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OPEC+ decision to cut oil counteracts Europe’s idea of price cap on Russian energy

US and Europe can no longer make condescending and hegemonic demands on energy producers

By Ahmed Adel | October 7, 2022

The European Commission is hoping to impose a cap on gas prices as the current energy crisis will inevitably deepen over the winter. However, European Union member states are divided over the proposed measures, which are designed to lower soaring inflation amid Moscow’s response to sanctions imposed for its military operation in Ukraine. 

Although France, Italy, Poland and 12 other EU countries urged the Commission to propose a broader price cap targeting all wholesale gas trade, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany – Europe’s biggest gas buyer – are among those opposed against the measure as they believe capping prices could endanger the security of supply as it undermines the EU’s ability to attract gas deliveries.

It is recalled that in early September, Russian President Vladimir Putin described the idea of a price cap as “stupid”, highlighting that the EU was “in no position to dictate”. After warning that the EU would “freeze” if such a cap was imposed, Putin said: “We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything.”

While EU leaders are doggedly and obsessively calling for a price cap, industry experts show their scepticism, and in some cases concern on the repercussions of such an action. It is already noted that EU sanctions imposed against Russia are already affecting European economies far worse than the Russian economy.

In this light, chairman and CEO of French energy major TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, said on October 5: “Honestly, I am not sure that a price cap on Russian oil is a good idea.”

“What I am sure is that if we do that (cap), then Putin will say that ‘we don’t sell my oil’ – and the price will not be at $95, it will be at $150,” Pouyanné said.

For her part, Elisabetta Cornago, a senior energy researcher at the Centre for European Reform, explained that “It’s hard to picture such a level of market intervention. This is uncharted territory.” Another expert, Bram Claeys, a senior advisor at the Regulatory Assistance Project, said that the energy price cap would “quickly start costing billions” because it would force governments to continually subsidise the difference between the real market price and the artificially capped price.

Despite the scepticism from energy experts, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, maintains the need to introduce a ceiling on the price of Russian gas. At the end of August, she announced that the European Commission was taking quick and long-term measures to improve the situation amid rising electricity prices in the EU. 

However, it appears that Russia is already pre-emptively responding to price cap suggestions by convincing its partners in OPEC+ (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels per day from November. This will cause a severe crisis, which will reverberate in Europe and the United States, especially as the OPEC+ decision was made just weeks before the US midterm elections.

For this reason, the White House angrily said in a statement that Biden was “disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC+ to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.”

OPEC+ comprises of 24 members, many of them close partners with Russia, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Venezuela, and not a single member is Western. In addition, the most influential members have significant differences with Washington, and unlike in decades past, are not afraid to push back to defend their own interests.

Washington is trying to impose the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC bill, which is designed to protect US consumers and businesses from oil spikes. However, OPEC’s most influential members have warned that this legislation would cause chaos in the energy market.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on October 5: “We will continuously prove that OPEC+ is here not only to stay but here to stay as a moderating force to bring about stability.”

It is recalled that when Biden arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier this year on a mission to urge one of the world’s largest oil exporters to ramp up production in a bid to help bring down gasoline prices, OPEC+ raised oil output by a minuscule 100,000 barrels per day in what was widely seen as an insult to Biden.

In this way, it is demonstrated that Western influence over energy is waning and that OPEC+ members are behaving more confidently in protecting their own interests. Putin has delivered on every warning he has made whenever a red-line was crossed, and there is little doubt that if Europe imposes a cap, he will counteract Europe’s economic aggression by significantly cutting energy flows, which will make prices soar. There is effectively very little Europe and the US can do to stop this and they must accept the fact that they are at the mercy of OPEC+ and can no longer impose their condescending and hegemonic demands over the organisation and its member states.

Ahmed Adel is a Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

October 7, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | | Leave a comment

Serbia furious over latest anti-Russia sanctions

Samizdat | October 6, 2022

The Serbian government has slammed the latest package of EU sanctions targeting Russia’s oil exports, describing it as the “first EU sanctions package” against Serbia.

Restrictions on the maritime transportation of Russian oil would make it too expensive for Serbia and severely hit the nation’s economy, government officials said on Thursday. In a scathing statement, Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin called the EU “the place of our future humiliation and suffering.”

Belgrade will now be “forced to buy more expensive Iraqi oil and thus lose hundreds of millions of euro,” he argued, accusing neighboring Croatia, which is an EU member state, of lobbying for the new measures.

Vulin said the only “consistent” feature of EU policy is “revenge on free nations,” and decried the fact that Western Balkan nations had not been exempted from the latest batch of anti-Russia measures.

The EU “introduced not the eighth package of sanctions against Russia but the first sanctions package against Serbia,” the minister said. He argued that this was why it is “better to be a militarily and politically neutral country” rather than a member of a club of nations that allows the “[psychological] complexes” of its members to run the show.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic was equally critical of the new sanctions, saying they were introduced “at the expense of the lives and living standards” of all Serbian people. “It will cost us hundreds of millions of euro,” Brnabic told Serbia’s Happy TV broadcaster.

“What they thought they would do to Russia they did to us on Wednesday, because we depend on the oil pipeline in Croatia,” the prime minister added, accusing Brussels of “using energy for political blackmail and retribution.”

On Thursday, the EU announced the eighth package of restrictions on Russia which include a price cap and “further restrictions” on the maritime transportation of Russian crude oil and petroleum products to third countries. Serbia imports Russian oil by sea through a Croatian port terminal on the island of Krk, from which it is then transported through a pipeline to Serbian territory.

The new measures would make such imports at least 20% more expensive, according to Serbian media. In June, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic warned that Serbia would not be able to import Russian oil after November 1 due to EU sanctions.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , | 2 Comments

EU must decide where it stands on Ukraine – Kremlin

Samizdat – October 6, 2022

The European Union must decide whether it wants the Ukraine conflict to be resolved diplomatically or in a violent manner, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.

Asked to comment on Austria’s reported proposal to host de-escalation talks, Zakharova said Moscow could only contemplate such initiatives after the EU figures out what it stands for regarding Ukraine.

“First of all, the EU should make up its mind about itself,” Zakharova said, urging the EU to decide whether it is pursuing a unified foreign policy or if decisions are handled by individual member states.

Russia, she said, has repeatedly heard “contradicting statements” coming from the EU. Zakharova noted that many supposed initiatives had been put forward by member states and were later retracted or never followed-up on because they were not approved by Brussels.

“Secondly, the EU also needs to make up its mind whether they support the talks [on Ukraine], or the battlefield solution, as [EU foreign policy chief Josep] Borrell had put it,” she said.

Zakharova’s comment comes after Borrell signaled on Wednesday that the EU was ready to seek a “diplomatic solution” to the conflict in Ukraine, but vowing that the bloc would continue to provide Kiev with military and financial support while ramping up pressure on Russia through sanctions.

However, in April Borrell issued a much different statement, claiming then that the conflict in Ukraine “will be won on the battlefield.”

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

During referendums that took place in late September, the two Donbass republics, along with Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law unification treaties with former Ukrainian territories, officially making them part of Russia. Prior to this, the Russian leader vowed to use “all means” necessary to defend the country’s territorial integrity in the face of external threats.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

EU nation temporarily waives anti-Russia sanctions

Samizdat | October 5, 2022

Energy-starved Bulgaria will temporarily cease to enforce EU sanctions on Russian fuel, to ensure the work of government institutions, the state press service reported on Wednesday following a Cabinet meeting.

According to the report, Russian companies supplying automotive fuel will be exempt from the embargo until the end of 2024, due to shortages in the country.

“It is permitted to conclude new state contracts and framework agreements with automotive fuel suppliers from the Russian Federation after October 10, 2022… An exception is introduced due to the need to ensure the normal operation of state bodies and other structures requiring motor fuel, in order to protect public order, the life and health of the citizens of Bulgaria, and national security,” the press service announced. The ban will come back into force on December 31, 2024.

The dominant fuel provider in the Balkan country is the Neftochim Burgas refinery, which is owned by Russia’s Lukoil. Until the sanctions, half of its oil supply came from Russia.

In early September, the head of the Bulgarian Finance Ministry, Rositsa Velkova, announced her intention to obtain permission from Brussels to continue buying fuel from Russia until at least the end of 2024. If Sophia does not receive a reprieve from the sanctions, the country’s drivers risk being left without fuel, the minister stressed.

October 5, 2022 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 2 Comments

Western regimes are intent on maintaining energy poverty in Africa

By Ekaterina Blunova – Samizdat – 05.10.2022

Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim criticized the West on Monday for obstructing African nations’ effort to develop their own hydrocarbon reserves and constantly ignoring the energy poverty problems of the Global South. What’s behind the Global North’s political short-sightedness and who benefits from the controversy?

Even though Africa boasts roughly 12% and 9% of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves, respectively, most of the continent’s nations suffer from energy poverty. However, once the energy crisis hit Europe, EU governments immediately turned to the African continent, seeking to tap its resources while overlooking the continent’s longstanding problems.

“The West’s exploitation of Africa’s wealth is driven by two factors,” explained Dr. Mamdouh G. Salameh, an international oil economist and a global energy expert. “The first is the old racist view that African people are backward and inferior to Western people and therefore can’t defend themselves or protect their natural resources. In a nutshell, it is doable. The second factor is greed and profit, which are the core of the Western capitalist system of taking advantage of poor and helpless people and exploiting their resources without letting them benefit the slightest from their stolen resources. That is how Western empires were built in Africa and around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.”

The Central African Countries suffer from severe energy poverty because they neither have the infrastructure (refineries, oil and gas pipelines) to benefit from their vast energy resources and also distribute energy, nor do they have the financial means to build such infrastructure, according to the oil economist. The deplorable state of Africa’s energy infrastructure stems from the fact that the West is by no means interested in the continent’s sustainability, Salameh highlighted.

“The ultimate beneficiary from Africa’s energy poverty, particularly refined products, is Western oil companies,” the energy expert said.

One glaring example is the 4,128 km-long Trans-Saharan gas pipeline. It is supposed to link Nigeria to Algeria, passing through Niger and bring Nigerian and Algerian gas exports to Europe while simultaneously benefiting energy-poor African countries from Nigeria’s and Algeria’s plentiful gas reserves estimated at 206.53 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and 159 tcf respectively, the oil economist explained.

Although this pipeline was conceived in the 1970s, it is still at the drawing board stage despite many memorandums of understanding signed over the years, the latest in mid-February, Salameh pointed out, forecasting that “it won’t see the light of day even in the next 10 years.”

“Western countries have consistently ignored Africa’s energy resources for years declining to offer investments as long as they didn’t need these resources at the time,” he said. “But in the aftermath of the Ukraine conflict and having introduced sweeping sanctions against Russia, the European Union is trying to curry favor with African hydrocarbon producers to reduce its dependence on Russia’s gas and oil supplies.”

The unfolding energy crisis offers new opportunities for Africa to develop oil and gas infrastructure and step up production of hydrocarbons. However, while African business leaders and policy-makers are brushing off the dust from their long-delayed energy projects, Western politicians and environmentalists have raised concerns about climate change issues, insisting that Africa’s consumption of fossil fuels could make matters far worse.

“The West puts so much importance on the climate change agenda in Africa,” said Salameh. “I would hazard two explanations for the West’s attitude. The first explanation is that the West is under the misjudged and erroneous view that any future energy assets – like investing in oil and gas production and building pipelines will end up after 2030 as stranded assets. The second explanation is a more sinister one, with the West wishing to keep African energy resources underground in order to satisfy its own appetite for energy in the future.”

Last month, US climate czar John Kerry discouraged investors from funding long-term gas projects in Africa, warning that they would be unable to recoup their investments beyond 2030. According to Kerry, it will be important to capture the emissions from gas after 2030, as the world is set to reach net-zero emissions in 2050.

On October 3, Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim lambasted the West for hypocrisy and a double-standard approach at the “Reuters impact” conference in London. Ibrahim drew attention to the fact that the “Global North” is preventing African nations from developing their own gas reserves over climate change fears, while at the same time seeking opportunities to gain from African resources themselves.

This is not the first time that Ibrahim has lambasted Western policy-makers over their Africa policies. In July 2022, the billionaire’s foundation released “The road to COP27: Making Africa’s case in the global climate debate,” dedicated to the forthcoming 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt scheduled for November, 6-18. The report highlighted that “the current climate agenda is failing Africa” and placed the emphasis on the continent’s people’s right to energy access, given that a staggering 600 million Africans are still lacking it.

“The green agenda is hampering African countries from fully tapping and exploiting their hydrocarbon resources,” said Salameh. “This is a double-edged approach in that it enhances energy poverty in Africa while simultaneously depriving the EU of Africa’s energy resources (…) If African countries don’t have the infrastructure, the technical know-how and the financial resources to benefit from their own vast hydrocarbon resources, how would anyone expect them to develop green energy?”

Meanwhile, the Western green agenda for Africa is “faulty,” according to the energy expert: Africa accounted for only 3.8% of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels and industry in 2020, which is the smallest share among all world regions.

On the other hand, climate groups who call for an abrupt end to fossil fuels and a sudden adoption of renewable energy fail to recognize the obvious lack of logic in this, continued Salameh.

“On their own, renewables aren’t capable of satisfying global demand for electricity and energy because of their intermittent nature,” the oil economist explained, characterizing a total energy transition as an “illusion.”

The current energy crisis in Europe clearly indicated that the Old Continent can’t rely on renewables alone. Furthermore, EU member states had to restart their coal plants after resorting to an anti-Russia energy embargo over the latter’s special military operation in Ukraine.

“While denying Africa’s right to push ahead with its own energy endeavors, the West would be eager to offer investments and technological know-how to the continent in exchange for receiving the lion’s share of the regional hydrocarbon wealth. The West doesn’t care whether African countries are experiencing severe energy poverty or not as long as it gets its hands on these reserves,” Salameh concluded.

October 5, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | 2 Comments

Orbán: ‘Sanctions were not decided democratically’

Free West Media | October 5, 2022

Hungarian President Orbán has once again positioned himself as a committed advocate of genuine European interests and persists in his criticism of the EU’s sanctions policy against Russia.

At least in Hungary, citizens will be able to vote on the sanctions that are causing massive damage to Europe, after Orbán confirmed that there would soon be a referendum on this.

“The sanctions were not decided in a democratic way, but decided by Brussels bureaucrats and European elites,” he said in the Budapest parliament. “Although Europe’s citizens are paying the price, they have not been asked,” he added, underlining that “the sanctions imposed are causing enormous damage to Europe.”

Orbán recalled that since the war began, Russia has earned 158 billion euros over the last six months from energy exports at increased prices. That is more than Russia’s total annual export earnings for 2021 in half a year. Half of this, 85 billion euros, was paid for by the EU countries.

Orbán considers this situation to be intolerable: “European companies are unable, or only with difficulty, to pay the sanctioned energy prices. We are waiting for an answer, the whole of Europe is waiting for an answer from Brussels on the question of how much longer we have to go through with this. If this continues, all of Europe will be ruined. It’s time to talk openly about this with our American friends while it’s not too late.”

October 5, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Russophobia | , | 1 Comment

The EU prioritises the Abraham Accords

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | October 4, 2022

At the UN General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, defined Israel’s security concerns as the motivating factor behind supporting the two-state paradigm, even as the US has been repeating that it does not envisage any resolution in the immediate future. With the Abraham Accords being the main driving force behind US-Israeli decisions, Lapid’s nod towards the failed international consensus holds no substance for the Palestinian people. In practice, Lapid’s words are no different from refuting the paradigm – the Israeli government’s colonial settlement expansion has determined the pace.

However, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell, claimed encouragement at Lapid’s words. “This is also what we want to push for. We want the resumption of a political process that can lead to a two-state solution and a comprehensive regional peace,” Borrell stated at the EU-Israeli Association Council meeting on Monday.

The EU’s position statement regarding the meeting, however, indicates full agreement with the Abraham Accords, which are mentioned prior to the bloc’s adherence to the two-state compromise. Referencing the normalisation agreements, the EU’s statement partly reads, “In this regard, the EU will seek to encourage and build upon the recent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries, with a view to enhancing the prospects to reach a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East Peace Process.” Giving prominence to the Abraham Accords in this way suggests that the EU was not as averse to the Trump administration’s politics as it sought to portray. Only US President Joe Biden made it easier for the EU to retain its two-state diplomacy, while overtly agreeing to policies which were previously ridiculed only because the US had Donald Trump as President.

Since the US is actively engaging with Arab countries through the normalisation framework and trying to get the Palestinian Authority on board as well, the Abraham Accords have gained more recognition in international circles. The EU, however, is clearly stating that it will be using the agreements to “enhance” the possibility of a resolution, knowing full well that the agreements only serve to solidify Israel’s diplomatic ties and, in return, bolster its impunity.

In his virtual address to the meeting yesterday, Lapid’s commitment to the two-state paradigm included an assertion that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital, which goes against international resolutions. However, Lapid’s best card was the Israeli government’s economic concessions to the PA, spoken of without the context of Israel knowing it is facing a gradually changing Palestinian society which will not wait upon its leadership to determine the way forward to legitimate resistance against colonialism.

The EU’s press release describing the meeting states the intent to “build upon the momentum generated at the UN General Assembly” in terms of the so-called peace process. Yet, Palestinians know that the veneer of concern was nothing more than a bid to deflect criticism from the fact that the EU chose, yet again, to engage with a colonial entity which specialises in breaking international law and committing war crimes. With the Abraham Accords subtly taking centre stage, and with full agreement on behalf of the EU, it should at least be made clear that no independence and no Palestinian State can be reached, unless a radical change in politics is implemented.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s Energy Crisis Worsens as Gov’t Fails to Finds Bidder to Supply Natural Gas Before 2028

Samizdat – 04.10.2022

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the European countries are purchasing most of the gas supplies available on the market, leaving Pakistan with no source of energy. Similar concerns about difficulties experienced by the ‘Global South’ in meeting their energy demands have been voiced by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.

Islamabad has failed to find even a single bidder in response to a tender floated by Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) for supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) between 2023 and 2028, as per an official document.

As per tender documents, the PLL had in August invited bids for the supply of 72 units of LNG cargo starting in January next year. Under the terms of the tender, the government agency said it wanted to import 140,000 cubic meters of LNG every month for six years. The results of the bid were published on Monday.

A tender for procuring 10 cargoes of LNG floated by the Pakistani government in July had also failed to attract even a single bidder.

The latest development comes against the backdrop of an ongoing energy and economic crisis in the South Asian country, which is grappling with power shortages owing to a shortfall in energy supplies spurred by high prices and a surge in demand in the European countries.

Pakistan has also been facing the problem of depleting forex reserves and is awaiting the disbursement of $1.17 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after reaching a staff level agreement (SLA) in July.

Billions of dollars in aid are also awaited from other countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the authorities have said.

S&P Global said last month that power shortages have been exacerbated by unprecedented flooding, as major grid stations have been endangered due to the climate disaster and connectivity options have been disrupted.

Before the floods struck in June-July, Pakistan was already reeling under high energy import bills, which had surged 91 percent to $4.98 billion on a year-on-year basis as of the end of the financial year in June, as per the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

A report by Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has said that energy import bills could increase to more than $32 billion by 2030.

The global surge in energy prices has largely been blamed on Western sanctions against Russia in the wake of the eruption of Ukraine crisis, with many European countries looking for alternatives to Russian energy.

As the EU seeks to draw down its reliance on Russia, which has been EU’s primary supplier of gas, many EU countries have ramped up their imports from other countries such as Qatar, another major producer of natural gas.

In many cases, the richer EU nations have been offering better rates for sourcing energy than the developing countries.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Nord Stream pipelines can be restored – Moscow

Samizdat | October 2, 2022

Russia may be able to fix the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which were damaged earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Sunday.

“There are technical possibilities to restore the infrastructure, it requires time and appropriate funds. I am sure that appropriate opportunities will be found,” Novak told Russia 1 TV.

According to the official, however, the first step should be to determine who is behind the incident.

“As of today, we proceed from the fact that it is necessary, first of all, to figure out who did it, and we are sure that certain countries, which had expressed their positions before, were interested in it. Both the US and Ukraine, as well as Poland at one time said that this infrastructure is not going to work, that they will do everything to make sure of it, so, of course, it is necessary to seriously look into it,” Novak stated.

Citing German security services, Der Tagesspiegel newspaper earlier reported that the damaged routes could be permanently out of use if they are not repaired quickly, as salt water could cause corrosion.

The Danish authorities reported leaks on both the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines on Monday after a local pipeline operator noted a loss of pressure following a series of undersea explosions in the area. The Danish Energy Agency reported earlier on Sunday that the pressure on the Nord Stream 1 is stable and the gas leakage is over, while on Saturday, it said the Nord Stream 2 also stopped leaking gas.

The incident is widely considered to be the result of sabotage. Russia has called it a terrorist attack. While those behind it have not yet been identified, Moscow has blamed the US.

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 3 Comments

Western-imposed Green Agenda Would ‘Cripple’ Africa’s Energy Security, Energy Expert Warns

Samizdat – 01.10.2022

The African Development Bank Group estimates that more than 640 million Africans have no access to energy, with the continent enjoying an overall electricity access rate of just over 40 percent. Multinational energy giants have systematically underfunded local energy projects, all while searching for new sources of oil and gas for Western markets.

Despite its untold riches in energy and other natural resources, Africa remains the least developed continent on the planet when it comes to access to the benefits of this wealth by ordinary citizens. The International Energy Agency has estimated that among Africa’s 54 nations, only nine – Algeria, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Libya, South Africa and Tunisia, enjoy electrification rates of 85 percent or above.

Even countries endowed with large reserves of oil and gas like Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, Congo and Uganda have been unable to provide the vast majorities of citizens with access to these resources, with 38 percent of Nigerians, 57 percent of Angolans, and 71 percent of Ugandans lacking access to electricity.

For nations with smaller energy reserves, and those without proven oil and gas assets, the figures are even gloomier, with just 9 percent of Chadians and residents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo hooked up to the electricity grid, while only 12 percent of Liberians, 14 percent of the residents of Niger, and 18 percent of Somalis enjoy access.

The causes of the continent’s stunted energy status are multifaceted, ranging from the legacy of colonialism to decades of plunder of energy rich nations’ resources by foreign multinationals, to a dearth of capital for domestic investment, to efforts by Western powers and international institutions they control to force the region to reject fossil fuels in favor of renewables.

The problem has only been exacerbated by the global energy crisis caused by Western nations’ efforts to sanction or restrict Russian oil and gas purchases. In August, Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reported that European states have made a push to fix the energy shortfall by outbidding developing nations for contracts from other global suppliers, driving poorer countries out of the market.

Last year, Nigerian Environment Minister Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar accused the developed West of deliberately defunding Africa’s natural gas projects on the grounds that they contribute to the global climate crisis, notwithstanding the fact that the entirety of Sub-Saharan Africa produces just 0.55 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

In 2021, the European Investment Bank stopped financing hydrocarbon development projects in Africa altogether as part of an “ambitious new climate strategy and energy lending policy.” The same year, the World Bank announced plans to shift resources from energy projects to “combating climate change.”

“Africa’s oil and gas sector is experiencing underproduction and underinvestment as major international majors exit portfolios in key hydrocarbon producing countries such as Nigeria and Angola,” says N.J. Ayuk, chairman of the African Energy Chamber, a Johannesburg-based nonprofit advocating energy development in Africa, for Africans.

“Projects operated by majors in the deep-water projects are cost intensive. But also, capital restrictions by Western financial institutions are crippling the African gas market. Without finance, energy poverty rates will go up dramatically,” Ayuk says.

Characterizing energy poverty as the “single most important issue” facing the continent, the expert dismisses Western-backed institutions’ efforts to push Africa toward renewable energy, pointing out that as things stand, underdevelopment of hydrocarbon resources means that 45 percent of the continent relies on highly polluting hard biomass for energy.

As for renewable sources of energy like solar, wind and hydrogen power, Ayuk warns that the push being made in this direction threatens to “cripple” the continent.
“Many existing power grids in Africa remain underdeveloped, such that an intermittent supply of energy can threaten the stability of an entire grid,” the observer says, referring to the tendency for renewable energy to depend heavily on weather conditions.

“Such is the case in Kenya, which is widely considered to be at the forefront of Africa’s energy transition, building momentum in the renewable sector with the 310 MW Lake Turkana wind farm and 50 MW Garissa solar PV station. Some 15 percent of Kenya’s installed capacity comes from solar and wind, but as our 2022 Outlook reports, they have experienced severe voltage instability. Better system management, upgraded infrastructure, and long-term power storage technology are needed to solve these problems, but implementing these things on a nationwide or continent-wide scale won’t happen overnight,” Ayuk explains.

Another problem is Africa’s “near-complete” dependence on foreign equipment and expertise for its renewables capacity, with the majority of solar cells and windmills made in China, Europe or the United States, who also provide training and tech related to the installation, maintenance and repair.

“Economically, this means fewer home-grown jobs for Africans in this sector until such capacity can be developed. It also ensures [insecurity] of supply in case war or politics cripples the ability to import key raw materials and workers,” Ayuk stresses.

What Is To Be Done?

An alternative to listening to foreign dictates on energy policy is to focus on domestic resources, and to partner with those nations which are ready to help Africa secure its energy independence.

For Ayuk, this means intra-African natural gas pipelines capable not only of working to diminish energy poverty, but stimulating a drive toward industrialization which will translate to jobs. To stimulate development, African nations will need to stimulate capital investments and reduce taxes, and to work conscientiously to focus on infrastructure for domestic use, instead of export.

“Energy demand across Africa is expected to triple within the next 20 years – faster than anywhere else in the world – as a result of population growth, rising incomes, and rapid urbanization. To meet such rapidly accelerating demand, Africa needs the ability to make use of its existing natural resources and human capital, and to employ tried-and-true solutions that will reliably keep the lights on when the wind won’t blow and the sun won’t shine. Mitigating climate change must remain part of the equation, but the perfect cannot be allowed to be the enemy of the good when so many people are starting from zero,” the analyst says.

Russia can play an important role in improving Africa’s energy security, the observer believes, with Moscow needing to step up its game on the fulfillment of memorandums already signed, and to engage in the financing of gas projects, as well as sharing the country’s substantial expertise on the construction of infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva announced that Russian investors had expressed an interest in the financing of a massive gas pipeline project running from Nigeria to Morocco. If implemented, the prospective 5,600+ km piece of infrastructure would connect nations along the entire West African coast to natural gas, serving as a catalyst both for electrification and for regional economic development.

Nigeria has over 206 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves valued at trillions of dollars, but has long been starved of capital for the development of these resources.
Speaking to Sputnik last week, Sylva expressed confidence that Nigeria and Russia would be able to cooperate to help stabilize the global supply of energy.

However, last month, Biden administration climate envoy John Kerry warned against long-term gas projects in Africa, claiming countries that make investments would be unable to recoup their investments beyond 2030, and that the continent should instead focus on cleaner energy sources.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | Leave a comment

US helicopters circled over Nordstream for weeks

Free West Media | October 1, 2022

More and more disturbing details are coming to light in connection with the bombing of the Nordstream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

The Arabic news channel Al Mayadeen reported that weeks before the attack, US helicopters were circling over the sea area where the fatal explosions took place on September 26 with a striking frequency.

This can be reconstructed using the flight data from the online service “Flightradar24”. According to this, at the beginning of September, just under a month before the attack, a US Navy Sikorsky MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter was circling for hours on several consecutive days – especially on September 1, 2 and 3 later over the area of the damaged natural gas pipelines not far from the island of Bornholm.

According to the aircraft tracking portal, the US helicopter flew from Gdansk to the area where the Nordstream pipelines were several times.

On September 10 and 19, US helicopters also flew over Nordstream 1, and on the nights between September 22 and 25, several helicopters stayed for hours over the site of later explosions. The helicopters that were in the air on the night of September 22 to 23 and 25 to 26 left particularly confusing flight tracks.

On the latter night, a multi-purpose MH-60R “Strike Hawk” helicopter circled for nine hours over a sea area about 250 kilometers from Bornholm, from about 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Central European Time. Among other things, the “Strike Hawk” can fight underwater targets.

No repair work possible

No repair work will be taking place on Nordstream Pipelines 1 and 2. Such tasks would have to be commissioned and paid for by Russia, because Russia owns the pipelines. And the EU would have to lift its sanctions against Russia to carry out the work. This is not to be expected in the foreseeable future.

The time window for a possible repair closes in October. Because the tubes are currently full of salt water. Without immediate action, this salt water will corrode the tubes, which are protected against its effects only on the outside, but not on the inside. This information is also available to the federal government, which appears to have written off the entire Nordstream project.

With the demise of Nordstream, the German economy lost billions in value.

The German Bild newspaper summarized the Western dilemma in a quote from an alleged “Russia expert” as follows: “The question is not of a technical, but of a political and legal nature. A number of sanctions against Russian gas supplies will have to be lifted for repairs. The ships that can carry out the construction work must obtain permission for such work. Gazprom needs to be able to pay for the repairs. The necessary technological solutions must also be made available.”

These problems will never be overcome in time – that is, in a few weeks.

So far, more than half of the natural gas in the pipeline has leaked. It stands to reason that the rest will escape as well. And then Nordstream would be history.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , | 4 Comments

History Repeats Itself: The Time US Sabotaged a Soviet Gas Pipeline and Bragged About It

By Ilya Tsukanov – Samizdat – 01.10.2022

Blasts rocked the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines on Monday, with each pipeline reportedly hit with the force of over 500 kg of TNT – which when combined is equivalent to the explosive power of a micro nuke. The Kremlin called the incident an act of terrorism, while Russian intelligence has pointed to a Western trace.

In his address before lawmakers and the nation on Friday on the entry of four new territories into the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin said that the attacks against Nord Stream were the next logical step for the US and its allies after exhausting anti-Russian sanctions. “It seems incredible but it is a fact – by causing explosions on Nord Stream’s international gas pipelines passing along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, they have actually embarked on the destruction of Europe’s entire energy infrastructure,” the Russian president said.

Officials in Denmark, Sweden and Berlin have not ruled out deliberate sabotage, and NATO paid lip service to “support” for “investigations underway to determine the origin of the damage.” A Pentagon official refused to comment on a Flightradar24 analysis showing US military helicopters circling for hours in the areas where the explosions hit prior to the incident. Meanwhile, former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski tweeted and then deleted a “Thank you, USA” message alongside a picture of a massive methane leak emanating from one of the damaged pipelines, and boasted that “now, $20 billion of scrap metal lies at the bottom of the sea.” Meanwhile, some Western officials and media continue to claim that Russia sabotaged its own pipelines.

The attacks against Nord Stream are not the first time that a ‘Western trace’ has been suspected in the sabotage of gas pipelines operated by Moscow.

In the summer of 1982, the Urengoy-Surgut-Chelyabinsk pipeline carrying natural gas south and west toward Ukraine, where it can be taken further west toward Europe, was rocked by a massive explosion. The explosion’s causes were unknown, and Soviet media never reported on the incident.

In 2004, former Reagan special assistant for national security affairs and National Security Council official Thomas Reed published an autobiography entitled ‘At the Abyss’ in which he alleged that the Central Intelligence Agency had sabotaged the pipeline by adding a virus into software the USSR had purchased from a Canadian company to operate the infrastructure.

“The pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space,” Reed recalled.

The former official said the act of sabotage was aimed at disrupting the USSR’s gas infrastructure, “its hard currency earnings from the West and the internal Russian economy,” and that the scheme was thought up by National Security Council technology and intelligence advisor Gus Weiss.

Portions of the operation were disclosed earlier, in a 1996 paper in CIA journal Studies in Intelligence by Weiss. In it, the former official recalled how, at an economic summit in Ottawa in 1981, French President Francois Mitterrand had informed Ronald Reagan that a KGB double agent named Vladimir Vetrov had come forward to provide French intelligence with 4,000 documents and photographs related to alleged Soviet efforts to get their hands on Western technologies which the US and allies refused to sell due to sanctions and embargoes. The collection of documents was dubbed the ‘Farewell Dossier’.

In January 1982, Weiss said, he proposed the pipeline sabotage idea to CIA director William Casey. “Reagan received the plan enthusiastically” and “Casey was given a go,” Reed wrote in his account.

Reed recalled that when the explosion occurred, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) – the organization tasked with aerospace early warning, initially feared a Soviet “missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based. Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device. Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis, Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow National Security Council staffers not to worry.”

As has long been the case with the Nord Stream pipelines, the United States had adamantly opposed Soviet projects to deliver gas from Siberia to Western Europe, characterizing them as a means for Moscow to project influence over the Europeans. In 1982, the Reagan administration banned pipeline equipment sales to the USSR, prompting the European Economic Community – forerunner to the European Union, to issue a formal protest over Washington’s interference in the bloc’s economic affairs. Germany, France, Italy and the UK declared the restrictions illegal, and promised to defy the ban. Washington eventually reneged, and the first gas deliveries from Urengoy to Western Europe began in January 1984.

To this day, Russian officials have never conceded that the 1982 explosion was the result of CIA interference. In the 1990s and 2000s, when relations between Russia and the US still looked rosy, engineers and ex-KGB agents came forward to tell media that industrial negligence or even shoddy workmanship, and not sabotage, was to blame.

The CIA never directly confirmed its involvement in the Urengoy-Surgut-Chelyabinsk pipeline explosion. However, in a page on the CIA’s official website, the agency did boast that “flawed turbines were installed on a gas pipeline” as part of a broader US technological sabotage campaign against the USSR.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments