New Video: The Product – LNG and Energy’s Perfect Storm

December 20, 2021

This months Yale Climate Connections video is the story of a perfect storm of circumstances, that has shone a stark light on a new global fact of life.
Natural gas has become a central commodity in international commerce, central for energy generation and heating around the world. The United State may very well become the world’s largest exporter of gas, in the form of LNG – Liquified Natural Gas, compressed, cooled to minus 162° C, and loaded onto massive tanker ships.

5 years ago, Americans were sitting on practically limitless natural gas, with just a few pipelines to Mexico and a trickle of exports. Prices had been historically low and stable for most of a decade.
Now that’s changed. American gas is now shipping thru massive new LNG terminals to a global market, and American consumers are now competing with Europeans and Asians, who are used to paying a LOT more for the fuel

Fast forward to 2021. Covid shutdowns begins to lift, and economies took off much faster than anyone anticipated, shortages erupted in China first, then Europe. France’s nuclear plants, hobbled by lack of maintenance during Covid, have been slow to respond. A key transmission facility between France and the UK caught fire.

In Spain, North African gas shipments were held up due to political squabbles. In the US, Hurricane Ida hobbled oil and gas production in the Gulf. Drillers, taking advantage of high prices to finally make good on promises to investors frustrated by a decade of losses, were paying dividends instead of ramping up drilling. Droughts in South America strangled hydro supplies, bumping up demand for gas there.

In Northern Europe, a Black Swan weather event, unseen in the reliable historical record, kept wind output low in Northern Europe, further crimping energy supplies. Planners failed to anticipate increased demand and did not have adequate storage on hand.

Finally, Russia, a major supplier of gas to Europe, played their card and slow walked contracted gas deliveries thru Ukrainian pipes.
A lot depends on what kind of winter Europe has, and things don’t look good right now.

Guaranteed, whatever happens, fossil fuelsters will try to make it about “The Green New Deal”, and the energy transition.
In fact, what is happening seems to be that clean energy will become more competitive and compelling than ever, and governments will be even more motivated by economic blackmail to speed up the transition.

Time will tell.

2 Responses to “New Video: The Product – LNG and Energy’s Perfect Storm”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    In Northern Europe, a Black Swan weather event, unseen in the reliable historical record, kept wind output low in Northern Europe, further crimping energy supplies.

    I thought we were going to throw out the historical weather record. Events like major Atlantic hurricanes in November, +120°F in Canada, Cat 5 atmospheric rivers, megadrought in the US SW, December Minnesota tornadoes, etc., probably means more unreliability in the boring constant wind we take for granted.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Hey, I thought France had all of this magically affordable and reliable nuclear energy?


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