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 .
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. ]
My thanks to Al Jazeera’s Katya Bohdan, producer, and the digital team in Doha (English) for this well done “documentary” featuring my point of view on: “What does Russia’s gaas cur mean for Europe?” I think it is self-explanatory (and its short). Watch it below or directly at the AJ link here. Tom OD.
He did not insist, as have various Russian Federation officials lately, that Nord Stream 1 gas flow has been cut for technical reasons to do with the lack of a Siemens compressor.
The compressor in question was sent to Canada for repairs, but its return has been waived from sanctions restrictions. As Chancellor Scholz rightly said, the lack of a compressor is clearly not what cutting gas to Europe is about. It is political.
Nor did the expert in Moscow claim it was due to bureaucratic German-Russian difficulties with paperwork, as Putin and others have claimed..
He instead pointed out that the EU has said it will stop by year’s end the import of Russian oil, and Germany has said it will not use Russian gas in two years, and, without this and some sort of “political compromise,” gas could undoubtedly be fully flowing again from Russian into the EU.
So, I asked – rhetorically – just what possible sort of “compromise” might Putin be angling for? The Donbas for gas? Odessa for gas?
I asserted my opinion that “Europeans have their sense of dignity” and would never agree to such a “compromise.” Put that way, they will prefer to be cold this winter and to have industries and businesses have to shut for lack of gas.
We also discussed a few details of what sort of suffering – rationing of energy, low temperature heating and closing of businesses – Germany and the EU can expect to have to endure this winter.
Al Jazeera asked me how will the cut in gas to Latvia effect that country and other Baltic states?
I said they are much better prepared than Germany, for example. The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as Poland, had no illusions about Putin’s Russia eventually weaponizing the EU’s dependence on Russian gas as it is now during the Ukraine war.
Lithuania has a gas import floating terminal and also supplies non-Russian imports to its neighbors, including Poland. Poland also has an LNG import terminal, and is now completing a new non-RUssian-gas pipeline form Norway to Poland.
They are in a much better place, prepared much better than Germany in the event of a complete cut off of Russian imports.
Al Jazeera also asked about the cut in Nord Stream 1 supplies to (and through) Germany to only 20%. I said this will have a heavy effect on Germany and other EU states this winter. Germany will not be able now to fill storage for winter.
We discussed other aspects of this in the brief, 4.5 minute interview on the nightly news show.
The title tells most of it. I explain why I think Putin is playing with gas, not oil and the EU and German vulnerabilities.
Now, German storage will not be able to be filled to the ministry’s target level of 95% by November, according to the Federal Transmission System chief, Mr. Klaus Muller – in fact, even if NS1 were still flowing at 40%.
Not only that, although Energy Minister Habeck has agreed to bring back online all the coal power plants possible, in fact Germany has a poorly thought-out over dependence on wind and it simply is not blowing much this summer. So, in actuality, we are burning more gas now to produce electricity than last year – a complete waste of gas. Also, the Rhine is low and coal barges are having difficulty delivering coal to power plants.
We discuss the excuses Putin is giving for cutting Nord Stream 1 flows now from 40% to only 20%. I asserted that they are nonsense. (Various links are below, under Read More.)
This pipeline has been in service since 2011 and there has never been a cut back of flow due to a defective or poorly maintained compressor, and now Russia is claiming a second one is in disrepair. Putin, in Tehran, last week warned he would do this and also said that Ukraine refusing to transit Russian gas through territory Russia has forcibly occupied is another reason he might cut Nord Stream 1 flows. So, this is clearly political, not technical.
This will mean, according to comments recently by Klaus Mueller – head of the German Federal Gas Transit Agency, that it will be impossible to fill German storage to the 95% level the minister has ordered — Mueller had said this was the case even at the former 40% flows of NS1.
I explained the reason Putin is playing this game with gas deliveries – because natural gas brings his regime far less revenues than the all-important business of Russian oil exports, while at the same time natural gas is much harder now for Europe to replace for some years hence from other sources – as it arrives mostly via pipelines from Russia, not by sea like most oil. So, gas is Putin’s greatest lever for now in the energy front of the economic war being waged in support of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
Euronews Now host, Mariam Zaidi, interviews me Thursday AM, 21 July, about the meaning of Nord Stream 1 coming back online (albeit by a mere 40%), and why the EU has to prepare for a complet cutoff of Russian natural gas this winter.
In two or so years, the EU will be completly free of dependence on Putin’s gas; and he knows it. So, Putin has two years to use it – as a weapon – or lose it. We have to be ready. Filling storage is not sufficient. There would be gas rationing and cutoffs.
I was interviewed, 11 July, together with former-Foreign Minister of Russia, Andrey A. Fedorov, about the possibility of Moscow cutting off gas supplies to Germany and the EU via Nord Stream 1 after 21 July, when the scheduled maintaince of this large pipeline from Russia to Germany and the EU ends.
Many leaders in Brussels and in Member states have warned of this possibility in recent days.
– Whether and how Putin is weaponizing gas exports? – What will be the effect of a Nord Stream 1 gas cutoff?
I was interviewed today, 11 July, by Al Jazeera about the Siemens compressor for Nord Stream 1 (NS1) gas pipeline sent by Gazporm to Canada for repairs. Russia cut 60% of the usual 55 billion cubic feet/year (bcm) flow to Germany (and on into other countries) on 17 June claiming it can’t supply more without the compressor returned.
Germany asked for it to be send to Germany and they’d return it to Russia to get Nord Stream 1 flowing. Obviously, Germany is very concerned that there will be a shortage of gas and a major crisis in Germany and the EU if this pipeline flow is cut for long. Putin may cut it anyway, at any time. Certainly, he seems to be planning a 2022-23 wintertime cut to cause a crisis, hoping to disrupt the countries allied with Ukraine against his war there. This is an Economic War of the western alliance of the USA, Canada, EU and others against Russia and its few alliess alongside the hot war in Ukraine.
Ukraine objects to the turbine being returned to Russia and to any sanctions excemptions.
Asharq, Bloomberg’s affillliate in the Gulf Region, interviewed me on the EU and German energy crisis that’s looming as a result of Russian natural gas cuts to Europe and what will this mean as far as an economic crisis? I made clear that this is Putin’s economic and energy war on Europe in support of his war on Ukraine, to undermine European solidarity with Ukraine. Asharq asked about how this will affect different countries across Europe. Also, what is the effect so far of sanctions on the Russian economy. Lastly, we discussed the Russian push to export its oil, now under increasing sanctions by the EU, to India and China and how this is being accomplished and the effects
Jun 17, 2022 Today, Gazprom announced a further cut in exports of gas via Nord Stream 1 to Germany and on into Europe. Earlier this week, they had cut 40%, now it is 60% of the 55 billion cubic meters per year (bcm) that normally flows in this pipe.
I explained that the Gazprom excuse – -that it could not re-import some compressor parts it had sent to Siemens to repair in Canada due to sanctions — appears as a convenient, manufactured excuse.
I pointed out that a one-off sanctions waiver from the USA, EU and/or Canada for the reimportation of these very specific parts could likely be easily arranged – and if the gas did not again flow fully, Gazprom’s ruse would be clearly exposed.
However, as I said, this is more accurately understood as simply another step in the weaponization of the over-dependence of the European Union (and esp. of Germany, Austria and Italy) on Russian gas imports, a game which Mr. Putin began in earnest in August of 2021.
My live discussion with DW (Deutsche Welle, the German national broadcaster; in English) on 14 Jun 2022 on Gazprom Germania’s Euro 10 b loan from the German state. I stressed that German Energy policy has made the EU hostage to Russian energy, and enabled Moscow’s Ukraine war. Why did Germany do this?
From 1980-to-2022 German elites depended on their Russian oil-and-gas partnership as a means to carve out a space for German capital despite general USA predominance, while still remaining inside the USA-protected Western alliance and global trade system. Their geostrategic gamble — a “strategic balancing” of Russia for perogatives vis-a-vis USA predominance — has led to disaster..
We discussed the reasons the German government is offering up to Euro10 billion to bail out Gazprom Germania, which was a daughter of Russian state gas export monopoly, Gazprom, in St. Petersburg.
Kostaka.Media (Kyiv) independent journalists continue informing the Ukranian people on energy affairs. I was interviewed from afar by YAROSLAV MARKIN, TETIANA HUZENKO. We focused on gas issues – would Putin cut Europe’s gas? What have the Americans been organizing, now with the Europeans? How would this affect Europe, Ukraine and Putin’s income?
Below are links to the article in Kostaka’s three languages (EN, RU, UA). I pasted in the English one below, in case you have access problems. This interview had to be written, not audio/video, due to wartime difficulties. [Also, here’s my previous (in-person Kyiv) interview with Kostaka.Media.]
Biden’s Gas Air Lift and the impact on Kremlin revenue: Thomas W. O’Donnell on the russian gas embargo 28 April 2022 — Author YAROSLAV MARKIN, TETIANA HUZENKO Europe is going to cut the consumption of gas by a ⅔ in 2022, that is obviously will affect the Kremlin’s revenue. However, an embargo is highly possible as well. Both the Kremlin and the EU, in response to Russia’s new war crimes in Ukraine, could stop the gas flows. In such a case, LNG supplies are to help weather the crisis of 2022-2023 via Biden Air Lift. The last mentioned is being set up by the US and EU diplomats and is patterned on the Berlin Air Lift of 1949. Berlin Air Lift was a system of food and coal supply during the times when the USSR had been blocking land routes. This would be the end of Russian gas supplies to Europe forever, an international expert and senior energy and geopolitics analyst at GlobalBarrel.com, Dr Thomas W. O’Donnell believes. He told Kosatka.Media how quickly Europe would be able to abandon Russian gas, what alternative supply routes could be used, and whether Hungary and Austria, obsessed with Russian gas, could prevent this.
The analogue of Putin’s army in the energy sector • How much gas does Europe import from Russia per year? Who are the major consumers?
There are two different market processes whereby Russian gas is purchased by Europe. If we speak about only gas delivered by pipeline, these are: І. Via long-term contracts, agreements which are for natural gas to be delivered for several years, perhaps from five to as much as 20 years.
ІІ. Via the “spot” market. These are short-term contracts for gas to be delivered the following month. It is also possible to buy gas day-by-day, where traders agree to a price for gas delivered the next day. Here, gas traders consult the future’s market, which has set the price for gas delivered the next day, or the next month, or some number of months in the future.