Monday, October 12, 2020

EU quarterly energy report: impact of Covid-19 on electricity and gas market still considerable

 The EU released the energy report for the second quarter of 2020. Here are the figures of the Covid-19 impact:


"The widespread lockdown measures across much of Europe earlier this year had an unprecedented impact on the EU energy market, causing gas and electricity consumption to fall by 10% and 11% respectively in the second quarter, according to the Commission’s quarterly reports on gas and electricity markets which have just been published. Comparison with the second quarter of 2019 also shows the deep impact across the whole of the economy – with a 14% fall in GDP. At the same time, lower consumption and rise in solar generation contributed to renewables taking a 43% share of the EU power mix in Q2 2020, a new quarterly record – and highlighting again the exceptional impact of the crisis.  

The electricity market report shows that electricity consumption dropped by 11% in the EU27 compared to Q2 2019. Wholesale power prices decreased by 30-50% and reached levels not seen in more than a decade. Fossil fuels were the main losers from this demand shock and this coincided with a surge in solar generation – to the extent that solar energy accounted for 9% of the EU27 power mix.2

(...)


The gas market report is also dominated by the direct and indirect impact of the covid pandemic. The collapse in demand linked to the suspension of so many economic activities led to a decrease in gas consumption of 10% in the EU in Q2 2020. In some Member States, gas consumption was down by 20-30% in April relative to the same period in 2019.

Demand for natural gas was subdued not only in industry, but in power generation as well, as the abundance of renewables did not favour gas, even amid steeply falling gas prices: wholesale prices fell by 50-60% in year-on-year comparison. By the end of May, the TTF spot gas price fell to record lows (3.5€/MWh), slowly rebounding in June 2020 amid easing of the Covid-19 related lockdown measures.

In the context of low demand for gas in the EU, wholesale gas prices on some hubs fell below their US peers in May, resulting in the cancellation of some LNG shipments. Retail prices for an average industrial customer fell by 11% in Q2 2020 year-on-year and household customers also enjoyed lower prices in the majority of the EU capital cities."


You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/market-reports-2nd-quarter-highlight-impact-covid-lockdown-electricity-and-gas-markets-2020-oct-12_en


Friday, September 25, 2020

Nord Stream 2: german secretary of commerce against termination of pipeline project after Navalny poisoning

 German federal secretary of commerce Peter Altmaier rejects the abortion of the contentious pipeline project after the poisoning of russian opposion politician Alexei Navalny, even though the german government came to the conclusion that Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent "Novitchok", writes Bild:

"It's been five weeks since the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny (44) was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group in Tomsk, Siberia. The incident has created great tension between Germany and Russia.
But Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (62, DU) is now rejecting the calls for a construction stop on the Russian pipeline "Nord Stream 2". It is problematic "to question projects that are designed for several decades every few months," he told the "Handelsblatt".
Altmaier accused critics of the project of inconsistency: They avoided saying "what a stop for Nord Stream 2 will mean for gas procurement from Russia as a whole". You would have to ask yourself “where will the gas come from in the future”. It can be assumed "that the gas quantities that Europe has to import will increase".
Altmaier rejected the accusation of being too dependent on Russian gas supplies. He always took the view that "we shouldn't be blackmailed," he said.
That should not mean, however, "that the attempted murder of Navalny can be put into perspective in any way." The gas is not only intended for Germany, but for many countries in the EU, so you have to consult with your partners about possible consequences.
After investigations in a special laboratory, the federal government regards it as unequivocally proven that the opposition member Navalny in Russia was poisoned with the warfare agent Novichok.
The economy minister warned against imposing sanctions. They often work not only against the countries against which they are pronounced, but also affect the business relationships of German and European companies.
"A country with our foreign trade ties must ask itself what effects sanctions can have and to what extent they primarily weaken themselves," said the Minister for Economic Affairs."



Nord Stream 2: east german prime minister is Putin's most outspoken support for Nord Stream 2

 Manuela Schwesig prime minister of the Land Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania is Putin's mouthpiece when it comes to defend the contentious pipeline project Nord Stream 2 against sanctions and critics, writes Bild. She is member of the social-democratic party SPD just like former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who is chairman of the board of directors of Nord Stream 2.


"The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is THE project close to the heart of Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin. And whenever there is criticism of the project in Germany, he can be sure of the support of a politician: Manuela Schwesig (46, SPD).
The Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is an ardent advocate of the pipeline, which hits German soil in her state and with which Putin rakes in his gas billions.
Putin's most ardent comrade is Schwesig!
In the Bundestag on Friday, Schwesig claimed that Nord Stream 2 was “not just a Russian project”. A week ago she even claimed: “The Baltic Sea Pipeline is NOT a Russian project.” Wrong! Nord Stream 2 AG, which operates the pipeline alone, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state gas company Gazprom.
Second lobby success for Putin on Friday: The heads of government of the eastern German federal states agreed on a resolution in which “the completion of the Baltic Sea pipeline continues to be sensible and correct”. DESPITE the poison attack on Russian oppositionist Alexej Navalny (44).
Amazing: That is the defused version, in the original Schwesig draft it was said that the Navalny case “must not be misused for domestic political tactics”, that the US government's threat of sanctions against the Russian pipe should be “strongly condemned and rejected " will.
THAT went too far even for the five other East Prime Ministers, the paper was defused.
Surprised? No! Since the beginning of the pipeline project, the Kremlin around Schwesig and her predecessor Erwin Sellering (70, SPD) has created a dense network of lobbyists. The state benefits economically, the pipeline construction creates jobs and investments.
Schwesig repeatedly meets Gerhard Schröder (76), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nord Stream 2
Schwesig repeatedly meets Gerhard Schröder (76), Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nord Stream 2
Since 2002, the partner region of Meck.-Pomm has been the Leningrad region, in which Russia's state gas giant Gazprom has its headquarters. Since 2014, the state has held the "Russia Day" every two years, at which Russian politicians and oligarchs bluntly call on German companies to put pressure on politicians to dismantle the sanctions against Putin's regime.
With success! Manuela Schwesig is for an end to the punitive measures and against any new sanctions. Crimea annexation, Ukraine war and Navalny poisoning or not. In 2019, the state parliament in Schwerin, dominated by Schwesig's SPD, then launched a "German-Russian partnership agreement" between Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Russia, which has not yet been signed due to Corona.
The Green Bundestag member Claudia Müller (39) from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania said to BILD, "instead of acting in the interests of their own federal state," Schwesig put himself at the service of a Russian company based in Switzerland ". In addition, Müller said, who accused Schwesig during her speech that she would “harm our state”, that Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's Prime Minister had revealed in her speech to the Bundestag “how little she believes in the implementation of the energy transition”.
As vehemently as Schwesig advocates the expansion of Nord Stream 2 without fully exploiting the possibilities of renewable energies, it is damaging "the economic development of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania"."

Monday, September 21, 2020

Nord Stream 2: open letter in Newsweek to stop the pipeline

 Several personalities of the diplomatic milieu urge decisiomakers in Europe in an open letter published in Newsweek to use the Navalny poisoning as an opportunity to stop the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline:


"We are a group of acting and former diplomats, military and intelligence officials, and experts who have dedicated our careers to supporting Transatlantic security. We hail from countries on both sides of the Atlantic and represent a wide spectrum of political parties from our nations of origin. 

Over the past decade, the Government of the Russian Federation has engaged in a litany of malign activities aimed at upending liberal democratic norms across Europe and North America. The shocking poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny by a variant of the weapons-grade nerve agent Novichok shows that Moscow has not been deterred by Western actions and statements and refuses to reverse its destabilizing political adventurism at home and abroad. And at the crucial moment of the ongoing demonstrations in Belarus for free and fair elections, Western values must be held up high. 

In light of this latest malign action, which we believe can only have been carried out or sanctioned by the Kremlin, we are calling on the European Commission, and the Governments of all European Union Member States, as well as the United States, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova to take immediate action to stop the Kremlin-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline."


You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

https://www.newsweek.com/nordstream-two-stop-transtlantic-russia-1532703

 


Monday, September 14, 2020

The network of german social democratic politicians supporting Nord Stream 2

 The poisoning of Alexei Navalny sparked a debate about the future of contentious gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2. German newspaper "WELT" has traced back the key players in the political sphere who have initiated and backed this project from the beginning. Pivot of this milieu are former german chancellor Gerhard Schröder and former Stasi operative Matthias Warnig.

"On this solemn day, no one is as close to Russia's center of power as two Germans. In the magnificent Andreas Hall of the Kremlin they stand directly in front of Vladimir Putin, behind them the rest of the 5,000 invited guests. The President will begin his fifth term at the ceremony in May 2018. One of the German listeners before him is very prominent, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
The second is less well known: Matthias Warnig, head of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline. Only two guests got similarly good seats in the magnificent Kremlin hall: Russia's Prime Minister and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch.
This picture is more than a snapshot. It's a symbol. For the technology of Putin's rule and for the mechanics of German-Russian relations. The president's influence rests on a network of friends with whom he has allied throughout his life. Thanks to Putin, they came to power.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Nord Stream 2: will Navalny poisoning be the coffin nail to the contentious project?

 After the poisoning of Alexai Navalny the first heavy weight exponents of an end of the construction of the pipeline raise their voices. Former parliamentary leader of the ruling party CDU Friedrich Merz pleads in favour of a 2 year moratorium of the construction work, writes german newspaper BILD:

"The Putin pipeline Nord Stream 2 comes under increasing pressure after the poison attack on the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny (44).
On Wednesday the German government announced that a German armed forces laboratory had “unequivocally” identified a nerve agent from the Novitschok group in the body of the Russian opposition. According to BILD information, the German government assumes that the Russian state apparatus is responsible for the attack on Navalny.
Now Friedrich Merz (64), ex-Union parliamentary group leader and applicant for the CDU chairmanship, calls for a two-year construction stop on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Nord Stream 2: will the project be cancelled over Navalny poisoning?

 Voices are being raised in Germany and especially among members of the ruling party CDU to end the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project after powerful critic of the Putin government, Alexey Navalny, was posioned with the "Novitchok"-agent in Tomsk, writes german newpaper BILD:


"The German government can condemn the poisoning of Putin critic Navalny "in the strongest terms". She can be "dismayed". It can "urge" the Kremlin to explain itself.
But as long as she does common cause with Putin on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, all explanations will be empty words.