Natural gas crisis, eastern and western Europe are sweeping the snow

  On July 8, the natural gas pipeline from Greece to Bulgaria opened. Gas from Azerbaijan will be sent to Bulgaria through the pipeline in the coming weeks, filling a huge gap after Russia cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria in April. This is one of the few good news in the EU-Russian energy contest.
  Russia’s “East-West Gas Pipeline” is different from north to south.
  On the northern route, the Ukrainian natural gas transportation system has been interrupted for a while, and the “North Stream No. 1”, which has reduced its gas supply, is scheduled to be shut down for “maintenance” in mid-July, which has tightened the energy supply of many European countries again.
  On the southern route, except for the shielding of the transit country of Bulgaria, the operation of “Turkey Stream” is largely normal.
  In the first half of the year, natural gas consumption in EU countries decreased by about 20%, but Eastern Europe was relatively less affected. In winter, compared to Western Europe, which may stop production and endure severe cold, will Eastern and Southern European countries “sing and dance”?
A “chaotic” Europe

  Russia has gradually cut westward natural gas supplies following the war between Russia and Ukraine in February. Before the war, Russia transported about 150 billion cubic meters of pipeline natural gas and 14 billion to 18 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe every year, accounting for more than 40% of the total natural gas imports in the European continent.
  Today, Germany has 60% less, Italy and Slovakia have halved, Austria and the Czech Republic have been cut off, and pipelines to Poland, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands and other countries have been directly closed.
  The bigger the economy, the bigger the hit.
  Germany bears the brunt. At the end of March, the first level of the gas supply emergency plan was raised. At the end of June, the second level of alert came into effect. The “Green Party” that participated in the ruling party claimed to switch to coal power; the Coalition Party, which was headed by Merkel and announced the abolition of nuclear power, now wants to restart nuclear power. Germany will also build four floating terminals to receive LNG.
  Forty percent of Italy’s natural gas comes from Russia, making it the second-largest European consumer of Russian natural gas after Germany. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at the G7 summit at the end of June that the European Union will speed up the setting of natural gas price caps, intending to limit Russia’s energy revenue.
  The Groningen gas field in the Netherlands has a history of more than 60 years and was once one of the most continental gas fields in Europe. It was almost shut down due to an induced earthquake and is now being called for reactivation.
  The United Kingdom and Hungary intend to impose a “windfall profit tax” on energy companies to curb soaring energy prices and fill the emptiness of the national treasury. The move, suggested by the European Commission in March, was implemented in Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Spain last year.
  Relations between the UK and the EU are increasingly strained. The UK claims to cut off gas supplies to the EU if necessary – closing gas pipelines with the Netherlands and Belgium. The EU has opposed a bill passed by the British House of Commons to amend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Speculation about a trade war between the two sides has emerged.
  The European Union’s liquefied natural gas imports from the United States in June exceeded pipeline gas imports from Russia for the first time, data from the International Energy Agency showed on June 30. However, Texas Freeport, one of the largest LNG export terminals in the United States, exploded in early June and will lose about one-fifth of its liquefaction capacity, causing suspicion from the outside world. After all, reducing exports can ease serious inflation in the United States.
  At the same time, the high temperature in some areas of the United States continued, the gas consumption for power generation increased, and the domestic demand was larger than in previous years, and the LNG export facility, like Norway, a Nordic gas supplier, was already operating at nearly full capacity.
  The most “stable” country is Spain, which does not have any gas pipelines from Russia and has a large number of LNG terminals. More than 40% of the natural gas comes from Algeria. But recently, due to disputes in the Western Sahara region, Algeria, the third largest supplier of natural gas in Europe, had a bad relationship with Spain, and the gas supply contract was once withdrawn.
  In addition to Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark have recently been planning to restart coal power. As European coal relies on imports, restarting coal-fired power means that energy sellers have changed from Russia to Indonesia and Australia. However, Australia has just approved an emergency power to block coal exports.
“Calm” Southeastern Europe

  The natural gas supply of Eastern and Southern European countries is not as “tight” as its neighbors to the west, mainly due to the relatively diverse sources.
  There are three major sources of pipeline natural gas in Eastern and Southern Europe: Russia, the Caspian region and the Mediterranean region. Russian energy has not been completely cut off, and other sources are also expected to come out of the “bench”.
  In Russia, in addition to the “North Stream” directly connecting to Germany, the other six natural gas pipelines all lead to Eastern or Southern Europe.
  Among them, the “Brother Pipeline” transited by Ukraine transports natural gas to Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Hungary and other countries. In May, the Ukrainian gas transportation system operator announced the closure of the Sokhranovka gas metering station and suspended the receipt of Russian gas to Europe on the grounds of “force majeure”. The Russian natural gas transported through this station accounts for 8% of the total export to Europe. The latest news is that Russia continues to transport natural gas to Europe through Ukraine, with a gas volume of 40.1 million cubic meters on July 9.
For the first time, EU imports of LNG from the United States exceeded pipeline gas imports from Russia in June. However, one of the largest U.S. LNG export terminals in Freeport, Texas, exploded in early June and will lose about a fifth of its liquefaction capacity.

  Among the other five pipelines, the “Alliance Pipeline” is transported to Germany, France, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey and other countries; the “Northern Lights Pipeline”, which transits through Belarus and Poland, is transported to Ukraine and Lithuania; To Poland and Germany; from Russia to Turkey’s “Blue Brook”, go to the bottom of the Black Sea; “Turkey Brook” replaced “South Stream”, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can all benefit.
  Although affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war, only the pipelines in Poland and Bulgaria were closed by Russia in Eastern Europe. This phenomenon is related to the refusal of the two countries to pay their gas bills in rubles, as well as to the increase of NATO troops in both countries.
  In the Caspian Sea region, Azerbaijan supplies natural gas to Europe through the “Trans-Anatolia Pipeline” and “Trans-Adriatic Pipeline”. The “Trans-Adriatic Pipeline” to southern Italy is a European branch of the EU’s “Southern Gas Corridor” project with a total length of 3,500 kilometers.
  In the Mediterranean region, Algeria has two pipelines by sea, one to Italy and Spain, the other to Spain via Morocco. There is also the “Green Stream”, which is exported from Libya to Italy.
  Last year, Algeria cut ties with Morocco, and the Maghreb-Europe pipeline via Morocco has since been cut off. Algeria has warned Spain not to resell Algerian gas to Morocco or terminate the contract.

  In addition, more LNG terminals are opened. At the beginning of 2021, the LNG terminal in the Krk Island region of Croatia is operating, with a capacity to transport 2.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The station is funded by the European Union, and the United States also supports the project – the more liquefied gas stations in Europe are built, the better for U.S. shale gas exports.
  The second reason for the “calm” is that most countries in Eastern and Southern Europe have small economies and small consumption of natural gas.
  Bulgaria and Serbia consume about 3 billion cubic meters of natural gas each year, and Greece consumes about 6 billion cubic meters per year. Romania’s annual demand is relatively large, 12 billion cubic meters, but it has its own Black Sea gas field, only imports natural gas in winter, and its external dependence is only 24%.
  Another reason that cannot be ignored is the price.
  Buying Russian energy comes at a cost. Russian pipeline natural gas (calculated based on the initial price + weighted price) is cheap, but the two parties signed a “take or pay” contract. Once an order is placed, the price must be paid whether it is taken or not; if an extreme situation occurs, the natural gas is gone. , the money is gone.

Russia’s natural gas route to Europe

  Thinking of the “benefits”, when the global economic growth slows down, it may be more cost-effective for countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans to bargain with Russia.
The Great Game at the Eurasian Crossroads

  Feng Shui turns. Recalling that in January 2009, when Russia and Ukraine were “vindictive”, it was in the middle of winter, and almost all the natural gas in Central and Eastern European countries was cut off; Western European countries were basically unaffected.
  The Central and Eastern European countries, which had endured the severe cold, hoped that the European Union would provide financial support for the “Nabucco Plan” at the Brussels summit in the spring, which was opposed by Germany.
  Previously, most of the Eastern European countries that were satellite countries of the Soviet Union had only Russia as a source of natural gas imports. Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary, respectively, 90%, 80% and 60% of imports from Russia, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina even reached 100%. However, the natural gas imported by Western European countries from Russia is large in absolute quantity and does not account for a high proportion of total imports.
  Bypassing Russia’s “Nabucco Plan” is still firmly put on the agenda. The planned “Nabucco Pipeline” from West Asia to Austria and the “South Caucasus Natural Gas Pipeline” starting from Azerbaijan in 2006 together form the basis of the later EU “Southern Gas Corridor” project.
  In this regard, Russia has successively launched two confrontational projects, the early stage is “Nanxi” and the latter is “Turkey Creek”. “Nanxi” is clearly going to play a zero-sum game with “Nabucco Pipeline”. Although the starting points of the two are different, and the transit land and water are different, after arriving in Bulgaria, the route to Central Europe is completely “you but not me”. After years of intense competition, both pipelines failed.
  The “Nabucco pipeline” has failed, and European countries still have to find a way out. Among the two natural gas pipelines promoted by Russia, Germany participated in the “North Stream” and Italy participated in the “South Stream”. After the failure of the “South Stream” project, the European Union strongly opposed the Russian alternative “Turkey Stream”, although member states Hungary, Greece and North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey supported the construction.
Although affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war, only the pipelines in Poland and Bulgaria were closed by Russia in Eastern Europe. This phenomenon is related to the refusal of the two countries to pay their gas bills in rubles, as well as to the increase of NATO troops in both countries.

  ”North Stream 2″ exposed more differences. Germany, France and Austria are all partners of the pipeline, but a group of ten Pan-Eastern European countries resisted, believing that it is more important to retain the pipeline through Ukraine. U.S. sanctions in particular. After the war between Russia and Ukraine, the newly built “Beixi No. 2” pipeline is facing scrap.
  While the “Turkey Creek” project from Russia is deadlocked, the EU continues to advance its own “Southern Gas Corridor” project, which has also received strong support from the United States. In West Asia, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC) invested by the United States and opened in 2005, bypassing Russia and Iran at the same time, can form a “two-pronged approach to oil and gas” with the EU’s “Southern Natural Gas Corridor” potential.
  The biggest problem in the “Southern Natural Gas Corridor” is the gas source issue, which involves disputes over the division of the Caspian Sea, the Iranian nuclear threat, and transit countries, which the EU cannot solve by itself. The United States stabilized Azerbaijan by mediating the “Naka ​​Conflict”; by resolving the legal status of the Caspian Sea, it won over Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, which are uncertain; Iraq’s gas source is located in the northern Kurdish region, and gas supply is also required. Inspired by the United States.
  At present, the only gas source for the “Southern Natural Gas Corridor” is the “Shah-Deniz” Phase II gas field in Azerbaijan, which firstly transports 16 billion cubic meters of natural gas into the “Trans-Anatolia Pipeline” and 6 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Directly to Turkey, 10 billion cubic meters will enter Europe through the “trans-Adriatic pipeline”, of which 8 billion will be given to Italy. The remaining 2 billion cubic meters is a drop in the bucket for the rest of the EU countries.
  As for the competing product, Russia’s “Turkey Stream”, the annual gas supply exceeds 30 billion cubic meters, and it is reported that the maximum gas supply can exceed 60 billion cubic meters. The advantages are obvious.
  But for some countries in Eastern and Southern Europe that want “Turkey Stream”, the “East-East War” and the “North-South War” coexist, both to resist the political pressure from Eastern Russia and to face the economic pressure from Western Europe .
  Europe simply cannot make “one voice”. The survey shows that the proportion of the working class in southern and eastern Europe is high, because the industrial and agricultural output value in Eastern Europe is high, and the low-end tertiary industry in southern Europe is high; on the contrary, in Western and Northern Europe, the middle and upper classes are high. Also within Europe, there is an “inversion of status” among classes in different countries – the Hungarian elites are not as well paid as the blue-collar workers in Scandinavia.
  Although the source and supply of natural gas are not abundant for the time being, the staged success of the “Southern Natural Gas Corridor” means that a win-win situation is possible after overcoming various difficulties. The countries involved in Eastern and Southern Europe must rely on this belief to live in the gap between “East” and “North-South”.

  -Nevada. Former Attorney General Adam Laxalter, who won the Republican primary in June with strong support from Trump, will challenge the state’s first Latino in 2020 to “turn blue” the state’s Senate seat on behalf of Democrats Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Despite rumors of “corruption” as attorney general, Laxart has a narrow lead, polls show, as more state voters resent soaring inflation and gas prices, which Republicans have deftly touted. Blame “Democratic incompetence.”
  -Pennsylvania. Thanks to Trump’s meddling, the Republican primary was won by right-wing Turkish candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, who had just moved to Pennsylvania from New Jersey, where he had lived for decades. Partner). His Democratic challenger is Lieutenant Governor John Fettman, who suffered a stroke in May. Dr. Oz’s “airborne”, and his misspelling of Pennsylvania’s state name, put him in the polls by as much as 9 percentage points behind his Democratic opponents; but Feltman is considered “too left”, and Republican public opinion is trying its best to Describing him as a “Bernie Sanders-like left-wing radical” may affect his appeal to centrist voters.
  -the state of Wisconsin. Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from the state, is accused of trying to give then-Vice President Mike Pence false voter “heads” as Congress rolled out votes early last year. However, the state’s Democratic primary is not held until August 9, and several contenders are currently at a stalemate, and if the situation persists, Republicans are expected to win.
  The “Cook Political Report” advertises neutrality and is considered pro-Democratic. It believes that the three “red states” such as Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio “are not without opportunities” for Democratic candidates, while the “blue state” New Hampshire Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan could easily keep her existing Senate seat.
  But more observers believe that the above-mentioned three “red state” Democratic candidates “basically have no chance”, and Hassan of New Hampshire was a narrow victory in 2016. Now voters in the state are complaining about Biden’s economic policies. If she can’t prove herself and Biden The government’s policy maintains a “safe distance”, and the probability of the state “turning red” is not small.
  In terms of the House of Representatives election, the more suspenseful hotspots include: California Korean Republican candidate Park Yinzhu, against Democratic Chinese candidate Chen Jiefei (the two people are evenly polled); Democratic candidate Christy Smith, against Republican incumbent Representative Mike Garrison West Asia (as a die-hard Trump supporter, Garcia not only was elected against the trend in 2020, but also pulled his teeth in a traditional “blue constituency”); New Jersey Democratic incumbent Rep. Tom Malinowski, against Republican challenger Tom Keane Jr. (The situation in this constituency is just the opposite of the previous constituency, in which Malinowski narrowly won in this traditional “red constituency” in 2020); Iowa’s only Democratic Rep. Cindy A. Kersin, against Republican challenger Zach Nunn (due to the fact that Iowa is a typical “red state” and the district has just been redrawn, the Democrats may lose their last “field” in the state).
A high voter turnout is not necessarily beneficial to the Democratic Party—because “the higher the voter turnout, the worse the party in power loses.” This is also the “iron law” of the mid-term elections, which has been confirmed by countless election results.

  It is worth noting that in a congressional by-election on June 14, the Mexican-born Republican candidate Mayra Flores (Mayra Flores), in a predominantly Hispanic constituency on the US-Mexico border, easily defeated Democratic Hispanic candidate Dan Sanchez. Before the election, the latter was leading by 5 percentage points in the polls, but the latter lost 8 percentage points in the election result. This is considered by many observers as “a very bad micro-wind vane for Democrats.”
“Trump’s double-edged sword” and the key to victory

  Up to now, almost all of the hundreds of candidates endorsed by Trump this year have won the party’s primary election, with the exception of single-digit exceptions. In particular, the 13 candidates for the U.S. Senate (including Katie Britt of Alabama and JD Vance of Ohio) that he endorsed all made the cut.
  Trump’s endorsement was once a “box-office poison” at the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war because of his unpopular remarks that were considered “pro-Putin”, but the situation reversed again when Trump shut up on this issue in a timely manner. Still, the situation is similar to the 2020 election: Republican candidates backed by Trump are more likely to win the party’s primary, but are also more likely to be disliked by Trump’s Democrats and swing voters in districts with more swing voters. Voters reject.
  Democratic campaign spokesman David Bergstein said that “the Senate election is a battle between candidates” and personal image is more important than party background. In his view, the Republican Party has “launched too many candidates with personal injuries,” which may have given Democrats a chance to keep the Senate. But opponents of this view point out that Biden’s polling approval ratings have been sluggish, and inflation rather than the “character” of individual candidates will be destined to be the primary issue voters consider when voting, if Democrats are reluctant to face this issue. In fact, there will be a heavy price to pay in the mid-term elections.
  Many analysts believe that the voter turnout will be the biggest variable in the outcome of the current US midterm elections: Traditionally, the higher the voter turnout, the greater the Democratic Party’s chance of winning, because the proportion of young Democratic supporters is high, and these people are more willing to participate in the election. Online ranting instead of voting. Biden and the Democrats won in 2020, in large part because a large number of Democratic supporters came out and voted because they did not want to see Trump stay in power, creating the highest turnout in recent years.
  However, some people think that time has changed, and it is difficult for Trump, who is now in the opposition, to become a “focal point of public grievances”, but high inflation, which can easily be classified as “the fault of the Democratic Party’s ruling”. The high turnout in this context is not necessarily beneficial to the Democratic Party—because “the higher the turnout, the worse the party in power loses.” This is also an “iron law” that has been enduring in the mid-term elections and has been confirmed by countless election results.

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