its majority state-owned gas utility Gasum pulling out due falling domestic demand.

I wonder how the people of Europe feel about their money being used for political purposes?

Particularly as a second article talks about the TurkStream gas project that will consist of two gas pipelines supplying Russian gas for use by Turkey and for delivery to Europe. Thereby increasing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Maybe the EU should stop meddling in things it has no control over.

More Evidence Of The EU Job Shredding Machine

tough at the top

From Interfax Energy Daily, another damning indictment of EU energy policy and it’s effect on business in Europe;

Brussels must consider fundamental energy policy changes to prevent a mass exodus of industrial players, according to speakers at a conference held at London’s Chatham House on Monday.

“The most effective energy policies are the ones that are transparent, predictable and based on cost benefit analysis. Importantly, policies [should] allow market prices and open competition to determine the solutions,” said Franklin.

“The EU’s policy approach, which has favoured government-mandated solutions, has undermined the goals themselves,” Franklin added.