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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The bad times show their faces-or more on gas and oil

In today's edition:
  1. EU and Russia in scramble for Nigerian gas
  2. EU energy chief backs Arctic drilling
  3. UK wants more offsets in EU climate regime
After the good science news, there come some not so good energy news. It's so true that you see how much someone is worthy only in times of trouble...And with those articles, you'll understand how much the European resolve for working on the climate change. Very little.

EU and Russia in scramble for Nigerian gas

18 September 2008

The European Commission stepped up its quest to diversify the EU's energy supplies on Wednesday (17 September), offering financial and political support for a €15 billion trans-Saharan pipeline to carry natural gas from Nigeria to European markets.

The move comes after Gazprom, the Russia energy giant, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Moscow last week to co-operate on gas exploration, production and transportation, according to press reports.

The simultaneous moves by Brussels and Moscow illustrate the scramble for natural resources as continued growth in the global economy fuels ever-increasing demand for energy.

Nigeria "could be an important partner in EU's diversification efforts," said Ferran Tarradellas, spokesperson for EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who was in Nigeria last week.

"They have shown great interest in the project," Tarradellas told EurActiv, especially because the pipeline would help Nigeria deliver gas to its domestic market via a 1,050 km stretch running across its territory. Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned energy group, is also understood to strongly support the pipeline.

However, Tarradellas said it was "too early" to make any formal budgetary commitments at this stage, adding that the European Commission had "means to finance feasibility studies" but not entire projects. The European Investment Bank could help finance construction but money would have to come mainly from the private sector, he explained. European oil companies, including Shell, Total, and ENI, "have made significant investments in Nigeria and are likely to invest more," he added.

The planned 4,300 km pipeline would stretch across Nigeria, Niger and Algeria, where gas would be shipped to Spain and Italy via the Medgazexternal and Galsiexternal pipelines currently being developed or under construction. Its capacity would range from 20 billion cubic metres of gas per year (bcm/y) in 2015 and scaled up to 30bcm/y in 2030, according to a first project outlinePdf . According to the plan, construction would start in 2011, with the first gas expected to be delivered in 2015.

Tarradellas rejected suggestions that Gazprom's participation would create problems for the EU. "ExxonMobil is in Nigeria too and that does not pose us any problems," he said, adding that Gazprom was also seeking to diversify its supplies. "If Gazprom makes investments, they are free to do it, I don't see why this should pose us a problem." "Gas is a commodity that needs to be regulated by market rules." source

My comment: Haha. I wonder when EU and Gazprom will finally understand they love each other and you know, marry. Sure, it's not so simple nor so romantic, but business is business. And it's getting kind of ridiculous. Nigeria. People get shot there. People get kidnapped. And on all this, there you go two monsters more. What happened with human rights?

EU energy chief backs Arctic drilling

22 September 2008

Despite environmentalists' warnings against drilling for oil and gas in such a fragile ecosystem, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said guaranteeing Europe's energy security justified further exploration of the North Pole.

On 9 September 2008, EU Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Joe Borg announced that Brussels was preparing proposals to safeguard the Arctic, a region on the front line of global warming and increasingly at the centre of sovereignty conflicts (EurActiv 11/09/08).

The move comes as climate change is causing Arctic ice to melt, endangering many species of the region's flora and fauna, but, at the same time, making the resource-rich area more navigable and opening up new trading possibilities.

No country owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic surrounding it. The surrounding Arctic states of the USA, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland) have a 200 nautical mile economic zone around their coasts.

"You even need to go into hostile environments […] You can't say 'this is a sanctuary' because it will not work […] Otherwise, where will we get energy from?," he said, speaking at a debate organised by Friends of Europeexternal on Friday (19 September).

The commissioner nevertheless stressed the need to take "all environmental precautions". "You need clear-cut rules, clear environmental impact assessments and very responsible implementation," he said.

"I believe the Commission should help the countries that actually have these resources under their jurisdiction to develop the technologies or to use the technologies in an appropriate way," he added, saying the Commission should in no way fight for a ban on the use of Arctic resources.

But WWF Director Stephan Singer insisted that no amount of environmental and safety legislation would ever be sufficient to prevent oil companies' drilling activities from endangering the whole Arctic ecosystem.

He accused governments and energy companies of creating a "perverse situation" by choosing to drill "a very fragile ecosystem that is already basically dying" rather than working on reducing dependency on "inefficient oil and gas" and investing more in renewable energies.

"We need to get rid of our oil dependency overall […] We cannot wait until the last drop," he stressed.

But Piebalgs nevertheless conceded that the Arctic "will not provide the magical solution we are looking for" in terms of global energy security and will "hardly" reduce the EU's dependency on Russian energy "looking at the borderlines Russia has with the Arctic".

Piebalgs further said that he was "not at ease with developments in the Arctic," referring to increasingly conflicting ownership claims following Russia's flag-planting at the North Pole last summer. "Countries that are bordering the Arctic should be extremely serious about not making conflictual announcements, because whatever solution is found, it should be between all the countries bordering it."

The five states bordering the Arctic – Russia, Canada, the USA, Norway and Denmark - have promised to resolve the issue at the United Nations, and have until May 2009 to register their positions. A number of non-governmental organisations and academics have been calling for an Arctic Treaty similar to the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, which establishes the lack of national sovereignty over the continent so as to promote peace and scientific research. source

My comment: Fucking hypocrites. What more can I say?! First, we want to help the climate change and whatever and next thing you hear is how we should drill the North Pole. Oh, well. I like the sentence "Where will we take the energy from?". It's very representative of the opinion of the EC. Why should we use renewables when we can drill for oil! Oh, hell, what's wrong with them? Let's hope that at least while they fight each other for a piece of the cake, they will make a rules to protect at least part of the not-yet-dead arctic species.

UK wants more offsets in EU climate regime

18 September 2008

The British government is calling for a 20% increase in the number of CO2 reductions EU countries can claim through investment in "clean" development projects in developing countries, but critics say this could stall green investment in Europe.

The CDM "provides member states with a cost-effective means to meet their obligations and is an important flexibility mechanism," says a UK 'non-paper' leaked to the press on 17 September.

Downing Street suggests expanding the scheme to allow EU countries to offset up to 50% of their CO2 emissions reduction obligations - 20% more the current approximate limit of 30% - on the grounds that this would not undermine climate change efforts at EU or global level.

"Environmentally it does not matter where emissions reductions take place," says the non-paper.

Green groups disagree. Funds invested in clean development projects in third countries are funds that are not invested to drive a structural transformation towards low-carbon energy systems within Europe, argues Sanjeev Kumar, EU ETS coordinator for WWF in Brussels.

Serious doubts have also been raised about the actual CO2 reductions that can be achieved through projects funded under the CDM (EurActiv 27/05/08).

The UK non-paper is only one of several contributions currently being floated around in debates between EU countries on how to take forward the climate and energy package. Diplomats and experts from each of the 27 member states are meeting in Brussels this week (17 and 18 September) in the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) to discuss the various positions on the package.

While Coreper may resolve numerous technical and non-sensitive issues in advance of any formal meetings between ministers, 'hot topics' like the level of CDM credits permissible in the EU's climate policy are likely to remain the subject of political negotiations between EU environment ministers, who meet in Luxembourg on 20 October.

Meanwhile, MEP Avril Doyle, responsible for shepherding the EU ETS proposal through Parliament, wants to expand but tighten the CDM system through greater use of so-called Gold Standardexternal projects. "Almost half" of the CO2 abatement effort between 2013 and 2020 could be achieved through CDM, says her report, which will be voted upon by the Parliament's Environment (ENVI) Committee in early October (EurActiv 18/06/08). source
My comment: I don't like the investment in third countries for the same reasons as the Greens and for one more practical-third countries, usially not so industrialized will have less regulation and more corrupted system of measurement of the emissions. And also the lower level of technology will mean instead of developping green technologies, we'll invest in existing ones. Bad.

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