Here are two videos from the Quadriga show on Germany’s international network DW.de — Aquí hay dos vídeos del programa Cuadriga de la red internacional alemana DW.de
Espanol, 28 febrero 2019: https://p.dw.com/p/3EHYo (… luego desplácese hasta el video)
English 31 January 2019 : https://p.dw.com/p/3CVxR (… then scroll down to the video)
Posted in Berlin, Chavez, Energy and Geopolitics, Germany, Global Oil system, Hugo Chávez, Latin America, Leopoldo López, Oil supply, Resource conflicts, Rosneft, Russia, Sanctions, Sechin, The USA, Trump, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy, Venezuela oil, Venezuelan Democracy
Here is my detailed analysis of the decision by Angela Merkel’s government to begin “small-scale” Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) imports to address greenhouse gas emissions and competitiveness issues in Germany’s heavy-road transport and maritime-shipping sectors. Read it below (via Scribid) or go directly to EUCERS. [This peer-reviewed paper appears in the King’s College-London, Newsletter of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS), Issue 77, July 2018.] – Tom O’D.
Posted in Berlin, Energiewende, Energy and Environment, Energy and Geopolitics, Environment, EU gas, Euroepen Union, Gazprom, Germany, LNG, Nord Stream, Russia, shale gas, The USA, Uncategorized
Tagged Energy, Germany, LNG, maritime, natural gas, trucking
“Natural gas instead of Diesel” © REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
My latest at: Berlin Policy Journal (German Council on Foreign Relations), June 28, 2018:
Germany’s Real LNG Policy
Germany’s government has endorsed imports of liquid natural gas for the first time—but not because of Russia and Nord Stream 2.
The German federal government has decided in favor of building liquid natural gas (LNG) import terminals and infrastructure. In March, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU-SPD government, in its “coalition contract,” pledged to “Make Germany the site for LNG infrastructure.” This is a notable policy change, because in Germany the opposition to LNG imports and use has been so much stronger than anywhere else in Europe.
The aim of this new endorsement is to reduce maritime and roadway heavy-transport emissions. However, many in Germany argue that using “small-scale” LNG in this way, as a “bridging” fossil fuel, is “wasted investment”. They contend that Energiewende-mandated electric vehicles can and will rapidly de-carbonize heavy transport. Still others oppose LNG imports on the grounds that they would unnecessarily diversify Germany’s gas suppliers with the aim of offsetting increasing reliance on Russian pipeline gas. They insist that Russian pipeline gas has been “historically reliable” and is cheaper for Germany than building large-scale import terminals for LNG.
Posted in Berlin, Energiewende, Energy and Environment, Energy and Geopolitics, Environment, EU gas, Euroepen Union, Gazprom, Germany, LNG, Russia, shale gas, The USA, Uncategorized
Tagged Business, Energy, Germany, USA
June 2018 OPEC meeting’s key players (AP)
Last week, Gillian Rich at Investor’s Business Daily (Washington), asked me (Berlin) and others about the OPEC’s 20-21 June meeting. Below here, I give my views in more detail, including the tie-in to the Trump project to isolate Iran and my comment about Putin likely betraying the Iranians again. The IBD piece is here: Trump Could Make OPEC’s Next Meeting As Dysfunctional As G-7 Summit. 15 June ’18.
We spoke about market and geopolitical aspects. On the latter, I emphasized both the Trump Administration’s evolving plan to sanction and isolate Iran, and Russia’s new role as a central player with OPEC ever since the 2016 joint Russian-OPEC decision to raise production.
That’s when Putin played a new role for any Russian leader. Not only did he coordinate Russian oil policy with OPEC’s, he got personally involved in heated discussions, getting on the phone late in the last night with Iranian and Saudi leaders to get the deal sealed. Continue reading
Posted in Aramco, Chavez, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, geopolitics, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, Hugo Chávez, Iran, Iran nuclear, Iran sanctions, Iraq, Iraqi oil, Mexico, Nord Stream, Obama, oil, Oil prices, OPEC, Putin, Rosneft, Russia, Sanctions, Saudi Arabia, Sechin, shale oil, Trump, U.S. oil, US Foreign Policy, Venezuela oil
Tagged Energy, Iran, Iraq, oil, OPEC, Russia, USA
I sent this today to European and American contacts – apologies for duplications.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I read with interest the declaration: “In spite of it all, America: A Trans-Atlantic Manifesto in Times of Donald Trump – A German Perspective,
” signed by a number of leading German foreign policy experts today in Die Zeit
and translated in the NYTimes
Point 10 is of particular interest and much welcomed as – at long last – a frank characterization in Germany of the Nord Stream 2 project for what it plainly is: “a geopolitical project:” Quoting:
10. Energy security policy — giving up Nord Stream 2 is in Germany’s interest
There is one more policy area in which the German government should reconsider its position to open the door for productive cooperation: energy security policy. The United States has identified Nord Stream 2, the planned pipeline running through the Baltic Sea to Russia, as a geostrategic project. They are correct. More important: This pipeline project is not in the joint European interest. Nord Stream 2 contradicts a policy of greater energy independence and undermines the envisaged European Energy Union. We should try to identify a joint approach with our European partners and the United States. (emphasis added – T.O’D.)
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, EU gas, Euroepen Union, Gazprom, geopolitics, Germany, international relations, Nord Stream, Poland, Putin, Russia, Sanctions, The USA, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy
A Sinopec station in China. Sinopec and other big NOC’s are slashing prices to take business from Chna’s small private “Tea Pot” refiners.
Last week, I was quoted on my assessment of how China’s “Tea Pot” refineries (small, private outfits) will fare in the face of China’s big National Oil Companies (NOCs) cutting prices to grab the Tea Pots’ business. My main point to Newsbase reporter Saw Wright was that China is far from a completely “free market” and the state can be expected to weigh in on one side or another, complicating any outcome predictions based on market and/or tech strengths and weaknesses. I’m quoted a couple times near the article’s end, here:
Posted in China, Energy and Geopolitics, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, shale oil, Tight oil, Trade and Commerce, U.S. oil, Uncategorized
Tagged China, Economics, noc, oil sector, refineries, shale, tea pots
The US Senate’s decision to expand sanctions against Russia triggered indignation in Berlin, throwing Germany’s geopolitical ambitions over the Nord Stream 2 project into sharp relief. Read below or get the App. My other articles at Berlin Policy Journal
“Neue Neue Ostpolitik”
Berlin – July 21, 2017 By: Thomas O’Donnell — On June 15, the US Senate approved an act to sharply expand sanctions imposed on Russia in retaliation for its intervention in eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014. The broadly bi-partisan move that enshrined Barack Obama’s earlier executive orders – intended as a response to Moscow’s alleged cyber interference in US elections – was a stunning rebuke to US President Donald Trump’s Russia policy, essentially taking a broad swath of foreign policy out of his hands. Continue reading
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, EU gas, Euroepen Union, Gazprom, geopolitics, Germany, international relations, LNG, Nord Stream, Resource conflicts, Russia, Sanctions, The USA, Trump, Ukraine, Uncategorized
Tagged Energy, European Union, gas, Gazprom, Germany, Nord Stream, pipeline, Putin, Sigmar Gabriel
Contrary to his campaign hype (see article below), Trump-as-president will not do anything to interfere with the free flow of oil or gas to or from the USA. As I pointed out in the Investors Business Daily interview (Gillian Rich’s story is below), people central to Trump’s administration – such as Rex Tillerson, his designated secretary of state and former CEO of Exxon, and Harold Hamm, Trump’s fracking billionaire friend he wanted for secretary of energy – are global-market-oriented businessmen who would never agree to disconnect the USA from global energy markets.
The free flow of petroleum through the unified global market traded in US dollars – what I call the “Global Barrel” – is central to the business model of every private as well as every national oil company. Today there is essentially one, global oil price. If you break up the global market by limiting imports or exports, you get national markets with national prices. Then what?
If the US price went higher than the global price due to keeping out cheap foreign oil, Trump’s popular approval would dive. And, if the U.S. price went lower due to a domestic production glut of fracked oil, then his support among business would tank.
Moreover, the unified global market serves as the key element in the world’s collective energy-security system by guaranteeing equal access and prices to all suppliers and consumers. Continue reading
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, geopolitics, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, Persian Gulf, Resource conflicts, shale oil, The USA, Trump, U.S. oil, Uncategorized
Tagged Energy, oil, USA
I was interviewed by Gillian Rich at Investors Business Daily (Washington, DC) on non-OPEC Russia’s role in the production cut. The article of December 9, is below. A few points first:
1: President Putin and his minister of energy Alexander Novak‘s participation in the OPEC decision – actually making middle-of-the-night phone calls to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, plus publicly promising to cut Russian production – is totally unprecedented. Never did the Soviets, nor post-Soviet Russia ever do any such thing previously. Why now?
2: As Rich quotes me as saying, oil prices below $60/barrel impose severe constraints on the Russian state’s income. Indeed, the federal budget has actually been based on $50/barrel, and yet the difficulties are apparent. Although Russian oil production is now at a post-Soviet all-time high, low prices have caused the state’s oil and gas income to severely drop. Here is the EIA’s assessment as of October 2016, showing the correlation of Brent price fall (in both dollars and Rubles) on the left, and the decline in oil and gas federal budget revenue on the right:
But, how much of Russian national export revenue is derived from oil and gas revenue? The EIA (in 2014) puts this at 68%. Here’s the breakdown: 00
Posted in Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, Iraqi oil, oil, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, Persian Gulf, Putin, Resource conflicts, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uncategorized
I was interviewed by Matt Egan of CNNMoney. Three points, if I may:
- This story echoes my message in Berlin Policy Journal earlier this week and my RTRadio interview: OPEC now has to live with a new oil-market paradigm where shale won’t disappear (for now its in the US, but soon elsewhere too). It is a technology more akin to manufacturing than traditional oil extraction and so more amenable to technological and operating innovation in a low-price regime (or in a price war such as the Saudis et al have just given up on waging against it). And, being much smaller-in-scale means it can ramp up at much lower initial costs and more rapidly than traditional oil fields. The CNNMoney story is below here, or here’s the CNN ink .
- Another totally new phenomena seen in this OPEC deal was that a Russian leader was deeply involved in the tense OPEC negotiations, specifically between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Russia has never done this before. Historically, it has also never carried through on previous promises to support an OPEC cut, instead free-riding on higher prices effected by OPEC/Saudi cuts. In this case, Putin was instrumental in getting the Saudi’s to agree, as they always have before, to swallow most of the cuts. But, Putin has agreed to cut too (in ambiguous language, but repeatedly). We shall now see if he and Igor Sechin (CEO of Rosneft, that produces 40% of Russian oil, and who is, by the way, a great friend of Venezuela’s miserably failing chavista leadership, where his company is now the biggest foreign oil producer) … do as they have promised OPEC and the Saudis. If they do not, the fallout with Saudis and their allies will be significant.
- Now, also, we shall see how US shale responds. Of course, IEA head, Fatih Birol, has understandably predicted that US shale and other producers, will likely hike production if oil reaches $60/barrel and simply eat up the present OPEC cuts in about nine months or so. (Aside: of course, the present output cuts, even if they ‘fail’ in the long run to sustain higher prices, would still have had been a significant cash-boosting relief to all OPEC states and to Russia while they lasted.) However, take a look at the Bloomberg video link at the end of my Berlin Policy Journal piece – an interview with Howard Hamm, Trump’s billionaire fracking close-ally (who has just turned down an offer to run the Department of Energy). He had told Bloomberg he expects OPEC to make a deal because “it makes sense” and, further, that he expects/hopes his US fracking colleagues will show ‘discipline’ after the price rise, i.e., not expanding too fast so as to keep prices up. An interesting, de facto recognition that price wars, in the end (in the long run), do not benefit either side, and goes on to approvingly say that the Saudi’s want to once again maintain prices “in a band” as they used to do. It is clear from Hamm that this would all be very welcomed from the US side. (Note, Hamm’s Continental Energy company made $3 billion in just three hours after the OPEC deal boosted prices! ) Indeed, in light of such everlasting market realities, it is difficult to imagine Trump’s attitude to the Saudi’s will be much different than other US president’s over the years. Which has geopolitical implications for Iran, of course, as the Saudi-Iranian geopolitical competition for regional influence and their parallel oil-market competition both continue to heat up.
Here’s the CNNMoney piece by M. Egan of 1 December 2016 (with my quote highlighted): Continue reading
Posted in Aramco, Energy and Geopolitics, Energy and Geostrategy, Global Oil Market, Global Oil system, international relations, Iran, oil, Oil prices, Oil supply, OPEC, PDVSA, Persian Gulf, Putin, Rosneft, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sechin, shale oil, The USA, Tight oil, Trump, U.S. oil, Uncategorized, Venezuela oil