Category Archives: Energy crisis

EU sets $60 Russian-oil-price cap. What now? [My Al Jazeera & Asharq (Blmbrg) interviews]

FIRST: Al Jazeera, 10:05 AM, 02.12.22 CET, Berlin & Doha: — English audio below, then Arabic video.

SECOND: Asharq (exclusive Bloomberg affiliate, Gulf) , about 10:00 PM, 02.12.22 CET, Berlin & Doha — English Audio below, then Arabic video.

Al Ghad/Cairo: Putin tempts Erdogan, “Take Nord Stream gas at a Turkish hub. Sell EU my gas. Forget NATO.” Putin’s ‘Gas Godfather’ games become pathetic.

English: Audio above || Arabic: Video below

Is this even a real proposal? Nowadays, after becoming so unreliable a supplier of gas to Europe, in fact having weaponized Russian gas deliveries, it is difficult for anyone to take this proposal seriously. Erdogan may have many significant problems; however he and Turkey are not so naieve as to do what Germany and Austria forced the European Union to do, i.e., become overdependent on Russian gas, especially given the deep energy crisis Europe is currently going through.

But, also consider this (as I explained towards the end): This proposal of sending Nord Stream gas, originating in Northern Urengoy province, above the Artic Circle, would also require a big, new pipeline laying project, running at least from perhaps near the Ukrainian border south towards the Black Sea and then onto Turkey. This would have a significant cost. And, by the time this could be finished – in perhaps five or more years – the world will have moved on. By that time, new LNG and natural gas production potential in the USA, Qatar, Australia, Algeria, Norway, Israel (sent to Egypt for liquification) and likely many others’, will have been developed and be on the global market. On this time horizon, there would be plenty of diverse sources of gas fully able to replace Russian export capacities.

I also explained the history of the South Stream Pipeline …

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Video | European Energy Crisis panel at Montenegro’s 2BS Forum, with Prof Alan Riley, me & moderator Jasmina Kos

Video: 2BS (To Be Secure) Forum, Budva, Montenegro, 08Oct22 (excerpted from Forum video at link.)

My thanks to Jasmina Kos (Al Jazeera, Balkans) for moderating our panel, and to my friend and colleague Prof. Alan Riley, who joined us via video link from Brussels.

Also my thanks to the 12th Annual 2BS Forum, especially Azra Karastanovi, executive director of the Atlantic Council of Montenegro for the invitation. The Forum was an informative and especially sober event (i.e., more on how the state-crisis of Montenegro’s politically split ruling coalition played out even during the conference sessions in another post, soon.)

As for our panel, we discussed in some detail the reasons for Putin’s energy war against Europe, the likely reasons Russia would sabotage the Nord Stream pipelines, the status of the European struggle to replace Russian gas with other sources – and how bad might the crisis be during this and the next few winters, the question of the role of renewables, the role of conservation of gas and electricity use, and the potential for new-build nuclear power in Europe. Comments, corrections and critiques are most welcomed.

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Kyiv Post: “What to Expect in the Energy War? Interview with Expert Thomas O’Donnell”

Dr. Thomas O’Donnell with the former Director of Montenegro’s National Security Agency Savo Kentera. Photo credit: Jason Jay Smart, Kyiv Post. [Note: At a reception hosted by Montenegro’s Defense Minister during the 2BS Forum in Budva, a few hours after the Prime Minister had fired Kantera, who had expelled Russian spies without the PM’s permission. The following interview took place the same day, at the 2BS conference. T. O’D.]

To read the interview at Kyiv Post, which I recommend, go to this link. My thanks to Jason Smart for the interview. – If the link is down, here is the interview:

By Jason Jay Smart

Dr. Thomas O’Donnell is an American energy and geopolitics expert, based for the last decade in Berlin. He has been deeply engaged in analysis and critique of the German-Russian gas partnership and continues to undertake work on geopolitics surrounding global oil markets and OPEC/OPEC+ states.

A nuclear physicist by training, O’Donnell is a proponent of a European nuclear renaissance over the perceived dangerous illusions of “100 percent renewables and no nuclear” policies. He blogs at GlobalBarrel.com and his Twitter handle is @twodtwod.

He spoke to Kyiv Post’s Jason Jay Smart about Russia’s weaponizing of energy supplies, how long that can go on, and the outlook for winters to come in Europe.

What do you make of the bombing of the underwater Nord Stream pipelines?

 We must be clear when we talk about the bombing of Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines – Europe is being subjected to an energy war by Russia, which is part of the larger Russian war against Ukraine. We see that the battlefield war isn’t going well for Russia, so Russia is betting on its energy policies being able to cause enough economic pain for Europeans to divide Europe, with hopes that Europe will then abandon its solidarity with Ukraine.

Which is more strategically valuable to Russia and why: Gas or oil? Continue reading

My Al Jazeera: Washington picked a pointless, populist fight with the Saudis over OPEC+ cuts

I explain further in the blog post, way below. English audio is above. Arabic video just below.
To defeat Russia’s energy war, OPEC should invest in CAPACITY to produce more oil. So should USA shale.

The title above says much more succinctly what I was hoping to get into in this interview. Below are the beginning of an article I was writing for this blog post. However, a USA organization is interested in using it for an Op-Ed. So, only the initial part is below. I hope to post on this fully very soon (i.e., a published article). – Tom O’D.

In my view, the Biden Administration has unwisely gotten into an exaggerated public clash with the Saudis and OPEC/OPEC+ over their 2 mbd quota cut.

The key here is the need for more investment rapidly into both the OPEC states (which have plenty of oil reserves that can be developed) and into USA shale resources (that are also abundant and need to be more rapidly expanded).

The looming global recession discourages investors in both instances, of course. And, the Biden administration has reason to worry, both if a global recession soon begins, slashing oil demand, and especially if it doesn’t (but, it will).

I agree with Ed Morse (video interview on CNN here), veteran oil-market analyst, head of Citibank’s Global Commodities: Regardless of the OPEC quota cut, given the strong trend towards a global recession, which is proceeding relatively slower in the USA than elsewhere, it’s likely oil prices will be “in the $70’s at the end of the year.”

… to be continued.

My Sky News: Are EU Measures vs the Russian Oil- & Gas-War Enough?

English audio track is above for Arabic video below.
Sky News Arabia interviews me last night on the fight vs. the Kremlin’s energy war against Europe, a second front to its war against Ukraine.

Dear GlobalBarrel.com readers,

Some upcoming events I’ll attend and post here:

1. I’m invited to speak at the “12th 2BS Forum, one of the leading politico-security conferences in Southeast Europe, organized by the Atlantic Council of Montenegro.” So I’ll be in Budva from 6-9 October. Ukrainian President Zelensky will deliver a keynote video speech from Kyiv. My Panel is 8 August 2022, 14.45 – 15.15:

The Climate-Energy Security Nexus, with speakers:

  • Thomas W. O’DONNELL, Energy & Geopolitical Expert
  • Alan RILEY, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Professor, City Law School, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council ONLINE SPEAKER TBC
  • Moderator: Jasmina KOS, Presenter and Reporter, Al Jazeera Balkans

2. I’m also invited to speak at

  • The 9th Annual Gulf & Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum, for which I will be in Doha, Qatar from 21-24 October. The conference title is: “Implications of the Ukraine crisis and regional and international competition for the future of security and energy in the Gulf region.”
  • The My topic will be the transformation of the German (and EU) relationship with the GCC states in energy and security matters since the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the parallel Kremlin energy war against Europe.

I plan to post on the content of these conferences and my contributions, and to try to post more of my media interviews – when they may be of use.

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My TVP, Warsaw: Assessing Energy Supplies in the EU’s Energy Crisis vs Russia.

This video is the portion of the TVP show (Warsaw, Poland, in English) with my interview on 09sep22.

We discussedthe present energy crisis in Europe vs. Putin’s Russia – as an additional front parallel to the hot war inside Ukraine.

I gave my views on the causes for Europe’s predicament: this includes over-dependence on Russian energy – long insisted upon by especially Germany and Austria – to over-dependence on variable wind energy without having any significant amout of grid-scale storage installed.

Also, on the necessity of nuclear as a zero-carbon base load generation capaciy, and the most useful applications for larger, Generation 3+ nuclear plants as versus smaller SMRs (small modular reactors). I aso commented on the Polish national energy transistion plan, wich seems much moe flexib .

[Note: TVP is the Polish state-media corporation TV channel. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telewizja_Polska

As the Wiki indicates, TVP is criticized for being partisan pro-government. In my interview, on this topic, this was not the case. I also often go onto German state-media TV, Deutsche Welle (DW), subject to my similar observations when I’ve been on that station. ]

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My Al Jazeera: I was asked to assess Pres. Von der Leyen’s proposals on the energy crisis | Sharing hardships fairly is the key to unity.

Just as President Von der Leyen finished her speech, I was asked for an analysis of her proposals to cope with the energy crisis – which Member States’ will meet to approve or reject on 30 September.

EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen presented the commission’s plan to address the growing energy crisis before and during the coming winter. Now there will be two weeks of discussions among Member states until their energy ministers gather on 30 September to decide which to endorse.
There will undoubtedly be no price caps on Russian or other natural gas.
There will be liquidity for those energy companies struggling to purchase high-priced gas.
There are measures to decouple the effects, at least, of the coupling of the electricity prices to high natural gas prices in the wake of Putin’s regime cutting its pipeline flows to Europe. The idea here, as I explained, is a sort of “windfall profits taxes” on low-cost energy producers, such as renewables and nuclear, to capture their rents and redistribute them to those citizens and firms struggling to pay energy bills during the crisis.
I explain that this is a wholly appropriate measure during wartime, which is what this is – an economic and energy war vs. Russia to support the Ukrainian people’s fight against Russian aggression.
I was asked, again, as on other networks recently, whether the EU is “divided” on these measures.
I explained how there are absolutely no proposals that the EU (or USA) back down on its sanctions program vs. Russia and esp. vs. Russian energy.
I explained how, despite Orban of Hungary and some similar examples, these have been pretty well handled by the majority of Member states and the Commission and in fact the sanctions and emergency measures have gone forward.
I noted that in two or so years, Russia will be relegated to a second-level energy exporter, and the EU will certainly be able to be independent of Putin’s regime in the energy sector.