Wednesday, September 28

Russia burns large amounts of gas that it previously exported to Germany

Russia is burning large amounts of natural gas at a plant near the Finnish border as bills in Europe soar, As reported on Friday by the BBC citing an analysis by Rystad Energy.

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The British chain points out that Moscow is burning around 10 million dollars of gas a day that previously would have been exported to Germany, according to experts.

The German ambassador to the UK has confirmed the information and told the BBC that Russia is burning the gas because “they can’t sell it anywhere”, noting that Europe’s efforts to reduce dependence on Russian gas were “having a strong effect on the Russian economy.

The experts cited explain that the burning of natural gas is something common in various plants for technical and safety reasons, but the scale of this operation is much larger. “I have never seen a liquefied natural gas plant put out so many flames,” Jessica McCarty, a satellite data expert at the University of Miami, told the BBC.

Analysis by Rystad Energy, a Norway-based energy consultancy, indicates that some 4.34 million cubic meters of gas are flared every day, and this comes from a new liquefied natural gas plant in Portovaya, northwest of St. Petersburg. According to the BBC, Finnish citizens were the first to warn that something was wrong when they saw a large flame on the horizon in early summer.

Portovaya is located near a compression station at the start of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which transports gas under the sea to Germany. Since mid-July, Russia has reduced the flow of fuel through the Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany to 20% of its capacity, up to 33 million cubic meters per day for “technical reasons”.

The head of gas market research at Rystad Energy, Sindre Knutsson, told the BBC this is “a visible reminder of Russia’s dominance of Europe’s energy markets”. “There can be no clearer signal: Russia can drive down energy prices tomorrow. This is gas that would otherwise have been exported via Nord Stream 1 or other alternatives,” he added.

Russia raises its income

Meanwhile, energy prices in Europe have skyrocketed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, causing Moscow to now earn 89% more money than a year ago from exporting hydrocarbons to the European Union, despite selling a 15% less fuel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted this Thursday of the increase in revenue from oil and gas sales in the Russian budget, despite Western sanctions for Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

“Despite the problems that our detractors and envious people try to create for us, even so, the budget advances at an adequate pace, oil and gas revenues are growing, and the most satisfying thing is that non-oil and gas revenues have also risen lately, that as far as I know, by 24%,” Putin said at a meeting with the head of the Federal Tax Service, Daniil Yegorov.

All this when the partial embargo on Russian oil has not yet come into force – with certain exceptions – in the European Union, which will affect 90% of the crude that arrives from Russia and will be effective from January 2023.

In Putin’s opinion, all this means a “stabilization of economic indicators” in Russia. Yegorov explained that Russia’s consolidated budget has grown by 32% in the first half of the year, something in which “gas and oil revenues, and market conditions undoubtedly play an important role” with high hydrocarbon prices. .

“It’s not good news”

This is the situation despite the fact that Putin has totally or partially cut gas to twelve EU states. According to Eurostat data, the community bloc currently spends some 13,916 million euros per month on buying coal, oil and gas from Moscow, compared to the 7,330 million monthly average it paid a year ago, when prices were already beginning to skyrocket due to the increased demand with the economic recovery after the pandemic.

In Spain, the price of electricity chained this Tuesday his second day in a row at highs since March despite the so-called Iberian exceptionwhich has allowed Spain and Portugal contain the rises of its wholesale electricity market this summer.

The High Representative for Foreign Policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, acknowledged this Wednesday in an interview with EFE that “it is not good news” that Russia is earning more money due to the increase in the price of gas, but pointed out that “the The foreign exchange he earns” from the sale of this fuel “is of little use to him.”

“All the technology you need to replace your material losses, to fly your planes, no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy it because we don’t want to sell it,” said the Spanish politician in Santander.

Environmental impact

Experts are also concerned about the environmental impact that this gas burning may have. Rystad analysts called it an “environmental disaster” and calculated that the amount of gas burning in the atmosphere was equivalent to 0.5% of the EU’s daily needs.

“Gas flaring is an environmental disaster, as about 9,000 tons of CO2 are emitted every day,” Rystad said, according to Reuters.

Professor Matthew Johnson, from Carleton University (Canada), told the BBC that the most worrying thing was the northward transport of soot particles produced by the incomplete combustion of natural gas, known as black carbon, since that are deposited on snow and ice and “greatly accelerates melting.”

“Some very prestigious estimates already put burning as the dominant source of black carbon deposition in the Arctic and any increase in gas flaring in this region is especially unwelcome,” Johnson said.