West strategies to free itself from Russian energy

AGI – After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the race of European (and other) countries to replace energy sources from Moscow began. The President of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced at the Versailles Summit that By 2027, the EU’s energy dependence on Russia will end.

Five years have passed and during this five-year period the Western world will have to deal with sanctions against Moscow. In 2021, the EU imported 45% of gas from Russia, with the EU REPower plan, Brussels aims to replace 20% of Russian gas imports with vital methane (35 billion cubic meters by 2030) and other renewable sources. Brussels said the overall goal is to reduce dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of this year.

Shared Policies

The main difficulty for Europe will be to coordinate European energy policies (and dependencies) that are currently different and separate from one another. The European Commission is preparing to submit a proposal to organize the European Union by November 1, 2022 Ensure that warehouses are filled to at least 90% of their capacity.

In February, May, July and September, intermediate targets are expected to ensure that the final goal is achieved and there is time for course correction. The storage period is set from April 1 to September 30. The commitment goes hand in hand with the voluntary joint purchase of gas for better prices in negotiations with sellers as well as a price cap whose limit can be around €80/MWh.

Germany

The most dangerous situation in Europe, in addition to some countries of the East, is that of Germany, which in 2020 imported about 65% of gas from Russia (International Energy Agency data) equivalent to 42.6 billion cubic meters, followed by Italy with 29.2 billion cubic meters. Germany’s energy dependence on Russia has worsened since March 11, 2011, the date of the accident at the Japanese nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

after the event, Berlin decided to leave nuclear power, increase gas imports from Russia with Nord Stream 2 and focus heavily on offshore wind. At the end of the year, the state was supposed to shut down the last three nuclear power plants in operation (there were 8 in 2011) but the government is seriously considering leaving them in operation.

Meanwhile, Berlin is looking for alternative sources. Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a green man, traveled to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in search of new gas supplies to replace those from Russia. Cooperation in the name of liquefied natural gas (Gln), which will allow German companies to quickly implement relevant agreements. The stated goal is to make Germany “more independent” of Russian gas.

At the same time, the Minister of Economy (who also owns the environment) aims to accelerate the transition to “green hydrogen”. Five German companies have already signed declarations of intent with the UAE authorities. So much so, that Habek spoke of a “win-win situation”.

But in Berlin, the fact that a green minister is wandering around the world in search of fossil fuels did not pass. There was no shortage of controversy with the Frankfurter Allgemeine noting that “it is precisely the green vice chancellor who should organize a new supply of fossil energies”.

Belgium

The policy itself is the policy of Belgium, which decided, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis, to extend the production of nuclear energy for ten years. “War is changing our vision for energy,” Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo said at the opening press conference announcing the ten-year extension of the Doel 4 and Thiange 3 reactors.

“In this way, energy can be guaranteed in the medium and long term,” he stressed. However, the Prime Minister also supported accelerating the transition to renewable energy. He explained, “This is the only energy source for which we have seen lower energy prices in recent years.” –

Italia

Italy is the second country, after Germany, most dependent on Moscow gas. It imports 38% of the gas it consumes, which is equivalent to 29 billion cubic meters. Addiction has increased over the years if we consider that in 2012 the proportion was about 30%.

National production has fallen to a minimum, about 3 billion cubic meters, but the government intends to increase it from operating fields (without new drilling). Italy imports 95% of the gas it consumes (about 72 billion cubic metres).

The other major suppliers are Algeria (27.8% of the total), Azerbaijan (9.5%), Libya (4%), Norway and the Netherlands with around 3%. Instead, 13% of the requirements come in the form of LNG primarily from Qatar. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has been with Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi in several countries in Africa and the Middle East specifically to promote energy cooperation and increase supplies.

The stations in the past few days were Algeria, Congo, Angola, Qatar and Mozambique. While presenting Eni’s strategic plan, Descalzi secured an additional 14 trillion cubic feet of gas in the short and medium term (or 400 billion cubic meters of gas).

Great Britain

Then there is Great Britain (8% share of imports) which, along with the United States, imposed a moratorium on imports of Russian crude oil. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also went to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. The goal of the trip is to persuade the UAE and Saudi Arabia to pump more oil to calm the markets.

Johnson promised to raise human rights issues with the prince, but also highlighted the “very important relationships” between Britain and the Gulf states. The British Prime Minister said that there is also one of the objectives of the visit Increase investment in green energy in the UK.

Recently, the Saudi Al-Fanar Group, for example, announced a £1 billion investment in a project to produce jet fuel from waste. “It’s not just about what OPEC countries can do to increase supply, even if that is important,” Johnson told British media. “When we look at the dependence that the West has built in particular on hydrocarbons. Putin, we can see what’s wrong and why.” He is able to blackmail the West.”

“The world must get rid of Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s dependence on oil and gas, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE are key international partners in this effort. We will work with them to ensure regional security, support humanitarian relief efforts, and stabilize long-term global energy markets,” Johnson said.

Japan

Going to the other side of the world, things don’t change. Japan recently asked the UAE to increase production of oil whose price rose after the invasion of Ukraine. Despite the demands of the G7 countries, OPEC +, led by Russia and Saudi Arabia, is working to increase supply by a dropper (400,000 barrels per day since last August).

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi called on the UAE to “contribute to the stability of the global oil market by increasing production and benefiting from reserves.”

United State

In addition to Japan, the United States is also moving to find alternative sources of embargo. In fact, the import value of Russian hydrocarbons (oil + gas) to Washington is about 8% (only 3% of crude oil), which is equivalent to 700,000 barrels per day. Few things compared to the very strong dependence that Europe has, which is why this measure was not imposed.

In any case, even the United States, which is the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, They are re-establishing relations with “enemy” countries like Venezuela. Already on March 6, the White House sent a US delegation to speak with the government of President Nicolas Maduro. From what has been learned, the power supply is the focus of the discussion. According to the first rumors, Venezuela could increase production by at least 400,000 barrels per day to ship to Yankee “enemies”.

Leave a Comment