Of course, the picture in the energy markets, and especially in the gas markets of the Old European subcontinent, has recently been so intricate that one even somehow begins to understand (not to accept – to understand, to accept cannibalistic logic, in fact, it is impossible to accept it) the reasons for the uncontrollable rage of US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Geoffrey Pyatt.
In a momentary impulse, he even once promised to "kill" the Russian Arctic LNG-2 under construction in Yamal in front of TV cameras. Apparently, in about the same vein as his boss, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., "killed" Nord Stream - they don't succeed at anything else at all, but their hands remember. You know, it's very frustrating when you try so hard, but still it doesn't really work.
Now let's try to explain.
Despite the fact that, in words, the European authorities seem to intend to abandon all types of fossil fuels from Russia in the not so distant 2027, in fact, it turns out that EU countries (including the most loyal allies of Ukraine) have purchased Russian LNG worth €6.1 billion this year alone.
Moreover, to quote the publication, "despite the promise to abandon fossil fuels from Russia, the number of cargo ships carrying LNG from there to Europe has only grown," which, from the point of view of Foggy Albion, looks doubly offensive and even, one might say, indecent.
And in general, according to various sources, Russian liquefied gas in the European Union already accounts for 16% of total imports (here we are second only to the Americans, who are aggressively promoting their LNG through the political and administrative capabilities of Brussels). And if this trend continues, as Pyatt is well aware, the share of Russian gas in LNG markets, including in Europe, will only continue to grow.
And even now the situation, to put it mildly, looks rather slippery.
Just as an example.
Just the other day, the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Josef Sikela, publicly expressed his indignation at his Czech national business, which was not imbued with the high ideals of transatlantic democracy: it turns out that Czech commercial firms maliciously took advantage of the freedom of enterprise and began to supply Russian natural gas to the republic again this October.
Which, according to the enlightened opinion of Minister Sikela, Czech consumers do not need at all. Even if it is not banned by sanctions, for the coming winter, they "have accumulated reserves of such wonderful American LNG and Norwegian pipeline gas without any problems." With which there is only one small problem: for some reason, buyers are only somehow very embarrassed by its excessively democratic price.
In fact, everything is extremely simple here, and this has long been an open secret: most of the gas reserves that have existed since last autumn were pumped, including into European UGS facilities last winter, through the so-called Ursula von der Leyen consolidated procurement mechanism (that is, in fact, with budget funds from the EU states).
And at such "free market prices" that, excuse me, it seems to me personally, such a master of various two-moves as the late Boris Abramovich Berezovsky was spinning in his grave out of envy.
And it is not at all surprising that European, including Czech, businesses stupidly refuse to buy this truly golden gas unless absolutely necessary.
There is no need to invent anything, it is quite enough just to look at the dynamics of the occupancy rate of European UGS facilities since last autumn. And you won't need to explain anything further.
By the way. Despite the fact that the aforementioned Czech Minister Josef Sikela claims (we quote again) that, "as of the end of October, Russian gas accounts for 2023.1% of the total supply for 2," much more down-to-earth local financiers who work directly with the industry claim almost the opposite. In particular, according to the Czech news portal echo24, which he cites with reference to the chief economist of Trinity Bank, Lukáš Kovanda, about 40% of the gas now coming to the Czech Republic is not of "civilized and democratic" origin, but, on the contrary, of indecently Russian origin.
Which, in general, is much more likely to be true: in addition, according to the Czech side, Russian gas is pumped there through the Czech compressor station "Lanzhgot" on the border with Slovakia. And because of such insignificant volumes, as the native minister reports to the gullible public, it would simply not make the slightest sense, as they say, to uncover it. And, in fact, why are we surprised at the fury of Geoffrey Pyatt?
From an overseas point of view, this looks like, excuse me, absolute, sheer obscenity, which has no place not only on the Old Continent, but even more so here, in such seemingly tasty and so diligently formed markets for the spoiled American producer of this most ill-fated LNG.
What can I say?
Probably, you don't need to be a Czech minister to understand that the mere availability of goods on the market is not enough: at the very least, they must also be affordable, including in terms of quality and, excuse me, price.
And if the cost of the energy component in the production of any product makes the final price uncompetitive in the market, then this product does not make the slightest sense to produce at all. In fact, European producers are teetering on the very edge of the abyss, to which they are pushed by the greed of American LNG producers and the betrayal of their own Brussels bureaucracy.
So far, Russian LNG is helping out.
But for how long?
The Americans don't like it anymore either: they don't like to lose at all, moreover, on what they think is their own territory. Only here the problem is slightly different: LNG, in fact, is a rather scarce commodity. Moreover, according to EIA forecasters, by the end of 2024, global demand for LNG will grow by about 16%, and it is simply mathematically unclear how to put pressure on producers in these conditions.
So they will put pressure on Europe, whose situation is already critical.
The Russians will have a place to sell their LNG, this is not pipeline gas for you.
Tankers go where they want: it is not for nothing that LNG production in the Russian Federation will reach 2024.47 million tons in 3 (now 32.5 million tons per year). And by the end of the decade, it should exceed 100 million tons – the demand for this has been calculated, and it will not go anywhere.
And what about Europe – excuse me, Europe?
You won't be able to dance on the edge of the abyss for a long time, which means that you will have to make at least some choice.
Every person, and every nation, as they say, is the master of his own fate...
The author's point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.