This blog and our co - publications, Original Boggart Blog and The Daily Stirrer have commented many times on the folly of western leaders headlong rush to achieve 'net zero,' the neutralisation of Carbon Dioxide emissions from their nation's business and social activities. Germany and the UK have so far led the way, closing coal and gas fuelled electricity generating plants and for some reason nuclear reactors though these produce absolutely zero CO2, and trying to fulfill their nation's baseload requirement (the level of energy requires 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in order to keep a modern, economically developed nation running) by investing in intermittent and unpredictable sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.
Now it seems Germany is heading for a cold, dark winter as in spite of all the government's exhortations to reduce consumption now that no gas at all is flowing through the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia due to the sabotage of both pipes last month, businesses need to keep trading and domestic users need to keep warm and cook food. The result is that the European Union's biggest member and most powerful economy may not be able to avoid an energy "emergency" in the cold, dark months which lie ahead, the head of the country's energy network regulator warned Thursday, as reported by The Washington Post.
"Gas consumption increased by too much last week," said Klaus Mueller, head of Germany's network agency.
Due to the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline system in the Baltic Sea and reduced NatGas flows from Russia via The Balkans and Italy because of the war in Ukraine, German households and businesses need to reduce energy consumption to a bare minimum as average temperatures across northern Europe slide to near an unseaonally low 5 degrees celsius in the second half of the September.
Heating degree data shows the heating season has started.
Germany's inability to reduce gas consumption due to its closing coal, gas and nuclear fuelled power stations can only result in accelerating the depletion of supplies in bulk storage and could spark a continued surge in gas prices. Gas consumption last week for households and small businesses was 10% higher than average consumption levels between 2018-21.
"We will hardly be able to avoid a gas emergency in winter without at least 20% savings in the private, commercial and industrial sectors.
"The situation can become very serious if we do not significantly reduce our gas consumption," Mueller said.
Though there is a hint of good news coming from elsewhere it may be to little too late to help Germany, especially in view of the latest dose of bad news. Florence Rabier, director-general of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, told Financial Times that forecasts for November and December in Europe would bring "colder weather than usual with less wind and more rainfall reducing the generation of electricity from the much vaunted 'renewable' sources."
The Germans may be able to follow the UK's lead and fire up a few mothballedcoal and fossil fuel plants and even recommission nuclear output to prevent widespread power blackouts during peak demand hours, although al these thins take time. As for households, the cheapest way to offset energy hyperinflation is to burn the furniture.
Meanwhile little Norway, Western Europe’s biggest oil and gas producer, expects its oil and liquids production to rise by 15% next year with the second phase of the Johan Sverdrup oilfield development and the start-up of the Johan Castberg oilfield, the government said in its draft budget on Thursday.
And the UK is recommissioning oil and gas rigs in The North Sea which were shut down in pursuit of 'net zero' though they still contain exploitable reserves. The UK government has also granted over 100 new exploration licences for North Sea extraction operators this week. It would not be possible to bring online these resources for a considerable time so it looks as if governments think this crisis will be around for a while.
Offshore Natural gas production from Norway's waters supplies around 25% of the gas consumed in the EU. Offshore production from UK waters, is expected to rise by 10% in 2022 compared to 2021, the government’s latest estimates showed, with a similar increase expected for 2023.
“The energy crisis in Europe makes Norwegian gas sales even more important for Europe than before,” Norway says.
Revenues from offshore hydrocarbon activities are expected at $132 billion (1.4 trillion Norwegian crowns) – a record high – in 2023, compared to the predicted $113 billion (1.2 trillion crowns) for 2022, and nearly five times higher than the 2021 revenues from oil and gas, according to the government’s budget draft. The high expected income from petroleum activities will mostly reflect expected high oil prices, and especially gas prices, as well as a weaker exchange rate for the Norwegian crown.
Earlier this year, Norway’s authorities approved applications from operators to boost production from several operating gas fields, to allow higher gas production as its key partners, the EU and the UK, scramble for gas supply ahead of the winter Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Terje Aasland, said, commenting on the budget.