Category Archives: Uncategorized

My Asharq: EU & G7 debate Russian oil-products’ caps. Two-caps needed by 5 February. High impact likely later this year.

Video: My answers in English; Host’s questions in Arabic.

Tom O’Donnell, on Asharq, 28 Jan 23. Written explanations of my answers are below.

Note: Questions in Arabic; my responses in English.

I explained how the crude oil cap is thus far successful. This bodes well for the products’ cap effectiveness.

The market situation is relatively favorable for application of EU sanctions on all Russian refined products on 5 February. Demand is still soft as Europe, even if it is not going into recession, and it is coming out of an unusually war winter that also softened demand. Also, China is not yet roaring back from its COVID reopening attempts.

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My Kyiv Post | Opinion Exclusive: “Reflections on Scholz’s Leopards’ Stalling Strategy”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks on prior to deliver a speech at the Congress centre during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on January 18, 2023. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

26 January 2023.

LINK to read at Kyiv Post

Summary (Added only on blog, T.O’D.): Scholz’s resistance to sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine has freed up many in Germany and beyond with reservations about the direction of the West’s strategy to become vocal.

Scholz is opposed to the recently changed USA-NATO strategic understanding that Putin’s new, long-war-of-attrition strategy could give sufficient time for his larger economic and energy war on Europe to bear fruit, seriously disrupting the West’s solidarity with Ukraine.

Biden and the NATO majority concluded that Putin’s long war of attrition strategy must be smashed. This requires large numbers of heavy weapons – tanks, aircraft, etc. – for Ukraine.

However, Scholz’ faction in Germany and in other EU states see a stalemate (e.g., war of attrition)) as likely positive, as it might lead in time to the two sides accepting a negotiated settlement or frozen conflict. This, they feel, is the path to ending the dangerous Russian-EU energy and economic war.

However, the majority pro-escalation camp, expects that a war of attrition (aka stalemate) risks the destabilizing effects of a prolonged and costly economic-and-energy “Cold War. 2” on Western stability and solidarity.

Scholz’, by demonstrably stalling NATO’s ability to send German tanks, effectively signaled his leadership of the no-escalation and pro-stalemate EU-wide faction, which is of significant size. In Germany sections of every political party now align with Scholz’ strategy. He and his faction wait for their time, when and if the new NATO escalation strategy fails.

All German parties were deeply involved in the previous energy partnership with Moscow; there is no significant organized opposition faction able to take leadership from Scholz and implement a Zeitenwende. This vacuum drives a gathering German – and EU – political crisis

Moscow is well aware of these matters. (Kyiv Post Opinion piece follows)

LINK to read at Kyiv Post | Link to copy at

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s resistance to sending Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine has freed up many in Germany with deep reservations about the direction of the West’s strategy and policy, to voice their frustrations, fears and, for many, an unwillingness to join in a Russian-Ukraine war, as opposed to containing it.

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My Al Jazeera | Germany takes first USA LNG | Putin suffers Winter setback in energy war vs EU, likely lasting to 2026-27 | This is a 2nd front of Russia’s failing Ukraine War.

3 January 2023 interview.

Al Jazeera’s English service asked me about the importance of the first-ever delivery of USA LNG to Germany on 3 January, as it was arriving at the newly installed Hoegh Esperanza FSRU (Floating Storage and Regasification Unit), in the Nord Sea port of Wilhelmshaven, near Hamburg.

The terminal is operatated by Fortum subsidiary Uniper, the recently nationalized German gas firm, and is the first of seven such terminals various firms and the German state plan to install over the next two-to-three years to help offset the loss of Russian gas imports it formerly relied on for about 60% of the nation’s natural gas.

I emphasized that Russia has locked the EU into what is expected to be a several-years-long energy war. This energy war against Europe should be understood as a second front launched by Putin’s Russia in support of its failing hot-war in Ukraine.

In addition, the aggressor in this energy war, like in the Ukraine War proper, is Russia. The aim is of weaponizing the continent’s overdependence on Russian exports, is to cause energy and economic hardships sufficient to undermine the solidarity of Germany and other EU Member states with Ukraine.

With the exception of the joint agreement between German Chancellor Scholz and USA President Biden to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, before it was ever commissioned, if Putin invaded Ukraine, the EU and USA have not imposed any further sanctions or restricted the import of Russian gas into Europe, and payments for this Russian gas was not sanctioned.

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My DW live: Russia ban on oil sales to price-cap nations has no significant effect. Russia will be selling less oil over time & sanctions complicate shipping insurance. Meanwhile, Ukraine-allies’ price cap encourages India & China to demand lower prices from Russia without officially joining cap.

The title and brief interview is rather self-explanatory. The interview starts after a brief intro, after 30 seconds.

Thanks to Daniel Winters, German national broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s ( English language Business News host for this invitation. We spoke, in Berlin, only a few hours after the cap was announced in Moscow.

My Al Jazeera: Putin’s decree banning oil sales under the cap is “a bit of bravado.” – The EU/USA can squeeze Russia by “stepwise lowering the cap” & “bringing other, new oil online.”

Al Jazeera asked for an online commentary within an hour of Putin’s announcement. These were my initial thoughts.

I also spoke to AJ Arabic, and a couple hours later, on Germany’s Deutsche Welle’s English language service elaborated on these points (see video, next blog post).

The question is where will the EU-USA-g7 western alliance go from here. If they stepwise lower the cap, and also work hard to get new oil online (from OPEC and the USA), they can gradually keep lowering Russia’s market share. However, as I indicated, the coming recession – esp. in Europe – and the uncertainties of Chinese demand as it exits COVID shutdowns in early 2023, complicate calculations of whether the globala oil market will be short or long on supplies and if the price will spike or not. I said this will be “a chess game.”

Comments are most welcomed. Tom O’D.

Roundtable, London asked us: “Is the US making a profit from the conflict in Ukraine?” — In my view, this complaint reflects Scholz & Macron’s continued longing to escape the USA’s transatlantic strategy towards Russia & China.

My comments are at (1) 4:19, (2) 16:20, and at (3) the end 23:15.


  • Nicholas Lokker, Research Assistant at the Centre for a New American Security
  • Marie Jourdain, Visiting Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center
  • Dr. Thomas O’Donnell: Energy and Geopolitics Analyst

Host: Philip Hampsheir, sitting in for David Foster.

From the TRT YouTube page blurb:

Dec 7, 2022 – Top European Union officials are accusing the United States of profiting from the war in Ukraine through high natural gas prices and weapons sales, while Europe struggles with rampant inflation and a cost of living crisis. Amidst rising tensions, a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his American counterpart in Washington saw both attempt to send a message of unity.

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My Aljazeera [English] Today’s start: EU sanctions Russian imports & G7-EU price-cap. As USA planned: no market shock.

FIRST: Here’s my AM Al Jazeera-ENGLISH), today 05Dec22. [About 30s. at start is lost]

SECOND: Here is my ENGLISH AUDIO of my AM AL Jazeera-Arabic interview

English Audio above,

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.

My Al Jazeera: EU debates where to set Russian oil price cap. Over time this price “will be lowered as [new oil] comes online,” shrinking Russia’s market. “The Americans just don’t want a shock removal.”

English Audio above — Arabic video below

This interview (Arabic video; English audio above) was recorded the evening of 29nov22 as the EU struggled over how low to set the price cap.

Soon, it will be agreed, and will gradually become devastating for Russia.

As new non-Russian oil resources are developed (e.g., in Guyana, Suriname, UAE, Iraqi and other fields) and/or oil fields come back online (e.g., Venezuela, Libya, …), the EU and G7 will feel confident to further lower the price further and further below the price of Brent and WTI crude.

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My Polish press interview: “Europe can replace Russian oil & gas by 2027” but “in war there are casualties” (Pl. & Eng.)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture-pap-poland-energy-war-25nov22.jpg

This interview with Artur Ciechanowich (Polish Associated Press-PAP, Brussels) appeared on Sunday, 25 November 2022 in several Polish press, TV and radio outlets (links below this post). Polish & English (via Google Translate) versions follow:

ENGLISH – via Google Translate

Europe without gas and oil from Russia? An expert gives a possible date

If the European Union does not bow to the Russian energy attack, it may completely replace gas and oil imports from this country with raw materials from other sources within four to six years, said Thomas O’Donnell, an energy market analyst and lecturer at a university in Berlin …..

  • Russia is waging an energy war against Europe, which is part of a larger war between Russia and Ukraine. We see that the war on the battlefield is not going Russia’s way, so the Kremlin is counting on its energy policy to cause enough economic problems for Europeans to divide the EU and withdraw from solidarity with Ukraine, says O’Donnell.

The question of replacing gas and oil imports from Russia

  • Vladimir Putin has a much greater influence on Europe through the supply of gas than oil. This is because gas is mainly supplied by pipelines. Around 2027, Europe, the United States, Qatar and others will increase the export capacity of liquefied natural gas enough to replace the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and allow gas prices in the EU to fall to levels close to the low prices in the US, the analyst predicts.

However, he does not hide that before this happens, citizens of EU countries will have to go through a more difficult period. “This is an energy war, and in a war both sides suffer – consumers and businesses in the EU will suffer. It will take at least four years to implement huge new LNG export projects from the US and Qatar, he cautions, adding that the EU will also need to receive as much gas as possible from Algeria, Egypt and Norway.

  • This year Europe filled up its gas storages. It will be harder next year. It should be understood that the storage facilities – under normal conditions – have never been used to provide normal gas supplies to consumers. They’re just too small for that. They were created with the idea of ​​storing the raw material saved in the summer and using it in the winter, when the Russian and Norwegian pipelines could not keep up with the demand, explains Thomas O’Donnell.

He points out that, therefore, Germany has repealed the regulations requiring the maintenance of a minimum temperature in homes, and in some EU countries there are debates about power cuts for citizens. – Europe has become dependent not only on Russian gas, but also on completely unpredictable wind energy. If the wind is weak – as in the 2020-21 season – combined with the lack of appropriate transmission networks and the lack of technical capacity to store electricity on a large scale, it can mean a disaster. These are the facts. In times of war, citizens must know the whole truth, the expert argues.

He emphasizes that Russia is waging an energy war against Europe in order to break its solidarity towards Ukraine. – In the US and Qatar, but also in Norway, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Israel, Egypt and so on, there are plenty of new gas reserves, financing opportunities, technologies and functioning markets. In four to six years, Europe’s dependence on Russia will be completely replaced by imports from other directions. This also applies to crude oil. Russia, meanwhile, will be reduced from an energy superpower to an OPEC second or third tier country, concludes O’Donnell.

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Source: PAP

Main photo source: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

POLISH – as from PAP

Europa bez gazu i ropy z Rosji? Ekspert podaje możliwy termin

Jeżeli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed rosyjskim atakiem energetycznym, to w czasie od 4 do 6 lat może całkowicie zastąpić import gazu i ropy naftowej z tego kraju surowcami z innych kierunków – stwierdził Thomas O’Donnell, analityk rynku energetycznego i wykładowca na prywatnej berlińskiej uczelni ….

  • Rosja prowadzi przeciwko Europie wojnę energetyczną, która jest częścią większej wojny Rosji z Ukrainą. Widzimy, że wojna na polu bitwy nie idzie po myśli Rosji, więc Kreml liczy na to, że jej polityka energetyczna wywoła u Europejczyków wystarczające problemy ekonomiczne, by podzielić UE i odstąpić od solidarności z Ukrainą – mówi O’Donnell.

Kwestia zastąpienia importu gazu i ropy z Rosji

  • Władimir Putin ma znacznie większy wpływ na Europę poprzez dostawy gazu niż ropy naftowej. Dzieje się tak, ponieważ gaz dostarczany jest głównie rurociągami. Około 2027 roku Europa, Stany Zjednoczone, Katar i inne kraje zwiększą możliwości eksportowe skroplonego gazu ziemnego na tyle, aby zastąpić zależność UE od rosyjskiego gazu i pozwolić na obniżenie cen gazu w UE do poziomu zbliżonego do niskich cen w USA – przewiduje analityk.

Nie ukrywa jednak, że zanim to się stanie, to obywatele państw Unii będą musieli przejść przez trudniejszy okres. – To wojna energetyczna, a na wojnie obie strony ponoszą ofiary – ucierpią konsumenci i firmy w UE. Co najmniej cztery lata zajmie wdrożenie ogromnych nowych projektów eksportu LNG z USA i Kataru – zastrzega, dodając, że UE będzie musiała otrzymywać jak najwięcej gazu także z Algierii, Egiptu i Norwegii.

  • W tym roku Europa napełniła swoje magazyny gazu. W przyszłym roku będzie trudniej. Należy rozumieć, że magazyny – w normalnych warunkach – nigdy nie służyły do zapewniania normalnych dostaw gazu konsumentom. Są na to po prostu za małe. Powstawały z myślą przechowania surowca zaoszczędzonego latem i wykorzystania go zimą, kiedy rosyjskie i norweskie rurociągi nie nadążały z zaspokojeniem popytu – tłumaczy Thomas O’Donnell.

Zwraca uwagę, że w związku z tym, Niemcy uchylili przepisy nakazujące utrzymywanie w domach minimalnej temperatury, a w niektórych krajach Unii toczą się debaty na temat przerw w dostawach prądu dla obywateli. – Europa uzależniła się nie tylko od rosyjskiego gazu, ale postawiła też na całkowicie nieprzewidywalną energię wiatrową. Jeśli wiatr będzie słaby – jak w sezonie 2020-21 – to w połączeniu z brakiem odpowiednich sieci przesyłowych i brakiem technicznych możliwości magazynowania prądu na wielką skalę, może to oznaczać katastrofę. Takie są fakty. W czasie wojny obywatele muszą znać całą prawdę – przekonuje ekspert.

Podkreśla, że Rosja prowadzi wojnę energetyczną przeciwko Europie, aby rozbić jej solidarność wobec Ukrainy. – W USA i Katarze, ale też w Norwegii, Algierii, Azerbejdżanie, Izraelu, Egipcie i tak dalej, istnieje mnóstwo nowych rezerw gazu, możliwości finansowania, technologii i funkcjonujących rynków. Za cztery do sześciu zależność Europy od Rosji zostanie całkowicie zastąpiona importem z innych kierunków. Dotyczy to również ropy naftowej. Rosja tymczasem zostanie zredukowana z supermocarstwa energetycznego do drugoligowego lub trzecioligowego kraju OPEC – konkluduje O’Donnell.

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Źródło: PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Here are links to some of the Polish media where the PAP interview was published:

* Europa bez gazu i ropy z Rosji? Ekspert podaje możliwy termin › biznes › ze-swiata

1 day ago — … 4 do 6 lat może całkowicie zastąpić import gazu i ropy naftowej z tego kraju surowcami z innych kierunków – stwierdził Thomas O’Donnell, …

* Ekspert: Europa może poradzić sobie bez gazu i ropy z Rosji … › aktualnosci › ne…

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21 hours ago — Rosja tymczasem zostanie zredukowana z supermocarstwa energetycznego do drugoligowego lub trzecioligowego kraju OPEC” – konkluduje O’DonnellZ …

* UE może obejść się bez gazu i ropy z Rosji. „Jeśli pozostanie … › ue-moze-obej…

1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

* Ekspert: UE może w ciągu 4-6 lat całkowicie zastąpić import … › wiadomosc

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1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

* Ile lat potrzeba UE aby uniezależnić się od importu ropy i gazu … › artykul

1 day ago — Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym ze strony Rosji, to w ciągu 4-6 lat zastąpi całkowicie import gazu i ropy …

Czy Europa jest wystarczająco silna, aby poradzić sobie bez … › artykul

27 Sept 2022 — Czy Europa jest wystarczająco silna, aby poradzić sobie bez ropy i gazu z Rosji? … Polska, podobnie jak pozostałe państwa Unii Europejskiej, …

gaz w › gaz › T…

Ile lat potrzeba UE aby uniezależnić się od importu ropy i gazu z RosjiEkspert wyjaśnia. Jeśli Unia Europejska nie ugnie się przed atakiem energetycznym …

* Ekspert: Polska jest dobrze przygotowana na odcięcie dostaw gazu … › …

Ekspert: Polska jest dobrze przygotowana na odcięcie dostaw gazu z Rosji, … sprawę z takiego niebezpieczeństwa – mówi w rozmowie z PAP Thomas O’Donnell, …Open document settingsOpen publish panel

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My Doha talk: Europe’s energy crisis: another front of Putin’s Ukraine War – & the GCC

My paper in Qatar was: “Europe’s energy crisis: A 2nd front of Putin’s Ukraine War – & the Gulf states” 23Oct22

Above is a video of my talk (in English) in Doha, Qatar at the 9th Annual Gulf Studies Forum, on the theme: ““The Impact of the Ukraine Crisis on the Economies of the Gulf,” held at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies.

The abstract is below. However, first, I must say how impressed I was by the respect and support attendees extended to the Ukrainian ambassador,, Mr. Kuzmenko Andrii, who was in attendance, as were other Ukrainian diplomats (photo below)

I was also impressed by the solidarity expressed by the great majority of academic and business participants, mostly from the Gulf and larger MENA Region, for the people of Ukraine in fighting Russian aggression. Many heartfelt analogies were made to Gulf and MENA-Region nations’ who have suffered invasions, especially citing Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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My DW: Will the gas-price cap keep firms in Germany? BASF & German politicians’ years-long energy policies have collapsed.

I was interviewed (Tuesday 01nov22) on the new gas-price cap plan the German government is expected to approve tomorrow.

I was asked four questions by DW’s host Kate Ferguson:

-1- Thomas, it`s interesting to see the government attach conditions to these price caps for companies. How worried is it about a corporate exodus?

-2- German chancellor Olaf Scholz is visiting a BASF factory today – just days after the company announced major cost cutting – complaining that gas prices were up to six times higher at home than in the US. Are these caps enough to prevent OTHER companies from following suit?

– 3- Managing gas prices is one thing. But with a recession looming what ELSE does the German government need to do to keep companies afloat?

-4- The EU hasn`t been able to agree on a COMMON gas price cap. How damaging is it for countries to go it alone? I was not particularly optimistic.

The above were not especially technical energy-sector questions, so my answers combine assessments of energy-sector facts facing Germany with geopolitical and geo-economic assessments of the deep crisis facing German industry, citizens and the political establishment. Read more on my blog: . Continue reading

Our TRT/Istanbul: Will Turkey be Russia’s new gas hub to Europe? Can Putin save his gas sector? What’s Erdogan’s game?

We began at timestamp 1:00 minute, after TRT’s lead-in story.

With guests:

  • Dr. Thomas O’Donnell: Energy Analyst, in Berlin
  • Eser Özdil of Glocal Group Consulting; and Former President of The Turkish Petroleum and Natural Gas Platform Association. He is also an external fellow of the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC.

and Host Ayse Suberker of TRT TV’s Straight Talk from Istanbul.

We analyzed what Putin aims to achieve, and why President Erdogan of Turkey has so rapidly accepted this proposal. This is obviously, I said, a scheme by Putin to try to save his natural gas business to Europe.

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Our TRT London: Can Moldova escape Russian energy dependence?

Our discussion with David Foster, TRT London, on Putin’s threats against Moldova’s energy supply in winter. Recorded 11 October 2022.

Our panel included the experts:

  • Klaus Larres Professor of History and International Affairs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Lucia Scripcari Analyst on Moldovan Domestic and Foreign Policy
  • Thomas O’Donnell Energy and Geopolitics Analyst, and academic, in Berlin.

The energy security of Moldova, a small, pro-EU state boarding Romania, is precarious and under various and comlpex threats from Russia. This includes direct threats to its gas supplies, which overwhelmingly come from Gazprom.

Meanwhile, Moldova’s 70% of its electricity comes from its region of Transnistria, which is illegally occupied by Russia, and this electricity is produced by gas imported across Moldova by Gazprom.

The remaining 30% of its electricity comes from Ukraine, where recent Russian missile strikes have hit power plants and apparently forced a cut off the Ukrainian electricity supplies to Moldova on the day before we recorded this show.

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My Al Jazeera: Costa, Sánchez & Scholz, in Berlin, demand Midcat gas pipe via France. They’ll confront Macron at EU Council, 20-21 Oct

Left: Dr. Tom O’Donnell, interviewed on the Berlin meeting, Right, Portuguese PM Costa and Chancellor Scholz in Berlin. Spain’s PM Sánchez also attended.

Given the wartime energy emergency in Europe, it is perhaps astonishing that President Macron of France continues to block completion of the Midcat Pipeline.

Completion of this pipeline, whose construction was interrupted well before the Ukraine War began, would enable Portugal and Spain, located on the Iberian Peninsula, to send much of the abundance of LNG and pipeline gas these countries are able to import on northward, across the Pyrenees Mountains, across France and into Germany and other northern and eastern EU Member states, which are being starved of natural gas by Russia.

I am asked for my theory as to why President Macron would block this obviously much needed pipeline from crossing his country. We discuss several other related issues as well.

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