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Interview

London/Friedrichskoog, 31.01.2022

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Europe’s policies aimed at phasing out long-term supply contracts expose midstream suppliers to global price volatility’ by Katya Zapletnyuk, editor in chief of and energy expert at ICIS Heren, published in ICIS Gas In Focus (GIF 29.02 of 31 January 2022), the leading gas industry report with an established audience of executives, analysts and traders since 1994.

The article has been shared by Katya and can also be accessed at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/katya-zapletnyuk-b15645_icis-gasmarket-gassupply-activity-6894302411536547840-S2zY.

Wolfgang pointed out that, while producers were of course entirely capable to offload their entire production into the liquid traded markets by themselves, it created a significant financial burden to come up with the trade margin collateral and also to bear the entire counterparty default credit risk. In the past, after price revisions had established hub-indexation in long-term contracts, various producers had indeed taken some volumes out of the long-term contracts in order to market them by themselves. However, the bulk was left in the long-term contracts with the midstreamers, for the above reasons, the latter now essentially acting as service providers. It was entirely possible that producers might take an initiative later with a view to retain, albeit hub-indexed, long-term contracts.

Interview

Brussels/Friedrichskoog, 26.01.2022

Wolfgang was interviewed by the Brussels based ARD journalist Michael Grytz for a news report ‘Wie sicher ist die Gasversorgung ohne russisches Gas’. The report was broadcasted by the ARD, one of the major German news channels in ‘Tagesthemen’ on 26 January 2022 at 22:15 hrs.

I.a., Mr. Grytz pointed out that a serious European pipeline gas supply shortfall was stemming from the decision of the Dutch government to reduce – and eventually finish, as soon as 2022 – the once significant supplies from the giant Groningen field. Indeed,   the new German Minister of the Economy, Mr. Harbeck from the Green Party, had visited his Dutch colleague asking to keep the tabs open. Wolfgang pointed out that, while the Media were focusing on Russia shutting down supplies, it appeared, in the face of grim statements of European and American politicians, equally possible that Europe might put an embargo on the import of Russian gas. In both cases, the question was the same, namely whether Europe’s security of gas supply could nonetheless be maintained. Wolfgang pointed to multiple earlier publications and statements that there was meanwhile enough destination-flexible LNG in the global gas market to satisfy European demand. Moreover, there was ample European LNG-regasification capacity to absorb such. However, absent significant pipeline supplies, Europe would directly be competing with Asia for LNG, which could easily drive prices even higher than they already were.

Interview

Berlin/Friedrichskoog, 31.12.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Streitfall Nord Stream 2: Was Sie über das Milliardenprojekt wissen sollten (Nord Stream 2 dispute: What you ought to know about the multi-billion project) by Jan Emendörfer of Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), published on the RND website https://www.rnd.de/wirtschaft/nord-stream-2-was-sie-ueber-das-milliarden-projekt-wissen-sollten-EWZ2H6J2S5HKJGDH34X7IA45H4.html?outputType=amp

While even the new minister of the economy from the green party, who is opposed to the project, stated that the certification process will follow the rule of law, additional time delay arose recently: Somewhat surprising even for many experts, the amended Third Gas Directive, transposed into German law, requires that an independent transmission operator (ITO) for Nord Stream 2 must reside in Germany. We have previously qualified the amendment as a discriminatory ‘Lex Nord Stream 2’ (https://gasvaluechain.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-04-28-GVC-Paper-Nord-Stream-2-Hypocrisy.pdf), since it affected only this project and at a time, when all permits by five states had been granted and billions had already been invested. The surprise requirement to have the ITO reside in Germany turns out to be another point of discrimination: E.g. the three Norwegian import pipelines beaching Germany are operated by the Norwegian company Gasco. And even Nord Stream 1 is operated by the Zug-based Nord Stream AG.

Nord Stream 2 AG had already applied for the ITO status a while back. Now, it needs to establish a German subsidiary and transfer asset ownership of the part of the pipeline within the German 12 sea miles zone. Meanwhile, the German regulator has stopped the clock on the certification procedure. This delay could bring Nord Stream 2 operability well into the middle of the year 2022.

As to American sanctions Read morethe recent Merkel/Biden accord envisioning extended Ukainian transit beyond 2024 is a ‘best efforts’ commitment at best, since Germany cannot dictate Russia with whom to conclude which contracts. Despite the accord, American resistance is not over, however, the tides may be turning: In the face to exponentially rising gas prices also at the Henry Hub, there is a rising number of political voices calling for a reduction of U.S. LNG exports.

Interview

London/Friedrichskoog, 21.12.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Nord Stream 2 certification hits international and political roadblocks’ by Diane Elijah, an energy expert from ICIS, published in ICIS Gas In Focus (GIF 28.22 of 21 December 2021), the leading gas industry report with an established audience of executives, analysts and traders since 1994.

One of the issues contemplated in the article is whether the contracting of Ukrainian transit beyond 2024 could become a condition for the certification of Nord Stream 2. Wolfgang pointed out that Germany’s statement to support such in the recent Merkel/Biden accord is a ‘best efforts’ clause at best, since neither Germany nor anybody else are in the position to dictate Russia with whom to conclude contracts.

Interview

Berlin/Friedrichskoog, 11.11.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Lukaschenko droht EU mit Blockade von Gaslieferungen – Experten geben Entwarnung

(Lukaschenko threatens EU with blocking gas supplies – experts rule out the ability of such) by Jan Emendörfer of Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), published on the RND website https://www.rnd.de/politik/belarus-polen-grenzkonflikt-lukaschenko-droht-eu-mit-blockade-von-gaslieferungen-AMB3EHX2SRBQ3COA6LODC2C4AE.html.

Wolfgang clarified that the belarusian section of the Yamal-pipeline is owned by Gazprom. Moreover, it is operated by Gazprom Transgaz Belarus, which is also owned by Gazprom. Hence, an interference in the Russian gas flows was only possible by breach of international law.

Interview

London/Friedrichskoog, 09.11.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Russia Keeps Europe Guessing With Tight Gas Supplies; Moscow increased deliveries, sending prices lower, but it is too soon to say if it will send enough to avoid a winter energy shortage by Joe Wallace, an American journalist, published in the Wall Street Journal.

I.a., Wolfgang pointed out that, while more Russian gas would probably lessen the volatility of the European gas market prices currently seen, but would not be enough to calm the global market.

Interview

Brussels/Friedrichskoog, 26.10.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed by the Brussels based ARD journalist Michael Grytz for a news commentary titled ‘Hohe Strom- und Gaspreise – Keine Einigung der EU-Energieminister. The commentary was broadcasted in the ARD Tagesschau, one of the major German news channels, on 26 October 2021.

Various of Wolfgang’s statements were included in the broadcast. I.a. he explained that, while the gas price spike would be temporary, the extremely elevated power prices would very likely remain high and continue to feature extreme volatility. The major reason was the ‘Energiewende’: Read more  While demand was significantly increased i.a. by e-mobility, heat pumps and electrolysis, the offer was reduced by shutting down nuclear as well as coal-fired power generation. Price volatility would be exacerbated by adding more non-dispatchable wind- and solar generation capacity.