What Would Happen If the World Ran Out of Crude Oil?

Tx, Response appreciated. I took the time to plot out differences between the weekly and monthly estimates over time. Its variable from month to month - but over the last few years (since 2008) there seems to be a trend for the weekly production estimates to underestimate the monthly number.

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On 4/25/2019 at 8:11 PM, ceo_energemsier said:

You want to bet $100,000,000.00$ that the cost will come in @ under 45$/bbl for production volumes of over 100,000bpoed?

It will likely be quite a bit lower than that.  

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On 4/28/2019 at 8:40 PM, Rachel said:

Most reliable sources seem to agree we have around 53 years before crude oil reserves are exhausted. While this is evidently a controversial topic with a lot of variables and nuance, the fact remains that oil is a finite resource.

Hi, Rachel, and welcome aboard at the Oilprice Community forum!  Good to see new voices chiming in. 

You should be aware that the downstream products of crude oil can be manufactured from sources other than oil.  While the process of turning coal into gasoline is mature, it is also quite possible to manufacture gasoline  ("pentane")  from the constituent components water and carbon dioxide.  You use a reactor kettle and a catalyst; the actual process of conversion is instantaneous.  You strip the water down into its components H and O, then react the hydrogen with the CO2 to manufacture the longer-chain hydrocarbon. A Canadian firm  (Carbon Engineering) has already demonstrated this concept to be cost-effective:

https://phys.org/news/2018-06-carbon-dioxide-sky-fuels.html

Society uses crude oil, which let's face it, is an inconvenient mineral slime, only because it is cheap, and historically readily available, albeit containing impurities that are a headache to remove.  Instead, the gasoline and diesel you will obtain by plucking CO2 right out of the air is totally pure stuff.  You can also capture CO@ from current burn sites:  burning propane, for example, produces pure water vapor and pure CO2  - exactly the components needed to produce gasoline. 

Technology will produce that gasoline at reducing costs; that is the nature of technology.  Eventually, crude oil and refineries will become obsolete.  That said, the current use of liquid pumped crude will continue, simply because it is convenient. While that "oil" may be finite, the gasoline is not.  Gasoline is infinite. 

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On 4/8/2019 at 6:48 AM, Meredith Poor said:

Two realities:

Fertility rates globally are declining. Mexico's went 'below replacement' two years ago. It now joins the other countries in North America, Europe, Central Asia, and the Far East, although the 1.9 rate in Mexico is nowhere near as severe as the .98 in South Korea. Building height has a roughly inverted relationship to fertility rates, the higher the buildings the lower the birthrate. 'Urban Core' areas of China are far lower than the rural areas. India's rate overall is still positive, but is 'mildly' below replacement in Delhi and the southern provinces. Countries that want more babies will have to stop building high-rise residential blocks.

Every year more and more is learned about how to synthesize organic molecules. Like semiconductors, these lessons cross feed - if it is possible to make smaller device geometries it is possible to make more efficient and more compact power semiconductors. If one can make purer silicon at lower cost then one can improve yield on wafers. The multi-pronged approach with organic molecules is focused on replacing 'chemical' plants with 'biological' plants - can we 'grow' a hydrocarbon in a vat of algae instead of refining it out of crude? Is there a process that runs at room temperature instead of requiring heating or other forms of thermal management? Can we reduce our feedstock to CO2 extracted out of the air combined with electricity, rather than starting with mineral or plant based inputs?

The point of the first 'reality' is that shrinking populations reduce demand. The second reality speaks for itself.

Anyone that looks at the diesel pumps in their local gas station sees placards that notify users that some percentage of the diesel is 'green', meaning that it isn't from 'mineral' origins. Oil refiners already know how to make it, and one point of adding it to the mix is to build up experience with the processes. One reason oil refiners are a bit coy about what they're doing is that they don't want to upset the 'mineral interest' rights holders.

Natural gas is the answer. Any ICE engine can be powered by natural gas with well known technology. Payback time is two to three years. Cheaper, cleaner, and more abundant than diesel. 

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On 4/8/2019 at 1:50 PM, Abe Gold said:

I think that's what Russia is waiting for, severe oil shortages. With the huge expanse of land that is Russia there has to be lots more oil they haven't pumped or found. A road to $ trillions is simply patience. Minerals as well.

But if we run out the electric car gets more popular, sooner. And oil from algae gets more cost effective.

Natural gas can easily replace diesel and gasoline over time. It is cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant. The conversion technology is tried and true. http://www.ngvglobal.com/

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On 5/1/2019 at 5:48 AM, Michael Sanches said:

If crude oil disappeared, it would cause a lot of change. For each barrel of oil:

1. 32.7% is used to make gasoline

2. 9.7% is used to make home heating oil and diesel fuel

3. 3.7% is used to make jet fuel

4. 54% is used to make medicine, cleaning products, rubber, cosmetics, lubricants, asphalt, plastic, tape, petroleum jelly, bandages, toothpaste, insect repellent, nylon, contact lenses, computers, paint, fertilizer, etc.

So, jet fuel, itself, uses 10% the oil as all gas engines combined. I think lawmakers believe less drilling should result in less #1 and no decrease in #3, which they use.

No drilling for oil means a whole lot fewer of #4 above, a stunning decrease in our quality of life. Less drilling means higher prices for all products in #4, which, apparently, does not concern lawmakers.

Due to #2 above, the result would mean a huge increase in pollution from wood burning, as well as massive deforestation.

 

Not really Michael, natural gas can meet almost all the needs you listed. See http://www.ngvglobal.com/  Part Eleven of Natural Gas Stories https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_QZTgxCECgIj7EItX9P6Q2J4BjsSt_nPyrDG1zAl4b0/edit

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8 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Natural gas is the answer. Any ICE engine can be powered by natural gas with well known technology. Payback time is two to three years. Cheaper, cleaner, and more abundant than diesel. 

Probably the 'ideal' hydrocarbon fuel is propane. Gas at room temperature, easily liquefied, easily shipped, close to gasoline in energy density. If the natural gas that is flared right now was converted to propane, it would be usable 'right on the spot' for trucks and compressors, etc.

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Let us look at reality. Being a former engineer for a large power company and having earned a Master of Science in Energy and the Environment, I had PV panels installed three years ago, with my estimated payback of 15-17 years, . . the right thing for an eco-freak to do. Before they could be installed, we acquired a VW e-Golf electric car. The savings in gasoline alone took the solar system payback down to 3 1/2 years. So, we added another electric car, and that took the payback down to less than three years, which means we now get free power for household and transportation.

But that is not all: We do not need to go to gas stations, we fuel up at home at night with cheap baseload power. During the daytime, the PV system turns our meter backwards powering the neighborhood with clean local power, which we trade for the stuff used the night before. If we paid for transportation fuel, the VW would cost us 3 cents/mile to drive, and the Tesla Model S P 85 would cost 4 cents/mile at California power prices.

No oil changes are a real treat along with no leaks. And since it has an electric motor, it needs NO ENGINE MAINTENANCE at all. We do not go "gas up", or get tune-ups or emissions checks, have no transmission about which to worry, no complicated machined parts needing care. THAT is what will sell the EV, and the real problem is not powering them, (the power companies have been working on and praying for the EV for a generation), the problem will be  dealing with an economy which has had a large portion taken out of it.

Too much of our economy is dependent on the needs of the internal combustion engine, from mechanics to emissions checkers to the folk who make oil filters, and all the folk who support them. I see a rush to EVs, (go drive one, and see), and the implications of this advance as an impending wave of dislocation for this society for which we must plan now.

We will still want petroleum, but should not burn it primarily.

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4 hours ago, Meredith Poor said:

Probably the 'ideal' hydrocarbon fuel is propane. Gas at room temperature, easily liquefied, easily shipped, close to gasoline in energy density. If the natural gas that is flared right now was converted to propane, it would be usable 'right on the spot' for trucks and compressors, etc.

Natural gas is easily shipped also. If propane is easier and cheaper that is great too. Propane price per mile is usually good. I doubt that it can compete on price. Maybe you have some links for me. I don't know anything about converting natural gas to propane and what is left over if anything. India and possibly China etc.  use a lot of propane, so I don't know if there would be enough to go around for a price that is competitive with CNG. The propane companies are not pushing very hard for it as a transportation fuel.

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5 hours ago, ronwagn said:

The propane companies are not pushing very hard for it as a transportation fuel.

Propane tends to be a byproduct, so some fraction of 'something else', whether oil or gas, is propane. The market for it is correspondingly thin - few people depend on it for much. Making propane from natural gas would disconnect the relationship of propane as a 'byproduct'. One way I know of doing it is to expose methane to ultraviolet light, but that isn't necessarily efficient, and it isn't selective.

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Meredith, I really don't see any need for turning one good clean fuel into another. Natural gas can be compressed and use on site, used to fuel trucks, make ammonia for fertilizer, fuel farm equipment, or shipped as CNG to domestic markets. It can also be piped and turned into LNG for transit to any port in the world. The abundance of natural gas and biogas is hard to comprehend. 

http://www.ngvglobal.com/

http://www.cngprices.com/station_map.php

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3 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Meredith, I really don't see any need for turning one good clean fuel into another. Natural gas can be compressed and use on site, used to fuel trucks, make ammonia for fertilizer, fuel farm equipment, or shipped as CNG to domestic markets. It can also be piped and turned into LNG for transit to any port in the world. The abundance of natural gas and biogas is hard to comprehend. 

http://www.ngvglobal.com/

http://www.cngprices.com/station_map.php

In the NW US and Western US propane has been the fuel of choice for heating and fuel for cooking. It has been cheaper and is cleaner burning. In most rural areas there areant gas lines connections for homes and ranches and propane has been the fuel of choice.

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On 4/8/2019 at 3:32 AM, Tom Kirkman said:

1

Don't mind me, I'm just gently poking the "Keep Oil & Gas In The Ground" hater crowd for some amusement this morning.

AOC and ilk please do feel free to over-react in a Chicken Little apocalypic frenzy of hyperbolic panic, I could use the laugh.

2

What Would Happen If the World Ran Out of Crude Oil?

Crude oil is the lifeblood of modern economies and nations, but what would happen if this vital fuel source were to ever be exhausted?

Sub 1) Thanks Tom, for the light approach.

Sub 2) He's got a lot to say, but doesn't answer the question

Here's someone who does:

Pretty interesting blogger. The below text is taken from his page (it starts somewhere near the bottom): 

https://achemistinlangley.net/2016/08/03/the-husky-oil-spill-its-effects-on-the-pipeline-debate-and-a-thought-experiment-about-a-world-without-fossil-fuels/

A thought experiment on what would happen if all fossil fuels disappeared tomorrow.

In this thought experiment we will assume that a mystical power has arrived on Earth and using some unknown technology eliminated all fossil fuels from the planet. What would happen? Since I live in Langley, I’m going to consider this from a Lower Mainland perspective.

If you lived in the Lower Mainland, all transportation systems (except Skytrain and a few hundred electric vehicles) would immediately stop. Stores would cease to get new supplies as all supplies are transported from warehouses by truck. No new supplies could get to the warehouses as all the trains depend on diesel, transport planes on aviation fuel and container ships on bunker oil or diesel. Soon the folks in the urban areas would be fighting over the remaining scraps in the stores and once those supplies were gone there would be nothing to replace them.

Starvation would not be the biggest concern though as in area likes Vancouver, the potable water and electrical supplies are dependent on diesel for pumps and the electrical system is maintained by men and women with trucks. We in BC pride ourselves on getting most of our energy from non-fossil fuel sources but absent those pumps and those trucks within days (perhaps weeks if we didn’t have any storms) our electricity supply would be down as well. With no electricity and no diesel all the pumps would fail and Vancouverites would suddenly discover that living in a rain-forest means nothing if you don’t have access to stored water.

Within a couple weeks, the city-centers would look like a scene from The Walking Dead, with corpses everywhere as the weakest folks lost out in the battles for the gradually diminishing supplies of food and water. Absent the sanitary system, the remaining folk would be fighting dysentery as human waste polluted the limited freshwater aquifers. Anyone with the capacity to do so would be moving away from the city-centers as quickly as possible to forage as far as they could roam by foot and on the remaining bikes (the remaining electric vehicles having used their last charge after the electrical system failed).

In the Lower Mainland the city folk would be streaming out towards the Valley where they would discover that virtually everything edible (from plant to animal) had long since been eaten by the Valley folk. Within a few months over 90% of the population would have succumbed to the lack of clean water and food leaving a small minority fighting it out over the few remaining crops. Come winter, absent fossil fuels, the remaining few would go back to burning wood for heat and in doing so would add to the ecological devastation wrought by the first wave of city folk cleansing the ecosystem of everything edible. Certainly in parts of the developing world and in portions of the prairies, subsistence-level communities might remain intact but they would be re-building on a planet that had been systematically stripped of everything edible by the 7 billion souls who did their best to survive and in doing so wrought an ecological apocalypse.

In television shows like The Walking Dead, the zombie apocalypse addresses our population density before the millions of hungry humans have had a chance to devastate the planet. In a post-fossil fuel world, those 7 billion souls would be fighting tooth and nail for every scrap of food and whatever large or mid-sized animals left behind would take hundreds of years to regenerate their populations and the ecosystem that came back would look a lot different from the ecosystem that existed before humans. Climate Change may represent a real threat to humanity, but absent fossil fuels it is likely that 6 billion or more people would pass away in the first six months in this post–fossil fuel world.

 

Have fun

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On 4/8/2019 at 1:48 PM, Meredith Poor said:

Fertility rates globally are declining. Mexico's went 'below replacement' two years ago. It now joins the other countries in North America, Europe, Central Asia, and the Far East, although the 1.9 rate in Mexico is nowhere near as severe as the .98 in South Korea. Building height has a roughly inverted relationship to fertility rates, the higher the buildings the lower the birthrate. 'Urban Core' areas of China are far lower than the rural areas. India's rate overall is still positive, but is 'mildly' below replacement in Delhi and the southern provinces. Countries that want more babies will have to stop building high-rise residential blocks.

About fertility rates:

Country Total Fertility Rate  Rank
Niger 7.153 children per woman 1
Somalia 6.123 children per woman 2
Dr Congo 5.963 children per woman 3
Mali 5.922 children per woman 4
Chad 5.797 children per woman 5
Angola 5.589 children per woman 6
Burundi 5.577 children per woman 7
Uganda 5.456 children per woman 8
Nigeria 5.417 children per woman 9
Timor Leste 5.337 children per woman 10
Gambia 5.318 children per woman 11
Burkina Faso 5.231 children per woman 12
Mozambique 5.143 children per woman 13
Tanzania 4.924 children per woman 14
Zambia 4.901 children per woman 15
Benin 4.867 children per woman 16
Ivory Coast 4.811 children per woman 17
Central African Republic 4.754 children per woman 18
Guinea 4.738 children per woman 19
South Sudan 4.736 children per woman 20
Senegal 4.647 children per woman 21
Cameroon 4.603 children per woman 22
Mauritania 4.576 children per woman 23
Republic Of The Congo 4.561 children per woman 24
Equatorial Guinea 4.554 children per woman

25

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/total-fertility-rate/

Have fun.

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On 4/8/2019 at 7:25 PM, D Coyne said:

The oil does not "run out", we simply reach a point ........

where we go to the FED to print some more 🙂

Have fun.

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:50 PM, Abe Gold said:

I think that's what Russia is waiting for, severe oil shortages. With the huge expanse of land that is Russia there has to be lots more oil they haven't pumped or found. A road to $ trillions is simply patience. Minerals as well.

But if we run out the electric car gets more popular, sooner. And oil from algae gets more cost effective.

Russia isn't waiting:

http://www.gazprom.com/projects/

And the USA answers as follows:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-usa-russia-pipeline/us-warns-german-companies-of-possible-sanctions-over-russian-pipeline-idUSKCN1P70FR

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2019/2/15/proposed-us-sanctions-could-impact-russian-gas-exports

Go Nordstream 2, Go!

Have fun.

 

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On 4/11/2019 at 3:15 AM, Jan van Eck said:

Nonetheless, the entire German war machine was fueled by synthetic gasoline from coal, and Germany (and conquered areas) has limitless coal.

 

Not so fast Jan.

Today SASOL produces liquids from coal (helped build #2 in '76).

WWII still was experimental in Germany, or can you provide a source?

Have fun.

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On 4/11/2019 at 7:27 PM, ronwagn said:

Gasoline can also be made out of natural gas, but that would be a waste IMHO. 

It can even be made straight out of coal and in South Africa, they don't call it a waste.

https://www.fluor.com/projects/sasol-ii-oil-from-coal-epc

but from wiki, I find that they've changed to gas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasol

Have fun.

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On 4/14/2019 at 2:13 AM, Keith boyd said:

When the world runs out of natural oil (and then coal and gas)  a few thousand years from now, we will most likely have to make synthetic oil out of co2 and water using nuclear energy. You can reverse the chemical reaction of burning  oil if you I put in  a lot of energy. Maybe bio fuel will have a role but bio fuel cant come close to replacing natural oil. Wind and solar will continue to be a small contributor. The world will have to be powered with nuclear and hydro. The alternative is going back to the iron age after losing 90% of the worlds population and survive with wood as a renewable but really poor fuel. Without oil and nuclear the world could only support 500 million people. With abundant nuclear power a world population of 50 billion is no problem. 

On the scale of "a few thousand years", Earth may well be a museum for "interstellars" to visit on holidays.

Ever heard of "Gas To Liquids"? It's happening today and sold commercially as a superior fuel.

Cars drive well on wood!  https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2010/01/wood-gas-cars.html

Reading advice: Kim Stanley Robinson: Red-/Green-/Blue Mars.

Have fun.

 

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World would be a different place likely much less populated in a short term (agriculture and transportation driven by HC) and weak humans can’t go long w/o food. 

In a long run, we’ll adapt. Still plenty of coal, nuclear may get more popular. Flying may be a luxury unless breakthrough in energy storage technology (or willing to take scramjet:)). Kerosene would have to be synthesised in CTL or GTL process (both wasting energy but gives you fuel). 

Probably won’t see more renewables though - those take energy to make... 

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1 hour ago, DanilKa said:

World would be a different place likely much less populated in a short term (agriculture and transportation driven by HC) and weak humans can’t go long w/o food. 

In a long run, we’ll adapt. Still plenty of coal, nuclear may get more popular. Flying may be a luxury unless breakthrough in energy storage technology (or willing to take scramjet:)). Kerosene would have to be synthesised in CTL or GTL process (both wasting energy but gives you fuel). 

Probably won’t see more renewables though - those take energy to make... 

Airplanes can use CNG for small planes or LNG for large ones. Some design modifications would be helpful for large scale use. The cost savings would make it very worthwhile. It is quite doable. It will probably be the last hurdle for natural gas use. It has only been done with CNG on a few small planes so far. 

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5 hours ago, ronwagn said:

Airplanes can use CNG for small planes or LNG for large ones. Some design modifications would be helpful for large scale use. The cost savings would make it very worthwhile. It is quite doable. It will probably be the last hurdle for natural gas use. It has only been done with CNG on a few small planes so far. 

Or you could fill zeppelin with CH4 and move it this way - just won’t feel safe and comfy flying next to low ignition point fuel

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(edited)

11 hours ago, DanilKa said:

Or you could fill zeppelin with CH4 and move it this way - just won’t feel safe and comfy flying next to low ignition point fuel

LNG is a very high ignition point fuel. You cannot light LNG but must wait for it to evaporate. When it does evaporate it is lighter than air so it floats away. Most other fuels pool and explode more readily.

Edited by ronwagn

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2 hours ago, ronwagn said:

LNG is a very high ignition point fuel. You cannot light LNG but must wait for it to evaporate. When it does evaporate it is lighter than air so it floats away. Most other fuels pool and explode more readily.

It’s still methane... but I guess I’ll take it over flying on a battery pack (that if they can lift it off:))

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On 5/7/2019 at 3:14 PM, RuudinFrance said:

Yes Nordstream2 , to go POOOFFF!!!? LOL :D;)O.o:o

 

(Bloomberg) -- The fate of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying Russian natural gas to Germany is likely to be decided in a courtroom.

The project will next week seek assurances from the European Union that it won’t become subject to the bloc’s revised gas market requirements, which would hurt the profitability of the pipeline. If they don’t get them, the group building the pipeline said it may take the matter to the courts.

The new rules begin on May 23 and offer a simple procedure to waive the obligations for already existing gas links, which the not-yet-completed NS2 may not qualify for. The European Commission is unlikely to bow to the pressure, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified, citing policy. The EU regulatory arm declined to comment.

“We’re being put at a different competitive footing compared to competing pipelines from other sources,” Sebastian Sass, Nord Stream 2’s EU representative, said in an interview. “We’re considering further legal means, such as appeals, depending on the content of the commission’s response.”

The planned second leg of the Nord Stream gas link has divided EU governments, with nations led by Poland concerned about the bloc’s increasing dependence on Russian gas and President Vladimir Putin’s meddling in Ukraine. The pipeline under the Baltic Sea would allow gas to bypass Ukraine as it flows to European users.

The 28-nation EU earlier this year struck a deal to tighten rules on third-nation natural gas imports into the trade bloc that includes a requirement to separate ownership of gas and transmission lines. While the new law applies to all new and existing pipelines, only completed links can obtain a fairly simple waiver. Those that are not yet operational have the possibility to seek exclusion from the law in a more complicated procedure that requires approval by the EU Commission.

The wording of the EU law and various interpretations of its provisions risk discrimination against individual investors, according to Nord Stream 2. The company sent a letter last month to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking for confirmation that its investments made before the entry into force of the new rules will be protected to the same extent as those of other companies. The EU’s regulatory arm has until May 13 to reply.

“I understand there’s a political discussion over how much Nord Stream 2 is desirable or not, and there legitimately you can have many different opinions, but then there are boundaries set by legal principles, like the non-discrimination principle,” Sass said. “The point of this derogation provision is to protect legitimate expectations of investors. That has nothing to do with whether the project has been already constructed or not.”

The part of the pipeline in German territorial waters has been finished and construction of the link remains on track, Nord Stream 2 said. It maintains plans to become operational by end-2019 even in the face of regulatory hurdles in Denmark, which asked the link’s promoters to study a different route.

Nord Stream 2 argues a new pipeline is needed to guarantee supplies will continue to flow in the coming decades as EU domestic reserves shrink and import needs rise. Opponents of the project say it hurts the bloc’s cohesion and weakens its Energy Union strategy aimed at integrating the region’s gas and power markets, diversifying energy supplies and improving security.

The U.S., seeking to tap into the European LNG market, has joined the choir of critics.

“This project will drive Russian gas deep into the heart of western Europe, empowering Russia to gain further leverage over European foreign policy,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said last week during an EU-U.S. energy conference in Brussels.

Uniper SE, Engie SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, OMV AG and BASF SE’s Wintershall are European partners of Russian pipeline gas export monopoly Gazprom PJSC in financing the project to expand Nord Stream by 55 billion cubic meters a year. Russia supplies a third of Europe’s gas and has no plans to give up its share to the expanding list of competitors from Norway to the U.S.

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