Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Si è oramai abituati che quando i media parlano della Cina ci si domanda di chi stiano parlando: sembrerebbero essere del tutto scollati dalla realtà dei fatti, imprigionati in un idealistico universo onirico pregno di bucoliche rimembranze.
Eppure la realtà dovrebbe essere estremamente semplice: la si può capire ricordandosi le operazioni che si sarebbero dovute imparare in prima elementare.
È un fatto stupefacente, che forse potrebbe essere meglio spiegabile ammettendo che i media scrivano in perfetta malafede.
Cerchiamo di ragionare.
Se è vero che nel 1960 il pil procapite cinese era 90 Usd, è altrettanto vero che negli ultimi trenta anni l’economia cinese si è espansa ad incredibile velocità, e ad oggi il pil ppa cinese ammonta a 23,122.027 miliardi Usd contro i 19,362.129 americani.
La Repubblica Popolare Cinese ha circa cinque volte gli abitanti degli Stati Uniti: nulla da stupirsi quindi se la Cina abbia bisogno di risorse energetiche cinque volte maggiori quelle statunitensi.
Reperire una simile quantità di prodotti energetici nel breve volgere di trenta anni è stata impresa degna di menzione: non era assolutamente detto che la Cina ce la avrebbe fatta.
The World Bank riporta come nel 2007 l’80.95% dell’energia fosse prodotta da centrali alimentate a carbone.
Ovvio quindi il tentativo di diversificazione rafforzando il nucleare
ed aumentando le importazioni di gas naturale, allo stato gassoso ed a quello liquefatto.
La migliore distribuzione delle centrali elettriche ha fatto scendere le dissipazioni della rete dall’8.2% del 1982 al 5.47% del 2014.
In questo ultimo novembre, il gas importato via pipelines è incrementato del 27.4%, mentre quello liquefatto del 53%.
Dovrebbe essere cosa evidente come la Cina non sia al momento nella condizione di ristrutturare il proprio comparto energetico. Con un pil in crescita al ritmo del 7% annuo la Cina ha non solo un disperato bisogno di energetici, ma soprattutto di poterli ottenere a prezzi più bassi il possibile. In pochissime parole: deve utilizzare ciò che ha e che può acquisire.
Sotto questa ottica di lettura, l’ultimo articolo di Bloomberg in materia è surreale al limite del patetico. Sembrerebbero essersi dimenticati quanto poco sia ecologica l’estrazione del gas naturale.
«The world’s largest energy user is facing a winter supply crunch after demand surged this year amid President Xi Jinping’s fight against smog, which has focused on cutting the use of coal in favor of cleaner-burning gas»
«Parts of the country started facing shortages just two weeks into winter, with Hebei and Shandong provinces in the north and central Hubei reporting supply shortfalls last month and curtailing supplies to businesses and factories in order to keep homes warm.»
«China’s surging winter heating needs will create larger summer-winter splits in the global LNG market and exacerbate price swings»
* * *
Il furor ‘ecologico‘, il tarlo liberal di energie ‘pulite‘ spinge alla demonizzazione delle centrali a carbone che peraltro restano al momento essenziali per vivere. Gli inverni cinesi non sono per nulla miti, e le persone assiderate ben poco se ne fanno dell’aria pulita. I morti non necessitano del riscaldamento.
Viene alla mente il dialogo tra Babieca e Ronzinante:
«Sei metafisico! No, è che non mangio»
→ Bloomberg. 2017-12-24. China’s LNG Imports Surge to Record Amid Winter Heating Crunch
– LNG imports rise 53% y/y to record 4.06 million tons: GAC
– November Pipeline supplies up 27.4% y/y to 2.5 million tons
China’s imports of liquefied natural gas in November surged 53 percent to a record as the nation scrambles to meet fuel shortages amid peak winter demand and government’s drive to cut coal use.
– LNG imports rose 53 percent from the same month last year to 4.06 million metric tons, according to data posted Saturday on the website of the General Administration of Customs. Shipments in the first 11 months of the year are up 48.4 percent.
– Pipeline gas imports advanced 27.4 percent to 2.5 million tons
“Terminal operators have been maximizing their capacities to import as much as they can,” Liu Guangbin, an analyst with SCI International, said before the data release.
The world’s largest energy user is facing a winter supply crunch after demand surged this year amid President Xi Jinping’s fight against smog, which has focused on cutting the use of coal in favor of cleaner-burning gas. Parts of the country started facing shortages just two weeks into winter, with Hebei and Shandong provinces in the north and central Hubei reporting supply shortfalls last month and curtailing supplies to businesses and factories in order to keep homes warm.
Spot LNG prices in Northeast Asia rose this week to $10.90 per million British thermal units, the highest in three years, according to industry publication World Gas Intelligence.
The National Development & Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, last week reiterated its call for gas suppliers including China National Petroleum Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. should speed up LNG imports to meet winter demand.
→ Bloomberg. 2017-12-21. China’s Winter Misery Brings LNG Traders Gift of Volatility
– Market to swing from tight winters to loose summers: WoodMac
– China’s LNG imports are up 48% this year through October
China’s self-inflicted heating crisis this winter signals deeper seasonal price swings that may be a boon for liquefied natural gas traders.
The arrival of a price-depressing glut of the fuel is no longer seen as inevitable. Instead, China’s surging winter heating needs will create larger summer-winter splits in the global LNG market and exacerbate price swings. That’s what has happened this year, as the cost of spot cargoes has nearly doubled since June.
It’s yet another ripple effect of China’s quest for cleaner skies, as policies forcing homes and factories to switch from burning coal to natural gas have reduced smog in Beijing while also creating shortages of the heating fuel in frigid northern cities. Traders and energy companies with access to tankers and uncommitted supply are positioned to benefit, Kerry-Anne Shanks, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie Ltd., said in an interview in Singapore.
“We see a market developing that’s quite strong in the winter, and in the summer is loose,” Shanks said. “It plays to the strengths of portfolio players who have the flexibility to deliver supplies to the premium markets.”
Spot LNG in Singapore was priced at $10.26 per million British thermal units on Monday, according to a Singapore Exchange Ltd. assessment, almost double the $5.141 it cost in early June.
Until this year, market consensus was that a flood of new gas export projects coming online in Australia, Russia and the U.S. would engulf a market marked by tepid demand growth.
Then China’s President Xi Jinping decided to make clearing smoggy skies a key part of his agenda. Government agencies converted millions of homes and tens of thousands of factories from coal to gas this year. LNG imports jumped by 48 percent over the first 10 months of the year, putting China on the verge of passing South Korea to become the world’s second-largest importer after Japan.
At the same time, construction problems have delayed some new production projects, such as Inpex Corp.’s Ichthys and Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Prelude in Australia, said Graeme Bethune, chief executive officer of consultant EnergyQuest. Several LNG developments in the U.S. have also been pushed back to 2019 from next year, he said.
“Conventional wisdom said there would be a tsunami of new LNG coming that will force down LNG prices,” Bethune said. “Instead, moves by China are boosting prices. The question going forward is how much of these elevated prices are due to secular reasons and how much is due to seasonal demand.”
China’s rising need for gas, as well as new demand from emerging markets spurred by lower prices, mean that a forecast glut of the fuel next year may be smaller and end sooner than earlier forecast. That’s an incentive for exporters from Australia to Qatar to reconsider projects that have been delayed or canceled.
“The strength of global LNG demand growth has surprised in 2017, and that could happen again in 2018,” Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Ltd. said in a statement. “That indicates that both LNG suppliers and LNG buyers are going to have to get to work to underpin new LNG supply projects, perhaps sooner than some expected.”
Most LNG demand is either from power and industrial use that is relatively flat through the year, or residential use that peaks in the winter when homes need to be heated. Many of the world’s largest LNG importers are in the northern hemisphere, so the peaks tend to arrive at the same time. Less storage space in China compared to countries like the U.S. limits its winter supply buffer and has contributed to the need for more imports.
Natural gas demand in China will be driven by coal-to-gas switching by industrial users, analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a report earlier this month, forecasting that the country’s heating challenges will keep markets tight for the next two to three winters.
All that adds up to a market that will be over-supplied in summer months and tight in winter, said Kittithat Promthaveepong, a gas analyst with industry consultant FGE in Singapore. In the summer, spot prices could drop low enough that some plants have to curtail production.
“The moment you reach the winter periods, there will be a lot of demand pull again,” he said. “We definitely think we’re going to see tight winters again in 2018 and 2019. The prices will spike up again in the winter months, but the extent should be lower due to the new U.S. and Australian supplies.”