Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Problemia Energetici

Germania. Entra in funzione la megacentrale a carbone. Ambientalisti affranti.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-05-29.

2020-05-29__Germania Datteln 013

«Uniper is moving forward with its transformation and the further decarbonization of its portfolio» [Energy Industry Review]

Detto e fatto: essere coerenti è di fondamentale importanza nella vita. Altrimenti nessuno più crederebbe a quello che si dice.

«Uniper’s Datteln-4 plant starts commercial operations Saturday»

«Opening comes despite Merkel’s 2038 plan to quit fossil fuel»

«Germany’s latest coal plant will enter service this week, angering environmentalists who say it threatens to derail the country’s attempts to slash carbon dioxide emissions»

«Uniper’s Datteln-4 will start feeding electricity into the grid on a commercial basis on Saturday»

«German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year brokered a deal to wean Europe’s biggest economy off coal by 2038, an agreement that allowed Datteln-4 to open.»

«Environmental protesters have said they’ll target the plant and demand the government close it, underscoring the challenge facing fossil fuel operators in increasingly environmentalist Germany»

* * * * * * *

Tra le meste lacrime degli ambientalisti e dei Grüne questo sabato sarà collegata al grid la centrale di Datteln-4, alimentata con il più economico carbone, ma si potrebbe accontentare anche della sola torba.

Fedele al suo piano di abbandonare entro il 2038 il carbon fossile, Frau Merkel ha permetto tranquillamente progettazione, costruzione e messa in linea della centrale.

Ambientalisti e Grüne non hanno avuto la forza politica di bloccarla.

Solo i costituzionalmente maligni sussurrano, e ci si vergogna a doverli riportare per dovere di cronaca, che siano stati gratificati in modo congruo.

Siamo logici.

Se i tedeschi non costruissero più centrali elettriche a carbon fossile, cosa mai potrebbero distruggere nel 2038?

Nota.

Si augura lunga e prospera vita a tutti, ma non è mica detto che tutti noi potremo verificare cosa accadrà nel 2038: diciotto anni sono lunghi ed i pareti del coronavirus sono in lista di attesa.

*


Bloomberg. Controversial German Coal-Fired Power Plant to Start This Week

– Uniper’s Datteln-4 plant starts commercial operations Saturday

– Opening comes despite Merkel’s 2038 plan to quit fossil fuel

*

Germany’s latest coal plant will enter service this week, angering environmentalists who say it threatens to derail the country’s attempts to slash carbon dioxide emissions.

Uniper’s Datteln-4 will start feeding electricity into the grid on a commercial basis on Saturday, a spokesman for the utility confirmed by email. The 1.5-billion euro ($1.3 billion) facility is already nine years late and over budget because of defects that delayed its connection to the grid.

The plant is the latest flash point in a fractious debate over Germany’s exit from coal, a fuel that still provides about half the country’s electricity. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year brokered a deal to wean Europe’s biggest economy off coal by 2038, an agreement that allowed Datteln-4 to open.

Environmental protesters have said they’ll target the plant and demand the government close it, underscoring the challenge facing fossil fuel operators in increasingly environmentalist Germany. The utility has said the plant will provide a significant revenue stream once it’s operational.

“If Datteln-4 enters service on Saturday, we will take it off the grid,” prominent German anti-coal protester Kathrin Henneberger wrote on Twitter, adding she was planning to attend a protest at the site this weekend.

Uniper’s Chief Executive Officer Andreas Schierenbeck has said the utility expects Datteln-4 to run close to the final 2038 exit date. The utility previously said it will close its older, less efficient coal plants by 2025, reducing the firm’s overall carbon dioxide emissions even as Datteln-4 runs to the deadline.

Disquiet over the plant may stoke a headache for the state-controlled utility Fortum Oyj in Finland, Uniper’s majority shareholder and an increasing target for German anti-coal activists. The plant is highly likely to be Germany’s last new coal plant. Uniper and other utilities are instead turning their focus on natural gas and low carbon technologies.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici, Russia

Cina. Marzo. Import petrolifero. Arabia Saudita -1.6%, Russia +31%.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-05-05.

2020-05-05__russia-china-gas-deal-001

«China’s March crude oil imports rose 4.5% year on year to 9.68 million barrels per day (bpd)»

«China’s March crude oil imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia fell 1.6% from a year earlier, while purchases from No.2 supplier Russia rose 31%»

«Shipments from Saudi Arabia were 7.21 million tonnes, or 1.7 million bpd»

«That was down from 1.73 million bpd a year earlier and average daily imports of 1.79 million bpd during the first two months of this year»

«Russia supplied 7.02 million tonnes last month, or 1.66 million bpd, down from 1.71 million bpd recorded for the first two months»

«While state refiners mostly maintained deep production cuts in March to reduce their fuel stocks, independent plants cranked up run rates as the oil price plunge triggered partly by Saudi and Russian pledges to increase supply boosted refining margins»

«China’s imports from the United States remained close to zero in March»

«Also, data showed China’s imports from Iran at 255,779 tonnes, down 88.9% from a year earlier.»

* * * * * * *

2020-05-05__russia-china-gas-deal-002

Gazprom. Investimenti per 1.1 trilioni di rubli. Sila Sibiri. [2017-11-06]

Russia e Cina. Sila Sibiri. Un gasdotto da 4,000 km e 70 mld Usd. [2020-0408]

La Cina è il maggiore utilizzatore di prodotti petroliferi e gas naturale al mondo.

A marzo, nonostante l’epidemia da coronavirus, ha incrementato l’import petrolifero del 4.5% anno su anno, ossia 9.68 barili al giorno.

Nel contempo, è entrato in funzione il gasdotto Siri Sibiri, che porta il gas naturale estratto nella Siberia orientale in Cina, con un percorso di quasi 4,000 kilometri.

Se correttamente la Cina intende mantenere rapporti cordiali con tutti i produttori di energetici, al momento la Russia fornisce quasi la metà dei suoi fabbisogni energetici, a seguito di una lunga serie di accordi vantaggiosi per ambo le parti.

La Cina non è più ricattabile dal punto di vista energetico. Non solo.

Russia – Cina. Accordo per costruire reattori nucleari di nuova generazione.

Cina. Centrali elettriche nucleari. 37 reattori attivi, 60 in costruzione, 179 programmati.

A breve, in Cina vi saranno 97 reattori attivi e 179 in costruzione: dieci anni, che passano presto, e la Cina dovrebbe poter essere energeticamente del tutto autosufficiente.

*


China’s March crude imports from Saudi slip, Russia up 31%: customs.

China’s March crude oil imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia fell 1.6% from a year earlier, while purchases from No.2 supplier Russia rose 31%, Reuters’ calculations based on customs data showed on Sunday.

China’s March crude oil imports rose 4.5% year on year to 9.68 million barrels per day (bpd) as refiners stocked up on cheaper cargoes despite falling domestic fuel demand and cuts in refining rates due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shipments from Saudi Arabia were 7.21 million tonnes, or 1.7 million bpd, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

That was down from 1.73 million bpd a year earlier and average daily imports of 1.79 million bpd during the first two months of this year.

Russia supplied 7.02 million tonnes last month, or 1.66 million bpd, down from 1.71 million bpd recorded for the first two months, the data showed.

While state refiners mostly maintained deep production cuts in March to reduce their fuel stocks, independent plants cranked up run rates as the oil price plunge triggered partly by Saudi and Russian pledges to increase supply boosted refining margins.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as other producers have since reached a new agreement on output cuts, helping to lift oil prices off historical lows but with many saying that deeper reductions will be needed.

China’s imports from the United States remained close to zero in March. After falling last year because of the U.S.-China trade war, they are expected to pick up later in 2020 after Beijing started granting tariff waivers on U.S. goods including crude oil from early March.

There were no shipments from Venezuela for a fifth month in a row, as China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) [CNPET.UL], Caracas’s top oil client, steered clear of Venezuelan crudes to avoid violating secondary U.S. sanctions.

Also, data showed China’s imports from Iran at 255,779 tonnes, down 88.9% from a year earlier.

Below are details of imports from China’s key suppliers. Volumes are in million tonnes, with the percentage changes calculated by Reuters.

Pubblicato in: Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici

Arabia Saudita. Preannuncia un taglio globale di 19.5 milioni di barili al giorno.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-04-15.

Raffineria 010

«Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Monday that effective global oil supply cuts would amount to around 19.5 million barrels per day, taking into account the reduction pact agreed by OPEC+, pledges by other G20 nations and oil purchases into reserves»

«OPEC and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed on Sunday to a record cut in output to prop up oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented deal with fellow oil nations, including the United States, that could curb global oil supply by 20%»

«Measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have destroyed demand for fuel and driven down oil prices, straining budgets of oil producers and hammering the U.S. shale industry, which is more vulnerable to low prices due to its higher costs»

«Prince Abdulaziz also said the kingdom could cut oil output below its current quota of 8.5 million bpd if there was a need by the market over the coming months and if any reductions were done collectively with other producers on a pro-rata basis»

«The biggest oil cut ever is more than four times deeper than the previous record cut in 2008»

«Oil demand has dropped by around a third because of the coronavirus pandemic.»

* * * * * * *

La crisi economica determinata dall’epidemia da covirus ha depresso la domanda degli energetici ed al momento attuale sarebbe impossibile azzardare una data per una futura, eventuale, ripresa.

Di certo, il crollo dei prezzi petroliferi, il cospicuo ridimensionamento dei mercati finanziari, il blocco della produzione industriale, la contrazione dei trasporti e le conseguenze dell’epidemia hanno formato una miscela esplosiva quale difficilmente l’umanità ha esperito.

Né si potrebbe inferire alcunché di fino a quando questo accordo dell’Opec+ possa essere osservato nei fatti.

*


Saudi energy minister says effective global oil cuts above 19 million bpd.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Monday that effective global oil supply cuts would amount to around 19.5 million barrels per day, taking into account the reduction pact agreed by OPEC+, pledges by other G20 nations and oil purchases into reserves.

OPEC and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed on Sunday to a record cut in output to prop up oil prices amid the coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented deal with fellow oil nations, including the United States, that could curb global oil supply by 20%.

Measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus have destroyed demand for fuel and driven down oil prices, straining budgets of oil producers and hammering the U.S. shale industry, which is more vulnerable to low prices due to its higher costs.

OPEC+ said it had agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million bpd for May and June, after four days of talks and following pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to arrest the oil price decline.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told reporters via a conference call that G20 nations outside the OPEC+ alliance had pledged to cut about 3.7 million bpd of oil supply, while oil purchases into reserves (SPRs) were seen at 200 million barrels over the next couple of months, according to the IEA.

Prince Abdulaziz also said the kingdom could cut oil output below its current quota of 8.5 million bpd if there was a need by the market over the coming months and if any reductions were done collectively with other producers on a pro-rata basis.

OPEC+ meets next in June via teleconference to decide on output policy.

“We have to watch what is happening with demand destruction or demand improvement, depending on how things may evolve,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

“This is a situation where every day the numbers change … you have to maintain being vigilant about how these things may progress,” he said, adding there was still “uncertainty related with the virus and its impact”.

The biggest oil cut ever is more than four times deeper than the previous record cut in 2008. Producers will slowly relax curbs after June, although reductions in production will stay in place until April 2022.

Oil demand has dropped by around a third because of the coronavirus pandemic. Oil prices jumped more than $1 a barrel in Monday trading after the agreement, but gains were capped amid concern that it would not be enough to head off oversupply with the virus hammering global demand. [O/R]

But the minister downplayed the drop in oil prices on Monday, saying that the cuts were the reason for the rally in oil prices before the meeting in anticipation of the cuts.

“It’s the typical deal you know: buy the rumour, and sell the news.”

Pubblicato in: Cina, Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici, Russia

Russia e Cina. Sila Sibiri. Un gasdotto da 4,000 km e 70 mld Usd.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-04-08.

Power of Siberia 1. 001

Il Progetto Sila Sibiri, Forza della Siberia, è entrato in funzione, convogliando il gas naturale siberiano fino alla Cina.

Di questi giorni Mr Putin ha firmato il provvedimento che lo amplia nella sua componente occidentale.

Lungo 3,968 km, capace a regime di portare 61 miliardi di m3 di gas all’anno, è stato progettato per resistere a temperature inferiori ai -60 °C ed è stato costruito in una delle zone più fredde ed impervie del pianeta.

È stato un capolavoro di ingegneria, che supplirà buona quota del bisogno energetico cinese, per quanto riguarda il consumo del gas naturale, e rinforza i vincoli economici e commerciali tra Russia e Cina.

* * * * * * *

«Il gasdotto Forza della Siberia (in russo: Сила Сибири, Sila Sibiri), precedentemente noto come gasdotto Yakutia – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok è un gasdotto situato nella Siberia orientale, che trasporta gas naturale dallo Yakutia ai territorio del Litorale e in Cina. Il gasdotto è di proprietà della società Gazprom.

Fa parte della rotta del gas orientale che dalla Siberia (Russia) va in Cina. Il gasdotto è stato inaugurato il 2 dicembre 2019 alla presenza di Vladimir Putin e Xi Jinping.» [Fonte]

*

«The pipeline is fed from the Chayanda field in Yakutia, which was launched in 2019. The Kovykta field in Irkutsk Oblast will start to supply to the pipeline in 2023. The 2,156.1 km (1,339.7 mi) first phase of the pipeline starts at the Chayanda field in Yakutia. It runs, partly within the same corridor as the Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil pipeline, through Lensk, Olyokminsk, Aldan, Neryungri, Skovorodino, and Svobodny, where the pipeline is connected to the Amur Gas Processing Plant. From there, the pipeline branches south to Blagoveshchensk on the Russia–China border. By the two 1,139 m (3,737 ft) tunnels under the Amur River, it is connected to the 3,371 km (2,095 mi) Heihe–Shanghai pipeline in China. Together they form the eastern route for gas supplies from Siberia to China.

The 803.5 km (499.3 mi) second phase of the pipeline connects the Kovykta field to the Chayanda field. According to the original plan, the further 1,000 km (620 mi) extension of the Power of Siberia pipeline will continue from Svobodny through Birobidzhan to Khabarovsk where the pipeline will be linked with the Sakhalin–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipeline.

Together with the development of the Chayanda field and the Amur Gas Processing Plant, the whole Power of Siberia project was expected to cost US$55–70 billion.

The total length of the pipeline, when fully completed, will be 3,968 km (2,466 mi). The full capacity of the 1,420 mm (56 in) pipeline would be up to 61 billion m3 (2.2 trillion cu ft) per annum of natural gas, of which 38 billion m3 (1.3 trillion cu ft) per annum are supplied to China. The export to China starts with 5 billion m3 (180 billion cu ft) per annum in 2020, and is expected to increase gradually to 38 billion m3 (1.3 trillion cu ft) per annum by 2025.

The pipeline’s working pressure is ensured by nine compressor stations with a total capacity of 1,200 MW.

The pipeline is able to withstand temperatures as low as −62 °C (−80 °F). It has a nanocomposite coating to increase the lifetime of the pipeline. To withstand earthquakes, the pipeline uses materials that will deform under seismic activity. Internal coatings ensure energy efficiency by reducing the friction of the pipeline’s inner surfaces. The mass of all the pipes used to construct the pipeline is more than 2.25 million tonnes (2.5 million tons).» [Fonte]

* * * * * * *

Diamo atto alla Russia ed alla Cina di volere e sapere concepire e mettere in atto progetti strategici di questa portata.

Chiunque volesse approfondire i problemi tecnici affrontati e risolti ne rimarrebbe stupito.

*


Putin approva il raddoppio del gasdotto con la Cina

“Forza della Siberia 2” porterà 50 miliardi di metri cubi di gas dalla Russia al nord della Repubblica Popolare Cinese.

Il gasdotto Russia-Cina sarà raddoppiato

Il primo tratto del gasdotto era stato inaugurato in videoconferenza il 2 dicembre dal leader cinese Xi Jinping insieme a Vladimir Putin. Ora il presidente russo ha dato il via libera al progetto che ne prevede il raddoppio.

“Forza della Siberia” è il nome del gasdotto che trasporta il metano russo alla Cina: lungo 3 mila chilometri, è il primo che collega i due Paesi, dalle aree più orientali della Federazione Russa fino a quelle più settentrionali della Repubblica Popolare Cinese, oltre a essere la più grande infrastruttura dell’estremo oriente russo per il trasporto di gas naturale.

Ora, la Russia punta al raddoppio della rotta orientale e durante un incontro con Aleksey Miller, il numero uno del colosso del gas russo Gazprom, ha approvato l’idea di lanciare “la progettazione tecnico-economica e l’avvio dei lavori di progettazione e prospezione per il gasdotto”.

Come riferisce l’agenzia di informazione Ria Novosti, Miller è convinto che il “Forza della Siberia 2” permetterà di arrivare a forniture annuali di 50 miliardi di metri cubi l’anno, a fronte del limite attuale di 38 miliardi. L’intenzione già resa nota dal Cremlino lo scorso autunno è di usare per le forniture aggiuntive alla Cina risorse dalla regione di Irkutsk, di Krasnojarsk e dalla penisola di Yamal.

*


Russia e Cina raggiungono accordo sul gasdotto occidentale

Le trattative di Gazprom con la Cina per la fornitura di metano lungo la rotta occidentale (progetto “Forza della Siberia-2”) procedono con dinamismo, le parti hanno già concordato le principali condizioni del contratto.

Lo ha comunicato la società russa dopo l’incontro tra il suo amministratore delegato Alexey Miller e il vice presidente della cinese PetroChina Huang Weihe.

Sono già state definite le principali condizioni del contratto, in particolare il punto in cui il futuro gasdotto attraverserà il confine tra Russia e Cina. “Le trattative sul progetto hanno un’ottima dinamica”, — ha rilevato Gazprom.

Alexey Miller e Huang Weihe hanno esaminato anche la realizzazione della rotta “orientale”, constatando che sia in Russia che in Cina i lavori procedono secondo il calendario concordato dalle parti.

Il gasdotto occidentale si chiamerà “Forza della Siberia-2”. Il capo di Gazprom Alexey ha dichiarato: “Lungo la rotta occidentale si prevede di fornire 30 miliardi di metri cubi all’anno per 30 anni consecutivi. È stato già definito anche il punto di consegna del metano. Ciò significa che la rotta di fornitura ha acquisito connotati reali”.    

*


Russia, Kazakhstan Continue Talks on Power of Siberia 2 Pipeline.

Talks between Russia and Kazakhstan on the possible building of the Power of Siberia-2 gas pipeline route through the Central Asian country will continue, Kazakhstan’s energy minister Nurlan Nogayev has said, according to RIA Novosti.

“Implementation of this project is still a plan at this point; no concrete parameters have been outlined yet. There are various options of delivering Russian gas to China. We offered to build this pipeline through Kazakhstan, if possible,” Nogayev said.

He noted that Nur-Sultan aims to use this pipeline to provide gas to Eastern Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions. Commenting on his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak’s reaction to Kazakhstan’s initiative, he said Novak “has taken it for consideration, the work would continue, negotiations will continue – it’s a normal work process.”

According to earlier reports, Nogayev proposed to consider the option of building Power of Siberia 2 pipeline through Kazakhstan with a connection to China’s West-East pipeline system, during his meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

Kazakhstan earlier suggested that the pipeline’s route be laid through its territory. The Power of Siberia, operated by Gazprom, transports natural gas from Yakutia to Primorsky Krai and China. It is a part of the eastern gas route from Siberia to China. The proposed western gas route to China is known as Power of Siberia 2 (Altai gas pipeline). The pipeline length‎ is ‎3,968 km.

Pubblicato in: Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici, Stati Uniti

Guerra petrolifera. Whiting Petroleum Corporation chiede il Chapter 11.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-04-05.

Raffineria 010

In questo momento Russia ed Arabia Saudita sono coalizzate per distruggere lo shale americano.

Se è vero che un accordo sembrerebbe essere stato raggiunto, sarebbe altrettanto vero ricordare quanti di simili accordi sono poi stati disattesi.

I costi di estrazione americani variano infatti dai 39 Usd ai 48 Usd a barile, molto superiori ai prezzi correnti del petrolio dopo che l’Arabia Saudita ha ridotto il costo ed aumentata la estrazione.


«U.S. shale producer Whiting Petroleum Corporation, once one of the top producers in the Bakken, said on Wednesday that it had filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the first major victim of the oil price war and the coronavirus pandemic that sent oil prices to $20.»

«Whiting Petroleum Corporation, whose largest projects are in the Bakken and Three Forks plays in North Dakota and the Niobrara play in northeast Colorado, said in a statement that it had started voluntary Chapter 11 cases under the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas»

«Given the severe downturn in oil and gas prices driven by uncertainty around the duration of the Saudi / Russia oil price war and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company’s Board of Directors came to the conclusion that the principal terms of the financial restructuring negotiated with our creditors provides the best path forward for the Company»

«Whiting Petroleum has reached an agreement with certain noteholders to pursue financial restructuring to debt by more than US$2.2 billion via the exchange of all of the notes for 97 percent of the new equity of the reorganized company»

«Whiting Petroleum will continue to operate without material disruption to vendors or employees, and at this point, it expects to have enough liquidity to meet its financial obligations during the restructuring without resorting to additional financing»

«no one in the U.S. shale patch can profitably drill a new well at $20 WTI Crude»

«what we’ve seen so far may just be a taste of what’s to come»

* * * * * * *

È inutile nascondersi dietro ad un dito.

È in corso una guerra economica combattuta con ogni mezzo, conflitto che si preannuncia essere all’ultimo sangue.

La tempistica è stata ottimale: l’Arabia Saudita si è mossa quando gli Stati Uniti sono stati colpiti dal Covid-19 e dalla crisi del mercato finanziario borsistico, e quando la Russia ha aperto quasi completamente gli oleodotti ed i gasdotti che aveva in costruzione per trasferire le risorse energetiche siberiane alla Cina.

Difficile prognosticare chi ne possa uscire vincitore.

Un cinico potrebbe suggerire come l’Arabia Saudita abbia solo un esercito locoregionale.

*


Russia’s Plan To Bankrupt U.S. Shale Could Send Oil To $60

«As soon as U.S. shale leaves the market, prices will rebound and could reach $60 a barrel, Rosneft’s Igor Sechin said recently. As fate would have it, in what many would have until recently considered an impossible scenario, a lot of U.S. shale might do just that. Breakeven prices for U.S. shale basins range between $39 and $48 a barrel, according to data compiled by Reuters. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WIT) is trading below $25 a barrel and has been for over a week now. 

The SCOOP/STACK play in Oklahoma has the highest average breakeven price at $48 a barrel. Surprisingly, the Permian is not the lowest-cost play but the second-lowest, at $40. The lowest-cost basin, on average, is the Delaware Basin, part of the Permian.

On the face of it, these averages give no cause for optimism to an industry hit hard and fast by a perfect storm of radically lower demand and a sharp increase in supply. However, it’s worth noting the figures above are averages. They cover a range of breakeven costs that last year, according to the Dallas Fed, featured breakeven prices of as little as $23 a barrel in the Permian. In all fairness, these figures were reported last year. Since then, the lowest may have gone up or, in some locations, down.»

*


Canadian Drillers Face Nightmare Scenario As Oil Crashes To $5

«The U.S. shale patch laments oil prices in the low $20s crippling companies with already weakened debt and liquidity profiles. But further north, the outlook for Canada’s oil patch is even gloomier. Hit by the pandemic-driven demand shock and the price war-induced supply shock, Canadian oil prices have already crashed to below US$10 a barrel.

This year’s oil price crash will hit Canada’s oil patch harder than the 2014 price collapse, analysts say.  

Following the double supply-demand shock of the past weeks, the industry had to quickly switch back to survival mode, just as it was expecting an uptick in upstream investments this year, for the first time in five years.

Canada’s oil and gas sector now faces an existential threat – losing even the little competitiveness it held onto in the wake of the previous oil crash.»

*


The U.S. Is About To Lose Its Place As The World’s Largest Oil Producer

«The United States may lose its top spot among oil producers globally this year, according to economists. With oil prices continuing their slide and Saudi Arabia reiterating its plans to flood the market with oil, U.S. producers are idling rigs and cutting spending plans.

Production has only one way to go: down. 

“I think it’s almost a guarantee that this year it will certainly lose that position,” Emirates NBD commodity analyst Edward Bell told CNBC, referring to the United States. “And it might happen probably a lot faster than we anticipate.”

IHS Markit’s Daniel Yergin also expects that U.S. oil production to swing from growth to decline this year on the significant slump in oil demand caused mostly by the coronavirus outbreak that has so far infected more than 700,000 people globally.»

*


Shale Giant Files For Bankruptcy As Oil Price War Rages On

U.S. shale producer Whiting Petroleum Corporation, once one of the top producers in the Bakken, said on Wednesday that it had filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the first major victim of the oil price war and the coronavirus pandemic that sent oil prices to $20.

Whiting Petroleum Corporation, whose largest projects are in the Bakken and Three Forks plays in North Dakota and the Niobrara play in northeast Colorado, said in a statement that it had started voluntary Chapter 11 cases under the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.  

“Given the severe downturn in oil and gas prices driven by uncertainty around the duration of the Saudi / Russia oil price war and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company’s Board of Directors came to the conclusion that the principal terms of the financial restructuring negotiated with our creditors provides the best path forward for the Company,” said Bradley J. Holly, the company’s chairman, president and CEO.

Whiting Petroleum has reached an agreement with certain noteholders to pursue financial restructuring to debt by more than US$2.2 billion via the exchange of all of the notes for 97 percent of the new equity of the reorganized company.

Whiting Petroleum will continue to operate without material disruption to vendors or employees, and at this point, it expects to have enough liquidity to meet its financial obligations during the restructuring without resorting to additional financing, it said.

Whiting Petroleum became the first sizable U.S. shale producer to seek bankruptcy protection and restructuring after the oil price collapse forced many U.S. drillers, including the supermajors Exxon and Chevron, to announce significant reductions in projected spending and drilling operations, as no one in the U.S. shale patch can profitably drill a new well at $20 WTI Crude.  

Since the oil price crash last month, 22 U.S. independents have cut expenditure for 2020 by a total of US$20 billion, an average of 35 percent, and three have slashed capex by 50 percent or more, Simon Flowers, Chairman and Chief Analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said on Tuesday.

 “The size of cuts is close to those of 2015 and have come through faster. Yet companies today are far leaner than back then; and what we’ve seen so far may just be a taste of what’s to come. Diamondback and Occidental have already cut twice in two weeks, suggesting further, deeper cuts are coming for many US Independents,” Flowers noted.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Medicina e Biologia, Problemia Energetici

Coronavirus. La crisi spinge il carbon fossile.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-04-04.

Carbone Miniera 001

«The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken energy markets to the core this year, creating incredible volatility for fuel prices»

«The one energy source that hasn’t blinked though is coal, a fuel that may come out stronger through the current crisis»

«The price of coal was already depressed before the corona virus crisis, and the demand curtailment in China during the lockdowns was accompanied by a domestic production drop, balancing the market»

«With ARA prices already so low, any cost decrease will potentially give struggling producers selling to Europe a little breathing room, rather than allowing prices to move down any further»

«The large falls in the currency of the major coal exporting countries like Australia and Russia is a significant, but often overlooked factor with regards to coal prices and margins»

«International coal trades are priced in US dollars, whereas the majority of production costs are generally denominated in local currency terms»

«Therefore, a weaker exchange rate versus the US dollar usually means higher local currency revenues (or lower costs when converted to US dollars)»

* * * * * * *

Romania. Il Green Deal è una ‘true religion’. Il gesto del dito.

La depressione economica indotta dal coronavirus e lo shock petrolifero, unitamente a dollaro forte e valute dei paesi estrattori deboli, spingono verso un maggiore utilizzo del carbone fossile.

A parte ancora qualche cascame politico nell’Unione Europea, i progetti di decarbonizzazione stanno evidenziano il loro punto debole: costi troppo alti per potersi permettere quel lusso, in un momento in cui tutte le risorse sono utilizzate per cercare di bloccare gli effetti della pandemia.

Tutti questi elementi concorrono a formulare la previsione che, quanto meno, la sua produzione e costi resteranno quasi inalterati, ma anche probabilmente incrementati per sopperire le esigenze energetiche.

Il mondo non è l’Unione Europea.

*


Oil Price. Foreign Coal Producers Get Boost From Coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken energy markets to the core this year, creating incredible volatility for fuel prices. The one energy source that hasn’t blinked though is coal, a fuel that may come out stronger through the current crisis, a Rystad Energy analysis shows.

The price of coal was already depressed before the corona virus crisis, and the demand curtailment in China during the lockdowns was accompanied by a domestic production drop, balancing the market. Oil, which is used as a fuel in coal mining, has grown cheaper and is seen by Rystad Energy as reducing coal output costs by a few dollars per ton.

“With ARA prices already so low, any cost decrease will potentially give struggling producers selling to Europe a little breathing room, rather than allowing prices to move down any further,” says Steve Hulton, Rystad Energy’s Head of Global coal research.

The large falls in the currency of the major coal exporting countries like Australia and Russia is a significant, but often overlooked factor with regards to coal prices and margins. In mid-March, the Australian dollar hit a 17-year low as international investors sought the traditional safety of US dollars; the Russian ruble has also reached new record lows due to the collapsing oil price.

International coal trades are priced in US dollars, whereas the majority of production costs are generally denominated in local currency terms. Therefore, a weaker exchange rate versus the US dollar usually means higher local currency revenues (or lower costs when converted to US dollars).

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Problemia Energetici, Regno Unito

UK. ‘Clima’. La data del 2050 non è realistica. Meglio le centrali atomiche.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-14.

Johnson Boris - Improta 001

«UK ‘can’t go climate neutral before 2050’»

«The claim comes from the government-funded research group Energy Systems Catapult, whose computer models are used by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises government»

«The report …. believes the UK target of climate neutrality by 2050 will result in harm to the climate»

«Achieving net zero significantly earlier than 2050 in our modelling exceeds even our most speculative measures, with rates of change for power, heat and road transport that push against the bounds of plausibility»

«The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely, a report says»

«it calls for small, modular nuclear reactors to support three-quarters of heating in cities through district heating systems.»

«Modular reactors are much smaller than conventional reactors, and brought to a site in a kit of parts to be assembled»

«It warns that livestock production for dairy and meat may need to be cut by 50% rather than the 20% currently envisaged by the Committee on Climate Change. And people will need to eat less meat and dairy by the same amount»

«However, the report warns that the public do not appear ready for substantial lifestyle changes»

«approaching the subject of dietary change or aviation often elicits a more resistant and emotional respons»

* * * * * * *

Gli obiettivi dell’European Green Deal sono irrealistici e, soprattutto, molto costosi.

Coronavirus, crisi petrolifera e crollo delle borse, unitamente alla stagnazione economica, sono urgenze ben più gravi e reali.

Significativo è il suggerimento di installare piccoli reattori nucleari, specie per il riscaldamento delle abitazioni.

È un altro tabù che si sta dileguando. È un’altra divergenza con l’Unione Europea.

*


Climate change: UK ‘can’t go climate neutral before 2050’.

The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely, a report says.

But it warns that the British public do not look ready to take such steps and substantially change their lifestyle.

The report challenges the views of campaign group Extinction Rebellion.

It believes the UK target of climate neutrality by 2050 will result in harm to the climate.

The claim comes from the government-funded research group Energy Systems Catapult, whose computer models are used by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises government.

Its report says: “A number of groups have called for net zero to be accelerated to 2025, 2030 or 2040.

“Achieving net zero significantly earlier than 2050 in our modelling exceeds even our most speculative measures, with rates of change for power, heat and road transport that push against the bounds of plausibility.” Glimmer of good news

But the authors offer some optimism too. They calculate that the UK can cut emissions fast enough to be climate neutral by 2050 – but only if ministers act much more quickly.

They say the government urgently needs to invest in three key technologies: carbon capture and storage with bioenergy crops; hydrogen for a wide variety of uses; and advanced nuclear power.

The report modelled options for society to 2050. It concluded that if decisions are made early, the cost of climate neutrality can be held down to 1-2% of national wealth – GDP.

Scenarios rely on some technologies still in their infancy, which will be controversial. For instance, it draws heavily on burning energy crops, capturing the carbon emissions and burying them underground.

It says hydrogen use will need to grow to supply industry, heat and heavy transport.

Electricity generation will need to double with heavy reliance on solar power and offshore wind.

Controversially, it calls for small, modular nuclear reactors to support three-quarters of heating in cities through district heating systems. Modular reactors are much smaller than conventional reactors, and brought to a site in a kit of parts to be assembled.

It warns that livestock production for dairy and meat may need to be cut by 50% rather than the 20% currently envisaged by the Committee on Climate Change. And people will need to eat less meat and dairy by the same amount.

The report’s author, Scott Milne, said: “Whichever pathway the UK takes, innovation, investment and inducements across low-carbon technology, land use and lifestyle are essential to achieve net zero.

“And there are massive economic opportunities for the UK to lead the world in these areas.”

However, the report warns that the public do not appear ready for substantial lifestyle changes. It warns, for instance, that if people’s homes are better insulated, they may choose to spend the same amount on heating to deliver a warmer home.

It says: “Early evidence suggests a general willingness to adopt new technologies (such as new heating or mobility) as long as these can deliver the same experiences as before.

“Conversely, approaching the subject of dietary change or aviation often elicits a more resistant and emotional response.”

Some experts will be critical of the report’s expectation that new technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be rapidly adopted.

A recent report said it was unrealistic to expect that carbon capture and hydrogen will develop fast enough to achieve the net zero target.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion told BBC News: “The global response to coronavirus shows we can radically address crises if we put our minds to it. Meanwhile, the net zero date has not been put to the people of the UK.

“The science tells us that net zero by 2050 means a hell of a lot worse than giving up flying and red meat – people are dying now around the world as you read this due to governmental inaction.”

The report was not welcomed by the National Beef Association.

Its spokesman Neil Shand told BBC News that scientific studies typically underestimate the role of livestock in capturing carbon in the soil.

He said: “It does seem rather unfortunate that the report links beef production and aviation in this way.

“The timing is more than a little ironic; the shops are full of people panic-buying and it seems clear that the nation’s food sector relies very heavily on imports, and the associated transport that brings them into the UK.

“Food produced on their own doorstep, using a system where animal and non-animal foods are symbiotic requires very little air travel, and makes excellent use of the resources our beautiful country provides. Foreign travel does not have the same necessity.”

In addition, a report from a group of environmentally-minded business leaders has called on the government to show increased ambition and delivery of carbon-cutting policies to get the UK on track to meet climate goals.

It said there was an urgent need especially for policies to bring low-carbon heating to people’s homes.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici, Unione Europea

Romania. Il Green Deal è una ‘true religion’. Il gesto del dito.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-11.

2020-03-09__romania__001

Romania. Lo speaker Florin Iordache fa il gesto del dito ai gerarchi della EU, in europarlamento.

*

«Orban [Romanian prime minister] described the Green Deal as a ‘true religion’ for the European Commission and ‘any argument you bring into discussion is rejected from the start’ »

*

«The European Green Deal has been perceived as an obligation imposed by the EU on Romania, with the prime minister arguing that in Brussels the Green Deal is “a true religion”.»

«Policy makers are also betting on natural gas and nuclear energy as suitable fuel for the country’s energy transition»

«the most recent version of the country’s national energy and climate plan (NECP) includes 1.98 GW of installed coal capacity until 2030 (approx. 7.9 percent of the total energy mix).»

«While other countries with much higher coal capacities have planned a phase-out by 2030, 2028, or even 2023, only Romania and six other EU countries do not yet have a plan in this regard»

«Starting in 2022, the European Investment Bank will no longer finance projects based on fossil fuels, including natural gas, while the regulatory proposals for the future European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund are set to exclude fossil fuels from receiving any financing»

«According to the last estimates in the NECP, the country needs €22.6bn in investments for the transformation of the energy system»

* * * * * * *

Romania. Pil anno su anno +4.4%.

Quella su riportata, come pure nell’allegato articolo dell’EU Observer, notoriamente testa liberal socialista.

Ma se Mr Florin Iordache ha fatto ai liberal il famoso gesto del dito, e se il premier rumeno dice apertamente che

«the Green Deal as a ‘true religion’»

e che

«any argument you bring into discussion is rejected from the start»

ci sono dei buoni motivi, che l’EU Observer ben si guarda dal riportare.

La Romania ha iniziato a sfruttare degli enormi giacimenti di gas naturale presenti nel Mar Nero nella sua Zona Economicamente Riservata, e sta rapidamente diventando energeticamente autosufficiente. Non solo. Ha iniziato anche ad esportare il suo gas all’Ungheria.

Romania and Hungary clash over Black Sea gas distribution

«Over the last few years, massive natural gas deposits have been discovered off Romania’s Black Sea coast. Conservative estimates suggest they hold at least 40 billion cubic meters (142 billion cubic feet) of gas; others say they could hold as much as 200 billion cubic meters — enough to cover Romania’s energy needs for decades and even turn the country into an energy exporter.  …. As is so often the case with major international energy sector projects, BRUA has had its share of controversies. At present, Romania and Hungary are embroiled in a legal dispute over Romania’s offshore gas rights and the volume of projected deliveries to Hungary via the BRUA pipeline.»

*


EU Observer. Is Romania getting cold feet on EU Green Deal?

As the EU plans its budget for 2021-2027 and pushes for the European Green Deal to become a reality, Romania’s decision-makers are failing again to set higher ambitions and the parameters for an effective, successful energy transition.

It is easy to wonder if Romania’s leaders take seriously the climate crisis and global efforts to limit temperature increases to below 1.5 Celsius.

The European Green Deal has been perceived as an obligation imposed by the EU on Romania, with the prime minister arguing that in Brussels the Green Deal is “a true religion”.

But these sentiments are at odds with the fact that Romania was not among the dissenters opposing the 2050 climate-neutrality targets, nor did it object to the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

While Romanian statesmen repeatedly agree with the need for climate action, when the time comes to implement concrete measures, their vision is limited to the winds of public opinion – so they present the high targets as something imposed by the EU.

Policy makers are also betting on natural gas and nuclear energy as suitable fuel for the country’s energy transition.

Relying on gas as a transitional fuel is wrong for many reasons, including its low return on investment and negative environmental impact.

In addition, the most recent version of the country’s national energy and climate plan (NECP) includes 1.98 GW of installed coal capacity until 2030 (approx. 7.9 percent of the total energy mix).

This goes against the path adopted by a majority of EU member states to phase-out coal from their energy systems.

While other countries with much higher coal capacities have planned a phase-out by 2030, 2028, or even 2023, only Romania and six other EU countries do not yet have a plan in this regard.

Gas is not the solution

Developing more gas capacity is uneconomical for Romania, as external financial resources will be very soon limited.

With the EU’s strategic goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, Romania would have to plan a second transition in 20 years, from natural gas to renewables: an extra, unnecessary step.

Starting in 2022, the European Investment Bank will no longer finance projects based on fossil fuels, including natural gas, while the regulatory proposals for the future European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Cohesion Fund are set to exclude fossil fuels from receiving any financing.

Even though CO2 emissions are lower than those of coal, the threat of methane emission from gas capacities, a greenhouse gas with 23 times higher impact than carbon dioxide, must be accounted for.

In so doing, together with the high cost of production and initial investment for gas power plants, Romania should spend its money on energy-efficiency measures and in modernising the energy system for a better integration of renewable energy sources, a much cheaper and efficient transformation.

Policy makers need to plan coherently with climate-neutrality targets and translate EU regulations into effective policies. Until now, no clear action and legislation has been approved for decarbonisation.

Romania has numerous financing opportunities to benefit from, as long as the country commits energy and climate targets.

A recent report by Sandbag and CEE Bankwatch Network shows the huge potential and opportunities for a successful energy transition in Romania.

According to the last estimates in the NECP, the country needs €22.6bn in investments for the transformation of the energy system.

While this amount might seem unreachable, the next EU budget provisions at least 25 percent of the spending envelope for climate actions. In short, Romania could mobilise:

  • Under Cohesion Policy at least €5.5bn, of which €3.1bn are allocated to the energy sector

  • €757m under the Just Transition Fund, as Romania is third-highest recipient for the fund

  • €10.11bn under the Just Transition Mechanism

  • €18bn from EU–ETS, if Romania will begin auctioning revenues and repurpose them for energy transition

Other instruments such as the Connecting Europe Facility, InvestEU or LIFE+ programme could also be used to support Romania’s clean energy transition.

Romania should use these sources to implement more effective projects and measures that will help the country achieve its climate and energy targets set for 2030 and 2050.

Until now, under the current financing period (2014-2020) Romania has an EU funds absorption rate of only 31 percent, and Cohesion Policy was not used to its full potential: only 7.8 percent of investments went into actual clean energy projects instead of the planned 20 percent.

Given that Romania already has a diverse energy mix with almost 50 percent renewables, the largest onshore wind farm in Europe and the technical potential of 86 GW from renewable energy – solar and wind, Romania’s policy makers should see the Green Deal as an enabler of economic development, not as a setback.

Pubblicato in: Materie Prime, Problemia Energetici, Russia

Opec. Nessun accordo. Petrolio in picchiata tranne quello russo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-07.

2020-03-07__Petrolio 001

«Oil Nosedives As OPEC Fails To Strike A Deal»

«Oil prices tumbled on Friday as OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC allies failed to agree on deeper cuts»

«OPEC talks with allies end without a deal»

«At 9:20 a.m. EST on Friday, both WTI Crude and Brent Crude prices were tumbling by more than 7 percent, after the coronavirus outbreak unraveled the OPEC+ coalition that had tried to support and stabilize oil prices since the beginning of 2017»

«On Friday, Russia continued to refuse to back any deeper cuts»

«Yesterday, OPEC ministers met and recommended that the OPEC+ partners extend the current cuts through the end of 2020 and deepen those cuts by 1.5 million bpd in Q2 in response to the slump in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak»

«Later on Thursday, OPEC ministers met again and decided that the 1.5 million bpd additional cut should not be only for Q2 but for the rest of 2020 as well»

«Russia has taken this arm twisting not too well, and as its Energy Minister Alexander Novak returned to Vienna on Friday»

«Russia refused to cut deeper, while OPEC was signaling that it won’t cut without Russia on board»

* * * * * * *

Si noti come siano crollati i prezzi del petrolio, tranne quello russo, che sale del 2.01%.

*


Oil Nosedives As OPEC Fails To Strike A Deal.

Oil prices tumbled on Friday as OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC allies failed to agree on deeper cuts, Bloomberg and Reuters report.

OPEC failed to agree on a deal, two OPEC sources told Reuters, while Bloomberg’s Jessica Summers tweeted that “OPEC talks with allies end without a deal.” 

The OPEC Secretariat moments later Tweeted that the formal OPEC meeting had just begun, confusing markets as to what had actually transpired.

At 9:20 a.m. EST on Friday, both WTI Crude and Brent Crude prices were tumbling by more than 7 percent, after the coronavirus outbreak unraveled the OPEC+ coalition that had tried to support and stabilize oil prices since the beginning of 2017.

On Friday, Russia continued to refuse to back any deeper cuts from the OPEC+ coalition, as proposed by OPEC on Thursday.

Yesterday, OPEC ministers met and recommended that the OPEC+ partners extend the current cuts through the end of 2020 and deepen those cuts by 1.5 million bpd in Q2 in response to the slump in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.  

Later on Thursday, OPEC ministers met again and decided that the 1.5 million bpd additional cut should not be only for Q2 but for the rest of 2020 as well.

Russia has taken this arm twisting not too well, and as its Energy Minister Alexander Novak returned to Vienna on Friday, he began bilateral consultations with several non-OPEC partners and with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.  

The bilateral talks extended in the afternoon, and the OPEC+ meeting which was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Vienna time was delayed with hours.

Now it looks like the two most powerful producers at the table, Saudi Arabia for OPEC and Russia for non-OPEC, didn’t want to budge from their respective positions. Russia refused to cut deeper, while OPEC was signaling that it won’t cut without Russia on board.

The ‘no-deal’ outcome of the meeting was the least likely scenario the market and analysts had expected, and oil prices tumbled to their lowest levels since mid-2017 as reports emerged that there will not be a deal this time around.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Medio Oriente, Problemia Energetici

Medio Oriente. Decine di centrali atomiche in progetto e costruzione. Uae.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-03-03.

Mediooriente. Barakah. Centrale Atomica

«The United Arab Emirates will turn on the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant in just a few months.»

«UAE regulators said on Monday they had given the green light to start loading nuclear fuel at the Barakah power plant»

«Abu Dhabi Crown Prince hailed it as a “new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy,”»

«A December report Dorfman wrote for the NCG said the four plants under construction in the UAE are being built without emergency containment features that are required in Europe»

«a region that relies on desalination plants for the majority of its drinking water»

«Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, said, that the UAE’s record of complete transparency and ratification of all IAEA recommendations meant “there is no risk of proliferation.”»

«Saudi Arabia is currently assessing bids from various countries to build two large power reactors and has ambitions for 16 smaller ones.»

«With Russia’s help, Egypt is building a power station with four reactors on the Mediterranean coast»

«Turkey — which hosts US nuclear weapons — started working with Russia to start construction on a power plant in 2018, with three more scheduled to be completed by 2026»

* * * * * * *

Precisiamo subito che l’Unione Europea ha il dente avvelenato con i paesi arabi che per progettare e costruire le loro centrali atomiche non si sono rivolti alle loro ditte, bensì a quelle russe e di altre nazioni.

Molti sono i motivi.

Sono decenni che in Europa non si costruiscono più centrali atomiche, per cui il passato know-how è svanito. Poi l’Unione impone una serie massacrante di criteri di sicurezza, del tutto spropositati. Infine avrebbe voluto mantenerne il controllo ed avrebbe voluto che la controparte si fosse convertita all’ideologia liberal socialista.

Il ‘no, grazie‘ degli arabi era una risposta quasi di obbligo.

Al contrario, i russi stanno continuando ad esportare impianti nucleari allo stato dell’arte e commensurati alle esigenze dei committenti.

Egitto. Impianto Nucleare russo di Al Dabaa funzionante per il 2022.

Due sono i problemi fondamentali.

– Il primo consiste nel poter disporre di un impianto che generi energia elettrica a costi bassi e slegato dagli andamenti dei prezzi degli idrocarburi.

– Il secondo verte invece un aspetto tipico locoregionale. Tutto il Medio Oriente vive in una perenne crisi idrica: lì la disponibilità di acqua, potabile e per irrigazione, è drammaticamente bassa. Questi impianti atomici sono finalizzati ad alimentare desalinizzatori, che hanno grandi consumi energetici, ma sono l’unica soluzione al momento possibile.

*


UAE: Arab world’s first nuclear power plant raises stakes in the Persian Gulf

The United Arab Emirates will turn on the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant in just a few months. In the charged atmosphere of the Persian Gulf, what are the risks?

When UAE regulators said on Monday they had given the green light to start loading nuclear fuel at the Barakah power plant — the Arab world’s first — the announcement raised concerns.

While Abu Dhabi Crown Prince hailed it as a “new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy,” tensions have been high in the Persian Gulf after the long-simmering issue of Iran’s nuclear program recently contributed to bringing it to the brink of open war with the US.

In the wider region, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey also have nuclear programs with varying ambitions.”It’s the wrong reactor, in the wrong place, at the wrong time,” said Paul Dorfman, a senior researcher at the international expert body Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG).

“It’s not safe enough … it wouldn’t be allowed to be built in Europe, and the Gulf region is militarily volatile, as we’ve seen with the attack on Saudi oil,” Dorfman said referring to the 2019 drone and missile attacks that knocked out half of the world’s top oil exporter’s production.

A December report Dorfman wrote for the NCG said the four plants under construction in the UAE are being built without emergency containment features that are required in Europe. Cracks had also been previously found in two of the concrete structures housing the reactors.

The threat of attacks on the Barakah plant was first hinted at when Yemeni rebels claimed to have fired a missile at the site while it was under construction in 2017. The report also highlighted the potential for accident or sabotage as nuclear fuel and waste is transported through the unstable Strait of Hormuz, an added source of worry in a region that relies on desalination plants for the majority of its drinking water.

While the UAE has signed non-proliferation treaties and ratified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreements, including a full inspection regime, there is still the risk it could share its knowledge with others not bound by similar deals, Dorfman said.

‘A model for nuclear newcomers’

But Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, said, that the UAE’s record of complete transparency and ratification of all IAEA recommendations meant “there is no risk of proliferation.”

“The UAE wants to polish its apples and acquire a reputation as a country that is reliable, not proliferating or threatening. They don’t really have any ambition to get involved in sensitive nuclear activities and there’s no reason for them to change that.”

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based non-governmental organization focused on reducing the risk and spread of nuclear weapons, reported in 2018 that the UAE is “often referred to as a model for nuclear newcomers.”

Abu Dhabi hopes its program will raise its profile as a regional leader, diversifying its economy away from fossil fuels and adding the technological and engineering feat of nuclear power generation to its commercial successes.

Read more: Saudi Arabia and the nuclear temptation

As it stands, without the UAE pursuing enrichment and reprocessing, and assuming proper implementation of the most up-to-date IAEA safeguards, “there’s little risk of a military dimension to the UAE’s program,” Tom Plant, the director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute said.

“If those features start to drop away then the risk rises; and, either way, the development of a civil fuel cycle does help to build skills that have potential utility on the military side, albeit in the much longer term,” Plant said.

Difficult nuclear neighbors

But as a rising regional military force involved in conflicts in Libya and Yemen and a standing dispute with Qatar, notwithstanding Iran, the UAE is located in a neighborhood of growing nuclear aspirations.

Saudi Arabia is currently assessing bids from various countries to build two large power reactors and has ambitions for 16 smaller ones. That would bring considerable nuclear knowledge into the country, though progress has been slow.

Despite declarations its program would be peaceful, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced in September the kingdom planned to enrich its own uranium. De facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman had warned in 2018 that if Iran developed a bomb, “we will follow suit as soon as possible.” In 2003 a leaked report revealed Riyadh had considered different strategies to obtain a nuclear weapon.

With Russia’s help, Egypt is building a power station with four reactors on the Mediterranean coast. The IAEA had reported discrepancies in Egyptian experiments in 2005 and discovered of of highly enriched uranium at a research facility in 2009, but the investigations have come to nothing, Egypt has signed but not ratified the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has not signed updates to the agreement. 

Turkey — which hosts US nuclear weapons — started working with Russia to start construction on a power plant in 2018, with three more scheduled to be completed by 2026. In September, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at breaking his country’s commitments to the NPT when he said it was unacceptable that Turkey’s neighbors had nuclear weapons when Turkey couldn’t.

In that context, while the “standard risk” of nuclear weapons is already high, the danger of warlike groups attacking nuclear facilities or nuclear transports could be considered greater, Dorfman said.

“In a politically and militarily tense region, further nuclear proliferation would inevitably increase the risk,” he said.