Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov attends a session during the Week of Russian Business in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Gazprom warns Europe of gas shortage without increased Russian imports

LONDON: Europe will soon experience a gas shortage and price spike if it tries to rely on US gas imports to cover rising demand instead of increasing purchases from Russia, Kremlin energy giant Gazprom told Reuters.
The Trump administration has said it intends to level the playing field in energy markets by offering US gas to Europe and Asia, citing a need to reduce what it calls the market-distorting power of actors such as Russia and OPEC.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have become increasingly politicized since Moscow cut supplies to Ukraine in the last decade amid pricing disputes and after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The West has accused Russia of using gas as a political weapon. Moscow has responded by blaming the West for blocking its new pipeline projects for political rather than economic reasons.
The warning about a possible supply crunch comes as Gazprom prepares to start large-scale deliveries to China in a move reminiscent of Russia’s oil strategy, under which Moscow became a major supplier to Beijing at the expense of Europe.
Gazprom’s deputy head Alexander Medvedev said the company would have enough supplies for both Europe and Asia but that it was time for Europe to decide from where it should source gas.
“Europe completely miscalculated when they assumed that they won’t need much additional gas and if they need some it can be supplied from outside Russia,” Medvedev, who looks after exports for the world’s top gas producer and exporter, said.
Gazprom’s exports jumped 8 percent last year to an all-time high of 194 billion cubic meters on higher demand and lower prices, giving it a record share in Europe of 35 percent.
Medvedev said the share could rise above 40 percent over time as Europe’s gas demand rises, production in the Netherlands and Britain falls and Norway’s output growth should slow after 2025. US supplies will remain modest, expensive and would mainly go to Asia.
“Many serious analysts will come up with a model for you showing that Europe will soon face a major gas crunch and, what is worse — a steep rise in prices,” Medvedev said.
“Regarding calls about the need to cut reliance on Russian gas, should we in Russia be speaking about an over-reliance on money from one continent? Like from the dollar or euro? What it all means in fact is that we are mutually dependent.”
Gazprom will begin pipeline supplies to China next year. The company wants to take at least a one-tenth market share there by 2025, when it builds another major route.
“We can supply as much gas as needed to Europe even though we are entering a new market in China. But Europe needs to decide now. They need to start thinking right now about who will cover additional demand after 2025. Unfortunately there is no energy dialogue between Russia and the EU,” Medvedev said.


Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”