By Paul Homewood
Climate activists who scored big wins against Western majors last week had some unlikely cheerleaders in the oil capitals of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Russia.
Defeats in the courtroom and boardroom mean Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), ExxonMobil (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) are all under pressure to cut carbon emissions faster. That’s good news for the likes of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Saudi Aramco (2222.SE), Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, and Russia’s Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and Rosneft (ROSN.MM).
It means more business for them and the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“Oil and gas demand is far from peaking and supplies will be needed, but international oil companies will not be allowed to invest in this environment, meaning national oil companies have to step in,” said Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects.
MOSCOW/BEIJING — Eyeing an opportunity to strengthen energy exports to China, Russia has launched new ventures and pipelines that will deliver coal, natural gas and petrochemicals to the world’s largest energy consumer.
One of these projects envisions doubling Russia’s coal exports to China — enough to replace imports from Australia, with which China’s relations have deteriorated.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to pursue greater cooperation across a range of fields, including large-scale energy and industrial projects, in a phone call on Dec. 28…
Elgaugol, the company behind the Elga coal project in the Russian Far East, agreed on Dec. 15 to launch a joint venture with China’s Fujian Guohang Ocean Shipping (Group) that will export metallurgical coal to China. The Elga project is expected to ship 30 million tons of coal to China in 2023, which would almost double Russia’s total coal exports to China from about 33 million tons in 2019…
Russian petrochemical company Sibur Holding on Dec. 28 also announced a joint venture at the Amur Gas Chemical Complex with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec. Construction of the plant is expected to begin in earnest now that the companies have received the relevant approvals, and is slated for completion in 2024. Sinopec will own 40% of the facility…
The trend extends to natural gas as well. State-backed Gazprom has kicked off an 800 km extension of the so-called Power of Siberia pipeline, which began transporting natural gas from Russia to China in December 2019. The extension will connect the pipeline to the Kovykta gas field in eastern Siberia by the end of 2022, in a step toward Gazprom’s goal of boosting flows through the pipeline to 38 billion cu. meters annually by 2025. Flows came to 3.8 billion cu. meters for the first year.
Gazprom, which holds a monopoly on the export of gas through pipelines, transported 200 billion cu. meters of gas to Europe and Turkey in 2019. But the company has been shifting its focus east, and last year began a feasibility study for another pipeline that would deliver 50 billion cu. meters of gas to China via Mongolia.
European governments are drawing up plans to phase out coal, U.S. coal-fired power plants are being shuttered as prices of clean energy plummet, and new Asian projects are being scrapped as lenders back away from the dirtiest fossil fuel.
And Russia? President Vladimir Putin’s government is spending more than $10 billion on railroad upgrades that will help boost exports of the commodity. Authorities will use prisoners to help speed the work, reviving a reviled Soviet-era tradition.
The project to modernize and expand railroads that run to Russia’s Far Eastern ports is part of a broader push to make the nation among the last standing in fossil fuel exports as other countries switch to greener alternatives. The government is betting that coal consumption will continue to rise in big Asian markets like China even as it dries up elsewhere.
Meanwhile Sleepy Joe does not seem to know what day it is!
Let me get this straight. Recently, Russian hackers shutdown North America’s largest pipeline for days, massively disrupting the supply chain on the eastern seaboard and leading to shortages and price spikes. Eventually Colonial, Inc, the line’s owner, paid a $5 million ransom to get it up and running again, a decision about which the Biden administration officially had no opinion. Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that’s a lie, that they must have been working both sides, pushing Colonial to towards a course of action (presumably the one they took) on the one hand, and engaging their Russian counterparts about it on the other.
Well, the cyberterrorists got what they asked for, and now the Putin regime have gotten their dearest wish as well: the Biden Administration will allow construction of the Nord 2 pipeline project which will enable Russia to satisfy Germany’s appetite for oil and gas (which has become more voracious since Germany embarked on its foolhardy Energiewende policy) without passing through Ukraine, a country where anti-Russian sentiment is rife. Moreover, Biden is waiving existing sanctions on the company building the pipeline and its president, Putin ally and former Stasi officer Matthias Warnig, to get the project done.
This is surprising, as Team Biden have been very open about their opposition to Nord Stream 2, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the region by getting Germany addicted to cheap Russian energy, boosting Russia’s economy, and further subordinating the smaller countries in the region to the larger. Just this February, Jen Psaki was uncompromising when she articulated the administration’s view on the matter:
Our position on Nord Stream 2 has been very clear, and it remains unchanged. President Biden has made clear that Nord Stream 2 is a bad deal. It’s a bad deal because it divides Europe, it exposes Ukraine and Central Europe to… Russian manipulation, and because it goes against Europe’s own stated energy and security goals.
And then suddenly Bidenettes backed down. Something strange is going on here. Foreign policy analyst Rebeccah Heinrichs tweeted sarcastically, “How absolutely wild is it that Russians attacked a US pipeline while gas prices were already high and like two days after the US company pays the relatively small ransom Biden lifts sanctions on Nord Stream 2.” It’s definitely suspicious.
Then again, the two events might be unrelated. What is indisputable, however, is that this move looks ridiculous in light of Biden’s anti-pipeline domestic policy.
As Dan Foster put it,
“Killing energy jobs in Oklahoma and creating them in St. Petersburg is so comically inept and villainous you could never even try it without the entire press in your back pocket.”
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
June 2, 2021