Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Russia

Germania. Tre mesi alla crisi invernale del gas. Poi Kaputt lei e la Europa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-08-05.

Andrà Tutto Bene 001

Il Presidente Putin è perfettamente conscio della situazione attuale della Germania, e con essa del blocco europeo.

Attualmente ha ridotto le forniture del gas ad un livello tale da imporre il depauperamento delle scorte, che dovrebbero quasi terminare agli inizi di novembre.

Quello sarebbe il momento ideale per chiudere i rubinetti.

L’articolo riportato è melenso ed edulcorato.

Nei fatti la Germania, e con essa il blocco europeo sarebbero kaputt.

L’inverno si preannuncerebbe essere gelido, e buio e gelo inducono a riflettere. Il vero problema non è quello del popolo, bensì quello della industria: senza corrente elettrica chiude i battenti.

Ma ne hanno fatte troppe per fermare la mano del Presidente Putin.

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Il palazzo presidenziale della Germania a Berlino non è più illuminato di notte. La città di Hannover sta spegnendo l’acqua calda nelle docce delle sue piscine e palestre, e i comuni di tutto il Paese stanno preparando rifugi di riscaldamento per tenere le persone al sicuro dal freddo. E questo è solo l’inizio di una crisi che si estenderà in tutta Europa.

Forse siamo ancora in piena estate, ma la Germania ha poco tempo da perdere per evitare una carenza di energia quest’inverno che sarebbe senza precedenti per una nazione sviluppata.

L’amministrazione del cancelliere Olaf Scholz è stata lenta nell’affrontare la vulnerabilità della Germania, stabilendo solo di recente obiettivi di riduzione della domanda, mentre gli sforzi per assicurarsi forniture alternative falliscono.

Il Cremlino probabilmente manterrà i flussi vitali di gas verso l’Europa a livelli minimi finché continuerà lo stallo sull’Ucraina. Per la Germania si profilano razionamenti e recessione e le autorità hanno espresso la preoccupazione di disordini sociali se la carenza di energia dovesse sfuggire al controllo.

L’ultima mossa della Russia è arrivata la settimana scorsa, quando Gazprom ha imputato a un problema di turbina la riduzione dei flussi sul gasdotto chiave Nord Stream a circa il 20% della capacità. Per colmare il divario, il suo ministero ha permesso la ripresa di centrali elettriche a carbone in disuso, con una battuta d’arresto per gli sforzi climatici, e raccomanda ai tedeschi di installare soffioni efficienti e di lavare i panni a temperature più basse.

Gli aumenti dei costi, che cominceranno ad essere applicati seriamente da questo autunno, aumentano la pressione sui poveri. Già circa 1 tedesco su 4 è caduto in povertà energetica, il che significa che i costi per il riscaldamento e l’illuminazione incidono sulla capacità di coprire altre spese. Le ondate di freddo in Europa e in Asia costringerebbero le compagnie energetiche a lottare per le forniture già limitate di gas naturale liquefatto.

L’impennata dei prezzi che deriverebbe da questo scenario potrebbe spingere le compagnie a fermare gli impianti quest’inverno e distruggere circa il 17% della domanda industriale di questo combustibile. Con gli impianti di stoccaggio pieni al 68% e i tassi di ricarica che potrebbero diminuire dopo il taglio dei gasdotti della scorsa settimana, la Germania rischia di non raggiungere l’obiettivo governativo del 95% entro il 1° novembre.

Il 16% delle aziende industriali sta considerando di ridurre la produzione o di abbandonare alcune attività a causa della crisi energetica. Alcuni dirigenti dell’industria chimica sostengono che la produzione potrebbe spostarsi in Turchia, dove c’è accesso ai gasdotti dell’Azerbaigian. La maggior parte dei tedeschi sostiene l’Ucraina, ma i critici potrebbero guadagnare terreno con l’abbassamento delle temperature.

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«Germany’s presidential palace in Berlin is no longer lit at night. The city of Hanover is turning off warm water in the showers of its pools and gyms, and municipalities across the country are preparing heating havens to keep people safe from the cold. And that’s just the beginning of a crisis that will ripple across Europe»

«It might still be the height of summer, but Germany has little time to lose to avert an energy shortage this winter that would be unprecedented for a developed nation»

«Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration has been slow to address Germany’s vulnerability, only recently laying out targets to cut demand as efforts to secure alternative supplies fall short»

«The Kremlin is likely to keep vital gas flows to Europe at minimal levels as long as the standoff over Ukraine continues»

«Rationing and recession are looming for Germany, and authorities have voiced concern about social unrest if the energy shortage spins out of control»

«Russia’s latest move came last week, when Gazprom blamed a turbine issue for reducing flows on the key Nord Stream pipeline to about 20 per cent of capacity»

«To bridge the gap, his ministry has allowed the revival of mothballed coal-fired power plants in a setback for climate efforts and recommends that Germans install efficient shower heads and wash clothes at cooler temperatures»

«The cost increases, which will start filtering through in earnest this fall, add to pressure on the poor»

«Already around 1 in 4 Germans has slipped into energy poverty, meaning costs for heating and lighting affect the ability to cover other expenses»

«Cold snaps across Europe and Asia would force energy companies to battle for already-tight supplies of liquefied natural gas»

«The price surge from such a scenario could prompt companies to halt facilities this winter and destroy some 17 per cent of industrial demand for the fuel»

«With storage facilities 68 per cent full and top-up rates likely to drop after last week’s pipeline cut, Germany risks falling short of the government’s target of 95 per cent by Nov 1»

«16 per cent of industrial firms are considering reducing production or giving up certain operations because of the energy crisis»

«Some chemical-industry executives say production could move to Turkey, where there is access to Azerbaijani pipelines»

«Most Germans support Ukraine but critics could gain traction as temperatures drop»

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Germany Has Three Months to Save Itself From a Winter Gas Crisis.

Germany’s presidential palace in Berlin is no longer lit at night. The city of Hanover is turning off warm water in the showers of its pools and gyms, and municipalities across the country are preparing heating havens to keep people safe from the cold. And that’s just the beginning of a crisis that will ripple across Europe.

It might still be the height of summer, but Germany has little time to lose to avert an energy shortage this winter that would be unprecedented for a developed nation. Much of Europe is feeling the strain from Russia’s squeeze on natural gas deliveries, yet no other country is as exposed as the region’s biggest economy, where nearly half the homes rely on the fuel for heating.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s administration has been slow to address Germany’s vulnerability, only recently laying out targets to cut demand as efforts to secure alternative supplies fall short. With Moscow continuing to tighten deliveries and France struggling to export electricity to its neighbours, little respite is expected and the risks go beyond this winter.

“The challenges we’re facing are enormous and they affect significant areas of the economy and society,” said Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice-chancellor and economy minister, after unveiling a plan to pass on cost increases from energy companies to consumers. “But we are a strong country and a strong democracy. These are good prerequisites for overcoming this crisis.”

The Kremlin is likely to keep vital gas flows to Europe at minimal levels as long as the standoff over Ukraine continues, said sources. That means shortages in the region will likely persist, with gas prices for every year through 2025 having already hit a record this year.

Rationing and recession are looming for Germany, and authorities have voiced concern about social unrest if the energy shortage spins out of control. The country can’t even count on France, where faulty nuclear reactors are compounding the gas crunch. Electricity prices in Europe’s 2 biggest economies surged to records last week.

Russia — historically the European Union’s biggest gas supplier, covering about 40 per cent of demand — has gradually reduced deliveries in evident retaliation against sanctions. The EU’s challenge is to keep energy flowing across borders in a test of the bloc’s unity and its resolve to resist President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

“Russia’s policy has always been to divide because then they are stronger,” said Martins Kazaks, governor of the central bank of Latvia, the former Soviet Republic that’s now part of the euro area. “If we allow ourselves to be divided, then we will get weaker,” he said in an interview.

Russia’s latest move came last week, when Gazprom blamed a turbine issue for reducing flows on the key Nord Stream pipeline to about 20 per cent of capacity. In the fallout, gas prices jumped over 30 per cent last week, and electricity prices broke one record after another.

Habeck, who oversees energy policy, called Gazprom’s rationale “farcical”, but acknowledged that the situation is serious and renewed his plea for companies and consumers to step up savings efforts. To bridge the gap, his ministry has allowed the revival of mothballed coal-fired power plants in a setback for climate efforts and recommends that Germans install efficient shower heads and wash clothes at cooler temperatures. 

If measures to re-balance supply and demand fail, the government has the power to declare a gas “emergency”, which would involve the state taking control of distribution and deciding who gets the fuel and who doesn’t.

While households and critical infrastructure like hospitals are protected from cutoffs, there’s no guarantee room temperatures will be as comfortable. Germany’s biggest landlord already announced plans to reduce heating during the night, and public buildings including the Reichstag in Berlin are turning down thermostats.

The cost increases, which will start filtering through in earnest this fall, add to pressure on the poor. Already around 1 in 4 Germans has slipped into energy poverty, meaning costs for heating and lighting affect the ability to cover other expenses, said the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. The government is now working on aid programmes for low-income households.

Cold snaps across Europe and Asia would force energy companies to battle for already-tight supplies of liquefied natural gas. The price surge from such a scenario could prompt companies to halt facilities this winter and destroy some 17 per cent of industrial demand for the fuel, said Penny Leake, a research analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “If Nord Stream flows remain at 20 per cent, we are getting close to the danger zone,” she said. 

With storage facilities 68 per cent full and top-up rates likely to drop after last week’s pipeline cut, Germany risks falling short of the government’s target of 95 per cent by Nov 1. The country’s network regulator says reaching that level is hardly possible without additional measures. 

The corporate sector is already reacting. A survey of 3,500 companies by business lobby DIHK showed that 16 per cent of industrial firms are considering reducing production or giving up certain operations because of the energy crisis.

It’s not just Germany. High energy prices have prompted fertiliser producer CF Industries Holdings to announce it would shut one of its UK plants permanently. Cargill Inc, the world’s top crop trader, also closed a British oilseeds processing plant, while in France, supermarkets including Carrefour and Monoprix agreed to reduce energy consumption.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that Germany is at risk of losing 4.8 per cent of economic output if Russia halts gas supplies, and the Bundesbank has pegged the potential damage at 220 billion euros (S$310 billion). While it is certain to be a painful hit, the fear in Germany is that a structural loss in competitiveness will soon follow. 

Energy-intensive industries will likely gravitate to regions with reliable renewable-power resources like Germany’s windy coast or solar-rich areas in the Mediterranean, potentially hollowing out industrial regions along the Rhine and in Germany’s south, said a senior executive at a major German manufacturer. Some chemical-industry executives say production could move to Turkey, where there is access to Azerbaijani pipelines.

Most Germans support Ukraine — about half say the government should continue backing of Kyiv despite rising energy costs, said a Policy Matters poll for Die Zeit — but critics could gain traction as temperatures drop. That would heap even more pressure on Scholz. 

Despite being months into the crisis, his administration just started publicly communicating a goal to cut demand by as much as 20 per cent. And in a sign of the growing urgency, it recently raised its minimum target for gas storage — now 15 percentage points higher than EU-wide levels. BLOOMBERG

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