Monday, January 25, 2021

US: Natural Gas Drives Energy Costs to Record Lows

Source Reason

The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg's New Energy Finance have recently released their 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which looks, among other things, at the benefits of rising natural gas use across the United States. According to the report, Americans now devote less than four percent of their total annual household spending to energy—the lowest since government record-keeping begun. That welcome development is, in part, a result of the fracking revolution and of the declining prices of natural gas.

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EU: EU lawmakers call for halt to Nord Stream 2 after Navalny arrest

Source Reuters: 

European Union lawmakers passed a resolution on Thursday calling for the bloc to stop the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to take Russian natural gas to Europe, in response to the arrest of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Navalny, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, was detained at the weekend and later jailed for alleged parole violations after flying back to Russia for the first time since being poisoned by a military grade nerve agent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has continued to back the pipeline between Germany and Russia despite criticism elsewhere in the EU, said on Thursday her view of the project had not changed despite the Navalny case.

Lawmakers in the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to block the pipeline construction work, with 581 votes in favour, 50 against and 44 abstentions, calling on the EU to review relations with Russia in light of Navalny’s arrest.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Nord Stream 2: US-sanctions take effect, major companies back out

 The sanctions that have been announced by the US government since more than one year are becoming effective today. In response to this, several major corporations withdraw from the collaboration with companies associated with the contentious pipeline Nord Stream 2. Among them: german construction company Bilfinger SE, insurance group Zurich and norvegian classification company DNV-GL.

Source BILD:

Shock for the supporters of the Putin pipeline Nord Stream 2!

According to BILD information, the first German company recently withdrew from the construction of the controversial pipeline. This emerges from letters from the company that BILD was able to see. The reason is the fear of US sanctions, which could have hit the company in just a few weeks.

The company is none other than the listed Mannheim industrial service provider "Bilfinger SE" - SDAX-affiliated with annual sales of a whopping 4.3 billion euros in 2019.

Bilfinger had signed several contracts with “Nord Stream 2 AG”. Among other things “for the development, delivery and commissioning of the process control and safety systems for the operation of the pipeline”. Order volume: 15 million euros.

In addition, Bilfinger signed a contract with the Russians for “the engineering, delivery, installation and commissioning of a 90 MW + 30 MW reserve natural gas-fired heat generation plant” at the German landing point of the pipeline in Lubmin.

In two letters - an announcement from December and a confirmation last week - Bilfinger had informed the USA that it would comply with the provisions of the "Protection of the European Energy Security Act" (PEESCA) and that all partnerships and contracts with Nord Stream 2 quit.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Nord Stream 2: Federal authority grans permission, construction continues

 Federal authority for maritime navigation has granted the permit to resume construction works on contentions Nord Stream 2-pipeline.

Source BILD:

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) has approved the immediate construction of the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline in German waters. That emerges from a communication from the authority on Friday.

The previous permit would normally not have allowed work to start until the end of May. A contradiction - for example from environmental associations - could stop the immediate further construction in the German “Exclusive Economic Zone” (EEZ), as it would have a suspensive effect.

The "Deutsche Umwelthilfe" has already announced further legal remedies, wants an urgent procedure.

The approval had become necessary, among other things, because a Swiss company withdrew its special ships at the end of 2019 following sanctions from the USA. A permit had already been issued for these ships for the winter months.

However, after the Swiss exit, Nord Stream 2 had to switch to a type of ship that is held or moved by other ships. The permit that has now been issued applies to such an anchor-positioned ship.

One such ship, the Russian "Fortuna", left the port of Wismar on Thursday and was on the Baltic Sea off Rostock on Friday morning, according to the ship radar.

► As of Friday, the Danish authorities had announced that they would be working in the Baltic Sea near Bornholm with the participation of "Fortuna". After reaching the position in Danish waters, preparatory work and tests would begin, according to Nord Stream 2. It was not yet possible to give an exact time.

► Last December, after a year-long break in laying work, the ship completed a 2.6-kilometer section of the line in the German EEZ. At the end of December, however, the approval of the BSH expired after an extension was used.

According to the Russian energy company Gazprom as the main investor, 94 percent of the controversial pipeline has been completed. This means that more than 2,300 kilometers of double-strand pipes lie on the sea floor. About 150 kilometers are still missing, i.e. 75 kilometers per strand - of which about 120 kilometers in Danish and about 30 kilometers in German waters.

The approval of the BSH, which has now been granted, is about these around 30 kilometers south of the Danish island of Bornholm. The remaining route ran through the edge of a bird sanctuary, it was said. However, due to the depth of the water, this has "rather little significance for certain species of resting birds".

In addition, it is partly a frequently traveled area anyway. Nevertheless, to protect seabirds, the BSH stipulates a maximum construction phase of 30 days with 14-day breaks for the period from January to May.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Nord Stream 2: harsh criticism of fake foundation

 New details about the financing of the fake environmental foundation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern emerged. The russian bankrollers want to control the important decisions of the foundation. Geman politicians fustigate this blatant case of "political corruption".

Source BILD:

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's head of government Manuela Schwesig (46, SPD) wants to promote environmental protection with her new state foundation. But in reality it is a Russian-controlled organization that wants to promote the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline!

► Because now it comes out: The “Foundation for Climate and Environmental Protection MV”, decided by Schwesig's government last week, is not only financed with 20 million euros (99 percent) by Russians - the business that is to be founded is also under the control of the Russian gas company Gazprom.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Gazprom: many fires to fight

As the future of sanction-impacted pipeline Nord Stream 2 lies in the dark, Gazpromy faces problems on china-bound pipelines and struggles with low gas prices and liabilities, writes german newspaper WELT:

Just a few years ago, nobody at the Russian gas giant Gazprom suspected that a ship laying pipelines could become a symbol of the risk and instability of entrepreneurial success. “Fortuna” - the term used by the ancient Romans for the changeable fate - is the name of the Russian barge that is supposed to complete the controversial Baltic Sea gas pipeline Nord Stream 2.

It remains to be seen whether he will ultimately be able to build the 100 or more kilometers of pipeline that are still missing. On December 28, the ship completed the 2.6-kilometer section in German waters. In the middle of January the plan is to continue in Danish waters.

But the US, which had been hindering the work with threatened sanctions for the whole of last year, has prepared further sanctions so that Gazprom's European allies can stop the project. Europe would become too dependent on Russian gas, they say in Washington. The US also wants to sell its own gas in Europe.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Nord Stream 2: turmoil over fake climate and environmental foundation in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

As reported, the government of the Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has created a foundation with the aim to ensure the completion of the contentious gas pipeline.

This draws heavy political criticism along the line of arguments that the purportedly environmental foundation has nothing to do with the preservation of nature but is only a front organsation almost entirely financed by russian money.

Source BILD

The warm rain from Saint Petersburg is followed by the cold shower of criticism from Germany.

The Schwerin state parliament passed a resolution on Thursday - without dissenting votes! - the establishment of a "Foundation for Climate and Environmental Protection MV". But the flowery-sounding name Foundation is supposed to wrap in cotton wool which goal the foundation is primarily pursuing: avoiding sanctions for companies involved in the construction of the Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2!

Politicians, environmental associations and representatives of civil society are shocked at the bold trick the state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, led by Manuela Schwesig (SPD), is using to push ahead with its gas deal.

INCREDIBLE: The “non-profit” and “state owned” foundation is 99 percent financed by the Russian state gas giant Gazprom. Schwesig's “Umweltstiftung” donated 20 million euros through its sole subsidiary, “Nord Stream 2 AG”. There is only 200,000 euros in foundation capital from the state budget.

According to its own statements, the state government plans "to set up a commercial business in the foundation with the aim of contributing to the progress of work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline".

In plain language: All business of the pipeline partners should run through the state foundation, because it cannot fall under US sanctions - although the money for it comes from Russia.

Shock waves in Berlin: “With 20 million euros in start-up capital from Gazprom, the SPD-led state government de facto let itself be bought. Manuela Schwesig is following in the footsteps of former Chancellor and Putin friend Gerhard Schröder, ”said FDP foreign policy expert Renata Alt to BILD.

According to Alt, the decision of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania to set up a foundation for “climate and environmental protection” is “hard to beat in terms of hypocrisy and hypocrisy”. In addition to Russian assets, German taxpayers' money would be used here "to circumvent the US sanctions against Nord Stream 2".