strategic culture

Germany’s Energy Suicide: An Autopsy
Pepe Escobar, Strategic Culture, Sep 7 2022

Photo: Lukas Barth/Reuters

When Green fanatic Robert Habeck, posing as Germany’s Economy Minister, said earlier this week “we should expect the worst” in terms of energy security, he conveniently forgot to spell out how the whole farce is a Made in Germany cum Made in Brussels crisis. Flickers of intelligence at least still glow in rare Western latitudes, as indispensable strategic analyst William Engdahl, author of A Century of Oil, released a sharp, concise summary (below – RB) revealing the skeletons in the glamour closet. Everyone with a brain following the ghastly Eurocrat machinations in Brussels was aware of the main plot, yet hardly anyone among average EU citizens. Habeck, Chancellor “Liver Sausage” Scholz, the European Commission  Green Energy VP Timmermans, EC dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, they are all involved. In a nutshell, as Engdahl describes it, this is about “the EU plan to deindustrialize one of the most energy-efficient industrial concentrations on the planet.” That’s a practical translation of the UN Green Agenda 2030, which happens to be metastasized into crypto Bond villain Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset, now renamed “Great Narrative.” The whole scam started way back in the early 2000s. I remember it vividly, as Brussels used to be my European base in the early “war on terror” years. At the time, the talk of the town was the “European energy policy.” The dirty secret of such policy is that the EC, advised by JP Morgan Chase as well as the usual mega-speculative hedge funds, went all out into what Engdahl describes as “a complete deregulation of the European market for natural gas.” That was sold to the Lugenpresse (lies-media) as “liberalization.” In practice, that’s savage unregulated casino capitalism, with the “free” market fixing prices while dumping long-term contracts such as the ones struck with Gazprom.

How to decarbonize and destabilize

The process was turbocharged in 2016, when the last gasp of the Obama administration encouraged massive export of LNG out of the US’s huge shale gas production. For that one needs to build LNG terminals. Each terminal takes as much as 5 years to build. Within the EU, Poland and Holland went for it from the start. As much as Wall Street in the past invented a “ paper oil” speculative market, this time they went for a speculative “paper gas” market. The creation of this “single” market control implied forcing illegal rule changes on Gazprom. In practice, Big Finance and Big Energy, which totally control anything that passes for “EU policy” in Brussels, invented a new pricing system parallel to the long-term, stable prices of Russian pipeline gas. By 2019, an avalanche of Eurocrat energy directives by the EC, the only thing these people do, had established a totally deregulated gas market trading, setting the prices for natural gas in the EU even as Gazprom remained the largest supplier. As lots of virtual trading hubs in gas futures contracts started popping up across the EU, enter the Dutch TTF (Title Transfer Facility). By 2020 the TTF was established as the real EU gas benchmark. LNG prices soon started to be set by futures trades in the TTF hub, which crucially happens to be owned by the Dutch government. Big Finance had to get rid of Gazprom as a reliable source by any means necessary, to allow powerful financial interests behind the Green Deal racket to dominate the LNG market.

Hybrid War, the energy chapter

On the interminable soap opera involving the Nord Stream 1 turbine, the crucial fact is that Canada deliberately refused to deliver the repaired turbine to Gazprom, its owner, but instead sent it to Siemens Germany, where it is now. Siemens Germany is essentially under American control. Both the German and Canadian governments refuse to grant a legally binding sanction exemption for the transfer to Russia. That was the straw that broke the Gazprom camel’s back. Gazprom and the Kremlin concluded that if sabotage was the name of the game, they couldn’t care less whether Germany received zero gas via Nord Stream 1 (with brand new Nord Stream 2, ready to go, blocked by strictly political reasons). Kremlin spokesman Dmity Peskov took pains to stress:

Problems in deliveries arose due to sanctions that have been imposed on our country and a number of companies by Western countries. There are no other reasons behind supply issues.

Peskov had to remind anyone with a brain that it’s not Gazprom’s fault if “the Europeans make a decision to refuse to service their equipment,” which they are contractually obligated to do. The fact is the whole Nord Stream 1 operation hinges on “one piece of equipment that needs serious maintenance.” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, who knows one or two things about the energy business, cleared up the technicalities:

The entire problem lies precisely on their side, because all the conditions of the repair contract have been completely violated, along with the terms of shipping of the equipment.

All that is inscribed into what Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov describes thus:

There is a total war declared against us being waged in hybrid forms in all areas. The degree of animosity of our opponents, of our enemies, is enormous, extraordinary.

So none of this has anything to do with “Putin weaponizing energy.” It was Berlin and Brussels, mere messengers of Big Finance, which weaponized the supply of European energy on behalf of a financial racket, and against the interests of European industry and consumers.

Beware of the toxic trio

And it gets worse, when it comes to electricity. There is a so-called EU Electricity Market Reform in progress. According to it, producers of electricity, from solar or wind, automatically receive “the same price for their ‘renewable’ electricity they sell to the power companies for the grid as the highest-cost natural gas.” No wonder the cost of electricity in Germany for 2022 increased by 860% and is still rising. Baerbock incessantly parrots that German energy independence cannot be secured until the country is “liberated from fossil fuels.” According to Green fanaticism, to build the Green Agenda it’s imperative to completely eliminate gas, oil and nuclear power, which happen to be the only reliable energy sources as it stands. And it’s here that we see the toxic trio Habeck/Baerbock/von der Leyen ready for their close-up. They pose as saviors of Europe preaching that the only way out is to invest fortunes in unreliable wind and solar power: the answer from Providence to a gas price debacle manufactured by none other than Big Finance, Green fanaticism and Eurocrat leadership. Now tell that to struggling pan-European households whose bills will surge to a whopping, collective $2 trillion as General Winter knocks on the door.

Europe’s Energy Armageddon from Berlin and Brussels, Not Moscow
F William Engdahl, Aug 30 2022

On Aug 22 the exchange-traded market price for natural gas in the German THE (Trading Hub Europe) gas hub was trading more than 1000% higher than a year ago. Most citizens are told by the Scholz regime that the reason is Putin and Russia’s war in Ukraine. The truth is quite otherwise. EU politicians and major financial interests are using Russia to cover what is a Made in Germany and Brussels energy crisis. The consequences are not accidental. It is not because politicians like Scholz or German Green Economy Minister Robert Habeck, nor EU Commission Green Energy Vice President Frans Timmermans are stupid or clueless. Corrupt and dishonest, maybe yes. They know exactly what they are doing. They are reading a script. It is all part of the EU plan to deindustrialize one of the most energy-efficient industrial concentrations on the planet. This is the UN Green Agenda 2030, otherwise known as Klaus Schwab’s Great Reset.

EU Gas Market Deregulated

What the EU Commission and government ministers in Germany and across the EU are carefully hiding is the transformation they have created in how the natural gas price is determined today. For almost two decades the EU Commission, backed by the mega banks such as JP Morgan Chase or large speculative hedge funds, began to lay the basis for what is today a complete deregulation of the market for natural gas. It was promoted as the “liberalization” of the European Union’s natural gas market. What it now allows is for unregulated real-time free market trading to fix prices rather than long-term contracts. Beginning around 2010 the EU began to push a radical change in rules for pricing natural gas. Prior to that point most gas prices were set in fixed long-term contracts for pipeline delivery. The largest supplier, Russia’s Gazprom, provided gas to the EU, most especially to Germany, in long-term contracts pegged to the price of oil. Until the last several years almost no gas was imported by LNG ships. With a change in US laws to allow export of LNG from the huge shale gas production, in 2016 US gas producers began a major expansion of LNG export terminal construction. The terminals take an average of 3 to 5 years to build. At the same time Poland, Holland and other EU countries began to build LNG import terminals to receive the LNG from abroad.

Emerging from WW2 as the world leading oil supplier, the Anglo-American oil giants, then called the Seven Sisters, created a global oil price monopoly. As Henry Kissinger noted during the oil shocks of the 1970s, “Control the oil and you control entire nations.” Since the 1980s Wall Street banks, led by Goldman Sachs, created a new market in “paper oil,” or futures and derivative trading of future oil barrels. It created a huge casino of speculative profits that was controlled by a handful of giant banks in New York and the City of London. Those same powerful financial interests have been working for years to create a similar globalized “paper gas” market in futures they could control. The EU Commission and their Green Deal agenda to “decarbonize” the economy by 2050, eliminating oil, gas and coal fuels, provided the ideal trap that has led to the explosive spike in EU gas prices since 2021. To create that “single” market control, the EU was lobbied by the globalist interests to impose draconian and de facto illegal rule changes on Gazprom to force the Russian owner of various gas distribution pipeline networks in the EU to open them to competitor gas. The big banks and energy interests that control EU policy in Brussels had created a new independent price system parallel to the long-term, stable prices of Russian pipeline gas which they did not control. By 2019 the series of bureaucratic energy directives of the Brussels EU Commission allowed fully deregulated gas market trading to de facto set the prices for natural gas in the EU, despite the fact that Russia was still by far the largest gas import source. A series of virtual trading “hubs” had been established to trade gas futures contracts in several EU countries.

By 2020 the Dutch TTF (Title Transfer Facility) was the dominant trading center for EU gas, the so-called EU gas benchmark. Notably, TTF is a virtual platform of trades in futures gas contracts between in trades between banks and other financial investors, “Over-The-Counter.” That means it is de facto unregulated, outside any regulated exchange. This is critical to understand the game being run in the EU today. In 2021 only 20% of all natural gas imports to the EU were LNG gas, whose prices were largely determined by futures trades in the TTF hub, the EU de facto gas benchmark, owned by the Dutch Government, the same government destroying its farms for a fraudulent nitrogen pollution claim. The largest import share of European gas came from Russia’s Gazprom supplying more than 40% of EU imports in 2021. That gas was via long term pipeline contracts whose price was vastly lower than today’s TTF speculation price. In 2021 EU states paid an estimated penalty cost around $30b more for natural gas in 2021 than if they had stuck with Gazprom oil-indexation pricing. The banks loved it. US industry and consumers not. Only by destroying the Russian gas market in the EU could financial interests and the Green Deal advocates create their LNG market control.

Closing EU Pipeline Gas

With full EU backing for the new gas wholesale market, Brussels, Germany and NATO began systematically to close stable, long-term pipeline gas to the EU. In Sep 2021 Gazprom completed its multibillion dollar undersea Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia across the Baltic Sea to northern Germany. It would double the capacity of Nord Stream 1 to 110 bcm/yr, allowing Gazprom to be independent of interference with gas deliveries via its Soyuz pipeline going through Ukraine. The EU Commission, backed by the Biden Administration, blocked opening of the pipeline with bureaucratic sabotage, and finally German Chancellor Scholz imposed sanctions on the pipeline on Feb 22 over Russian recognition of LDPR. With the growing gas crisis since, the German government has refused to open Nord Stream 2 despite the fact it is finished. Then on May 12 2022, although Gazprom deliveries to the Soyuz gas pipeline through Ukraine were uninterrupted for almost three months of conflict, despite Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, the NATO-controlled Zelenskyy regime in Kiev closed a major Russian pipeline through Lugansk that was bringing Russian gas both to his Ukraine as well as EU states, declaring it would remain closed until Kiev gets full control of its pipeline system that runs through the two Donbass republics. That section of the Ukraine Soyuz line cut one-third of gas via Soyuz to the EU. It certainly did not help the EU economy at a time Kiev was begging for more weapons from those same NATO countries. Soyuz opened in 1980 under the Soviet Union bringing gas from the Orenburg gas field.

Next came the Jamal Russian gas pipeline through Belarus and through Poland to Germany. In December 2021, two months before the Ukraine conflict, the Polish government closed the Polish part of the pipeline cutting Gazprom gas delivery at low prices to Germany as well as Poland. Instead Polish gas companies bought Russian gas in the storage of German gas companies, via the Polish-German section of the Jamal pipeline at a higher price in a reverse flow. The German gas companies got their Russian gas via long-term contract for a very low contract price and resold to Poland at a huge profit. This insanity was deliberately downplayed by the Green Economics Minister Habeck and Chancellor Scholz and German media, even though it forced German gas prices even higher and worsened the German gas crisis. The Polish government refused to renew its gas contract with Russia, and instead buys gas on the free market for vastly higher prices. As a result no more Russian gas to Germany via Jamal is flowing.

Finally gas delivery via Nord Stream 1 undersea pipeline has been interrupted because of needed repair of a Siemens-made gas turbine. The turbine was sent to a special facility of Siemens in Canada where the anti-Russian Trudeau regime held it for months before finally releasing it on request of German government. Yet they deliberately refused to grant the delivery to its Russian owner, but instead to Siemens Germany, where it sits, as the German and Canadian governments refuse to grant a legally binding sanctions exemption for the transfer to Russia. By this means Gazprom gas through Nord Stream 1 is also dramatically reduced to 20% of normal. In Jan 2020 Gazprom began sending gas from its TurkStream pipeline through Turkey and on to Bulgaria and Hungary. In Mar 2022 Bulgaria, with NATO backing, unilaterally cut its gas supplies from TurkStream. Hungary’s Viktor Orban, by contrast, secured continuation with Russia of TurkStream gas. As a result today Hungary has no energy crisis and imports Russian pipeline gas at contract very low fixed prices. By systematically sanctioning or closing gas deliveries from long-term low-cost pipelines to the EU, gas speculators via the Dutch TTP have been able to use every hiccup or energy shock in the world, whether a record drought in China or the conflict in Ukraine, to export restrictions in the USA, to bid the EU wholesale gas prices through all bounds. As of mid-August the futures price at TTP was 1,000% higher than a year ago and rising daily.

German Highest Price Madness

The deliberate energy and electricity price sabotage gets even more absurd. On Aug 28, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, the sole cabinet member from the Liberal Party (FDP), revealed that under the opaque terms of the complex EU Electricity Market Reform measures, the producers of electricity from solar or wind automatically receive the same price for the “renewable” electricity they sell to the power companies for the grid as the highest-cost natural gas! Lindner called for an “urgent” change to the German energy law to decouple different markets. The fanatical Green Economics Minister Robert Habeck immediately cautioned that the government must be mindful not to intervene too much:

We are working hard to find a new market model. We need functioning markets and, at the same time, we need to set the right rules so that positions in the market are not abused.

Habeck in fact is doing all possible to build the Green Agenda and eliminate gas and oil and nuclear, the only reliable energy sources at present. He refuses to consider reopening three nuclear plants closed a year ago or to reconsider closing the remaining three in December. He declared in a Bloomberg interview:

I will not approach this question ideologically. Nuclear power is not the solution, it is the problem.

Habeck as well as the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have repeatedly declared more investment in unreliable wind and solar is the answer to a gas price crisis that their policies have deliberately created. In every respect the suicidal energy crisis ongoing in Europe has been “Made in Germany,” not in Russia.

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