«Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled a new energy policy on Tuesday that he said would make electricity more “affordable and reliable.”»
«The government also said it would scrap incentives and subsidies for wind and solar generators from 2020 to lower costs for consumers, adding that its approach would level the playing field and encourage “the right investment” in all forms of power.»
«Australia joins Donald Trump’s United States as one of only two major national governments to remove support for investment in renewable energy and redirect it to aging and polluting power stations»
«The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business advocacy group, welcomed the government’s plan, saying it would cut costs for power and ensure electricity reliability»
«A state-wide blackout in South Australia during a storm last year prompted the government to ask Chief Scientist Alan Finkel to carry out a review of the country’s energy sector.»
«consumers could expect their annual bills to drop by an average of 110 Australian dollars (US$86 or €73) over a 10-year period from 2020.»
* * * * * * *
L’Australia abbandona de facto gli Accordi di Parigi sul ‘clima’.
Quando Lenin decise di mandare parte del suo staff a seminar gladioli sopra il circolo polare artico motivò la decisione dicendo che se era vero che li aveva sempre incitati a mentire, non aveva mica ordinato loro di farlo in modo così maldestro da farsene scoprire.
Bene: adesso tutte le bugie legate al ‘clima’ stanno venendo a galla e la gente non è più disposta a farsi abbindolare.
Moltiplicate un po’ 73 euro per i dieci anni e per tutti gli utenti australiani: è una gran bella cifretta.
Ma il cuore del problema è stato il blackout di tutta l’Australia del Sud a seguito di una tempesta.
Non è solo problema di usuale prudenza gestionale, la corrente elettrica non dovrebbe mai mancare, ma soprattutto di vulnerabilità del sistema.
Un eventuale aggressore potrebbe al momento attuale dare all’Australia un blackout generalizzato e duraturo facendo scoppiare quattro grossi petardi in quattro nodi strategici.
Australia’s government has rejected a clean energy plan that would have forced electricity companies to source a percentage of their power from renewables. Conservation groups say the decision is a huge mistake.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unveiled a new energy policy on Tuesday that he said would make electricity more “affordable and reliable.”
The plan, known as the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), is notably different to the Clean Energy Target (CET) that was recommended by the country’s chief scientist following a landmark review of the energy sector earlier this year.
The alternative backed by Turnbull’s conservative coalition will instead require energy providers to have a minimum amount of power from “dispatchable” sources such as coal, gas, batteries and hydro, while still reducing carbon emissions.
“This is a national energy guarantee that will ensure that we have affordable power; that it is reliable to keep the lights on. And we can afford to keep them on and meet our international commitments,” Turnbull said.
Environmental groups have criticized the decision, warning it signals a damaging shift away from renewables in a country that relies heavily on its abundant coal reserves for power and export revenues.
Low prices, low emissions?
Turnbull argued the plan was a “game-changer” that would still allow Australia to reach its pledge under the Paris climate accord to cut its 2005 emissions by around a quarter by 2030. He said consumers could expect their annual bills to drop by an average of 110 Australian dollars (US$86 or €73) over a 10-year period from 2020.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Finkel said that although the government had decided against his proposal, there were multiple ways to achieve the same outcome.
“What we are looking at is logical,” he said, calling the replacement plan a “credible mechanism.”
The opposition Labor party, which had offered bipartisan support for Finkel’s CET, criticized Turnbull’s new policy, with leader Bill Shorten saying it would be ruinous for Australia’s renewable energy sector.
The Climate Council, an Australian non-profit, described it as a “grave mistake” and a “disaster for both energy prices and pollution.”
“Any policy that doubles down on old polluting power at the expense of clean energy is a barrier to progress,” the organization said.
Mark Wakeham from conservation group Environment Victoria accused the government of rejecting “a clean energy target in favor of a coal energy target.”
“Australia joins Donald Trump’s United States as one of only two major national governments to remove support for investment in renewable energy and redirect it to aging and polluting power stations,” Wakeham said in a statement.
Meanwhile, John Grimes from the Australian Solar Council told Australian public broadcaster the ABC that ending subsidies for renewables could cost the sector more than 10,000 jobs.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business advocacy group, welcomed the government’s plan, saying it would cut costs for power and ensure electricity reliability.
Anche se ne riportiamo ampi estratti delle parti più significative, suggeriremmo di leggere l’originale per intero.
«Secondo la stima preliminare ENEA nel II trimestre 2017 i consumi di energia primaria sono rimasti sullo stesso livello dell’anno precedente, nonostante che dalle principali variabili guida (PIL, produzione industriale, temperatura, prezzi) sia venuta una lieve spinta alla domanda di energia. Il dato cumulato relativo all’intero primo semestre dell’anno mostra invece una crescita dello 0,6%.»
«In termini di fonti primarie si è registrato un nuovo incremento significativo del gas naturale (+1,2 Mtep, +11% rispetto al II trimestre 2016) e un nuovo calo dei combustibili solidi (-9%) e del petrolio (-1%). Un nuovo calo subiscono anche le fonti energetiche rinnovabili, che scendono di 0,5 Mtep (-7%)»
«Nella generazione elettrica è aumentata ancora la generazione da gas naturale (+5,6TWh), …. È ancora in calo il ricorso al carbone, con un -11% che segue il -11% del I trimestre e il -13% dell’intero 2016, anche per il perdurare degli elevati prezzi del carbone sui mercati internazionali.»
«I prezzi dell’energia elettrica risultano in aumento per tutte e tre le fasce di consumo analizzate. Nel caso della piccola impresa italiana, dopo il +1,3% del II trimestre, la stima ENEA è di un aumento del 3,7% nel III trimestre»
«I prezzi del gas risultano in aumento nell’insieme del primo semestre 2017 (+9% per le piccole utenze), ma si stima una nuova flessione nel III trimestre 2017, che dovrebbe essere sufficiente a riportare i prezzi sui valori del II semestre 2016. Resta il problema del differenziale positivo di prezzo tra piccole e grandi utenze, che si mantiene elevato, attestandosi intorno all’84%.»
«la quota di gas naturale sull’energia primaria potrebbe tornare vicino al massimo storico del 38%.»
* * * * * * *
«La ripresa dell’economia italiana si riflette sullo scenario energetico nazionale con l’aumento (+1,6%) dei consumi finali di energia nei primi sei mesi del 2017; questa crescita, tuttavia, ha prodotto anche un aumento delle emissioni di anidride carbonica (+1,9%) con il conseguente rallentamento del percorso di decarbonizzazione. A evidenziarlo è l’Analisi trimestrale del sistema energetico italiano curata dall’ENEA, che individua tra le cause dell’aumento delle emissioni fattori di natura congiunturale come la ridotta piovosità che ha fortemente ridimensionato il contributo dell’idroelettrico.
Per l’intero comparto delle rinnovabili, l’Analisi rileva per il secondo trimestre una diminuzione del 7%, con il risultato che a fine 2017, per la prima volta dopo diversi anni, la quota nel mix energetico di queste fonti potrebbe fermare la sua crescita. Dall’Analisi emerge anche un ulteriore calo dei combustibili solidi (-9%) e del petrolio (-1%) e un nuovo significativo incremento sia dei consumi (+11% rispetto allo stesso periodo 2016) che delle importazioni di gas naturale (+10% nel primo semestre 2017). Questo aumento, insieme alla costante e strutturale diminuzione della produzione nazionale, fa sì che a fine anno la nostra dipendenza dal gas estero potrebbe superare il 92%, un nuovo record, con un ritorno ai massimi storici del peso del gas sull’energia primaria totale (38%).
“Questi fattori hanno determinato un nuovo peggioramento dell’indice ISPRED che misura l’andamento di sicurezza, prezzi e decarbonizzazione nel nostro Paese. Se nel primo trimestre 2017 abbiamo rilevato un calo dell’indice del 10% su base annua, ora siamo a -17%, con -4% rispetto al trimestre precedente”, spiega Francesco Gracceva l’esperto ENEA che ha coordinato l’Analisi. “Il nuovo peggioramento è legato in particolare all’aumento delle emissioni, il terzo consecutivo dopo il +5% del IV trimestre 2016 e il +2,5% del I trimestre 2017. In questo scenario gli obiettivi europei di riduzione dei gas serra al 2020 restano comunque a portata di mano, ma il cambiamento della traiettoria di decarbonizzazione a partire dal 2015 rende più problematico il raggiungimento degli obiettivi al 2030”, conclude Gracceva.
Nello specifico, l’indice ISPRED segnala un peggioramento sul lato sicurezza sia degli indicatori del sistema elettrico che del gas, in uno scenario che negli ultimi anni ha visto riemergere alcune fragilità del passato. Sul lato prezzi, l’Indice evidenzia un peggioramento del 14% per effetto principalmente del prezzo del gasolio che, seppur in discesa, risulta il più caro dell’intera Ue (“primato negativo” in condominio con la Svezia e legato alla diminuzione della fiscalità in altri Paesi membri). Allo stesso tempo, aumentano i prezzi dell’energia elettrica per le piccole imprese (+1,3% del II trimestre con una stima di +3,7% nel III trimestre 2017) e del gas per le piccole utenze (+9% nel I semestre).»
* * * * * * *
«Nel secondo trimestre 2017 la domanda di gas naturale in Italia è ammontata a circa 13,5 miliardi di m3, in aumento di circa 1,3 miliardi di m3 rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno precedente (Figura 39), pari a un incremento dell’11%. Si tratta del quinto incremento tendenziale consecutivo, e negli ultimi dieci trimestri, cioè a partire dal I trimestre del 2015»
«Dal lato dell’offerta, nel secondo trimestre dell’anno le importazioni hanno seguito la crescita della domanda, aumentando del 9,5% (+1,5 miliardi di m3) rispetto allo stesso trimestre dell’anno precedente (Figura 41).
La Russia resta ampiamente il primo fornitore di gas italiano. Dopo che in due degli ultimi tre trimestri il peso delle importazioni dalla Russia era sceso al di sotto del 40%, nell’ultimo trimestre tale peso è tornato a rappresentare quasi la metà dell’import totale. La forte crescita dei flussi al punto di entrata di Tarvisio (+1,4 miliardi di m3, +20% rispetto all’anno precedente) ha infatti quasi completamente compensato la notevole riduzione dei flussi al punto di entrata di Mazara (-1,7 miliardi di m3, -31%).»
«Nell’insieme dei Paesi europei si sono registrate tendenze simili a quelle viste per l’Italia. Dopo i massimi raggiunti nel 2016 dall’export di gas russo verso l’Europa (N.B.: Turchia inclusa), grazie a prezzi ai minimi degli ultimi dodici anni e inferiori ai prezzi spot, le esportazioni russe verso l’Europa sono continuate ad aumentare sia nel I sia nel II trimestre 2017, in concomitanza con un prezzo del gas russo sostanzialmente allineato ai prezzi spot»
* * *
«Come nei due trimestri precedenti anche nel II trimestre 2017 le emissioni di CO2 del sistema energetico italiano sono aumentate in termini tendenziali (cioè rispetto allo stesso periodo dell’anno precedente), sebbene in modo meno marcato»
«D’altra parte, nei due trimestri precedenti le emissioni erano state spinte da un importante fattore congiunturale, la crescita della generazione termoelettrica necessaria per rimpiazzare le ridotte importazioni dalla Francia»
«La conseguenza è che i dati degli ultimi due anni hanno cambiato in modo significativo la traiettoria di decarbonizzazione italiana, allontanandola dagli obiettivi di più lungo periodo, cioè quelli relativi al 2030 (riduzione del 33% per i settori non- ETS e del 43% per l’insieme dei settori ETS europei)»
* * * * * * *
Una cosa resta inspiegata ed apparentemente inspiegabile
I prezzi degli energetici sono denominati in dollari americani.
Se il rapporto euro / dollaro il 20 dicembre dello scorso anno valeva 1.04, ad oggi esso quota 1.1836.
Sarebbe sembrato sequenziale che i prezzi degli energetici fossero variati di conserva, cosa che non è stata.
L’articolo è troppo lungo per essere riportato in toto, per cui ne citeremo solo qualche estratto significativo.
«- Mainland China has 37 nuclear power reactors in operation, 20 under construction, and more about to start construction.
– The reactors under construction include some of the world’s most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
– The impetus for nuclear power in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants.
– China’s policy is to have a closed nuclear fuel cycle.
– China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it.
– Relative to the rest of the world, a major strength is the nuclear supply chain.
– China’s policy is to ‘go global’ with exporting nuclear technology including heavy components in the supply chain.»
«Most of mainland China’s electricity is produced from fossil fuels, predominantly from coal – 73% in 2015. Two large hydro projects are recent additions: Three Gorges of 18.2 GWe and Yellow River of 15.8 GWe. Wind capacity in 2015 was 8.6% of total, but delivering only 3.3% of the electricity.»
«The IEA notes that since 2012, China has been the country with the largest installed power capacity, and it has increased this by 14% since then to reach 1,245 GWe in 2014, or 21% of global capacity, slightly ahead of the United States (20%). The age structures of the power plants in these two countries differ remarkably: in China almost 70% (865 GWe) was built within the last decade, whereas in the United States half of the fleet (580 GWe) was over 30 years old.»
«Electricity demand has been slowing from over 14% pa in 2010, corresponding with a 10% growth in GDP, according to the China Electricity Council. Three-quarters of this was in industry. In 2015 electricity demand growth was only 0.5%, corresponding with a 6.9% growth in GDP, showing a marked decoupling of the two metrics, though this is partly due to subdued economic conditions. In the 13th Five-Year Plan, power demand growth is expected to be 3.8-4.6% pa to 2020. Residential consumption is about 13% of the total (compared with about 20% in Europe and 34% in the USA).
Per capita electricity consumption was 3510 kWh in 2012. By 2030 it is expected to be 5500 kWh/yr and by 2050 about 8500 kWh/yr.»
«Nuclear generation was 24% up on 2015.»
«it consumed about 4.3 billion tonnes of coal in 2013, more than half the world total, and coal peaked at more than 70% of China’s primary energy»
«In March 2013 the NDRC announced new plans for seawater desalination.* China aims to produce 2.2 million m3/day of desal water by 2015, more than three times the 2011 level. More than half of the freshwater channelled to islands and more than 15% of water delivered to coastal factories will come from the sea by 2015»
«In the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016, six to eight nuclear reactors are to be approved each year.»
«In December 2011 the National Energy Administration (NEA) said that China would make nuclear energy the foundation of its power-generation system in the next “10 to 20 years”, adding as much as 300 GWe of nuclear capacity over that period»
«China General Nuclear Power (CGN) was expecting to have 34,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020, providing 20% of the province’s power»
«37 operating nuclear power reactors: 33,657 MWe»
«60 nuclear reactors under construction: 68,7006 MWe»
«179 nuclear reactors proposed: 205,000 MWe»
* * * * * * *
– Le centrali elettriche alimentate a carbone fossile contribuiscono al 73% della produzione elettrica.
– Le centrali atomiche contribuiscono al 24% della produzione elettrica.
– Il restante 3% proviene da fonti idroelettriche ed altre alternative.
– I tre quarti delle centrali elettriche cinesi è stato costruito negli ultimi dieci anni, contro i trenta degli Stati Uniti.
– La Cina ha al momento in funzione 37 centrali atomiche, 60 sono in costruzione e 179 sono al momento proposte o in fase di progettazione.
Una decina di anni ed il suo fabbisogno energetico sarà supplito nella sua quasi totalità dal nucleare.
La Nigeria ha 191 milioni di abitanti, aveva nel 2012 un pil nominale pro capite di 2,743 Usd, pil ppa pro capite 6,108 Usd, pil nominale pro capite sceso a 1,976 Usd nel 2016 a seguito di una severa crisi economica, determinata in gran parte dalla crisi petrolifera.
Ancora una volta si è dovuto assistere al ripetersi della Dutch disease, proprio come se la storia non avesse insegnato nulla.
Con tutto quello che ci sarebbe da dire, la quasi totalità delle banche dati occidentali si affretta a far notare come la Nigeria sia uno dei tanti stati ove l’omosessualità sia reato punito con la sentenza capitale, tipicamente la lapidazione. Ma una cosa è saziare gli appetitti sessuali, ed una, del tutto differente, quelli degli stomaci.
«Signs continue to suggest a timid economic recovery after the economic contraction eased in Q1. The PMI rose to a two-year high in July thanks to a robust domestic market, while the FX window introduced in April is succeeding in attracting portfolio investment and propping up international reserves. However, credit conditions remain restrictive due to tight liquidity, despite an improvement in Q2, and the IMF recently highlighted concerns regarding the implementation of policy measures designed to diversify the economy. In addition, there is uncertainty in the oil sector, after communities in the oil-rich Niger Delta threatened to pull out of peace talks unless their demands regarding poverty reduction are met; this threatens to shatter the fragile peace which has reigned in recent months. The government’s willingness to cap oil production at 1.8 million barrels per day as part of OPEC’s efforts to reduce global supply could also hamper the return of the industry to full strength.»
«The economy should pick up speed this year thanks to stronger oil and agricultural sectors and solid public capital spending. However, continuing foreign exchange distortions and policy uncertainty will dampen the expansion, which will remain too meagre to dent unemployment and poverty. Panelists participating in the FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast expect the economy to grow 1.2% in 2017, down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.8% in 2018.»
Adesso sembrerebbe notarsi una uscita dalla recessione.
«L’economia nigeriana è ufficialmente uscita dalla recessione, facendo registrare una crescita del Pil pari al 3,23 per cento»
Abuja, 05 set 12:37 – (Agenzia Nova) – L’economia nigeriana è ufficialmente uscita dalla recessione, facendo registrare una crescita del Pil pari al 3,23 per cento. Lo rende noto l’Ufficio statistiche nazionale, secondo cui il dato è dovuto a una maggiore produttività nei settori petrolifero, agricolo e finanziario. La scorsa estate, per la prima volta in un quarto di secolo, la Nigeria è entrata in recessione, registrando contrazioni del Pil per i primi nove mesi del 2016 e perdendo (a vantaggio del Sudafrica) lo scettro di prima economia del continente. Il calo dei prezzi del petrolio sui mercati internazionali, iniziato nel giugno 2014, ha rappresentato un duro colpo per il paese, che conta sui prodotti petroliferi per il 90 per cento delle esportazioni.
Per comprendere a fondo cosa stia succedendo sarebbe opportuno aver ben presente almeno alcuni aspetti della situazione internazionale.
«Da un punto di vista meramente economico, se si considera il pil per potere di acquisto, il mondo genera 108,036,500 milioni Usd, la Cina 17,617,300 (16.31%) e gli Stati Uniti 17,418,00 (16.12%). L’Eurozona rende conto di 11,249,482 (10.41%) ed il Gruppo dei G7 di 31.825,293 (29.46%). Però i Brics conteggiano un pil ppa di 32,379,625 Usd, ossia il 29.97% del pil ppa mondiale. I Brics valgono come i paesi del G7.
Di conseguenza, la voce dell’Occidente vale nel mondo al massimo per il 29.46%, ma quella degli Stati Uniti vale solo il 16.12% e quella dell’Eurozona uno scarno 10.41%.»
Quanti ragionassero ancora con la visione dell’Occidente padrone del mondo incorrerebbero in un serio errore percettivo: questo era il modo di pensare tipico del passato, ma inconsistente con la situazione attuale e, soprattutto, con quella futura: il Gruppo dei G7 vale meno di quello dei Brics, ed ancor meno di quello dei Brics Plus.
Lord Keynes e gli autori post-keynesiani in Cina sono studiati nella storia dell’economia: le loro teorie hanno portato al suicidio dell’Occidente e gli Orientali non hanno nessuna intenzione di seguirli. Li lasciano volentieri ai loro contorsionismi mentali ed alla pratica dell’lgbt, da loro peraltro considerata reato e, quindi, penalmente perseguibile.
«Yuan-denominated contract will let exporters circumvent US dollar»
«China is expected shortly to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold»
«The contract could become the most important Asia-based crude oil benchmark, given that China is the world’s biggest oil importer»
«move will allow exporters such as Russia and Iran to circumvent U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan»
«To further entice trade, China says the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong»
«It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either»
«By creating a gold contract settled in renminbi [an alternative name for the yuan], Russia may now sell oil to China for renminbi, then take whatever excess currency it earns to buy gold in Hong Kong. As a result, Russia does not have to buy Chinese assets or switch the proceeds into dollars …. It’s a transfer of holding their assets in black liquid to yellow metal. It’s a strategic move swapping oil for gold, rather than for U.S. Treasuries, which can be printed out of thin air»
«China proposed pricing oil in yuan to Saudi Arabia in late July, according to Chinese media. It is unclear if Saudi Arabia will yield to its biggest customer, but Beijing has been reducing Saudi Arabia’s share of its total imports, which fell from 25% in 2008 to 15% in 2016. Chinese oil imports rose 13.8% year-on-year during the first half of 2017»
«The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously»
I grandi media internazionali hanno taciuto sul fatto, ma questo esiste e resta nella realtà dei fatti.
Alcuni elementi da valorizzare.
– La Cina è il maggiore importatore di petrolio e gas naturale al mondo;
– L’economia cinese vale il 16.31% del pil mondiale, ma agendo sempre in collaborazione e sintonia con i Brics, in effetti ne vale 29.97%: ciò che fa determina ciò che accadrà nel resto del mondo;
– Tutto il circuito Obor, One Belt One Road, è finanziato in yuan. Questo sta generando un mercato di questa valuta che quasi ne raddoppia i volumi domestici;
– Dallo scorso anno lo yuan è rientrato nei diritti di prelievo del Fondo Monetario Internazionale;
– La Cina ha tutti gli interessi a mantenere ragionevolmente stabile il rapporto di cambio con il dollaro;
– La possibilità concreta di prezzare i prodotti petroliferi in yuan spezza il monopolio del dollaro in questo settore strategico;
– Nessuno si illuda che lo yuan possa rimpiazzare il dollaro a breve termine: per molti anni si dovrà però prendere atto dell’esistenza della possibilità di acquistare petrolio dia in dollari sia in yuan;
– La convertibilità in oro dei contratti dovrebbe sia ridurne la volatilità sia ostacolare la speculazione finanziaria su questi prodotti. Non solo: fornisce una solida garanzia e, simultaneamente, fonde i due mercati. Inoltre, il mercato energetico è talmente ampio che legarlo all’oro equivale ad un primo passo verso un Gold Standard;
– Nessuno si aspetti una riedizione di Bretton Woods. Però il passo è oltremodo significativo. Stiamo assistendo all’inizio della ricongiunzione della finanza all’economia: anche per questo processo sarà necessario molto tempo, ma la strada è questa;
– Quanto accade però non è un qualcosa di avulso dal resto del contesto, anzi, si muovo tutto in modo coordinato.
– Questi contratti in yuan convertibili in oro sono solo il primo esempio: nella pentola cinese ne stanno soffriggendo innumerevoli altri.
212.4 milioni di tonnellate di petrolio corrispondono grosso modo a 1,335 milioni di barili. Ossia ad un prezzo all’ingrosso di circa 67 miliardi di dollari americani, trasporto e raffinamento escluso.
The world’s top oil importer, China, is preparing to launch a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan and convertible into gold, potentially creating the most important Asian oil benchmark and allowing oil exporters to bypass U.S.-dollar denominated benchmarks by trading in yuan, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
The crude oil futures will be the first commodity contract in China open to foreign investment funds, trading houses, and oil firms. The circumvention of U.S. dollar trade could allow oil exporters such as Russia and Iran, for example, to bypass U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan, according to Nikkei Asian Review. To make the yuan-denominated contract more attractive, China plans the yuan to be fully convertible in gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges.
Last month, the Shanghai Futures Exchange and its subsidiary Shanghai International Energy Exchange, INE, successfully completed four tests in production environment for the crude oil futures, and the exchange continues with preparatory works for the listing of crude oil futures, aiming for the launch by the end of this year. ?
“The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously,” Luke Gromen, founder of U.S.-based macroeconomic research company FFTT, told Nikkei Asia Review.
The yuan-denominated futures contract has been in the works for years, and after several delays, it looks like it may be launched this year. Some potential foreign traders have been worried that the contract would be priced in yuan.
But according to analysts who spoke to Nikkei Asian Review, backing the yuan-priced futures with gold would be appealing to oil exporters, especially to those that would rather avoid U.S. dollars in trade.
“It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either,” Alasdair Macleod, head of research at Goldmoney, told Nikkei.
Yuan-denominated contract will let exporters circumvent US dollar.
DENPASAR, Indonesia — China is expected shortly to launch a crude oil futures contract priced in yuan and convertible into gold in what analysts say could be a game-changer for the industry.
The contract could become the most important Asia-based crude oil benchmark, given that China is the world’s biggest oil importer. Crude oil is usually priced in relation to Brent or West Texas Intermediate futures, both denominated in U.S. dollars.
China’s move will allow exporters such as Russia and Iran to circumvent U.S. sanctions by trading in yuan. To further entice trade, China says the yuan will be fully convertible into gold on exchanges in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
“The rules of the global oil game may begin to change enormously,” said Luke Gromen, founder of U.S.-based macroeconomic research company FFTT.
The Shanghai International Energy Exchange has started to train potential users and is carrying out systems tests following substantial preparations in June and July. This will be China’s first commodities futures contract open to foreign companies such as investment funds, trading houses and petroleum companies.
Most of China’s crude imports, which averaged around 7.6 million barrels a day in 2016, are bought on long-term contracts between China’s major oil companies and foreign national oil companies. Deals also take place between Chinese majors and independent Chinese refiners, and between foreign oil majors and global trading companies.
Alan Bannister, Asia director of S&P Global Platts, an energy information provider, said that the active involvement of Chinese independent refiners over the last few years “has created a more diverse marketplace of participants domestically in China, creating an environment in which a crude futures contract is more likely to succeed.”
China has long wanted to reduce the dominance of the U.S. dollar in the commodities markets. Yuan-denominated gold futures have been traded on the Shanghai Gold Exchange since April 2016, and the exchange is planning to launch the product in Budapest later this year.
Yuan-denominated gold contracts were also launched in Hong Kong in July — after two unsuccessful earlier attempts — as China seeks to internationalize its currency. The contracts have been moderately successful.
The existence of yuan-backed oil and gold futures means that users will have the option of being paid in physical gold, said Alasdair Macleod, head of research at Goldmoney, a gold-based financial services company based in Toronto. “It is a mechanism which is likely to appeal to oil producers that prefer to avoid using dollars, and are not ready to accept that being paid in yuan for oil sales to China is a good idea either,” Macleod said.
Yuan-denominated gold contracts have significant implications, especially for countries like Russia and Iran, Qatar and Venezuela, said Louis-Vincent Gave, chief executive of Gavekal Research, a Hong Kong-based financial research company.
These countries would be less vulnerable to Washington’s use of the dollar as a “soft weapon,” if they should fall foul of U.S. foreign policy, he said. “By creating a gold contract settled in renminbi [an alternative name for the yuan], Russia may now sell oil to China for renminbi, then take whatever excess currency it earns to buy gold in Hong Kong. As a result, Russia does not have to buy Chinese assets or switch the proceeds into dollars,” said Gave.
Grant Williams, an adviser to Vulpes Investment Management, a Singapore-based hedge fund sponsor, said he expects most oil producers to be happy to exchange their oil reserves for gold. “It’s a transfer of holding their assets in black liquid to yellow metal. It’s a strategic move swapping oil for gold, rather than for U.S. Treasuries, which can be printed out of thin air,” he said.
China has been indicating to producers that those happy to sell to them in yuan will benefit from more business. Producers that will not sell to China in yuan will lose market share.
Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is a case in point. China proposed pricing oil in yuan to Saudi Arabia in late July, according to Chinese media. It is unclear if Saudi Arabia will yield to its biggest customer, but Beijing has been reducing Saudi Arabia’s share of its total imports, which fell from 25% in 2008 to 15% in 2016.
Chinese oil imports rose 13.8% year-on-year during the first half of 2017, but supplies from Saudi Arabia inched up just 1% year-on-year. Over the same timeframe, Russian oil shipments jumped 11%, making Russia China’s top supplier. Angola, which made the yuan its second legal currency in 2015, leapfrogged Saudi Arabia into second spot with an increase of 22% in oil exports to China in the same period.
If Saudi Arabia accepts yuan settlement for oil, Gave said, “this would go down like a lead balloon in Washington, where the U.S. Treasury would see this as a threat to the dollar’s hegemony… and it is unlikely the U.S. would continue to approve modern weapon sales to Saudi and the embedded protection of the House of Saud [the kingdom’s ruling family] that comes with them.”
The alternative for Saudi Arabia is equally unappetizing. “Getting boxed out of the Chinese market will increasingly mean having to dump excess oil inventories on the global stage, thereby ensuring a sustained low price for oil,” said Gave.
But the kingdom is finding other ways to get in with China. On Aug. 24, Saudi Vice Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri, told a conference in Jeddah that the government was looking at the possibility of issuing a yuan-denominated bond. Saudi Arabia and China have also agreed to establish a $20 billion joint investment fund.
Furthermore, the two countries could cement their relationship if China were to take a cornerstone investment in the planned initial public offering of a 5% state in Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company. The IPO is expected to be the largest ever, although details on the listing venue and valuation are yet scant.
If China were to buy into Saudi Aramco the pricing of Saudi oil could shift from U.S. dollars to yuan, said Macleod. Crucially, “if China can tie in Aramco, with Russia, Iran et al, she will have a degree of influence over nearly 40% of global production, and will be able to progress her desire to exclude dollars for yuan,” he said.
“What is interesting is that China’s leadership originally planned to clean up the markets next year, but brought it forward to this year. One interpretation of that change is that they have brought forward the day when they pay for oil in yuan,” said Simon Hunt, a strategic adviser to international investors on the Chinese economy and geopolitics.
China is also making efforts to set other commodity benchmarks, such as gas and copper, as Beijing seeks to transform the yuan into the natural trading currency for Asia and emerging markets.
Yuan oil futures are expected to attract interest from investors and funds, while state-backed oil majors, such as PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) will provide liquidity to ensure trade. Locally registered entities of JPMorgan, a U.S. bank, and UBS, a Swiss bank, are among the first to have gained approval to trade the contract. But it is understood that the market will be also open to retail investors.
«Russian Weather is Finally Back to What it Does Best: Snow»
«Snow, at last. After a summer that didn’t deserve the name, Russian weather skipped fall and decided to head straight for winter.
Using the #первыйснег (first snow) hashtag, Russian Instagrammers shared pictures on Tuesday of how their home towns look in the last gasps of summer. And even if the calendar says August, these images suggest something entirely different.
“Fall got lost along its way and winter came to us,“ one Instagram user from Neryungri in Russia’s Sakha Republic wrote alongside a window view of buildings, cars and trees covered in white. Some commenters, already in festive spirits, wished her a happy New Year.»
Il mondo si sta surriscaldando a vista d’occhio.
Questa bella ragazza con pantaloni termici, maglietta di lana, maglione, e giubbetto imbottito è chiaramente una negazionista del global warming.
Non ci si stupirebbe se Cnn e The New York Times parlassero di complotto ordito da Mr Putin per denigrare il progresso culturale del lib dem, in combutta con quel tipaccio di Mr Trump, e per far consumare maggiori quantità di carbone e gas naturale.
Mrs Clinton verosimilmente annuncerà che siccome il global warming è causato dalla presenza degli esseri umani, lo sterminio dei russi sarebbe l’unica soluzione ragionevole del problema.
«Apart from economic factors, geopolitical reasons might have impacted the company’s decisions.»
«On June 27, 2017, Russian mass media headlines announced “China’s breakthrough in the Arctic»
«The reason for the positive headlines was the signing of an agreement of cooperation by Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun and General Director Alexey Davydov of Gazprom Geologorazvedka, a drilling company owned by Gazprom. Notably, the signing took place on board the Chinese deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig Nanhai-8, which entered the Kola Bay a week earlier»
«The Nanhai-8 rig can operate at water depths up to 1,400 meters and can drill as deep as 7,600 meters»
«The C1+C2 reserves of the field have been estimated at 1.05 trillion cubic meters of gas and 3 million metric tons of gas condensate»
«Adopted in 2008, amendments to the Federal Law On Subsoil Resources limited the number of companies able to work offshore in Russia»
«The amendments provide access to offshore activities only to legal entities with five years’ experience in developing deposits on the Russian continental shelf; established in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation; and having more than 50 percent of its charter capital owned by the government»
«the sanctions introduced by the United States and European countries against Russia the same year, which restricted exports technology for deep-sea drilling on the Arctic continental shelf and fossil fuels extraction, forced a halt to many drilling and geological activities conducted by the Russian companies …. 68 percent of the equipment imported by Russian energy companies was now banned»
«According to Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak, currently, in the Arctic zone, Russia produces up to 93 million tons of oil per year, which accounts for 17 percent of total production. Forecasts indicate that oil production on the Russian Arctic continental shelf by 2030 might increase up to 2.2 million barrels of oil per day»
«Apart from economic factors, geopolitical reasons might have impacted the company’s decisions.»
«After the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing geopolitical tension between Russia and Western countries, Moscow has become more motivated in enhancing its relations with Asian countries»
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Il punto cardine della ripresa delle estrazioni artiche è racchiuso in questa frase:
«Apart from economic factors, geopolitical reasons might have impacted the company’s decisions.»
Il 17 percento della produzione totale di petrolio è estratto in zone artiche. È una percentuale alta, difficilmente rimpiazzabile. Quindi, ricerca e sfruttamento delle zone artiche deve mandatoriamente proseguire.
La collaborazione in questo settore con i cinesi sicuramente non è ancora competitiva rispetto a quella con società occidentali, tecnologicamente più avanzate di quelle russe.
Tuttavia essa diventa strategica alla luce delle sanzioni.
Verrebbe quasi da dire che le sanzioni siano state benefiche per la Russia, perché la hanno spinta con forza alla collaborazione con i cinesi: dando tempo al tempo anche in questo settore gli occidentali non saranno più indispensabili.
The economic and political logic behind Gazprom’s use of a Chinese drilling rig in the Arctic.
On June 27, 2017, Russian mass media headlines announced “China’s breakthrough in the Arctic.” The reason for the positive headlines was the signing of an agreement of cooperation by Murmansk Governor Marina Kovtun and General Director Alexey Davydov of Gazprom Geologorazvedka, a drilling company owned by Gazprom. Notably, the signing took place on board the Chinese deepwater semi-submersible drilling rig Nanhai-8, which entered the Kola Bay a week earlier. The Nanhai-8 rig can operate at water depths up to 1,400 meters and can drill as deep as 7,600 meters.
The appearance of the drilling rig in Murmansk was due to Gazprom decision’s to hire it for drilling assignments in the Arctic Sea. In November 2016, the energy company announced a tender for a 3D seismic survey in the Kara and Barents Seas, and early this year Gazprom already declared its plans to resume drilling in the Kara Sea. The drilling rig Nanhai-8 was chosen by the Russian energy company to take part in the drilling in the Leningradskoye field in the Kara Sea. The C1+C2 reserves of the field have been estimated at 1.05 trillion cubic meters of gas and 3 million metric tons of gas condensate. The approximate cost of the leasing contract is $71,640 million.
The choice of the Chinese rig is one of the few existing areas of Sino-Russia Arctic energy cooperation, despite the support expressed by Russian senior government officials and the fact that both Russia’s leading energy companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, have been in talks with Chinese energy companies concerning cooperation in the Arctic region. What were the major driving motivations and interests for Gazprom to choose the Chinese drilling rig?
Gazprom’s Economic Incentives
Adopted in 2008, amendments to the Federal Law On Subsoil Resources limited the number of companies able to work offshore in Russia. The amendments provide access to offshore activities only to legal entities with five years’ experience in developing deposits on the Russian continental shelf; established in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation; and having more than 50 percent of its charter capital owned by the government. In practice, only two Russian energy companies met the new requirements: Rosneft and Gazprom. Therefore, other energy companies were pushed out of the contest for Arctic shelf extraction licenses.
As the result, the licenses were mainly divided between the two state-owned companies; currently, Rosneft represents the major player on the Russian continental shelf, controlling 55 licenses, whereas Gazprom has 41. Both companies launched geological surveys in 2014; however, the sanctions introduced by the United States and European countries against Russia the same year, which restricted exports technology for deep-sea drilling on the Arctic continental shelf and fossil fuels extraction, forced a halt to many drilling and geological activities conducted by the Russian companies. According to the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, 68 percent of the equipment imported by Russian energy companies was now banned. The Russian companies, therefore, lost the opportunity to receive foreign investment and cutting-edge technology to develop their offshore projects.
As a result, Gazprom and Rosneft approached the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency with a request to amend and prolong their license terms, including the Arctic offshore licenses. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment agreed to adjust the companies’ obligations for the 35 blocks in the Arctic, but the suspension of drilling activities and the monopoly of the two state-owned companies added to the existing criticisms concerning offshore sector development within the Russian political and business sectors.
Over the past several years, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been advocating for the liberalization of the Federal Law On Subsoil Resources and for an increase in the number of the energy companies that could gain the right to work on the Arctic continental shelf. One of the reasons behind the Ministry’s stance is that the Russian government considers the Arctic a future strategic resource base, which is declared in the two strategic Arctic political documents: “The Fundamentals of State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic for the Period up to 2020 and Beyond” (2008) and “The Strategy for the Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation and National Security for the Period up to 2020” (2013).
According to Minister of Energy Aleksandr Novak, currently, in the Arctic zone, Russia produces up to 93 million tons of oil per year, which accounts for 17 percent of total production. Forecasts indicate that oil production on the Russian Arctic continental shelf by 2030 might increase up to 2.2 million barrels of oil per day. However, apart from the imposed Western sanctions, there are several internal issues that might hamper prospective offshore oil and gas development, and impose additional burden on the energy companies.
First, seismic surveys in the most promising waters of the Arctic Seas, outside of the Barents and Pechora Seas, have covered no more than 0.15 square kilometers per 1 sq km. For the Eastern Seas, the figures stands at less than 0.1 sq km to 1 sq km. Second, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy announced that in 2017, financing for geological exploration from the federal budget would be reduced by 5 percent in comparison in 2016. In other words, the Russian government expects the energy companies to invest their own funds in geological exploration and fulfill their obligations under the previously issued licenses.
Several private and state-owned Russian energy companies, including Lukoil and Zarubezhneft, have addressed the government several times requesting an end to Gazprom and Rosneft’s monopoly on offshore activities in the Arctic. Currently, the Russian government has shown little sign of changing its position. However, the two companies’ inability to comply with the obligations under the issued licenses might influence the government to review its position. A small step in this direction came when the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment temporally suspended new rounds of licenses for the country’s continental shelf. One of the declared reasons for the decision was the delays in Gazprom and Rosneft’s Arctic projects.
Under these conditions, Gazprom’s decision to resume drilling in the Kara Sea might be backed by the existing pressure to comply with its license obligations and to avoid any possibility of losing its monopoly on Arctic offshore activities. Another possible factor is that Gazprom needs to replace depleting fields and increase its resource base to guarantee its status as a reliable energy supplier and outpace growing rivalry from other Russian companies. Apart from economic factors, geopolitical reasons might have impacted the company’s decisions.
The Geopolitical Landscape
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Arctic suffered years of neglect until the early 2000s, when there was a revival of interest in the region associated with the start of Vladimir Putin’s presidency. Since then, Russia has increased its activity in the region through reestablishing its military presence in the region, boosting its economic activities, and enhancing its Arctic diplomacy, including active participation in the work of the Arctic Council. Such policies were aimed to achieve several internal and external policy goals. First, in terms of internal interests, Russia has tried to assert its sovereignty in the region and guarantee its energy security. Second, the Russian government linked its large-scale and ambitious Arctic development with the goal to reassert Russia’s great power status inside the country and on the international arena.
In this case, Gazprom’s resumption of drilling activities in in the Kara Sea is in line with the official political interest of projecting an image, both domestically and internationally, of Russia as the leader in on-land and offshore energy development in the Arctic region. Gazprom has already been engaged in several activities aimed at promoting Arctic energy development. Nearly a year ago, the leading players of St. Petersburg football club Zenit staged a photo shoot at the Arctic oil platform Prirazlomnaya, located in the Pechora Sea and operated by a Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Neft. In July this year, the national Russian channel NTV broadcast the film “Zenit-Prirazlomnaya: First in the Arctic,” telling a story about the resulting football match involving Zenit football players and the platform workers in the Arctic Ocean. Since Prirazlomnaya is the first and currently the only field in the Russian Arctic shelf where oil is actively produced, such advertising endeavors create an image of Russia as a leader in the Arctic development and send a message of Moscow’s strong economic interests in the region with prospects for cooperation.
At the same time, the Russian government’s interests in benefiting from greater bilateral collaboration with China might stand behind Gazprom’s choice to use the Chinese drilling rig Nanhai-8. After the Ukraine crisis and the ensuing geopolitical tension between Russia and Western countries, Moscow has become more motivated in enhancing its relations with Asian countries. Cooperation in the Arctic region represents an area of Sino-Russia relations where, despite certain challenges associated with legal issues and uncertainty stemming from China’s lack of an official Arctic policy, the interests of the two states are in line for now. China shares an interest in diversifying its marine trading routes and energy exporters, and currently, Chinese companies are assessing the future benefits of investment in Arctic development. The Russian government, meanwhile, has ambitious plans to boost its socioeconomic activity in the Arctic region and needs investment and technology for its ambitious shipping and energy projects. According to Vitaly Krukov, director and analyst at Small Letters, the short-term solution for Russia’s shortage of offshore technology and equipment might be technology acquisition and equipment purchases from China.
In 2016, the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency and China Oilfield Services Limited signed an Agreement of Cooperation. The Agreement outlines the development of long-term collaboration between the two companies in the field of marine seismic surveying in Russia and abroad. China Oilfield Services Limited already has experience working with Russian energy companies. In 2016 Rosneft, in partnership with the Norwegian energy company Statoil, drilled exploration wells in the Sea of Okhotsk using China Oilfield Services Limited’s semi-submersible rig Nanhai-9.
To sum up, Gazprom’s choice to hire a Chinese drilling rig addresses Russian official policy goals and interests. First, the company’s decision goes in line with the official Russian external policy for enhancing bilateral relations with China. In addition, Gazprom’s choice is a manifestation of the company’s own interests in developing energy cooperation with the Chinese companies. Such cooperation is not limited to investment, but might have a positive impact on future negotiations on energy deals between Russia and China.
Second, the resumption of Gazprom’s activities in the Kara Sea provides the company with economic and political benefits to combat criticism concerning the company’s inability to comply with its obligations. Moreover, in terms of geopolitical benefits, the offshore activity of Russian companies in the Arctic Sea contributes to Russia’s image as the leading country in Arctic economic development.
At the same time, the recently announced drastic cuts to Arctic programs spending from 209 billion rubles ($354 million) to 12 billion rubles ($20 million) raise questions concerning the future of Russia’s Arctic policy implementation.
Il Venezuela è retto al momento da una dittatura. Come tutte le tirannidi, l’egemone si è circondato di persone fedeli e devote, che traggono consistenti benefici dall’essergli succubi in ogni desiderio, persone che lui ricompensa sia con denaro, sia con posti di potere, sia conferendo loro la totale immunità dei loro atti.
Quasi invariabilmente ci si sofferma sulla dittatura in atto trascurando l’analisi e la ricerca delle responsabilità del pregresso. Costantemente la storia evidenzia come le dittature attecchiscano quasi sempre in contesti caotici, spesso dopo periodi di torbidi con governi deboli e senza valido supporto.
In talune situazioni diventano il male minore. Si pensi solo alla dittatura di Napoleone.
Male minore attuale, ma quasi sempre male ben peggiore con l’andare del tempo.
Tratto caratteristico di ogni dittatura è la demonizzazione del passato, quasi che ciò potesse costituire giustificazione del presente. Manovra anche molto utilitaristica, perché ogni possibile oppositore sarebbe etichettato come “controrivoluzionario“. Nei fatti, la demonizzazione del passato è segno evidente di un regime dittatoriale.
Se all’attenzione del pubblico mondiale emergono le figure di spicco, la dittatura trova base consistente in un nugolo di microscopici personaggi senza storia che spadroneggiano impuniti ed impunibili sulla gente. Un caso per tutti: il fiduciario del governo dello stabile abitativo. È quello che può concedere o meno l’appartamento, l’uso di acqua, gas e corrente elettrica, distribuisce le tessere annonarie a piacer suo: una sorta di kapò la cui prima preoccupazione è quella di formarsi e mantenere in efficienza un harem privato e farsi un gruzzolo in valuta.
Mentre all’estero si percepiscono solo fatti eclamptici, quanti vivano sotto il regime dittatoriale conoscono per carne provata questo aspetto del potere. Spesso al punto da illudersi che il dittatore non ne sappia nulla.
Mr Maduro è un dittatore: attribuirgli una etichetta oppure un credo politico sarebbe solo un’operazione estetica, di mera cosmesi.
Innegabilmente, la schiera dei suoi supporter vive bene ed è trattata altrettanto bene: in questa enclave il dittatore è popolare e benvoluto.
* * * * * * *
L’immagine e la percezione di una dittatura all’estero è solo funzione di quanti amici e nemici essa ha fuori dal territorio che governa. Per esempio, la vecchia Unione Sovietica aveva schiere di partiti comunisti locali che la inneggiavano anche contro ogni evidenza. All’epoca, la stampa di ambedue le parti era consistentemente faziosa.
Ad oggi, leggendo i media occidentali, Maduro è identificato con satana in persona. Fuori dall’Occidente però media ed organi di comunicazione di massa sono decisamente più cauti.
Si assiste anche ad una serie di posizioni che definire ipocrite sarebbe financo poco: governi, nazioni, società e privati che a gran voce bollano la dittatura di Maduro e poi, sottobanco, commerciano allegramente con il Venezuela.
Il clou dell’ipocrisia è raggiunto dal debito estero venezuelano, nelle mani di investitori occidentali per la sua quasi interezza. Il fatto è che il Venezuela ha sempre onorato cedole e titoli in modo esemplare: è perfettamente conscio che in questo campo non può permettersi giochi strani.
«Venezuela-Bonds – Große Chance oder Totalausfall?» [Ariva]
* * * * * * *
Rosneft is also negotiating to swap its collateral in Citgo — a Venezuelan-owned, U.S.-based refiner — for more Venezuelan oilfield stakes and a fuel supply contract. The proposed deal, now in negotiations, aims to avoid complications from U.S. economic sanctions already in place against Russia and recently threatened against Venezuela.
What is Citgo?
Citgo is a subsidiary of PDVSA and its largest foreign asset. The refiner owns three refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Illinois, a pipeline and a retail fuel distribution network in the United States. Citgo has been solely owned by PDVSA since 1990.
How did Rosneft secure the collateral?
Venezuela pledged 49.9 percent of its shares in Citgo as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan from Rosneft last November.
What will Rosneft get in return?
PDVSA is offering the Russian oil giant ownership interests in two oil-and-gas projects and a lucrative fuel supply contract. The two projects, Mariscal Sucre in the Caribbean Sea and Tilaba in Lake Maracaibo, include three oilfields and two natural gas fields. Rosneft would also take increased management control over all the joint oil projects between the two state-owned firms.»
* * * * * * *
«As Caracas struggles to contain an economic meltdown and violent street protests, Moscow is using its position as Venezuela’s lender of last resort to gain more control over the OPEC nation’s crude reserves, the largest in the world»
«Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been secretly negotiating since at least early this year with Russia’s biggest state-owned oil company, Rosneft, offering ownership interests in up to nine of Venezuela’s most productive petroleum projects, according to a top Venezuelan government official and two industry sources familiar with the talks»
«Moscow has substantial leverage in the negotiations: Cash from Russia and Rosneft has been crucial in helping the financially strapped government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro avoid a sovereign debt default or a political coup»
«Rosneft delivered Venezuela’s state-owned firm more than $1 billion in April alone in exchange for a promise of oil shipments later»
«On at least two occasions, the Venezuelan government has used Russian cash to avoid imminent defaults on payments to bondholders»
«Russia’s growing control over Venezuelan crude gives it a stronger foothold in energy markets across the Americas. Rosneft now resells about 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Venezuelan oil – about 13 percent of the nation’s total exports, according to the PDVSA trade reports. That’s about enough to satisfy the daily demand of a country the size of Peru.»
«Maduro’s administration has grown increasingly dependent on Moscow in the past two years as China has curtailed credit to Venezuela because of payment delays and the corruption and crime faced by Chinese firms operating there»
«Rosneft currently owns substantial portions of five major Venezuelan oil projects. The additional projects PDVSA is now offering the Russian firm include five in the Orinoco – Venezuela’s largest oil producing region – along with three in Maracaibo Lake, its second-largest and oldest producing area, and a shallow-water oil project in the Paria Gulf»
«last month, Rosneft would swap its collateral on 49.9 percent of Citgo [PDVSAC.UL] – the Venezuelan owned, U.S.-based refiner – for stakes in three additional PDVSA oil fields, two natural gas fields and a lucrative fuel supply contract»
«Rosneft secured the collateral late last year on a loan of $1.5 billion to PDVSA»
* * * * * * *
Il giornalista di Reuters conclude secondo copione:
«russian oil deals undermine democracy»
Ma questa è la versione liberal democratica, tutta americana old fashion.
«Yet bonds issued by Venezuela’s national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, or Pdvsa, have attracted some of world’s most sophisticated investors. They are betting that the government will use its dwindling supply of dollars to pay bondholders instead of importing food and medicine for its people.»
«Goldman Sachs has defended the deal, saying that many other investors, including mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, own the bonds and that its asset management division bought the securities on the secondary market, without interacting with the Venezuelan government»
«Citgo is a subsidiary of PDVSA and its largest foreign asset. The refiner owns three refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Illinois, a pipeline and a retail fuel distribution network in the United States. Citgo has been solely owned by PDVSA since 1990»
Se è ovvio che tutti esercitino la Realpolitik, nessuno si scandalizza della propaganda. Ci si scandalizza quando si lasciano pescare con le mani nella marmellata. Il giornalista di Reuters non può trattarci come babbei.
CARACAS/HOUSTON (Reuters) – Venezuela’s unraveling socialist government is increasingly turning to ally Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive – and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return, sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
As Caracas struggles to contain an economic meltdown and violent street protests, Moscow is using its position as Venezuela’s lender of last resort to gain more control over the OPEC nation’s crude reserves, the largest in the world.
Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been secretly negotiating since at least early this year with Russia’s biggest state-owned oil company, Rosneft (ROSN.MM) – offering ownership interests in up to nine of Venezuela’s most productive petroleum projects, according to a top Venezuelan government official and two industry sources familiar with the talks.
Moscow has substantial leverage in the negotiations: Cash from Russia and Rosneft has been crucial in helping the financially strapped government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro avoid a sovereign debt default or a political coup.
Rosneft delivered Venezuela’s state-owned firm more than $1 billion in April alone in exchange for a promise of oil shipments later. On at least two occasions, the Venezuelan government has used Russian cash to avoid imminent defaults on payments to bondholders, a high-level PDVSA official told Reuters.
Rosneft has also positioned itself as a middleman in sales of Venezuelan oil to customers worldwide. Much of it ends up at refineries in the United States – despite U.S. sanctions against Russia – because it is sold through intermediaries such as oil trading firms, according to internal PDVSA trade reports seen by Reuters and a source at the firm.
PDVSA and the government of Venezuela did not respond to requests for comment.
The Russian government declined to comment and referred questions to the foreign ministry and the ministries of finance and defense, which did not respond to questions from Reuters. Rosneft declined to comment.
Russia’s growing control over Venezuelan crude gives it a stronger foothold in energy markets across the Americas. Rosneft now resells about 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Venezuelan oil – about 13 percent of the nation’s total exports, according to the PDVSA trade reports. That’s about enough to satisfy the daily demand of a country the size of Peru.
Venezuela gives Rosneft most of that oil as payment for billions of dollars in cash loans that Maduro’s government has already spent. His administration needs Russia’s money to finance everything from bond payments to imports of food and medicine amid severe national shortages.
For a graphic detailing the decline of Venezuela’s oil industry, see: tmsnrt.rs/2fwsuCV
Venezuela’s opposition lawmakers say Russia is behaving more like a predator than an ally.
“Rosneft is definitely taking advantage of the situation,” said Elias Matta, vice president of the energy commission at Venezuela’s elected National Assembly. “They know this is a weak government; that it’s desperate for cash – and they’re sharks.”
Matta echoed many others in the opposition-majority congress who have blasted corporate deals they say are underpinning Maduro’s efforts to establish a dictatorship.
The Venezuelan government has said previously that Russia’s investment in its oil industry shows confidence in PDVSA’s financial stability and the nation’s business opportunities.
Maduro’s administration has grown increasingly dependent on Moscow in the past two years as China has curtailed credit to Venezuela because of payment delays and the corruption and crime faced by Chinese firms operating there, according to Venezuelan debt analysts and two oil industry sources.
Many multinational firms worldwide, meanwhile, have all but written off their Venezuelan operations amid the nation’s tanking economy and chronic shortages of raw materials.
Rosneft is making the opposite play – using Venezuela’s hard times as a buying opportunity for oil assets with potentially high long-term value.
“The Russians are catching Venezuela at rock bottom,” said one Western diplomat who has worked on issues involving Venezuela’s oil industry in recent years.
As other companies shutter operations here, Rosneft has expanded to an additional floor of its office tower and added staff. The Russian firm has poached PDVSA professionals and brought in more Russian executives, two sources close to Rosneft told Reuters.
The corporate expansion provides a striking contrast to the scene on the streets below these days, in the once-thriving business district of Caracas.
As Rosneft staffers work in swanky offices alongside posters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a bust of Hugo Chavez – the late Venezuelan leader and socialist icon – crowds of young men outside often throw rocks and Molotov cocktails in escalating protests of Chavez’ successor.
Rosneft currently owns substantial portions of five major Venezuelan oil projects. The additional projects PDVSA is now offering the Russian firm include five in the Orinoco – Venezuela’s largest oil producing region – along with three in Maracaibo Lake, its second-largest and oldest producing area, and a shallow-water oil project in the Paria Gulf, the two industry sources told Reuters.
In a separate proposal first reported by Reuters last month, Rosneft would swap its collateral on 49.9 percent of Citgo [PDVSAC.UL] – the Venezuelan owned, U.S.-based refiner – for stakes in three additional PDVSA oil fields, two natural gas fields and a lucrative fuel supply contract, according to two sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Under the proposal, Rosneft would also take increased management control over all the joint oil projects between the two firms.
Rosneft secured the collateral late last year on a loan of $1.5 billion to PDVSA.
The negotiations over a collateral swap are driven in part by a recent threat from U.S. President Donald Trump to sanction Venezuela’s oil sector as punishment for Maduro’s efforts to undermine the nation’s elected congress.
Rosneft has already been sanctioned by the United States over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Such actions require U.S. firms to end business relations with sanctioned entities.
RUSSIAN OIL DEALS UNDERMINE DEMOCRACY
Maduro’s need for Russian cash played a key role in a move by his political allies earlier this year that destabilized Venezuela’s already teetering democracy, the top Venezuelan government official told Reuters.
In March, the nation’s Supreme Court – whose members are loyal to Maduro – took over the powers of the opposition-controlled National Assembly. A majority of elected Assembly members opposed any new oil deals with Russia and insisted on retaining power to veto them.
Days later – after fierce national protests against the action – the court returned most powers to the national legislature at Maduro’s public urging. But the court allowed the president to keep the legal authority to cut fresh oil deals with Russia without legislative approval.
The episode was pivotal in escalating daily street protests and clashes with authorities that have since caused more than 120 deaths.
Maduro needed sole authority to cut new oil deals to clear the way for Rosneft’s expansion, the top Venezuelan government official told Reuters.
“Pressure from Russia has played an important role in Nicolas Maduro’s decisions,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public comments.
Rosneft said this month that it has lent a total of $6 billion to PDVSA. In total, Russia and Rosneft have delivered Venezuela at least $17 billion in loans and credit lines since 2006, according to Reuters calculations based on loans and credit lines announced by the government.
Venezuela does not publish the full details of the debts it owes Russia.
Maduro has sought to limit the power of congress since the opposition won a majority in 2015.
In late July, he created a legislative superbody called the Constituent Assembly in an election that was widely criticized as a sham. Allies of the Socialist Party won all 545 seats in the new assembly, which has the power to rewrite the nation’s constitution, dissolve state institutions – such as the opposition-run Congress – and fire dissident state officials.
SPIRAL OF DEBT, DEPENDENCE
Venezuela’s oil-based economy has collapsed since international prices crashed to a low of $24 per barrel in early 2016 from more than $100 in 2014. Prices now hover at about $50, which hasn’t proven high enough to pull Venezuela out of its tailspin.
Nearly all of the nation’s export revenue comes from oil, so income has fallen sharply and a shortage of petrodollars has left Maduro’s government unable to finance the generous subsidies of food, medicines, fuels, power and other public services instituted by his predecessor, Chavez.
The erosion of subsidies has contributed to rapid inflation, which is forecasted to top 700 percent this year by the International Monetary Fund. Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, has become nearly worthless.
Government spending cuts have also slashed budgets for maintaining the nation’s oilfields, refineries, ports and tankers, causing Venezuela’s oil output in the first half of 2017 to fall to nearly its lowest level in 27 years.
PDVSA is repaying a growing portion of its mounting debts to Russia with oil, according to internal PDVSA trade data reviewed by Reuters. The oil payments are choking off the cash flow from its petroleum business – thereby creating the need for more loans.
CIRCLING OIL ASSETS
The nation’s downward spiral has put Rosneft in a position to acquire Venezuelan oil assets on the cheap.
Of the package of stakes PDVSA has offered to Rosneft, the most valuable is a 10 percent stake in Petropiar, a multi-billion dollar project to produce and upgrade extra heavy crude in the Orinoco Belt.
The value of the stake is likely between $600 million and $800 million, based on the valuations of similar deals.
The rising volumes of Venezuelan crude that Rosneft receives have made the Russian firm a middleman in sales to refiners that once bought directly from PDVSA. The oil payments have also helped Rosneft grow a major oil trading business to complement its massive production apparatus.
In the process, the Russian firm has appropriated some of PDVSA’s hard-won international supply deals and valuable trading relationships with refiners as far afield as China, the PDVSA documents show.
At today’s prices, the Venezuelan oil exports that flow to Rosneft would be worth about $3.6 billion annually. And the flow of PDVSA crude to Rosneft is expected to keep increasing, according to the internal PDVSA documents.
Most of it is sold into the United States, according to the documents.
Rosneft also will soon start selling Venezuelan crude to India’s refiner Essar, taking PDVSA’s second largest customer in the Asian country.
“Russia is taking everything they have,” said an oil trader who regularly deals with PDVSA.
A DICEY INVESTMENT
The Russian strategy has its risks. Many of the world’s top energy firms took a hit when Chavez nationalized their assets, and an opposition-led government could later reverse or revise any deals Maduro cuts without their blessing.
Venezuela’s bond yields are among the highest in the world because of the nation’s high default risk. The bonds pay nearly 30 percentage points more than benchmark U.S. treasuries.
PDVSA’s many connections to the United States oil industry also raise the specter that the deals now under negotiation could run afoul of U.S. economic sanctions already in place against Russia and threatened against Venezuela.
The Petropiar project, for instance, is 30 percent owned by U.S. oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N).
Should Rosneft take a stake in the project, it could be complicated for Chevron to ensure it is not violating U.S. sanctions. In the meantime, Chevron has sent guidelines to executives to ensure they comply with sanctions, an employee at Chevron told Reuters.
The guidelines advise staff, for instance, to avoid one-on-one meetings with sanctioned entities or officials, the employee said. In a statement, Chevron said it abides by “a stringent code of business ethics” and complies with applicable laws.
For now, Russia’s status as chief lender to PDVSA has put Rosneft in a position to supercharge its holdings and profits in the region.
If Venezuela’s government defaults on its debt payments – an increasingly likely scenario – Rosneft likely will be one of the entities at the front of the queue as a creditor because of its large collateral stake in U.S.-based Citgo, according to a confidential independent analysis of its debt commissioned by an investment fund and seen by Reuters.
Representatives of Citgo, PDVSA’S largest foreign asset, did not respond to requests for comment.
GUNS FOR OIL
Rosneft’s involvement in Venezuela can be traced back to a $4 billion arms-for-oil deal in 2006 that cemented the bond between the governments of Chavez and Putin. Chavez, a former military officer, signed the deal himself in Moscow.
Shunned by the United States – which since 2006 has refused to supply spare parts for Venezuela’s fleet of U.S.-built F-16 fighter jets – Chavez bought Russian Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters, tanks and guns from Putin.
Top executives from Rosneft and PDVSA were later involved in negotiations related to the military purchases because Rosneft was the Russian entity receiving the Venezuelan oil cargoes used to pay for a portion of the weapons, the top Venezuelan government official told Reuters.
They included Rosneft President Igor Sechin, a powerful long-time advisor and deputy to Putin. Sechin is a trained linguist who began his career as a military interpreter and has a passion for the history of Latin America’s revolutionaries, according to two people who worked with him.
He had a direct line into Chavez until the former president’s death in 2013, the Venezuelan official told Reuters. Sechin has maintained close ties with Maduro and the two meet regularly, the official said.
Speaking to reporters in at a hydroelectric plant in Russia last week, Sechin called Rosneft’s growing investments in Venezuela an obvious and essential play.
“This is a country with the world’s hydrocarbon reserves,” he said, referring to a central component of oil and natural gas. “Any energy company should aim to work in this country … No one could force us from there.”
Russia was swift to defend Maduro’s government from international criticism after the Supreme Court moved to nullify congress, with Moscow issuing a statement saying foreign governments should not meddle in Venezuelan domestic politics.
Sechin was Maduro’s guest of honor at a ceremony last October to unveil a Russian-made granite statue of Chavez erected in the late president’s hometown of Sabaneta.
In the sweltering heat, a Russian choir dressed in black sang the Venezuelan anthem in heavily accented Spanish before Sechin addressed the crowds of mostly red-shirted Socialist Party supporters.
“Thank you for trusting us,” Sechin told the crowd in Spanish during the speech, broadcast on Venezuelan state television. “Russia and Venezuela, together forever!”
«”The United States government,” the Senate bill says, “should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy.”»
«That seems aimed against NordStream 2, the proposed Russian pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing Ukraine»
«Investors in NordStream 2 include five major European companies: French ENGIE, German Uniper and Wintershall, Anglo-Dutch Shell and Austrian OMV.»
«The U.S. president is not about to sanction them for working with Russia as the bill authorizes»
«But by linking the issue to U.S. jobs and exports to Europe, the senators clearly want to make it hard for Trump to reject the proposal: His agenda is heavy on jobs and trade advantages for U.S. producers»
«That’s what worries European leaders. Gas production in the northwest of Europe is falling rapidly, and while the U.S. is ramping up its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity, it’s not clear whether the price of U.S. gas can remain competitive with that of the Russian pipeline gas, supplied by state-controlled Gazprom. At this point, large-scale U.S. LNG exports to Europe appear to be a money-losing enterprise aimed at gaining market share. But if those exports are buoyed by U.S. sanctions against Gazprom’s pipeline projects, northern and central Europe may become hostages to U.S. suppliers at some point»
«In a sharply worded joint statement issued Thursday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said they couldn’t “accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions being imposed on European companies that are participating in efforts to expand Europe’s energy supply network.”»
«Europe’s energy supply is a European affair, not an American one, they wrote»
«Gabriel and Kern also warned the U.S. against expanding sanctions without consulting European partners:
It would not only be highly regrettable, but would also diminish the effectiveness of our stance on the conflict in Ukraine, if we were to no longer take joint action, and if completely separate interests were to prevail, such as the US’s economic pursuits in the field of gas exports. Foreign policy interests must in no way be linked to economic interests.»
«Poland is pushing the EU to ban NordStream 2, as it effectively banned SouthStream»
* * * * * * *
«Gabriel and …. Kern said they couldn’t “accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions being imposed on European companies that are participating in efforts to expand Europe’s energy supply network.”»
«Europe’s energy supply is a European affair, not an American one, they wrote»
Non sono affari americani??
Mr Trump era furibondo, come se avesse visto Mrs Clinton in guepiere.
Non li degnò nemmeno di una risposta.
Il quattro gennaio il rapporto Eur/Usd valeva 1.04.
Il 03 agosto valeva invece 1.1861.
Per i tedeschi e gli austriaci sarebbe stato molto meno doloroso prendersi i risultati della sanzione, stare zitti, e baciare la mano di Mr Trump. Non si parla per il solo motivo di avere la lingua in bocca.
Il mondo ha problemi ben più gravi ed importanti del ‘clima‘ e del ‘free trade‘ nei quali la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel vorrebbe restringere le discussioni in senso al G20.
Questi problemi sono politici, economici e militari. Argomento questo ultimo di cui nessuno avrebbe piacere di parlare, ma che pesa come un macigno: è il convitato di pietra.
Frau Merkel si gioca in due giorni la sua reputazione, correndo il serio pericolo di ritrovarsi isolata nei fatti: sicuramente rinnovata in una cancelleria che nessuno stia più a sentire. Ha deciso di sfidare Mr Trump: ora faccia vedere le sue carte.
«Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to focus the G20 summit on her two pet issues of climate change and world trade. She’ll need to perform miracles to make it a success.»
«the G20 is more divided than at any point since meetings in the current format began nine years ago at the height of the financial crisis.»
«Mr. Trump sees Germany as an economic rival rather than a strategic partner»
«The German economics ministry is already drafting concrete plans to retaliate if the US imposes import tariffs on German products»
«Climate policy is even more difficult. There’s no sign yet of any compromise. Ms. Merkel has just reiterated her commitment to the Paris climate agreement as “irriversible and non-negotiable.” She can’t make meaningful concessions without being seen as caving»
«G20 governments are providing nearly 4 times more public finance to fossil fuels than to clean energy. With the United States indicating that it intends to pull out of the Paris Agreement, other governments must provide leadership in the clean energy transition: the remaining G20 governments will need to step up. Governments simply cannot be climate leaders while continuing to finance fossil fuels at current rates. …. public energy financing in G20 countries and at the major multilateral development banks (not including national-level subsidies or investments by majority government-owned banks and state-owned enterprises) adds up to $122.9 billion annually averaged from 2013 to 2015 – or roughly 7 percent of the total estimated $1.8 trillion in annual global investment in energy.» [Price of Oils]
«From 2013 to 2015, the G-20 nations spent $71.8 billion annually supporting fossil fuels, the study said, compared with $18.7 billion each year on direct support for clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power. Most of the fossil fuels money went to oil and gas exploration, but some also went to coal, which critics say is the dirtiest-burning fuel and the greatest driver of the greenhouse gas pollution that the Paris treaty was supposed to address»
«If other G-20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump’s climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money»
* * * * * * * * *
I dati di bilancio, ossia il denaro pubblico investito effettivamente, sono chiarissimi: l’Accordo di Parigi è una farsa. Una cosa sono le parole altisonanti ed una totalmente differente il denaro sborsato.
E Frau Merkel si presenta al G20 con un operato ben poco credibile: le sue azioni contraddicono vistosamente le sue parole. Difficile prestarle fede.
Come se tutto questo non bastasse, ci sono i problemi della sicurezza e militari. Si potrebbe partire dalle differenti visioni in seno alla Nato, al fatto che gli Usa sono stanchi di essere gli unici a finanziarne i costi specie dell’armamento atomico, ma si dovrebbe proseguire con la guerra in Siria ed i precari equilibri mediorientali, per arrivare alla fine al nodo Nord Korea ed ai delicatissimi equilibri con Russia e Cina.
Questi argomenti fanno sicuramente aggio sui temi tanto a cuore di Frau Merkel, che non disponendo di forze armate in questo settore strategico conta come la polvere nelle strade.
L’Unione Europea è divisa: profondamente divisa.Queto è solo un piccolo, ultimo esempio.
«The countries where Mr. Trump has the most widespread support are Poland (73 percent see the US favorably) and Hungary (63 percent) …. Mr. Trump will undoubtedly try to deepen the EU’s internal divisions, by playing its eastern flank against its western members» [Handelsblatt]
Se tutti ci si augura che Frau Merkel riesca a mettere tutti di accordo, con altrettanta franchezza si dovrebbe concludere che questa sia una missione impossibile.
BERLIN — When President Trump arrives late Thursday for his inaugural gathering of leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies, he will be contending not only with Russian President Vladimir Putin in their fraught first face-to-face meeting, but also with host Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, an experienced leader who has clashed with Mr. Trump and hopes to keep the summit tightly focused on her favored agenda.
The biggest theatrics at the Friday-Saturday Group of 20 summit in Hamburg center on the highly anticipated meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, as well as violent street protests planned by left-wing extremists and anarchists who have descended on the northern German port city in recent days.
But for most Germans, the most significant aspect of the G-20 is that Ms. Merkel, a staunch backer of “green energy” and multilateral free trade policies, is hosting the summit on her own turf — she was born in Hamburg — and could be the heaviest hitter at a gathering that includes the world’s most famous and nationalistic strongmen, including Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Her local allies note that Ms. Merkel is the only world leader to have attended every G-20 summit, which includes the leading industrial and developing nation economies, since the first was held in 2008.
“Angela Merkel knows that maybe she’s the most experienced head of government who will be at the G-20,” said Juergen Hardt, a member of the German chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union party and chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.
“This is her chance to show that the multilateral way is the best way,” Mr. Hardt said in an interview Wednesday. “We need to enforce multilateral structures, but we have some leaders in the world who are not convinced yet that the multilateral approach is the better way to solve problems.”
In addition to the crises of the day, Mr. Trump is walking into unfriendly territory where his “America first” foreign and economic policy clash with cherished EU ideals.
Mr. Hardt pointed to seething EU frustration with Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord — the vast international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions — on grounds, according to Mr. Trump, that it unfairly stacked the deck against the U.S. and “doesn’t serve America’s interests.”
Ms. Merkel has suggested that she will use the G-20 as a high-profile stage to dramatize to Mr. Trump the fallout from his Paris decision.
“We cannot expect easy discussions on climate change at the G-20 summit,” she told German lawmakers last week.
More generally, Ms. Merkel has expressed distaste with Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade rhetoric, including sharp criticism of Germany’s bilateral trade surplus, and plans to rally world leaders behind the cause of free trade through large multinational agreements.
Anyone who “thinks that the problems of this world can be solved by protectionism and isolation lives under a huge misconception,” Ms. Merkel said without naming any names.
The message seemed tailored to win over Asian leaders who will be in attendance at the G-20, most notably Japan and South Korea, which are still reeling from Mr. Trump’s torpedoing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a massive trade agreement that the Obama administration spent years trying to reach between nations from Asia to North and South America.
In a deal whose timing will send a message, Japan and the European Union indicated that they are ready to announce a wide-ranging free trade agreement on Thursday as the G-20 summit opens.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters that she was “quite confident” that a broad agreement can be announced with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to lower tariffs on autos and agricultural goods.
“You can do good, fair, transparent and sustainable trade agreements where you win and I win, and not the American view, which seems to be, ‘You lose and I win,’” Ms. Malmstrom said.
If Mr. Trump is having second thoughts about trade, though, it was not evident from his Twitter account as he departed Washington on Wednesday night for a trip that includes a stop in Poland.
“The United States made some of the worst Trade Deals in world history,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Why should we continue these deals with countries that do not help us?”
The president’s bilateral meeting with Mr. Putin is likely to dominate news from the summit after months of saturated media coverage about Russian meddling in the presidential election and five ongoing investigations in Washington into suspected collusion between Trump campaign aides and Moscow — charges that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin both vehemently deny.
But with Islamic State, Ukraine, Afghanistan and now the North Korean missile launch on the list of bilateral issues Russia and the U.S. have to discuss, it’s not clear how much time each crisis will receive. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn’t say Wednesday whether Mr. Trump even plans to raise the issue of election interference with Mr. Putin.
“We’re not going to get ahead of their meetings,” she told reporters traveling with the president.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, who will attend the G-20 gathering, said in a statement Wednesday night that Syria — and the endgame after the impending defeat of Islamic State — will be one topic that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin will definitely discuss.
“The United States and Russia certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests,” Mr. Tillerson said. “If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria’s political future.”
“The United States believes Russia, as a guarantor of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad] and an early entrant into the Syrian conflict, has a responsibility to ensure that the needs of the Syrian people are met and that no faction in Syria illegitimately retakes or occupies areas liberated from [Islamic State] or other terrorist groups’ control,” he added.
During the election campaign, Mr. Trump called for friendlier relations with Mr. Putin to join forces against the Islamic State terrorist group. But amid the probes, the White House is treading cautiously about expectations for the meeting and how Mr. Putin might portray it.
“Russia is a major power, and it can play a constructive or a not-constructive role on a whole host of international issues,” said Jeffrey Rathke, a foreign policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “So there remains that desire for an improved relationship.”
But he added, “There clearly are risks when you’ve got a foreign policy process as disorganized as it appears to be in this administration.”
For Ms. Merkel, the real push will be to get the G-20 countries to agree that the best way to address the central challenges facing humankind today, whether it’s environmental change, terrorism, immigration or refugee flows, is through tightly woven multinational cooperation and agreements, Mr. Hardt said.
The extent to which she will be successful is up for debate. Germany will “no doubt do its best to refocus G-20 commitment on global cooperation,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, who heads the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a think tank of high-ranking Russian government officials and business leaders in Moscow.
“But [she] has no magic wand,” Mr. Lukyanov wrote in an analysis circulated this week by the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations.
“The global economy faces acute problems of a purely political nature, [and] it was feared in 2008 that protectionism would be the spontaneous reaction of several governments,” he wrote. “It is now the deliberate and official policy of the most powerful member of G-20, the United States. If the United States proclaims ‘America First,’ it is just [a] matter of time until the rest of the world will turn to more mercantilist thinking as well.”
The likelihood is also high for clashes between demonstrators and some 20,000 German police officers who have set up heavily guarded perimeters around Hamburg. With posters plastered around other German cities calling for protests in Hamburg, as many as 100,000 demonstrators are expected, although reports say the danger stems from about 8,000 left-wing extremists believed to be heading to the city.
While the protesters will speak out against a wide range of issues such as war, nuclear power, climate change, racism and big business, the motto for one of the approximately 30 demonstrations has been announced as “Welcome to hell.”
“It’s a combative message,” organizer Andreas Blechanschmidt told Agence France-Presse. “But it’s also meant to symbolize that G-20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster.”
He described plans to try to block access to the venue where G-20 leaders will gather and said activists “reserve for themselves the option of militant resistance” against police.
The biggest critics of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord are also the world’s biggest hypocrites on energy policy, top environmental groups charged Wednesday in a report that found many top nations’ rhetoric on cutting emissions doesn’t line up with how and where they spend their money.
The study examined Group of 20 member countries and was released a day before Mr. Trump arrived in Germany for meetings with other members of the key international group, with energy and climate change expected to be at the top of the agenda.
The key finding: The G-20 nations spend roughly four times as much in public financing for fossil fuels as they do supporting renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The report examines loans, grants, guarantees, insurance and other types of public finance offered either by the governments, government-owned financial institutions and credit agencies, and multilateral groups made up of G-20 countries.
From 2013 to 2015, the G-20 nations spent $71.8 billion annually supporting fossil fuels, the study said, compared with $18.7 billion each year on direct support for clean energy such as solar, wind, geothermal or hydro power. Most of the fossil fuels money went to oil and gas exploration, but some also went to coal, which critics say is the dirtiest-burning fuel and the greatest driver of the greenhouse gas pollution that the Paris treaty was supposed to address.
“Our research shows that the G-20 still hasn’t put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the clean energy transition. If other G-20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump’s climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money,” said Alex Doukas, a senior campaigner at Oil Change International, one of the groups that authored the study.
The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and the World Wildlife Fund’s European office also were a part of the project.
On its surface, the report would seem to give credence to the argument that the Paris accord doesn’t ask much from other nations. Mr. Trump made that argument — along with putting America’s economy first — the centerpiece of his rationale for leaving the deal last month.
Indeed, environmentalists now say the same nations that have criticized Mr. Trump’s decision aren’t doing their part either.
In fact, the most outspoken opponents of Mr. Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris deal — which included a pledge by President Obama to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 — are some of the worst offenders.
Within hours of Mr. Trump’s announcement on June 1, the leaders of Germany, Italy and France issued a joint statement castigating the U.S. and saying the Paris pact is non-negotiable. They said the Trump administration should not try to revamp the deal in order to secure more favorable terms.
“We firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated,” the three heads of state said in a joint statement, expressing “regret” with the course Mr. Trump chose.
Words and deeds
But two of those countries are hardly backing up their harsh words with action.
Germany supplied $3.5 billion annually in public finance for fossil fuels from 2013 to 2015, compared with $2.4 billion annually for clean energy, according to the study. Italy funneled $2.1 billion toward fossil fuels, compared with $123 million annually for clean energy.
Canada, another vocal critic, directed $3 billion annually in public finance for oil, gas and coal from 2013 to 2015 while putting $171 million annually toward clean energy.
China, the world’s top polluter, provided $13.5 billion annually for fossil fuel financing compared with less than $85 million annually for clean energy.
France directed more money toward renewable energy than fossil fuels, making it a notable exception to the broader trend.
France aside, green groups say the hypocrisy is striking.
“These countries have been talking out of both sides of their mouths,” said Nicole Ghio, a senior international campaign representative at the Sierra Club. “It’s unconscionable that any nation would continue to waste public funds on fossil fuels when clean energy sources like wind and solar are not only readily available, but are more cost-effective and healthier for families and communities across the globe. It is past time for G-20 nations to stop subsidizing fossil fuels once and for all.”
The Paris deal came into effect at the end of 2015, the final year examined as part of the deal. Since then, world leaders have, at least with words, recommitted their countries to developing and subsidizing clean energy.
The U.S. is in line with most of the world in terms of where it puts its money. It provided $6 billion annually for fossil fuels and $1.3 billion for renewable energy, according to the study.
On its surface, it appears the U.S. would have had to make the most drastic shift in energy financing in order to meet its Paris target. The American commitment of a 26 percent reduction by 2025 would have required massive increases in government financing of clean energy. China, on the other hand, committed only to start cutting its emissions by 2030, meaning it could in theory continue to prop up fossil fuels for the next 13 years.
Mr. Trump said that dynamic is unacceptable but that he is open to rejoining the accord so long as the terms don’t punish the U.S. economy.
“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he said in a Rose Garden address last month. “And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to focus the G20 summit on her two pet issues of climate change and world trade. She’ll need to perform miracles to make it a success.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will need all her famed diplomatic skills this week to fulfil what many see as a mission impossible: preventing an open break of the G20, the closest thing the world has to a government, at this week’s summit of the world’s wealthiest nations.
As host, it will fall on her to try to patch up deep rifts in the world order. Wherever you look, there is dissent and conflict. US President Donald Trump is threatening Europe and China with import tariffs and has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
China and America can’t agree on how to deal with North Korea’s mounting aggression and are at odds over China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Russia, internationally isolated since the Ukraine conflict, is hacking its way into Western elections and confounding the West with its military support for the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war.
And then there’s the never-ending dispute with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who fired yet another salvo at Berlin this week by declaring in an interview with Die Zeit newspaper that Germany was “committing suicide” by not allowing him to speak to Turks at a rally in Germany. “What kind of spirit is that? That is very ugly,” he said.
«“It’s alarming to me that almost all Trump’s comments on Germany are negative. Just as almost all his comments about the EU are negative.”» [Nicholas Burns, Foreign policy expert]
Ms. Merkel knows she won’t be able to cure the world of all its ills at the summit in Hamburg. That’s why she plans to focus the talks on two issues that are particularly important to her: safeguarding free trade and combating global warming. Progress on either issue would also bolster her campaign for a fourth term in the September election, although her party is so far ahead in opinion polls that she doesn’t need to worry too much on that score.
But there’s a real chance that the summit will end in failure. Mr. Trump, her main opponent in the talks, has so far steadfastly refused to budge on trade or climate change. And if he can’t be swayed, the mega-event costing hundreds of millions of euros with its 6,000 delegates, 100,000 protesters and 15,000 police could yield nothing more than a pointless, watered-down consensus. That’s why Ms. Merkel’s strategists are working flat out to save what can be saved.
On Friday evening, when Ms. Merkel hosts the leaders in the grand, newly opened dockside Elbphilhamonie concert hall-turned-fortress, their negotiators will start what could well turn into an all-night session of last-ditch talks.
While the leaders and their spouses savor the sublime acoustics of the futuristic hall as an orchestra plays Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the functionaries will attempt to finalize the summit communique. It won’t be a joyful task because the G20 is more divided than at any point since meetings in the current format began nine years ago at the height of the financial crisis.
Officials have been talking since Tuesday in a Hamburg hotel. Mr. Trump and Ms. Merkel spoke on the phone on Monday when he assured her the summit would be a “success.” But she can’t bank on significant concessions from the “America First” president.
Mr. Trump sees Germany as an economic rival rather than a strategic partner, said foreign policy expert Nicholas Burns. “It’s alarming to me that almost all Trump’s comments on Germany are negative. Just as almost all his comments about the EU are negative. The entire way Trump deals with relations with Germany is destructive.”
But amid all the differences, there are some chinks of light. Contrary to recent speculation, there’s no sign of major disagreement on classic G20 issues such as financial market regulation or tax policy. The US continues to support the G20 stance, as the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Baden Baden in March showed.
At the G7 summit in Sicily in May, Mr. Trump agreed to include a pledge to fight trade protectionism in the final communique. But then, at a meeting of OECD ministers shortly afterwards, the US distanced itself from that promise again.
In Hamburg, Ms. Merkel wants to avoid falling back behind the G7 declaration, so even a repeat of the pledge given in Sicily would be seen as a success. But she won’t have been encouraged by a speech given by US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross to a business conference of her conservative party in Berlin last week. Speaking via video link, he reiterated US criticism of Germany’s trade surplus and said the US wanted a bigger share of the European market.
The German economics ministry is already drafting concrete plans to retaliate if the US imposes import tariffs on German products. Possible measures could include tariffs on imports of American agricultural produce.
Climate policy is even more difficult. There’s no sign yet of any compromise. Ms. Merkel has just reiterated her commitment to the Paris climate agreement as “irriversible and non-negotiable.” She can’t make meaningful concessions without being seen as caving. On the other hand, she needs Mr. Trump’s agreement or the summit will fail. She can’t afford to isolate him, partly because he might respond by trying to sway Saudi Arabia and India whose support for the Paris accord is seen as shaky.
She’s looking for a face-saving compromise, a choice of words that the president can sign up to. So far, the circle hasn’t been squared. He regards jobs as more important than protecting the climate, while Ms. Merkel must defend the Paris accord.
Officials plan to get a draft communique ready by Thursday evening so that Ms. Merkel and Mr. Trump can discuss it. Then on Friday night, it will be returned to the negotiators.
But Mr. Trump isn’t the only risk. If the planned anti-G20 protests end in chaos and violence, images of a teargas-shrouded Hamburg will haunt her right up to the election.