"Europe’s Energy Crisis Has Ended Its Era Of Abundance" by Irina Slav

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"No Bailout Coming" - US Energy Producers Send Ominous Warning To Europe

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Sep 16, 2022 - 04:45 AM

The threat of power rationing across Europe persists even after EU officials held an emergency meeting last week to starve off the impending winter energy crisis. EU countries have increasingly relied on US energy imports, though shale bosses warned the ability to boost oil and gas supplies would be challenging. 

"It's not like the US can pump a bunch more. Our production is what it is," Wil VanLoh, head of private equity group Quantum Energy Partners, one of the shale's most prominent investors, told Financial Times

"There's no bailout coming," VanLoh added. 

"Not on the oil side, not on the gas side.

Europe can thank the Democrats and the Biden administration for their war against crushing the US energy industry that led to massive divestments across the sector, which crippled oil production growth and refining capacity, and pressured/shamed the world into withdrawing any capital allocations to fossil fuels.

Ben Dell, chief executive of private equity group Kimmeridge Energy, said the shale industry’s investors on Wall Street would not give their blessing to a big production increase, preferring a low-production, high-profit model.

“Investors generally don’t want shale companies to pursue a growth model,” he said.

“The capital availability is extremely limited.”

Rig counts in the US have started to fall and production has flatlined well below pre-pandemic levels...


On top of the Democrat-led crippling of the US energy industry, EU leaders have been on an ESG-crazed mission to decarbonize their power grids with renewable (now finding out -- not so reliable) energy and are frantically bringing back crude oil, coal, and natural gas power generators ahead of the cold season. Some EU countries are even extending the life of nuclear power plants. 

The problems don't end there -- in 80 days, or on Dec. 5, the EU will embark on another suicide mission of banning seaborne imports of Russian crude. Then on Feb. 5, 2023, a ban on Russian petroleum product imports kicks in. These sanctions were enacted over the summer. However, piped imports of Russian crude and petroleum products will be exempt in some EU member countries, like Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. 

Back to the US shale patch where Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, explained significant production increases aren't coming online: 

"We're not adding [drilling] rigs and I don't see anyone else adding rigs," said Sheffield, who runs one of the biggest oil producers in the US. He added that crude prices could rise above $120 a barrel this winter as supplies tighten.

Shale's inability to rapidly increase crude production is no surprise, regarding Halliburton Co.'s CEO Jeff Miller and Exxon Mobile's Darren Woods's warnings over the summer that markets will remain tight for years due to a lack of production growth. 


A perfect storm of factors plagues Europe: the inability of US shale to ramp up production (because of Democrat's war on oil), Russia reducing energy exports, grid decarbonization, and EU's Russian oil embargos.

... and why could crude prices have bottomed earlier this week? Well, maybe Bloomberg's report that Biden administration officials plan to refill the SPR when crude falls around $80 a barrel. Also, SPR draws end in October, which means less crude on the market and possibly higher prices. Even as demand in China slumps, cities are reopening from Covid lockdowns, a sign demand could soon rise in Asia.

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Shop in power municipality received NOK 35,000 in electricity bill – fears closure

– If it continues like this, there will be closure before the new year, says the shop driver in Eksingedalen. The organization for small and medium-sized enterprises fears bankruptcy.

If the grocery store closes, it is half an hour to drive to the next store. This can lead to people moving from the village.

– I fear that we have already seen the start of a wave of bankruptcies, which will have enormous consequences for local communities and workplaces across the country.



High electricity prices caused the farmer to harrow his own vegetable crop

– This is not a demonstration. This is a consequence of electricity prices, says vegetable farmer Per Odd Gjestvang.

Vegetable farmer Per Odd Gjestvang shakes his head. He stands and looks at the ready-to-harvest leeks being harrowed down on his field at Skreia in Østre Toten.

Around 29 tonnes of leeks are lost. It has a gross value of around 700,000.

The leeks had normally been taken to cold storage, so that they would be found in Norwegian vegetable counters this winter. But the calculation simply does not add up for the farmer.

With today’s electricity prices, Gjestvang does not see it as financially sound to spend money on storing the vegetables.

Previously, Gjestvang paid around 24,000 for electricity per month. Now the price is almost 16 times as high.

– The way the market is now, with a cautiously high electricity price of NOK five, it will be NOK 400,000. It is not possible to achieve, he says.

Agriculture Minister Sandra Borch does not think it is pleasant that Per Odd Gjestvang does not see it as expedient to harvest the leek field at Toten.

– We are in a demanding time, and we have to accept that, says Agriculture Minister Sandra Borch.

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Fact is that US can't operate at the actual level. 10times for Gas for Europe. Everyone knows that.

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German Bakery Slapped With €330,000 Gas Bill After Contract Canceled

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Sep 19, 2022 - 03:15 AM

A German bakery was slapped with a €330,000 (US$330,000) gas bill after a new energy company suddenly terminated their contract which guaranteed pricing until the end of 2023, Junge Freiheit reported, citing Bild.


"Are they crazy?" said owner Eckehard Vatter, who says he has 14 days to pay the bill. "A year ago, we paid €5,856 per month in gas costs for our large furnaces and heating," he added.


Vatter said his new energy supplier hasn't given him a reason for the 1,200% price increase.

What's more, since Vatter's bakery is considered a 'craft business' under commercial law, he can't receive any support from the state. He claims to have paid €19.9 million in taxes in recent years, according to ReMix.

Almost three weeks ago we noted that shocked Europeans had been posting viral photos of absurdly high energy bills.

Days later, the German government announced a €65 billion relief package to cushion citizens and companies from skyrocketing energy costs. The agreement, which brings total relief to almost 100 billion euros since the start of the Ukraine war, was agreed upon by Germany's three-way ruling coalition of Scholz's Social Democrats, the Greens, and the liberal FDP.

Among the headline measures are one-off payments to millions of vulnerable pensioners and a plan to skim off energy firms' windfall profits. In short, creeping nationalization of the energy sector.

And a couple days after that package was announced, Economy Minister Robert Habeck promised to help small and medium businesses.

"We will open a wide rescue umbrella," he said during a Sept. 8 speech in Berlin. "We will open it widely so that small and medium enterprises can come under it."

Unless you're a bakery classified as a 'craft business.'

Who could have seen this coming?

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Two or three difficult winters coming, then pretty much back to normal with a greatly diminished Russian threat. Russia will not be a credible European nation for decades if ever. Putin may be out of the way soon he is walking a tightrope. RCW


Vladimir Putin’s economic campaign to force European governments to abandon support for Ukraine by sharply curbing their natural-gas supplies looks to be faltering as gas prices fall, Russian government finances deteriorate and the continent sets plans to ease the pressure on households and businesses.

Russia’s long-term success in the economic fight with Europe is seen as critical by both sides in deciding the outcome of the conflict in Ukraine. But signs that Mr. Putin’s economic strategy is struggling are coinciding with serious reverses on the battlefield as Ukrainian forces regain swaths of Russian-occupied territory and as the Russian president has been forced to acknowledge the concerns of the Chinese and Indian leaders about the invasion.

European governments say Mr. Putin’s gambit is to cut natural-gas supplies to inflict pain on European households and businesses so populations turn against current government policies of sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine with weapons and financial aid.

Russia isn’t yet sure to lose this economic fight. But a growing consensus among officials, energy specialists and economists suggests that, although Russian actions will cause serious hardship in many places, Mr. Putin will likely fail and that Europe should ride out the winter without running out of gas. Once this winter is over, Mr. Putin’s sway over Europe’s energy supplies will have withered critically, they say.

Mr. Putin played his biggest energy card in late August when he stopped shipments of natural gas to Europe indefinitely through the Nord Stream pipeline. “This is his time. This is his point of maximum leverage and he’s all in,” said energy historian Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of S&P Global.

Ukraine’s successes on the battlefield have made it harder for European governments to change course, strategists say. “If people felt that there was sort of an indefinite stalemate, then they’d look for a way out,” said Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London. For now, Prof. Freedman added, “nobody in power is suggesting that the only response to this is to concede” to Mr. Putin.


Ukrainian forces have retaken swaths of territory—such as near Izyum, Ukraine—at the same time Russia’s economic fight has faced challenges.PHOTO: ADRIENNE SURPRENANT / MYOP FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Russia’s energy bonanza deriving from the Ukraine war—when prices of its oil and natural-gas exports surged—appears to be petering out as gas exports have dropped sharply and oil prices have fallen. Brent crude, the global benchmark, is down from more than $120 a barrel in June to about $90 a barrel, which means Russia gets about $65 for each of its barrels.

Russian government data released Monday showed the government veered into a big budget deficit in August. It reported the budget surplus narrowed to 137 billion rubles, or $2.3 billion, for the first eight months of the year, from about 481 billion rubles in July since the start of the year.

European governments have succeeded in securing extra natural-gas supplies to replace some of the lost Russian gas. Gas usage is also likely to fall in what economists call demand destruction, or the closure of factories and reductions in household consumption because of high prices.

Last week, the European Union laid out proposals—yet to be agreed to by governments—to ease pressure on consumers, including mandatory curbs on electricity usage. Some energy specialists worry that direct government subsidies for energy will thwart efforts to curb demand.

Nord Stream: How Russia Has Turned Its Gas Into a Global Economic Weapon
Nord Stream: How Russia Has Turned Its Gas Into a Global Economic Weapon
Nord Stream: How Russia Has Turned Its Gas Into a Global Economic WeaponPlay video: Nord Stream: How Russia Has Turned Its Gas Into a Global Economic Weapon
Western leaders are preparing for the possibility that Russian natural-gas flows through the Nord Stream pipeline might never return to full levels. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday explains what an energy crisis could look like in Europe, and how it might ripple through the world. Illustration: David Fang

The coming winter is the period of maximum vulnerability for European governments. If the season is harsher than usual, leading to increased energy consumption, optimism could evaporate. Maintaining European unity through the winter also might require some countries to share their stored gas with others.

One cost for Russia is its hard-won reputation that goes back to the days of the Soviet Union as a reliable supplier that never used gas as a political weapon. “Now they’re using it, not just as a political weapon, but as a weapon of war…It completely obliterates their credibility as a reliable supplier,” Mr. Yergin said.

In a sign that Russian influence is already waning, gas and electricity prices, which surged after the Nord Stream announcement last month, quickly reversed.

On Friday, wholesale gas traded at roughly 185 euros—about the same in dollars—a megawatt-hour. That is almost three times as high as a year ago, and more than double the level at the start of June, when Moscow began to throttle supplies through Nord Stream. Still, it is down more than 45% from the record closing high on Aug. 26 and back to levels from late July.

Electricity prices have almost halved from their peak. “It looks like the situation is stabilizing,” said David den Hollander, co-founder of Dutch power-trading company DC Energy Trading, pointing to near-full gas stores in central Europe, the closure of energy-guzzling smelters and fertilizer plants, and the installation of import terminals in the Netherlands and elsewhere for liquefied natural gas.


A pipeline under construction in Germany will serve a new liquefied-natural-gas import terminal that is expected to be completed later this year.PHOTO: DAVID HECKER/GETTY IMAGES

The new terminals are among the steps European governments have put in place to diversify from Russian supplies so that they would never again be at Moscow’s mercy.

Alternatives to Russian supplies—including LNG from the U.S. and other countries—are helping to plug some of the gap caused by Russia closing down Nord Stream. Gas storage underground has reached 85% of capacity, exceeding the EU target of 80% by the end of October.

Simon Quijano-Evans, chief economist at Gemcorp Capital LLC, a London-based investment fund, said that even with a complete stop to Russian supplies—Russia has continued to export about 80 million cubic meters a day to the EU through Ukraine and the TurkStream pipeline since it shut down Nord Stream—the EU would probably have enough gas for the winter. “It’s going to be a challenge and weather-dependent, but it is absolutely doable,” he said.

He calculates average EU consumption of natural gas in October through March from 2018 to 2021 at 256 billion cubic meters. He estimates sources of gas—from places other than Russia and 92 bcm drawn down from storage—to equal 242 bcm. The difference is likely to be made up with savings—cutting central-heating thermostats by one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) should save 10 bcm—and possible other sources.


What do you think Vladimir Putin might do next? Join the conversation below.

With the EU and national governments such as the U.K. taking action to soften the blow to consumers and businesses, “I don’t see the kind of social unrest that will force governments to give in to Putin,” said Stefano Stefanini, a former Italian diplomat and foreign-policy adviser to former President Giorgio Napolitano.

He said Italy, where elections will be held on Sept. 25 and opinion polls suggest a center-right government led by Giorgia Meloni will take office, is unlikely to be disruptive, even though some right-wing party leaders such as Matteo Salvini and Silvio Berlusconi, likely to be in the ruling coalition, are close to Mr. Putin.

One other factor suggesting European governments won’t back down, Prof. Freedman said, is that the Russian president—who has tied resumption of gas supplies to a lifting of sanctions—hasn’t given European governments an easy off-ramp.

Evidence suggesting widespread abuses of civilians by Russian forces in Ukraine has hardened European attitudes, he said. Mr. Putin hasn’t offered the Europeans a deal that they can realistically support either. “It isn’t obvious what he expects Europe to do,” he said.

If Europe doesn’t change course, “then it actually ends up diminishing Russia,” he said.

Joe Wallace and Georgi Kantchev contributed to this article.


A German section of the Nord Stream pipeline. Moscow began to throttle supplies through the pipeline at the start of June.PHOTO: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Write to Stephen Fidler at

Corrections & Amplifications
The last name of Italian politician Giorgia Meloni was misspelled as Miloni in an earlier version of this article. (Corrected on Sept. 18)

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Switzerland's Environment Minister Suggests People Shower Together To Save Energy

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Sep 20, 2022 - 05:50 AM

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times,

Switzerland’s environment minister is facing backlash after recommending that people shower together in an effort to cut energy consumption this winter and fend off power cuts.

Simonetta Sommaruga, 62, suggested that people “turn off the computer when you don’t need it, or turn off lights, or shower together” as part of her measures promoting a 15 percent energy consumption reduction, The Times of London reported.




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U.N. chief warns of ‘a winter of global discontent’


But he returned to climate change, with a heavy focus on the subject and specific policy prescriptions, including calling on developed countries to tax windfall profits of fossil fuel companies with the proceeds directed to the poorest communities suffering the consequences of climate change.

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EU Emergency Energy Plan Is Bad News For Renewables

By Rystad Energy - Sep 21, 2022, 5:00 PM CDT

  • EU plans for a revenue cap on energy producers may harm renewable energy producers.
  • Less than half of the generation capacity would fall under the aims of the revenue cap policy.
  • Rystad: 60% of the total installed renewable energy capacity in the EU derives its revenues from fixed-rate contract.

The European Union’s emergency measures to tackle the region’s energy crisis may fall short of their intended goals, at least where renewable energy ambitions are concerned, according to Rystad Energy research. The EU’s proposal to temporarily cap the revenues of inframarginal electricity producers is aimed at capturing the windfall profits of renewable energy producers, which are benefitting from low production costs during this episode of high electricity prices.   However, research by Rystad Energy reveals that about 60% of the total installed renewable energy capacity in the EU derives its revenues from fixed-rate contracts agreed well before the energy crisis – with prices generally below current spot prices.?According to the EU Commission, an estimated €117 billion would likely be collected by implementing a revenue cap on low carbon and coal power generation, but the windfall profits described by the EU account for only 40% of renewable energy producers. Indeed, the revenue distribution of installed capacity in Europe shows that less than half of the generation capacity would fall under the aims of the revenue cap policy. 

Claims that renewables are making windfall profits during the crisis are therefore more complex than the European Commission and others suggest. Targeting all types of plants with such a non-tailored policy confuses the market and calls into question the effectiveness of the response. At a time when the EU should be accelerating the pace of renewable energy deployment, it instead runs the risk of sending a warning signal to investors, while leaving the pressing issue of future capacity installment unaddressed. 

Rystad Energy therefore expects investors and developers may be scared off, which could lead to lower investments, delays to projects, and the renegotiation of long-term contracts for projects still under development. Given the Commission’s ambitious new targets for renewables, it would seem sensible to also tackle the actual issues facing the sector: permitting, auction prices and supply chain support – as the USA did with the recent Inflation Reduction Act.   

The EU’s unprecedented intervention, while necessary, is temporary and does nothing for the medium to long term supply gap issue. The renewable industry is Europe’s best shot at producing affordable and secure power, but this policy reduces the private sector power providers ability to invest. The renewable power industry is not only helping to keep the lights on in Europe, but also picking up the bill too. If renewables are to take their proper place in Europe’s power mix, they will need support in turn in the not-too-distant future.

Victor Signes, analyst renewables at Rystad Energy.


In recent months, power prices have reached record-high levels, averaging over €500/MWh in August, and record daily and weekly prices exceeding €700/MWh. Consequently, the EU and its member countries are aiming to implement a cap on renewables profits – proposed at €180/MWh regardless of the market timeframe in which the company sells the electricity. This cap would apply to wind, solar, biomass, nuclear, lignite and some hydroelectric plants. Revenues above the price cap will be redirected to member states and used to help households and businesses facing financial stress due to soaring energy bills. According to the Commission, an estimated €117 billion would likely be collected by implementing this measure. 

While the revenue cap would apply to all renewable energy plants, only about 40% are benefiting from the current crisis. Since 2000, most European governments have put in place subsidy policies to incentivize renewable energy development. These schemes, known as feed-in-tariff (FiT), feed-in-premium (FiP), and contract-for-differences (CfD), have been widely subscribed to by early renewable energy developers, as they offered lucrative offtake tariffs relative to average electricity prices. These historical subsidies, lasting between 15 and 25 years, now account for more than half of the region’s installed capacity, with support distributed across the different schemes. The prices of these bilateral agreements are on average lower than current electricity prices. Since 2015, governments considered these subsidies too lucrative for renewable producers and gradually replaced them with auctions. Most auctions in Europe award capacities with schemes like FiT, FiP, and CfD but allow governments to offer these competitive tariffs based on a bidding process. Other auction schemes provide fixed subsidies and producers must sell the produced power on the spot market. 

Renewable revenue stream breakdowns  


Rystad Energy estimates that 17% of the total capacity installed today is subsidized through auction schemes, notably in Germany, Spain, and France. In addition, power purchase agreement (PPAs) gained popularity after 2010, and were either concluded with companies, utilities, or governments. PPAs allow for fixed tariffs negotiated according to market conditions at the time and represent 11% of total renewable energy capacity installed today in the EU. Finally, the remaining capacity (14%) receives revenues directly from the spot market. These may be plants that started up in the early 2000s and for which the subsidy contract has since expired or have opted for the spot market combined with a hedging strategy or, more recently, that have bet on a sufficiently-high power price to reach profitability. 

Related: China Replaces Russia As Dominant Force In Central Asia

Among these different mechanisms, two types of revenue streams are key to understanding the current situation: fixed revenues and market-based revenues. Fixed revenues come from fixed tariff contracts like the FiT, CfD or PPA contracts (awarded through subsidy schemes or auctions). In total, these contracts represent 60% of the total installed renewables capacity in the EU (170 GW), mainly distributed between Germany, France, and Spain. Producers operating this capacity cannot make windfall profits on high electricity prices, as they are obliged to redistribute revenues above the negotiated price to the counterparty in the agreement. On the other hand, current market conditions have led to a significant shift – after 20 years of governments having to pay a fixed above-market price to renewable energy developers, governments are now making a profit. In France, the government offered FiT subsidies for onshore wind between 2000 to 2015, with an average tariff of €82.6/MWh and a duration of 15 years. Based on last month's average electricity price, the French government made an average profit of €493/MWh. More recently, the French Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) announced that renewable energy revenues for 2022 and 2023 are expected to total €8.6 billion for the state budget. This is the first time that these revenues are positive, which directly reflects the current trend. 


The opposite side of the story concerns market-based revenues, i.e., capacity with a spot price risk. This includes revenues derived from FiP schemes, contracted through auctions or subsidies. The difference with the FiT contract lies in the way revenues are calculated. The level of payment is based on a premium offered as government subsidy above the electricity market price. This premium can be constant or vary according to a sliding scale. While this mechanism was used to avoid the risk of overcompensation, ironically, it is now the main source of windfall profits for producers. Indeed, producers with FiP contracts now benefit from high power prices and a constant premium, depending on the schemes. As renewable energy revenues vary between a fixed rate and a market-based rate, the relevance of such a policy is questionable.  

As the implementation of policies to manage the market is inherently complex, the Commission decision to propose a constant cap regardless of the types of revenues and market specificities has led to great confusion over its impacts. At a time when renewables are being urged to address the dual energy and climate crisis, this policy sends out a negative signal to the sector. Once intervention of this size and scale begins in a market as essential as energy the impacts are myriad and likely to require further intervention. 


By Rystad Energy

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Fortunately, coal is coming to the rescue.

In China 104 coal plants of a total of 102 gigawatts (GW) in 26 countries are planned, considered, or in construction under either Chinese financing or engineering, procurement and construction (EPCs) agreements, CREA and its partner in the report, People of Asia for Climate Solutions, said.

7.6 GW or 14 plants, have already entered into operation over the past year. Another 27 plants with 23 GW capacity are near completion, and they will likely enter into operation soon.

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