Monday, December 28, 2020

Nord Stream 2: did german Federal Agency secretely grant permit for resumption of construction works?

 German newspaper BILD has learned from german association Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany) that the Bundesamt für Seeschiffahrt und Hydrographie (Federal Agency for maritime navigation and hydrography) has granted a permit to resume the halted construction of the contentious pipeline prior to concluding about objections made by the non-profit environmental association. Environmental Action Germany suspects foul play and claims that the Federal Agency is unter pressure by the german government that wants the pipeline completed by all means before sanctions of the incoming Biden administration become effective:

How far will German authorities go to comply with the wishes of Moscow and Berlin to realize the Putin pipeline Nord Stream 2 as quickly as possible?

So far, German authorities have always denied that they have been influenced in the approval process for the Russian prestige project by political actors and lobbyists of the Gazprom subsidiary Nord Stream 2 AG. The approval process is being conducted in accordance with "law and order" and is "open-ended," according to the assurances.

Monday, December 14, 2020

EU: meeting between EU and Ukraine representatives on energy topics

 The EU press service reports:

Today, Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson and Acting Energy Minister of Ukraine, Olha Buslavets, held a ministerial meeting, in the form of a video-conference, under the Memorandum of Understanding on a Strategic Energy Partnership between the EU and Ukraine.

Both sides endorsed the annual work plan for 2021 setting out actions for cooperation in all key areas, including a strong emphasis on the European Green Deal, cooperation on energy efficiency and renewable energy, nuclear safety, as well as a call to continue market reforms.

Recalling Ukraine’s ambition to approximate its policies and legislation with the European Green Deal, Commissioner Simson and Acting Minister Buslavets agreed on the common interest to engage on climate change and the clean energy transition, including pursuing ambitious environmental and climate objectives. The European Commission expressed  strong support for the decarbonisation of the Ukrainian energy sector, in particular through increased electrification, promotion of transparent and market-based use of renewable energy and decarbonised gases, including clean hydrogen, and energy efficiency measures. Cooperation on methane emissions was also addressed as a common area for action.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Iran supports Venezuela with fuel, gets crude in exchange

Bloomberg writes:

Iran is sending its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of U.S. sanctions to help the isolated nation weather a crippling fuel shortage, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Some of the flotilla of about 10 Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel, the people said, asking not to be named because the transaction is not public.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Nord Stream 2: some more details about the construction progress

 German newspaper WELT has more details about the construction progress of the disputed Nord Stream 2 pipeline:

Although the US has increased its sanctions threats, Russia is now setting its retrofitted special ship on the march. It is to lay further pipes in German waters. In addition, a face-saving solution to the pipeline dispute is surprisingly emerging.

“Notice for Seafarers 46/20: Germany. Baltic Sea. Waters around Rügen, VTG Adlergrund, 2 underwater pipelines under construction. "

Anyone who wanted to get an idea of ​​the chances of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project in the past few days had to rely on the dry statements of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV). The spokesmen for the ministries involved in the dispute at state and federal level were just as taciturn as those of the client, Gazprom. The political situation is particularly sensitive at the moment.

With the new sanctions law (PEESCA), the US Congress has just expanded its sanctions threats against European contractors for the pipeline project between Russia and Germany. Now insurers and other service providers also have to expect serious damage to their US business if they participate in pipe construction in the Baltic Sea.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Nord Stream 2: pipe-laying ship "Akademik Cherskiy" resumes construction work

The russian pipe-laying ship "Akademik Cherskiy", that replaces the vessel of shipping company "Allseas" that withdrew of fear for sanctions, has left the port of Kaliningrad to resume the last stretch of the pipeline. Meanwhile US lawmakers lace a package of sanction measures, writes german newspaper BILD:

Dramatic year-end spurt around the Putin Nordstream 2 pipeline!

In the geopolitically risky billion dollar game around the Baltic Sea pipeline Nordstream 2, the events in Moscow, Berlin and Washington, D.C.
Until new sanctions come into force on January 1st and a new US president is sworn in a few weeks later, all three countries want to create facts that are as robust as possible. According to BILD information, the federal government is once again playing with the wrong cards, and soon-to-be President Joe Biden could tip the scales.

On Thursday evening (December 3), Russia’s state-owned company Gazprom ordered the pipe-laying ship “Akademik Tscherski” to leave Kaliningrad Bay. The ship is currently heading for Germany's exclusive economic zone off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The controversial pipe that was originally supposed to have been transporting Russian gas to Germany since the beginning of the year is to be continued there on Saturday.
But according to the responsible Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), the ship only has permission to lay a few of the 160 kilometers that are still missing - and only for three weeks. A BSH spokeswoman on Friday (December 4) to BILD: "The construction work in December (two 2.6 kilometers) with ships positioned at anchor is covered by the 2018 approval and the approval of the BSH from October 2020."

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

EU: a strategy to use pipelines for hydrogen

 Pan-European media network specialised in EU policies Euractiv reports about a recent EU strategy to include hydrogen into the energy pool. Question arises on whether hydrogen can be added to piped gas or if the gas pipelines need to be retrofitted or if even a completely independent pipeline system has to be constructed:

While natural gas pipelines can be used to carry hydrogen, the cost of retrofitting infrastructure combined with end-user requirements at the local level, will determine whether blended or pure hydrogen is delivered to the final consumer, industry experts say.

Clean hydrogen – the sort produced from renewables through electrolysis – is considered a central element of the decarbonised energy system envisioned by the European Commission.

Low-carbon gases such as hydrogen or biomethane can replace fossil fuels in hard-to-abate sectors of the economy such as the steel or chemical industry, shipping, aviation and heavy-duty road transport where electrification is currently not feasible or too expensive.

Scaling up the production and use of clean hydrogen has therefore become a political priority for the European Commission, which presented a dedicated hydrogen strategy in July.

And while hydrogen today is mostly produced close to where it is used, that might change in the future as both production volumes and transport distances look set to increase.

Pipelines, after all, “are the cheapest method of distribution where demand is large enough,” says an EU-funded study by consultancies Guidehouse and Tractabel Impact, which was published by the European Commission in July this year.

“A progressive uptake of hydrogen solutions can also lead to repurposing or re-using parts of the existing natural gas infrastructure, helping to avoid stranded assets in pipelines,” the Commission wrote in its hydrogen strategy.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Shale: the nefarious effects of high-grading in 2020

 Goehring & Rozencjwag analyse the impact of high-grading in shale production over the last couple of years:

!To understand the relationship between drilling retrenchment, high-grading, productivity growth and production, consider an energy company that is forced to cut back its drilling activity in response to falling oil prices and reduced cash flows. It is logical to assume a company will stop drilling its least productive wells first. The remaining drilling activity becomes concentrated in the most productive areas and the average productivity rises. The larger the gap between a company’s least productive rig and its most productive rig, the more this phenomenon positively impacts average productivity and future production.


Between 2008 and 2019, we have experienced four periods of drilling retrenchment in the oil shales. During the 2009 slowdown, the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian lost 60% of their rigs. However, the difference between the most productive and least productive rig was so great that drilling productivity soared by 75% and total production from new drilling activity only fell by 35% -- much less than the fall in the rig count. In 2013, the three basins lost 15% of their rigs. Once again, the material difference between the most and least productive rig caused productivity to jump by 60%. Production from new drilling activity actually accelerated by 35%. In 2016, drilling activity declined by a massive 80% in the three basins. Productivity was able to skyrocket by 200% as companies were still able to lay down a large number of relatively unproductive rigs. Oil production from new drilling activity slowed by only 50%, again much less than the 80% drop in the rig count.


We used our neural network to shed some light on these periods of drilling retrenchment. We divided all of the drilling activity in the three plays into two tiers based upon acreage quality. According to our neural network, in 2009, 50% of all shale activity took place in Tier 1 areas. In 2013 and 2016 Tier 1 drilling still only represented 50% and 60% respectively. Today, that has changed dramatically. We believe that by 2019, Tier 1 activity approached 75% of all drilling. The following map shows the drilling activity on the Midland side of the Permian basin in 2013 and 2018. As you can see, operators have honed in on the best parts of the play and are hardly drilling the less productive areas at all. The same trend is true in the Bakken and Eagle Ford and we invite those that are interested to please reach out for similar drilling activity maps.

We also calculated the spread between the best wells and worst wells drilled during previous downturns. In 2013 we estimate the top half of all shale wells were 200% more productive as the bottom half. By 2019 this spread had collapsed to only 90% more productive. As rigs are laid down, our research tells us that the narrowing in drilling productivity will have a large impact on shale oil production growth. In previous drilling downturns, the E&P industry had the luxury of being able to lay down a significant number of relatively unproductive rigs. Years of high grading has taken this luxury away. Today, far fewer rigs are drilling unproductive wells compared to the downturns of 2009, 2013 and 2016 - a phenomenon clearly shown on the map above."

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

EU: UNO and EU institutions resolve measures against methane emissions

 European press service writes:

At the core of the effort is a comprehensive measurement-based methane-reporting framework that will make it easier for officials, investors and the public to accurately track and compare performance across companies in ways that have not been possible to this point.

As stipulated in the EU methane strategy, the European Commission is planning to elaborate a legislative proposal on compulsory measurement, reporting, and verification for all energy-related methane emissions, building on the OGMP 2.0 framework.  Crucially, the OGMP 2.0 includes not only a company’s own operations, but also the many joint ventures responsible for a substantial share of their production. 

The OGMP 2.0 framework applies to the full oil and gas value chain, not only upstream production, but also midstream transportation and downstream processing and refining – areas with substantial emissions potential that are often left out of reporting today. The goal is to enable the oil and gas industry to realize deep reductions in methane emissions over the next decade in a way that is transparent to civil society and governments. In order to support the realisation of global climate targets, OGMP 2.0 aims to deliver a 45 %  reduction in the industry’s methane emissions by 2025, and a 60-75 % reduction by 2030.

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

Nord Stream 2: local prime minister creates foundation to bypass US-sanctions

 Staunch supporter of the infamous pipeline Nord Stream 2, prime minister of the land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig, does her utmost to complete the pipeline while avoiding US-sanctions on german companies involved in the project. A foundation was created that acts as a target of the sanctions and leaves the companies involved unharmed, writes german newspaper BILD.

Can a German cheat foundation save Russia's prestige project “Nord Stream 2” at the last second?

According to BILD information, the State Chancellery of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, headed by Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (46, SPD), is working quickly on a tool to circumvent existing US sanctions against the Gazprom project “Nord Stream 2” that will be added from January.

For this purpose, a “Stiftung Klimaschutz MV” is to be established in the next few days. A ruse, because, according to BILD information, the alleged climate foundation should shortly afterwards identify the almost finished Russian pipe as the "most important component for environmental protection in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania" and then do everything in its power to contribute to the completion of the project.