The Gas Value Chain Company

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Berlin/Friedrichskoog, 22.10.2021

Wolfgang was invited to deliver a second podcast for and recorded by the ‘Deutsch-Russische Außenhandelskammer’ (German-Russian Chamber of Commerce, ‘AHK’) titled ‘Gaspreis: Warum ist er so hoch? – Nord Stream 2 könnte den Markt beruhigen’ (Gas prices: Why are they so high? Nord Stream 2 could calm the market).

The podcast (in German language) can be accessed at the website of the AHK via the following link:

At the website of the AHK the podcast is advertised as shown below and also points – besides the above apple-link – to other, perhaps more suitable links.

In the podcast, Wolfgang explained i.a.:

The recent exponential rise in wholesale gas prices (world-wide and European) triggered a ‘shitstorm’ of conspiracy theories accusing Russia of ‘withholding gas supplies to Europe’, thereby pushing up prices. The proponents are ignorant of the fact that Europe is part of a meanwhile existing global gas market. Due to the global LNG-trade, price-correlations exist between Asia, Latin America and Europe. Hence, distortions in one region will affect also other regions, including Europe.

The existence of a global gas market also means that dependency on Russia no longer exists. It is outright hypocrisy that the very opponents of Nord Stream 2, who ignored the global gas market in order to be able to continue opposing it, are now the ones accusing Russia of manipulating the traded gas markets. Read more

A multitude of global occurrences (ranging from exceptionally high unplanned outages on the supply-side towards demand surges in China, Japan and, later in the year, Brazil and Turkey) contributed to the global supply tightness causing the price spikes. But also e.g. the German ‘Energiewende’ played its part: Low wind output in the first half of 2021 required fossil fuels to step in the breach to satisfy rising power demand. With, initially, low gas prices and high carbon emission prices, gas took precedence over coal.  While, however, usually gas would have to defer to coal in the power generation merit order with gas prices rising, the gas-to-coal switch happened much later and in some cases not at all. In consequence, gas demand for power generation, exacerbated by the need to fill up storages, remained high, and was thus a ‘co-cause’ for elevated European gas prices.

There is consensus amongst experts that the gas price hike will be temporary: global gas reserves could, theoretically, last for the next 200 years. In contrast, the power price levels, also elevated towards unprecedented new highs, are ‘systemic’: By radically diminishing the offer side (e.g. retiring nuclear and coal) and, at the same time, significantly increasing demand (heat pumps, e-mobility, electrolysis etc), a price rise is economically inevitable.


Heide/Friedrichskoog, 21.10. and 04.11.2021

Wolfgang delivered a reader’s comment in response to an article titled ‘Betriebserlaubnis für Nord Stream 2: EU degradiert sich selbst.’ (Operating permit for Nord Stream 2: EU is degrading itself).

The journalist Mrs. Becke opined that the EU had degraded itself by permitting Nord Stream 2 against Polish resistance. Wolfgang rebutted that the EU had indeed degraded itself by changing the Third Gas Directive such it now also applied to import pipelines from non-EU-countries. This at a time when all permits had already been granted and billions had been invested. By forcing Nord Stream 2 to now grant third party access at the bottom of the sea, the EU has degraded itself by misusing regulation as a geopolitical weapon.


Brussels/Friedrichskoog, 23.09.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed by the Brussels based ARD journalist Michael Grytz for a news commentary titled ‘EU will steigendem Erdgaspreis entgegenwirken’. The commentary was broadcasted in the ARD Tagesschau, one of the major German news channels, on 23 September 2021. Unfortunately, the video is not available.

Various of Wolfgang’s statements were included in the broadcast. I.a. he explained that the price surge had to do with several aspects of the global gas market, ranging from surging LNG demand in Asia towards an unusually high level of ‘unplanned outages’ on the supply side.


Berlin/Friedrichskoog, 21.09.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed for and quoted in an article titled ‘Gaspreise – Ist Russland schuld? – Die Gaspreise gehen durch die Decke – und einige Experten sehen die Ursache in Putins Geopolitik. Doch es gibt andere Gründe für den Preisanstieg.’ (Gas Prices – Is Russia to be blamed? – Gas prices go through the roof – and some experts consider this the result of Putin’s geopolitics. However, there are other reasons.’), by Klaus Stratmann, a German journalist of the leading German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

Wolfgang was prominently quoted several times, i.a.stating that:

  • In the face of the current price action, the existence of a global gas market can no longer be denied. Hence, the assertions of dependency on Russia, still brought forward by Nord Stream 2 opponents, can no longer be upheld.
  • The market tightness arising since 4Q’20 is hinging on both ‘out of the ordinary’ supply constraints and demand spikes.

Read more

On the supply side, an unusually high number of ‘unplanned outages’ (both LNG and pipe) contributed to supply tightness.

On the demand side, earlier recovery of the Asian economy and a harsh winter causing problems on the power side (e.g. in Japan and China) boosted LNG demand. In summer, droughts e.g. in Brazil and Turkey curtailed hydro-power generation causing a massive demand pull for LNG (Brazil) and also piped gas (Turkey, from Russia i.a. via Turkstream).

Long-term contracts (albeit no longer oil-indexed, but predominantly hub-indexed) still constitute the majority of Russian supplies to Europe. They feature a buyers’ nomination right and thus cannot be (mis-) used to withhold volumes.

According to the IEA, the supply/demand tightness will relax in the second half of 2022 and so will prices.


Berlin/Friedrichskoog, 16.09.2021

Wolfgang was interviewed by the ZDF journalist Andreas Kynast for a news commentary titled ‘Nord Stream 2 Bauarbeiten beendet – kann das Projekt noch gestoppt werden?’ (Nord Stream 2 construction completed – can the project still be stopped?) The commentary was broadcasted in the ZDF heutejournal, one of the major German news channels, on 16 September 2021.

Various of Wolfgang’s statements were included in the broadcast. Read more.I.a. he explained that the prohibition of a project featuring all necessary permits and approvals would violate the rule of law. Similar to the premature nuclear exit, it would qualify as an expropriation and thus trigger massive damage claims by the investors. Moreover, he explained that the plans of various politicians to switch the pipeline on and off was an illegal cloud cuckoo land endeavor.


Friedrichskoog, July 2021

Wolfgang published a paper titled ‘ACCELERATED DECARBONISATION COMMANDS EVER MORE GAS – The removal of U.S. sanctions will enable Nord Stream 2 to  contribute significantly to lower CO2 emissions and cleaner air –‘.

The paper is an extended and updated version of the paper previously published in Natural Gas World, now including the German-American accord on lifting the U.S. Nord Stream 2 sanctions.


London/Friedrichskoog, June 2021

Wolfgang published a paper titled ‘ACCELERATED DECARBONISATION COMMANDS EVER MORE GAS – And Nord Stream 2 will contribute significantly to affordable European energy security, lower CO2 emissions and cleaner air’ in Natural Gas World (, one of the leading publications in the global gas business.

The article was inspired by a recent decision of the German Constitutional Court ruling that the existing German climate protection legislation was insufficient beyond 2030, leaving the claimants, predominantly comprising the so-called ‘young generation’ (e.g. ‘Fridays for Future’ and others) with too much of a burden to achieve net-zero carbon. While the measures up to 2030 were not considered unlawful, the conclusion of essentially all parties was acceleration of decarbonization now.

Wolfgang i.a. picks up on the Special Report of the International Energy Agency emphasizing that half the technologies required to achieve net-zero carbon are at the research & development stage (and that the current technologies deployed were not adequate to achieve net-zero carbon).

Thus, the deployment of more gas faster is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ to substantially reduce CO2 emissions up to a decarbonization degree of ~65%, beyond which gas would have to turn ‘non-fossil’.

The continued use of gaseous molecules – as opposed to an all-out electrification – is hugely cost-beneficial. It allows the continued use of the existing gas grids, thereby alleviating the need for excessive expansion of the power grid. The cost for transporting electrons (as opposed to gaseous molecules) is more expensive by a factor of >6 on a €/kWh comparison basis.