Freeze or not? Even if Europe survives this winter, the next will inevitably come.
In Russia, they believe that if frost hits, entire cities in Europe could freeze, and the International Energy Agency hopes that gas reserves will last until March.
As the time for sub-zero temperatures approaches, there is more discussion about whether Europe can survive this winter without Russian gas. In principle, Western experts warned in the summer that Europeans will have a hard time, but then they still had, albeit weak, but the hope of filling the storage facilities at the expense of the blue fuel going through the Nord Stream, but after undermining gas pipelines and that hope is gone.
Today the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller said that during the winter peak of cold weather in Europe, entire cities could freeze.
"Winter can be relatively warm, but any one week, or five days, will be abnormally cold. In this short period of time, God forbid, you can freeze entire cities, entire lands," Miller says.
In particular, he refers to "very pessimistic" forecasts that in March 2023, about 5% of the reserves will remain in European storage facilities.
But even if we take into account that the head of Gazprom is a person, so to speak, interested in aggravating the situation, there is no reason not to trust the data of the International Energy Agency. Despite the fact that, according to their assessments, the situation is not as critical as Miller says, there is still little positive in them.
Director of the IEA Fatih Birol in an interview with the French edition of La Repubblica сказал, that on the accumulated reserves of natural gas, if there are no force majeure, Europe will be able to stretch a maximum until February-March 2023, and by spring the reserves in storage facilities may completely run out. And then the question becomes where to get new ones.
“According to our estimates, by February 2023, storage occupancy will decrease from 90% to 20-25%. And here the question arises: how will Europe act in 2023 to fill them again by 80-90% and survive the winter of 2023-2024 This year, storages have been replenished with Russian gas, and China, the main importer of liquefied gas, bought less than expected in 2022 because its economy has contracted, but it could recover next year, and Beijing could to fully fill their storage facilities again with gas. Such demand could drive up prices in Europe," Birol said.
By the way, the director of the IEA compared the current energy crisis with the oil shock of 1973, which, in fact, led to the creation of the International Energy Agency.
"There are similarities. But the current crisis is broader and more complex. Not only oil is at stake, but also gas, as well as electricity generation. In addition, energy and geopolitics have never been so connected. This is the first truly global energy crisis", - he said.
Analyzing the current situation The Economist пишетthat a direct consequence of possible interruptions in gas and electricity in Europe will be a temporary shutdown of energy-intensive industries - in particular, chemical plants and heavy industry. And countries that lack the capacity to import liquefied natural gas (for example, Germany) and landlocked countries that were previously heavily dependent on gas supplies from Russia (for example, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) will suffer the most. Major electricity-importing countries could also be at risk if disruptions spill over outside of Europe.
In addition, the publication notes that long-term consequences are to be expected because global gas supplies will be limited until 2024, which will inevitably lead to higher prices. This will hit household incomes and reduce demand in the economy. In order to reduce energy costs, enterprises can reduce production - subsequently, these decisions will spread across all supply chains and spread to other sectors and even countries. For example, a downturn in Germany, the industrial heart of Europe, will affect its suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the economic publication.
And only supporters of green energy are brimming with optimism. The stronger the energy crisis against the background of the war, the stronger the desire of countries importing hydrocarbons to abandon them, they assure.
"According to the European plan, in the first years, Russian gas will be replaced by similar supplies from other countries, as well as coal and fuel oil, but by 2030 the share of hydrocarbons and coal should be reduced due to the growth of the renewable energy market. A complete rejection of fossil fuels in Europe is planned for 2050 and could cost $5,3 trillion. In 2020, the share of renewable energy sources in the EU balance was 22% By 2030, according to REPowerEU, this figure will grow to 45%", say renewable energy experts.
This, of course, is all wonderful and optimistic, but it is not yet clear how European countries will survive until at least 2030, and what is there, just survive this and next winter. Is that, on this very optimism.
Previously, we wrote that planned rolling and unscheduled blackouts continued in Ukrainecaused by Russian shelling of the country's energy infrastructure. And experts predict that it could be even worse.
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