by Jorge Vilches for the Saker blog
the LNG click-bait
The sitting US Secretary of State very recently declared in an official press conference that the NS1 and NS2 pipeline sabotage will have “no impact on European energy resilience”…
We should assume that Secretary Antony Blinken was referring to the timely supply of US LNG substitute equivalent to pipeline nat-gas now theoretically available (not) which would save the European day. With a clear smile, Blinken considered it to be a “tremendous opportunity” for the US to help Europe wean off of Russian energy… with the USA ready to be “the leading supplier (of dirty fracked seaborne LNG) to Europe”. And all of it despite the great ripoff “mondepreise” moon-high prices charged by US vendors according to the German Minister of Economics Robert Habeck who is now sorrowfully surprised by the very market dynamics that he actively contributed to establish.
the oh-lá-lá connection
The French Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industrial Sovereignty – namely Bruno Le Maire, well known as President´s Emmanuel Macron 4×4 all-terrain strong-man — went a bit further by warning that the US should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market while the EU just suffers from the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. “The conflict in Ukraine must not end in American economic domination and a weakening of the EU” said the French Minister at the National Assembly. Le Maire hastened to add that it’s unacceptable for Washington “to sell us its liquefied natural gas at four times the price that it sets for itself” also explaining that “the economic weakening of Europe is not in anyone’s interest”. Frequently donning a dark-colored turtle neck, his tone and attitude corresponded to an ecclesiastical authority announcing a yet unknown truth taken from the Book of Revelations ready to be applied to the “Industrial Sovereignty” agenda of his Ministry.
Be that as it may, and as per the US State Dept. the NS1 and NS2 pipeline sabotage would supposedly have “no impact on European energy resilience”… then we should guess that Germans should just enjoy their Oktoberfest and — why not ? — also prepare to celebrate Christmas 2022 as if nothing negative had happened. On the contrary,
if technical brain-power (currently AWOL) prevailed, then career strategists both sides of the Atlantic would now be spending all day and night trying to brush up hard on nat-gas management 101, better yet with a touch of sophomoric physics if all possible. And thus no-nonsense contingency plans would already be prepared and under deployment.
The reason is, as explained below, by EU and German design and commitment this is a failing EXPERIMENT. The planned ´stored´ nat-gas & LNG supply strategies have never ever been applied in equivalent circumstances with this strange methodology and humongous scale. Thusly, the 2022 German Oktoberfest will probably turn into a very acid sauerkraut with solid-beer icicles bizarrely hanging from the spouts. The Main Event would still be the December 2022 ´Jinglemerkel Santakaputt´ with nowhere to hide as all of Europe would be undergoing a thorough DE-industrialization process with sharp lowering of standards of living, and in many areas most probably with food issues, darkness & cold, deep frustration and un-heard-of unemployment with massive migrants wishing they had stayed back home (yes)
Ref #1 https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-and-canadian-foreign-minister-melanie-joly-at-a-joint-press-availability/
Ref #2 https://twitter.com/reuters/status/1574853885382037505
Ref #3 https://www.thelocal.de/20221005/german-minister-accuses-gas-supplying-countries-of-ripoff-prices/
Ref #4 https://www.rt.com/business/564457-us-seeks-economic-domination-eu/
´molecules of illusion´
Be it from Qatar, Norway, or the US… or Russia…Liquefied Natural Gas cannot and will not save the day for Europe. First of all, LNG is and will be for a huge long time to come very scarce worldwide. Furthermore, there are very few loading and unloading terminals available at either end. For example, Germany has 0 (zero) LNG terminals. None. And even some loading terminals at source docks that are already built have serious operational problems or simply do not meet EU standards. Besides, there are not anywhere near enough LNG tankers available and very few are under construction. Who needed ugly dirty fracked LNG only 6 months ago ? And these infrastructure beasts take very long time to be conceived, approved, designed, funded, built, commissioned, certified, and offered to the market.
But it gets worse because many wrongly imagine that fracked sea-borne Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is a substitute of nat-gas (not). First, it´s terribly more expensive, most explosive & dangerous to handle, and definetly way too scarce to meet European needs. Environmentally, LNG is “fracking” dirty and very cumbersome to liquefy, load and re-gassify with yet non-existant infrastructure at both ends… and is far more difficult to store and many times more costly to freight (Suez could be a limitation) from ackward overseas sources yet unknown (in tankers that do not yet exist) and only in risky seaborne batches onto many dozens of delivery terminals not yet built nor adequately planned for…
Let´s delve further in depth regarding the LNG illusion while sharing the always knowledgeable and helpful comments from the SKovacs summarized posts (in italics below) based on 30-years of first-hand operational experience.
the LNG cryogenic conundrum
- There is an extreme shortage of LNG tankers, so who would build them, per what specs and costs, by when?
- There are is an extreme shortage of LNG terminals at both ends. Europe is extremely bureaucratic, so it will require many years to have a single LNG terminal ready and running if not vetoed by the local council. Meanwhile, a pipeline must be connected from the terminal to the existing grid… with further complications at every level which take TIME. What capacity should these terminals have vis-á-vis the related new distribution pipelines? Nobody can know that today thus adding even more load to timing and technical demands.
- Transit times on the tankers change and existing EU southern pipelines are probably at full capacity already.
- Tankers are far more costly to operate as liquefied gas has to be kept liquefied re power-hungry refrigeration.
- Tankers have a more costly service life than all other bulk tankers, due to the regulation/inspection/cryogenic requirements which also take TIME. So therefore they are a higher risk with higher cost per cubic meter of gas transported vs. cheap, reliable, safe, environmentally friendlier pipelines to which Europe is used to.
- Europe needs dozens of new LNG terminals.The pre-feasibility and feasibility studies have not yet been planned for, let alone detailed engineering, plans & specs, manpower, contracting of engineering expertise,etc
- LNG terminal sites have to be carefully chosen, their expensive and cumbersome environmental impact assessments completed (which can take years) with engineering design that by itself can also take years with no room for direct carbon copy of other designs, plus ground preparation construction which would take 1-2 years + manufacturing of plant and modules (usually in Korea and China, but would they now agree ? ) all of which need contracts, schedules, materials, etc, lots of TIME and shipping + certification & commissioning.
- Funding: all LNG terminals are owned/built/operated by consortiums of gigantic multinational companies, not governments. They cost 10’s of billions to design and build, which need to be borrowed from banks. The borrower must prove that it has a solid plan with guarantees in place to repay the loan with interest. The owner/operator of the terminal has all sorts of other very important liabilities. This is a no nonsense business.
So it seems that European leadership is unexplainably calm after both NS1 & NS2 have been blown up and now relying on timely LNG supplies (not) and /or European nat-gas “stored reserves”…(double not)
use-LESS European supposedly stored nat-gas ´reserves´ (not)
Europeans know bloody well a rough winter is coming, but no one has warned them that the supposed 90% “reserves” that would sorta get them through okay will not be available as announced. There are 2 main reasons for this which were already explained to boring death and intricate depth at Ref #5 https://thesaker.is/the-euthanized-european-nat-gas-reserves/
The first reason #1 is the impossibility of constant RE-pressurization of such “stored” nat-gas reserves in order to maintain the required sub-surface driving force push to produce it onto surface. Now, along broad areas of Germany and Northern Europe the lack of pipeline nat-gas flow will not allow to comply this requirement. Without pipeline nat-gas, at the very best only 25% to 30% of the “supposed” 90% reserves could possibly ever be timely recovered and only very slowly through a period of time stretched out in months. The culprit is the mandatory DE-pressurization whenever such underground reserves are produced onto surface (plus sub-surface losses) with the consequent geometrical drawdown of pressure. With a decreasing sub-surface pressure as driving force, ever smaller and slower nat-gas volumes can be produced onto surface or even none at all per circumstances and operational requirements.
The second reason #2 is the current impossibility in many areas of now having the much required constant massive King Kong pipeline surface flow to adequately push along and warm up the underground reserves that could be produced onto surface by pressure differential when RE-pressurized enough and if all the other requirements are met. This has never ever been tried out by anyone before anywhere near at this scale and without prior notice as later explained. Now suffice to say that the impact will be enormously negative and that Europeans are not anywhere close to being aware of this. All they get to hear is that “our 90% stored nat-gas reserves will get us through this winter if we just save up consumption a bit ”. No they won´t and below it is proven with hard figures. Read my lips ugly “methane hydrates” nightmares will be the new name of the game and it will not be fun, trust me. More later, just bear with me.
high school physics
The problem starts when bureaucratic ignoramuses (politicians et al) dream up the stupid idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks such as thru surface pipelines. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – never a substitute of (NOT) – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during the low consumption season (summer) could be added to the main pipeline flow by 10% approx. This would help to satisfy the higher winter demand and also to lower the average yearly cost. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of surface flowing feedstocks. No matter how hard they try or how frequently they model their brand new dark colored turtle necks, politicians both sides of the Atlantic will not change that, I promise. Nat-gas sub-surface reserves can never ever be adequately produced onto surface by themselves and can only be ´lightly´ and slowly ADDED onto pre-existing actively flowing surface feedstocks such as pipeline flows nothing more. Anything else is a dream ready to become a very ugly nightmare.
Something certainly widespread and that may be misleading — for which I am not responsible of — is using the term “storage” for such ´reserves´ as “storage” in a warehouse or closet. It is not anywhere near that. A better term would be “lung” but then we get the ambiguity derived from the organ that living beings breathe with. But at any rate such nat-gas reserves are not kept like you and I — and our wives — would keep dishes in a cupboard shelf. It´s not easy to explain it just with words, but still allow me to try. Water plays a role of course and that is why before injecting down to underground storage caverns the nat-gas MUST be thoroughly and intensively dehydrated as much as technically possible which is difficult to do and very expensive. Furthermore, during underground storage such nat-gas picks up even additional water content from subsurface structures which could be coped with (maybe, yet again it depends) if they had readily available a surface super King Kong flow — as later explained — to thermically cushion it and incorporate it into its MASSIVE mass. But then, by not having such driving force No. 2, means being able to produce such undergound stored nat-gas onto surface only with driving force No.1, namely pressure differential.
Then, with only No.1 driving force available to extract such underground nat-gas reserves… well (a) the consequent pressure drop taking place as the first nat-gas sub-surface “reserves” get to surface will mean that the process has to be very slow and (b) lots of nat-gas will be left behind underground because of gradual pressure drawdown will reduce and weaken the upward push required and (c) you better be VERY carefull with veeeery sloooow production (meaning not enough when most needed) because a sudden methane DE-compression will FREEZE up everything and also producing methane hydrates a well-known nightmare of operational engineers which would clog the pipeworks forever
Furthermore this has never ever been attempted (what for ?) and the variations of the different animals in the storage facilities “zoo” I describe below do not allow for any standardized procedure for simultaneous input from different sources also managed differently with no training, no coordination, nor awareness of the nature of the problem.
But it gets to be MUCH worse…
Any underground stored nat-gas that may possibly be recovered — not much, as we shall see right below — will be sold not to the local community of nearby consumers but rather to the wholesale market through the pipeworks grid described later in greater detail. So that if Germans living in, say, Frankfurt for whatever reason feel they´ll sorta be okay by having such and such large volume nat-gas storage facility close-by, well… they are freezing wrong because the nat-gas to be potentially produced from such large size Frankfurt storage will be very democratically distributed thru the grid (at market prices) and not thru a direct connection to nearby Frankfurt homes.
In 2021 Germany spent 100 bcm of nat-gas (approx.) with a maximum storage volume capacity of 24 bcm which German officials now say is filled up to 90% meaning that they have 22 bcm of nat-gas available throughout Germany. BTW, no specific distribution breakdown is ever given just total values for all of Germany which could eventually mean a very UN-even problematic distribution. Furthermore, saying and repeating that is fully misleading as you could have your car´s gas tank 90% filled but you would still require MANY gas tanks for you to get to destination. Be that as it may, total 2021 consumption from October to February in Germany was 52 bcm with an estimated breakdown of 26 bcm for the October, November and December period and an additional 13 bcm during January plus yet another 13 bcm for February. Total = 52 bcm. Now then, out of the 22 bcm supposedly already ´stored´ approximately a minimum 30% cannot ever be recovered (probably even more) so that means that only 15 bcm maximum are available to cover consumption only for the months of October and November… as by mid-December (Christmas comes to mind) even in the best scenario under current circumstances Germany would run out of available nat-gas, stop. Sorry it´s math.
Some EU countries such as Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Slovenia have ZERO nat-gas storage capacity of their own and basically depend upon solidarity from other EU countries…
Ref #5 https://youtu.be/gplfrKT627k Ref #6 https://www.reuters.com/article/europe-gas-kemp-idAFL1N2Z81RA
Yet more on the use-LESS European nat-gas “reserves” (not)
In practice — per Yogi Berra – today´s underground European “stored” nat-gas reserves cannot be conveniently extracted from sub-surface. The reason is, that in order to achieve it, these ´reserves´ would need to
(1) be constantly RE-pressurized as briefly explained before, which now without NS1 and NS2 cannot ever be done through large parts of Germany and throughout Northern Europe with the consequent enormous impact this implies
(2) have abundant Russian pipeline nat-gas constantly flowing thus allowing to add-on such pressurized stored underground reserves to a comparatively far larger surface flow. This is the only possible practical way to extract underground nat-gas and also to distribute such buried reserves through the surface distribution system pipeworks.
By themselves, without the help of flowing pipeline nat-gas, such stored nat-gas reserves can hardly be produced onto surface and still with lots of negative impact. To attempt it would be an experiment never ever tried out before in the history of physics — or politics for that matter. “A bloody unnecessary experiment” Sir Isaac Newton would have mumbled in a low-tone whisper. Without a surface pipeline full of massively abundant flowing nat-gas (now absent) the supposed European “reserves” will mostly just end up sitting pretty underground as they are today, period.
Please also accept that trying to explain highly technical issues of what´s really going on to a very broad audience (politicians included) is not simple. It is most important, mind you, but not simple… Boredom is a constant risk which by the way I am running right now. Losing the audience altogether is a very real possibility. And that´s the reason why many times I repeat the same ideas with slightly different language (and angle of perspective) as best I can … and as technical considerations allow it. And that´s why I also try to make these articles naturally lively and colorfull so as to get your attention. Now if the audience were the API-SPE-ASTM-NACE-ASME-AAPG types I would of course explain stuff differently. But no Western technical venue would ever allow me to submit the thesis you all already know about as all of them (and I do mean ALL) just kow-tow the official line to move on with “nothing to see here”.
Constant RE-pressurization of subsurface stored nat-gas is required to maintain enough (large) volume and enough underground pressure as No.1 driving force to produce it onto surface. This is needed to compensate for the unavoidable and also constant DE-pressurization due to underground losses (thermal, friction, permeation, dissipation, fissures, cracks, porosity, etc.) and pressure drawdown (loss) produced every time that sub-surface reserves are brought onto surface. Without RE-pressurization, future required pressure would not be available and possible surface soil collapse or subsidence could lead to seismographic activity nobody wants such as with fracking. But furthermore this driving force No.1 also needs an active and fully operational surface pipeline to bring in nat-gas for re-injection of underground nat-gas reserves, namely driving force No.2. Besides, whenever the traditional surface pipeline inflow is interrupted or non-existant (such as today in Northern Germany and Northern Europe) storage nat-gas will also be depleted way earlier because it was not ever supposed to constitute the only winter load by itself… and as explained later no surface King Kong express bull-dozing effect would exist for surface pipeworks distribution.
So without nat-gas flowing through the NS1 and NS2 pipelines the extraction of the nat-gas supposedly “stored” (not) in European underground caverns or sub-surface deposits would be highly problematic or even impossible. The Saker commenter Catherine worded it out short & sweet…“ Germany says it has enough gas in storage to get through winter. Thanks for demolishing that statement – I had no idea an inflow was needed to make it a viable solution” Congratulations Catherine gal, I always look out for your valid down-to-earth comments such as “inflow is needed”.
Please conceive the NS nat-gas pipelines as huge 8-lane x 18-wheeler freight truck King Kong autobahns. Yes, differential pressure from the pressurized underground nat-gas does actually play a role, but better be very careful or you will end up freezing everything around you including the young field engineers and their sisters. So, per Catherine, additionally a King Kong pipeline “is needed” with a far larger nat-gas mass to also offer a required thermal stability cushion for the underground ´reserves´. So King Kong “pushes along” or displaces anything in its way incorporating the possible nat-gas that would be very slowly released-produced-extracted-bubbled up from underground European storage caverns as slightly aided by the pressure differential between stored depth and surface.
Accordingly… highly pressurized subsurface caverns by themselves will not work as expected unless a constant flow – even at low flow rates and pressures — is always maintained from the NS pipelines sources… thus pushing the stored nat-gas “out there” as required for distribution through surface grid pipeworks for this mix between (a) Siberian pipeline nat-gas plus (b) possible European underground stored nat-gas. So the latter (b) can only be added-on to a much larger flow-rate of the former (a) probably with a ratio below 10% as we shall later see. But the point is we do NEED the surface pipeline flow to incorporate, drag along and thermically stabilize the expanding sub-surface nat-gas.
the bulldozing King Kong Express (AWOL)
At any rate, the Russian pipeline is the “monster” which carries an overwhelming amount of nat-gas with sustained internal flow-rate thus performing as our “King Kong” bulldozer express. Accordingly, it rules with the overpowering momentum (or inertia Newton would say) of the massive amount – which also performs as a thermally stabilizing cushion — of nat-gas it naturally carries by design and always “pushing along” and incorporating everything it finds in its way…including the possible well-managed, small, non-freezing inflow from sub-surface storage deposits.
Now here comes an additional concept relating to comparative amounts of nat-gas from both the pipeline and the possible sub-surface storage deposits quantity, type, and capabilities of which we fully ignore but must assume are highly variable and heterogenous animals. Of course, the volume and mass of nat-gas that the surface pipeline brings along always has to be much larger than the possible inflow received from underground storages so as to “bull-doze” it along as King Kong would and thus thermally absorb it also. That is why the very first paragraph entitled “high school physics” stated that
“ The problem starts when ignorant fools dream up the idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – not a substitute of – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during low consumption season (summer) could be added to help satisfying winter´s high demand. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of flowing feedstocks”.
stored nat-gas %
You may now ask exactly what ratio should that proportion be ? Well we can´t know precisely although it surely varies but it does not really matter because (1) it´ll be set for whatever is needed (2) what matters is the very existence of this King Kong express having a massive bull-dozing and thermally stabilizing nat-gas cushion flow which would forcefully push along whatever it finds in its way thus adequately incorporating / adding the nat-gas inflow received from underground storage thru very very carefull pressure differential management to be explained later. Historically, European nat-gas storage percentages vary between 80% at the end of summer and 30% at the end of winter(approx) So we can infer that 50% of the stored volume spent during such 6-month period would require to – in average – to spend 8% per month x 6 months = 50% of the stored nat-gas (approx.). So that´d mean an average of 8% per month inflow of whatever volume each facility may have stored (unknown in absolute figures) during a 6-month period of far cheaper gas purchased and stored during low-demand season (summer). But by no means is ´stored´ nat-gas able to substitute for massive King Kong surface inflows without such it cannot be adequately surfaced in enough quantities just producing a generalized freeze-out to be explained later. Because underground stored nat-gas cannot suddenly and massively be surfaced onto an empty pipeline because the high differential pressure would expand the methane and freeze up rapidly plus it would be spent-up in a hurry with the consequent pressure drop, a very bad idea.
Europe, we have a problem
And the problem now for Europe is precisely that such pipelines NS1 and NS2 are not operational thus not allowing for anything of what has been described herein so far. For without such active King Kong pipelines almost unsolvable problems appear as later described. So once the Russian pipeline nat-gas flow stops dead,such European stored gas would not be conveniently displaced or “moved along” to elsewhere it may be needed, be it for home heating or power generation, or anything else. And if the push pressure applied to the sub-surface nat-gas were substituted by pressure exerted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations, equipment and devices are contractually fine-tuned to be fed by pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else. Furthermore, mixing with air (oxygen) would be very risky and no one in his right mind would try that, trust me. Any other gas or mix thereof is impossible.
driving forces No.1 + No. 2
So two (2) driving forces are required to extract / produce the EU underground ´stored´ nat-gas. Both are needed. Driving force No.1 is sub-surface pressure so that the stored nat-gas is barely allowed to emerge to surface veeeeery slowly just timidly bubbling on to surface where it would meet and ride along with the King Kong express absorbed onto its thermally stable mass. This is known as pressure differential between the under-ground nat-gas and the King Kong flow on surface. If operators were careless enough to allow for a larger than required pressure differential all hell would break lose and we would have a very short-lived disaster with everything frozen. The reason is that nat-gas sudden and abundant expansion because of large pressure differentials means temperature drop – let alone in European mid-winter — to the point of forming one of the most feared problems in the business known as “methane hydrates” which would mean that everything breaks down seized bloody frozen. More on that later, including “solutions” found for Alaskan and Arctic reservoirs but NOT applicable to these European underground stored nat-gas facilities which are many different funny animals just put together, like in a zoo. There is no need to explain the danger of methane hydrates, just google it.
Now driving force No.2 is precisely the King Kong pipeline bull-dozing flow as already explained. What driving force No. 1 does is to get the nat-gas bubbling barely on to surface under the lowest possible pressure differential so as not to freeze everything up just “presenting” the nat-gas on surface for it to be “blown away” or “moved along” or “pushed along” or “displaced ” thru the surface pipeworks to final destination… or whichever wording suits everyone´s fancy (mission impossible, trust me). The soccer equivalent would be Neymar passing the ball on to Messi – at full speed and on the run of course — for the Argentine genius to score just by shoving the ball past the goalposts with his chest.
Alaska & Siberia & the Artic and beyond…
I can already hear the howling of experienced “experts” letting us all know that the freezing-up problems of a strong differential pressure between nat-gas stored underground and surface pipeline (even empty, as it would now come to be) are today perfectly solvable. If such were possible (not) then a strong Delta P — as engineers call it — would all by itself be enough of a driving force No.1 to solve such problem without King Kong and get the sub-surface nat-gas all along the surface pipeworks… Oh, yes, I agree such “freezing-up” problems are pretty much “solved” yes of course … but only in Alaska and Siberia or wherever you happen to have a small ocean of sub-surface nat-gas reservoirs which justifies the design, construction, investment, equipment and huge operational expenses and expertise for the injection of methanol, pipe heating, etc. etc. all of which are very expensive and difficult solutions to operate with.. But not repeat not in a comparatively very small size and highly atomized zoo of European underground nat-gas ´storage´ facilities all pretty much different (no carbon copy solution possible) from each other requiring specific variations and modifications as widely distributed throughout different environments which are already installed and running… which certainly do not allow for such expensive ´solution´. It´s impossible now to up-end and retro-fit each individual sub-surface storage facility everywhere in Europe whatever its size, location and type so that it may have the means to deal with the impact of such suddenly de-pressurized nat-gas and further evenly distribute it on surface pipeworks at precise and agreed constant and homogenous pressure and flow-rate without planned coordination amongst the different cross-border stakeholders. Not. Sourcing, logistics, just-in-time distribution and injection of humongous volumes of methanol without prior notice is an unfathomable project.
Furthermore, as if the above not were enough, a high differential pressure between undergound nat-gas and the surface would mean that the stored volume would be consumed / depleted / drawed down way too fast thus defeating the purpose of the whole concept and process. The experiment proposed was never ever foreseen by anyone decades ago including the original geologists, designers and engineering contractors… or current operators for that matter. Overabundant nat-gas inflow from Russia was always a “given” taken for granted.
the nat-gas zoo failing EXPERIMENT
So let´s summarize the nat-gas zoo experiment that has never-ever been needlessly thought of in the history of physics and nat-gas extraction and/or surface distribution management. Let alone as designed and proposed by EU politicians that obviously know jack about basic physics & chemistry and could not care less about its consequences.
But you will, trust me. Oh, BTW these are NOT naturally flowing wells nor sucker-rod pumped wells with surface mechanical “grasshoppers” sucking oil & gas out, nor bottom hole producing wells with Electro Submersible Pumps (ESP)… These also are not water-swept wells such as in secondary recovery with water injected from near-by wells pushing the oil & gas to the producing wells, etc etc etc. These are sub-surface artificially pressurized nat-gas storage deposits, completely different animals altogether.
tools and resources absent
+ NO Russian nat-gas pipeline inflow (zero) – NO King Kong express – plain EMPTY shut-down of Russian pipeline
+ ZERO possibility of the “move along” King Kong express effect. None. AWOL.
+ ZERO possibility of RE-pressurizing any/all sub-surface nat-gas deposits throughout Europe meaning that they will all DE-pressurize at unknown different variable rates both amongst different underground storage caverns and within such due to their enormous heterogeneity regarding type, size, and specific location within the surface network, etc.
exclusive driving force
+ Only current sub-surface pressures (whatever it happens to be, all different) as exclusive driving force to extract underground ´stored´ nat-gas from highly variable deposits (the zoo) meaning variable pressure differentials and flow rates requiring yet an additional layer of overall nat-gas production plus distribution & timing / scheduling management
+ highly heterogenous and variable cross-borders sub-surface deposits / caverns & reservoirs of different sizes, types and requirements hereinafter to be called “the unpredictable zoo” current and future pressures of which are fully unknown and can´t possible ever be known because of the heterogeneity variations amongst the zoo animals.
They are all different zoo animals in so many ways that no standardized solution is possible. All the zoo animals were commissioned at different times with different criteria and different designs, not ever inspected as surface structures would be, all of them found in different underground and soil conditions, no internal known lining, all with varying degrees of fissures, cracks, porosities and permebilities, etc etc.etc
All requiring different sub-surface pressure tests re fill-up, shut-in, and pressure drawdown values to control the possibility of a fracture or large enough crack which would seriously endanger everyone in a 10-mile radius (or more)
+ No specific breakdown available regarding what “supposed” % of nat-gas reserves held exactly by which sub-surface “animal“ and at what current and future sub-surface pressure which will necessarily decrease through time
+ temperature, flow-rate and pressure subsurface inflow variations all along the surface pipeworks grid depending upon the cooling effect allowed for each individual underground nat-gas deposit by each individual un-regulated cross-border operator
+ 85% average nat-gas storage fill-up throughout Europe at unknown pressure and variation profile until March 2023.
+ Not ever equivalent to an oil & gas well provided by wise Mother Earth under completely different conditions
no vacuum nor gas replacement
If nat-gas were substituted by any other gas or mixtures thereof (air or otherwise) the Russian pure nat-gas already stored would soon inter-mix and dilute beyond possible practical use as European installations and equipment are contractually fine-tuned for pure Russian nat-gas, not anything else. Pulling an extraction vacuum would not help or change anything as it would mean the same impact as the sub-surface pressure differential and would freeze up everything just the same and/or FUBAR the surface pipeworks distribution grid. Adding or “pushing” nat-gas with air or an air mix would be explosive.
The sub-surface storage and delivery of methane in enormously large quantities without having the traditional and foreseen huge Russian pipeline inflow is a spanking new and most probably unsuccessfull and dangerous experiment.
Question #1: Are all stakeholders AWARE of the above and have planned accordingly ? I don´t think so, do you ?
The abundant “iffy” explanations received ring many alarms for contingency planning. There is no crystal ball regarding what could happen, but for sure it will NOT be “normal” service everywhere for everybody all the time.
Today absolutely everybody throughout Europe is used to, requires and fully expects what we shall call “normal” everyday nat-gas supply service. BTW, there are other nat-gas sources for certain parts of Europe besides Russian pipelines which should function normally although at much higher prices than in the recent past. At least such exist today and are operated at 125% of capacity and may suffer from such abuse, of course. So here we referred only to the NS1 & NS2 pipeline nat-gas non-supply, an absolute requirement most specially for Germany & Northern Europe.
Question #2 : assuming that was explained herein is 100% wrong and everything just works out hunky-dory ? Once that the nat-gas storage is fully depleted throughout Northern Europe ( at best March 2023 ) what would happen then exactly ?
So whenever we hear about supposed European 90% nat-gas storage “reserves” please recall that such were conceived and recoverable by design, construction and operation only in addition to… and if and when… Russian pipeline nat-gas inflow were constantly maintained (not anymore) with at least a minimum inflow rate and pressure.
(3) have any of the experimental procedures described herein ever been followed before throughout Europe? (4) What positive experience is there available in facilities this large and so heterogenous and widespread with so much at stake and no time to plan and prepare ? (5) why would all of these procedures under the new unforeseen conditions not be considered to be truly experimental ? (6) would absolutely everybody in charge of European nat-gas storage facilities know about these problems in advance and proceed exactly as required by a PLAN without risking any experimentation and/or improvisation ?
sub-surface pressure management
Chances are that hurriedly over-pressurized sub-surface caverns and nat-gas reservoirs will crack or fracture.
There are serious sub-surface cavern pressure limitations to avoid the risk of fracturing… with bad consequences.
Not well-studied and inadequate soil mechanics on possibly un-consolidated formations were already discussed in the original article of Reference #5. Accidents will happen. So it´s a very tricky and potentially dangerous game to be played out with extreme care. Initially these sub-surface storage facilities may possibly be pressurized enough. But as winter comes on, the sub-surface pressures will decline and accordingly their production rate will also decline. So, by mid-winter, even if the quantity of gas remaining were apparently enough (50% ? ) the rate of production to surface would not meet the traditional demand. Storing and later extracting nat-gas in sub-surface deposits under very high pressure requires tons of specialized operation, maintenance expertise, and funding. Extraction and delivery is very slow. Higher speed delivery to satisfy peak demand can only be sustained momentarily and necessarily running serious systemic risks as explained hereinbefore.
Muito bom, como sempre Jorge.
Apesar de não entender quase nada das questões técnicas expostas, creio que, após um grande esforço mental, talvez eu tenha entendido algo:
Por mais que o corpo político da UE tente minimizar os riscos da atitude servil aos desmandos dos EUA, alegando falsamente que a falta do gás russo não fará falta, já que existem as reservas e também o GNL americano, o fato é que, na prática, os problemas que virão serão profundas.
Minha pergunta crucial é:
Eles realmente são uns imbecis e não sabem disso ou simplesmente sabem e não se importam?
Obrigado Jorge por dispensar seu tempo a fim de nos esclarecer os fatos práticos.
Very good, as always Jorge.
Although I understand almost nothing of the technical issues exposed, I believe that, after a great mental effort, perhaps I have understood something:
No matter how much the EU political body tries to minimize the risks of slavish attitude to us excesses, falsely claiming that the lack of Russian gas will not be lacking, since there are reserves and also American LNG, the fact is that in practice the problems that will come will be deep.
My crucial question is:
Are they really idiots and don’t know it or do they just know it and don’t care?
Thank you Jorge for taking the time to clarify the practical facts.
bestetti, muito obrigadissimo !! Besides, you are 100% correct in your summarized conclusions.
Furthermore, I am convinced there isn´t any definitive answer to your final question. It´s all over different combinations of people and knowledge, mostly ignorant though or somewhat “knowledgeable” but in a different sense with nothing specific such as this article describes. I´d dare to guess most politicians do NOT know about this situation… but also most — or all — of them will not care to listen to any arguments related to the technical problem at hand, including this precise article which would only be followed up by some / many political ´observers´ to detect and report attitudes such as “treason” and “aiding the enemy” etc etc… but nothing to see here technically speaking. Talking about the “enemy” I have seen it and it is us, just US.
There are political exceptions and some Italians come to mind, but no one anywhere wants to have the bull grabbed by the horns. Political costs are deemed to be ultra high. Still Ireland MEP Clare Daly and Hungarian politicians at large are different but not paid attention to.
Same goes for Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki and Sahra Wagenknecht — former co-chair of the party Die Linke (“The Left”) — who told her fellow Bundestag leaders in-their-face that “The biggest problem is your grandiose idea of launching an unprecedented economic war against our most important energy supplier. The idea that we are punishing Putin by impoverishing millions of families in Germany and destroying our industry while Gazprom is making record profits – how stupid is that?”
Still, no one has ever heard of the arguments presented in this article. EVER. Then, most nat-gas technical management people should know all about this… but we can´t be really sure, most specially if they are all (pretty much) know-it-all conceited milennials. Older knowledgeable folks — with baldy grey hair — nowhere to be seen, you follow ? So it´s a longuish answer for a very short question…
Abraco pra vocé bestetti !!
i am as much ignorant on the details of the topic as much interested as much by the physics as by the political tail which comes along.
So far i followed i hope, but allow me a simple question what about the Ukrainian Transgas which should come in via Bavaria, though there is not much pressure left but still.
Would there be a chance that this gas is used a a mini Prince Kong ;-) -flow to free gas from the storage, as you described? Means is is physically possible – southwest and northeast networks connected?
CJW, many thanks for your comments and questions
(1) I do not know anything about the Ukranian Transgas you mention. I didn´t even know it existed as such.
Are you sure the name is correct ?
(2) Bavaria is in the southern region of Germany and we here are talking about Northern Germany within the NS1 “basin” coverage.
(3) Nope, no nat-gas nertworks are interconnected in Germany
(4) Believe it or not, just about anything and everything physically important (other than roads and public transportation) is NOT interconnected between Eastern and Western Germany and/or between Northern and Southern Germany for that matter
(5) the sheer amounts of Russian nat-gas not available anymore is humongous and not replaceable by anything that 21st. century planet Earth has or even knows about… So, as you say, ” if there is not much pressure left ” well it just ain´t any good for the purposes at hand.
(6) There is NO bloody way to even partially replace NS1 nat-gas volume and quality, NONE, not even close.
(7) As the article clearly and repeatedly explains from many angles and perspectives, extracting sub-surface nat-gas requires at least 2 TWO 2 driving forces and tons of expertise and top-notch management.
(8) Sub-surface nat-gas “reserves” are always covered by 1 (one) single pipeline into which they feed. Absent that pipeline there is nowhere to feed the sub-surface nat-gas “reserves” into other than venting.
Very enlightening Jorge. Thank you!
Thank YOU dear HD for your kind words of encouragement. And you bet I try (hard) !!!
Thank you, Mr. Vilches. I’ve read your essays with great interest.
I would assume your thesis would be in effect already, and alarms sounded. Hearing no panicked reports of current, escalting shortages, what source is adequately driving German/EU consumption now?
HBS, the affected area is the NS1 “basin” or area of coverage mainly Northern EUROPE & Northern Germany which is the industrial core of both. I guess they are mitigating the problem with less consumption as it’s not winter yet and can still save some. Many businesses have shut down already. The NS1 pipeline had feedstocked surface distribution facilities up until a couple of weeks ago so they were well sourced till then and must still keep some idle cushion spare volume. They are also currently importing from France and Norway but not for much longer when winter temperatures will turn push into shoves and solidarity will not prevail. Probably they might be using surface storage which is easier to produce although not smoothly and always much smaller volumes .They have not yet attempted to surface underground storage because it just keeps increasing into the higher 90% but in so doing they must be fracking their underground caverns sooner or later and that will bite their tail badly as described. I don’t really know I am just guessing but the options are pretty obvious no ?
What do you think them are doing HBS ? Your guess is as good as mine ! Please share with us …you are most welcome to do so !
HBS, such as your case, occasionaly commenters can deeply impress me… and I also learn from them as made clearly explicit many times already, including the SKovacs comments mentioned in my article above regarding non-viability of LNG. Now then — as above you asked about the only pending yet un-answered question left — you impress me as either very ultra knowledgeable or very ultra lucky. I bet it is the former, so I urge you to comment further as per my request above.
Furthermore, regarding “alarms”… Well, politicians will never trigger any alarm EVEN if aware of an incoming debacle, meteorites included. The reason is the instant they do it in this particular case they´d be OUT by popular demand and/or plain fired on the spot by TBTB re WEF-NATO-Anglo/Saxon cabal etc etc. So we should NOT expect them to ever ring any alarms of any sort. Politicians want to be in charge… ALWAYS… even in charge of a sinking ship duly blaming someone else for such ´Titanic´ mishap, not them per the “narrative”. Above, I replied to commenter “bestetti” please do read my reply, thank you.
So the first part of your comment above regarding “alarms” in my understanding it´s 100% crystal clear and simple. Politicians NEVER EVER ring any alarms unless they can profit from such… and they have not found out just how to do that in this case… (maybe later ? )… possibly because there is NO way any politician may profit, so they just postpone the problem and keep on padding their wallets.
It would be stupid doing that, you might say and I´d agree, but yet again what do we know ?
At any rate, your technical input is most welcome HBS.
Your comment above is valid as we both know that NS1 — and NS2 for that matter although it never delivered one molecule of nat-gas — has been shut down for a couple of weeks. Still, if we care to believe them (hmmm… is that risky maybe ?) they have not yet attempted to surface underground storage because it just keeps increasing into the higher 90%´s. So from where is Germany getting it´s nat-gas from today, like right NOW ?
UNLESS as done many MANY many times them at the EU are cheating and lying in our faces. Meaning that the AVERAGE “storage” might be 90% + throughout Germany but in the areas affected by the NS1 shutdown the “storage” they might have had is pretty much gone as added on to whatever the remaining NS1 flow was ( small but it´s still there for an additional week or so…) thus enlarging their nat-gas volume available for consumption (by some 10% approx. ?) as the only real LAST chance in hell to make use of such reserves with still some remaining NS1 flow in the surface pipeline.
After the NS1 pipeline feedstock is gone empty what´d rule is what is explained in my article, heaven forbid…
So in the event of having a different analysis or perspective, please I urge you to prove me wrong — or partially wrong — if all possible. I sure hope you can and I´ll be the first one to admit it and would warmly congratulate you for it.
Oh, boy … sir, you flatter me. I hope my tone (archaic, isn’t it?) wasn’t confrontational. You may have picked up on it’s facetiousness; assuming the average, informed observer would suspect something is afoot. That is, presented with your thesis, and a layman’s routine knowledge of it’s persuasive proofs. Toss in some nagging skepticism accrued over years … btw, your effusive reaction impressed me. Or am I too aloof, a northern Midwesterner of Iowegian* descent? I’d never admit that in, say, Minnesota. I’m considered dull enough. Regardless, I’ll trust you with that knowledge.
“the AVERAGE “storage” might be 90% + throughout Germany but in the areas affected by the NS1 shutdown the “storage” they might have had is pretty much gone as added on to whatever the remaining NS1 flow was ( small but it´s still there for an additional week or so…)”
I didn’t realize that a reduced NS1 stream still existed, to supplement demand or even affect regional reserve draw downs. You also mention remaining surface volume, with an inherent pressurization, call it “head” pressure, perhaps, as well as French and Norwegian sources currently, transient as they may remain. No reports of rationing. Just the suggestion, in future, if only to be in solidarity with the Ukraine theme, inevitably as some personally virtuous sacrifice. Conclusive points per my question, “what source is adequately driving German/EU consumption now?”
I might label your enthusiastic response as “cultural” formality. It caught my laconic eye by surprise. A little bit jaundiced, that eye … sometimes, exhibiting a marked lack of concern for consequence (it’s been a good defense). Most Americans would simply fall back on stereotypes … well, if we’re a nation of individuals, I have only myself to answer for, once you “show me”, as my original home, Midwestern state’s motto implies.
I have no challenge for you, sir. My background doesn’t allow it. There, intuitiveness and caution prevail. Which is a hell of a way to live your life. It should require objectiveness and curiosity, while my craft describes me as a finisher, but of planes and partitions with endless repetition. Under the table or over, as opportunity and political machinations partnered with trade unions apply. And a thousand or so of mi vatos may not speak Castilian Spanish but we did participate in an ongoing, multi-billion dollar industry of fraud.
To elaborate would be off-topic, however.
I have experienced effects of temperature and humidity, negative versus positive air pressures, the elasticity, weight and dilution of joint compound, moisture retention, differences in propane vs kerosene heating and their by-products, even positive and negative ions attraction – putting dish soap in your mud to expel bubbles. “It’s science”, I might jibe with another worker, or expound to a suburban housewife, working off a three line ad in a weekly newspaper for cash green. More lately, I’ve been told upon putting my toe in the door of an project for the first time, “the schedule is 16 weeks behind and you are going to catch it up. Otherwise, take your tools and go home, we don’t need you”. So we did. The pension administrator’s investment demanded some yield for some where, for God’s sake. I like a challenge. It used to fun. Noting that expediency should be relevant.
Speaking of “fracking” hydrocarbons out of the ground, I took a run over to the Bakken oil patch when the money run out after the Housing Crash (2008-20xx). I went for the building, yet got drawn on to the pipeline by a pollo americano conman, just like me, to form a crew. I’ve written a few haibun about those experiences.
One thing I saw there: the participation of people from every corner and culture of the world, believe it or not, all seeking redemption from the falsehoods of State sponsored financialization, proxy and hubris. I deliberately encountered as many as possible, in my own, naive way.
I guess Willie ain’t such a dull boy anyway. Just too tired to proof read this.
Thanks for responding HBS.
You thus rightfully provoke our combined thinking capabilities right here and right now.
HBS, we are all flying blindfolded here (no data) and guesstimating is the only game in town.
So you are all welcome to step right into the fray.
Still, for the sake of completeness, anyone interested in contributing some additional valid input or analysis please re-read both of my posts above. Thank you
Fact #1 :On Sept. 2nd. the NS1 pipeline shut down its 20% remaining flow from the Russian source station because of a reported engine oil leakage breakdown with photos and all, whatever. As from Sept 2 zero flow from NS1 into Northern Germany. So where are these Northern Germans getting their nat-gas from ?
Fact #2 : not yet in winter, the volume delivered by NS1 till September 2 could — at least partially — still be making its final rounds on surface facilities for whatever purposes, be it re-pressurization of subsurface “reserves” or final consumption or whatever. No official or un-official data anywhere explaining exactly HOW is nat-gas supplied to Northern Germany after the NS1 pipeline was shutdown altogether.
Fact #3 : Germany has 0 (zero) LNG terminals.
Fact #4 : the 90%++ “stored” reserves have been reported to always increase even further although NO specific distribution is mentioned anywhere. So if reserves are always increasing, no use is being made of them. Or it could just be an “average” with some reserves somewhere actually going down, for example, in Northern Germany. If that were the case it could be that such reserves being actively spent right now are smallish but being on surface could still be extracted slowly ina still low-demand environment… Or it all could be a lie, of course.
So you rightfully ask:
Exactly from where is Northern Germany getting it´s nat-gas from today ?
Your question HBS is
(a) of utmost importance
(b) the Germans may have “some” (not many) well-equipped sub-surface facilities with methanol injection services and heated piping to avoid the ugly “methane hydrates” from these underground locations only and as long as they last.
(b) a complete mystery because what I detail in my previous posts above is a very marginal explanation which should not last very long.
(c) the answer could come very soon as the last-resort “solutions” explained in my previous posts above run out one right after the other and the Germans cannot hold the fort (or the lies) any longer.
Good question HBS !!!
Thanks for your “refinements”, Mr. Vilches,
“the volume delivered by NS1 till September 2 could — at least partially — still be making its final rounds on surface facilities ”
Or, could other separate sources also be re-directed, as with Ukraine’s pass through volumes purportedly being stolen? I don’t know the directions of the current supply grid. See how I relate them to learning street addresses in my hew part-time day job? Cash green, brother.
Btw, up here in the USA’s “Minnesconsin” region, the bitter cold hasn’t arrived yet. In fact, we’ve just experienced the Indian Summer”; warm temps after the first freeze somewhere. And leaf viewing, a transient occurrence more bittersweet with each waning day. Give it a few weeks, or less, before even a brief, involuntary exposure can kill you deader than a brittle door nail.
Nor did I blather on earlier about RICO conspiracy between certain US administrations and institutional labor pools coordinating demographic manipulations, with denials, since before 2006 for their mutual benefit …
” the Germans may have “some” (not many) well-equipped sub-surface facilities with methanol injection services and heated piping to avoid the ugly “methane hydrates” from these underground locations only and as long as they last.”
Better living through chemistry; an American idiom, often used in sardonic fashion. Superior to my vision of a massive blow up toy equipped with expanding membranes. Some day I’ll tell you about the time I went ice fishing and lit myself on fire. Finding the pertinence is a stretch, yet no expensive vodka was lost.
Concurrently, oil and natural gas futures have fallen to cyclical lows. Although, this time I didn’t lose my shirt.
Whew, these 20th century idioms abound, don’t they? You’d think only someone “reading between the lines” could gather my points. Otherwise, someone using logic will LOSE a debate with the climate cult and behavior modification exacerbating obstruction of factual premise. What might be our solace in this debate?
History’s empirical evidence of the similar fates of Republics such as ours (US).
Forgot the footnote:
* Iowegian: a Norwegian ex-pat settled in the fertile soil of the state of Iowa (USA), late 19th century. You couldn’t keep many of their prodigious off spring down on the farm; they had large families, and a latent urge for plunder, perhaps. Most of the excess went to the Dakotas when free land was offered.
Theodore Roosevelt tried to make his mark there at the time. Drought and inevitable economic upheaval laid waste to those plans, though he claimed the commoner’s hardships he endured made him a better man.
Silly Norkis. They didn’t have Daddy’s salon in fashionable New York to fall back on.
The Fed’s original mandate was simply to provide liquidity to banks in twelve distinct regions with markedly different economies. New York itself was later designated centralized HQ of the Federal Reserve by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Prior to that event, It was the US Congress in WW1 that ordered the Reserve to purchase government bonds as a hedge against increasing indebtedness. An order never repealed.
What you are describing is the Joule-Thomson temperature effect on gas release under high pressure. It is well known and understood. It may not be the problem you seem to be suggesting.
The Joule-Thomson coefficient t refers to the rate of change of temperature with respect to a change in pressure pressure. The Joule-Thomson coefficient varies widely with natural gas pressure, temperature and composition. However, in most engineering applications, throttling occurs from an initial pressure of the order of 1,200 psig (8.27 MPag) down to a final pressure about equal to atmospheric pressure, and near room temperature of ~ 68o F (20o C). For these conditions, the average Joule-Thomson coefficient may be taken as 7oF/100 psi (5.6o C/MPa). Given the Joule-Thomson coefficient and the pressure drop, the temperature drop may be calculated. The amount of preheating required so that natural gas will come back to its initial temperature after throttling is simply the throttling temperature drop times the specific heat capacity times the mass flow rate.
A withdrawal rate of say 10,000 lbs of natural gas per hr would need around 160 kWh of heating to avoid the input valve freezing. That is the valve governing the withdrawal of pressurized gas from the storage cavern. In the scheme of things, even with the expected scarce energy in Germany, this is not a lot of energy required to ensure the continuous release of required gas.
The challenges with methane hydrates are common in the gas business, as are their solutions. Simply put, they come with the combination high pressure, low temperature and the mixture methane and water. Again, no big deal.
I like the contributions on this site. However, sometimes they overcomplicate, technical matters. I think this is such a case. Thanks and best regards.
With all due respect and consideration, for want of a better term I beg to differ diametrically with your line of thought. I have very strong issues with both the substance and the form of arguments presented in your post above. FWIMBW, I am convinced that it is exactly the other way around as the arguments that you present un-necessarily over-complicate the situation at hand and do not comply with the K.I.S.S. principle ( “Keep It Simple Stupid”).
I could deeply analyze the flaws in your reasoning, but that would bore our audience here. So I´ll just very briefly focus only on the highlights as no more is needed to prove your arguments wrong. My response is always based in the understanding that you have thoroughly read the article above and that terms such as “King Kong” flow and the storage sub-surface “zoo” — just to name a couple — are fully understood.
(1) Do you mean to tell us that for sure the whole muti-European sub-surface storage “zoo” has methanol and heating facilities already fully installed, operational, and well coordinated amongst the many different “animals” of such “zoo” with fully trained operators ? Are you aware of what is at stake ? This has never been proposed let alone ever implemented in practice. It would be Newton´s largest and wildest possible experiment
(2) You say that “the Joule-Thomson temperature effect on gas release under high pressure is well known and understood”. You bet it is indeed !! But that truism does not imply that the means to control it are in place, does it ? We all know that non-swimmers would drown if dropped in deep waters away from any firmness, yes ? But knowing it does not avoid them drowning, does it ?
(3) Are you aware of the possible harm done by not allowing public opinion to be adequately informed ?
I now need to sip some coffee and continue responding to your post right below momentarily, so please bear with me. Thank you PeterK
(4) During decades the massive King Kong pipeline flow was an active functional part of the sub-surface nat-gas extraction process. It´s history, isn´t it ? Amongst other important things it meant having a known constant nat-gas massive mass at standardized flowing pressure and flow rate, as well as a thermal cushion buffer to allow for a successfull non-problematic incorporation of sub-surface nat-gas. How would the highly heterogenous, variable and UN-dependable animals in the “zoo” cope with all of that now missing with an absent King Kong flow ? Now suddenly King Kong is not needed at all ? How come, how so ? Now magically King Kong has no role ? So King Kong was never ever really needed then ? Is that what you are saying PeterK ? So the hundreds of very different and highly variable undergound stored nat-gas reserves would just be a bunch of well-known and well-behaved propane gas bottles that would easily and constantly flow without ever presenting any problems to themselves or to the surface pipeworks gris.
(5) Not only is energy today very scarce and even un-available, but we now need EXTRA-high energy consumption for sub-surface and on-surface highly expanded nat-gas piping heating purposes ? Do all of the “zoo” animals have these facilities installed and operational and are fully aware of what is expected and needed from them in a coordinated way without King Kong around as they were used to ? Plus ultra expensive methanol facilities would be needed everywhere. Would sourcing and logistics distribution of fully unforeseen humongous quantities of methanol work out just fine ? If there are there any plans on this highly risky operations please let us know.
(6) But you say that — now massive, sudden and concurrent — methane hydrates are “no big deal”. Interesting statement in this scenario. I suggest you please slowly re-read the whole article if all possible but most specially the paragraph entitled ” Alaska & Siberia & the Artic and beyond…” and please confirm if you are part of that crowd.
(7) You readily admit that the J-T coefficient “varies WIDELY with nat-gas pressure and temperature…”(sic). Yes, it does. So how would this fact impact vis-á-vis the many different and highly variable animals in the “zoo” ? No concerns ??? Then you hasten to add that… ” in MOST engineering applications”… (“most” !!!!) etc etc… so the “average”(sic) J-T coefficient etc etc — Now what would happen if some/many zoo animals strongly deviate form the supposed “average” which, BTW, most of the time are fully misleading…
(8) So then you go on to mention the required Delta-T calculations also affected by the above concerns.
(9) Today eight European countries have NO stored nat-gas reserves. Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, and Slovenia have ZERO nat-gas storage capacity of their own and basically depend upon solidarity from other EU countries…
(10) What will Europe do come March 2023 with definetly fully exhausted ZERO nat-gas reserves nowhere ?
I rest my case.
Thank you for your time.
Cordially and respectfully, Jorge
PS: Just one more repetitious comment regarding the required FLOW-RATE and PRESSURE.
The European nat-gas grid requires a given minimum pressure in order for devices connected to it work properly. By the same token, a given minimum flow-rate is required in order for there to be enough nat-gas volume for everyone wishing to consume it. Less pressure, nothing works right. Less flow rate some many most do not get enough and completely defeats the purpose. The absolute precise values of either pressure or flow-rate is non-important. What´s important is the fact that it exists and that the King Kong pipelines provided BOTH.
The 10% inflow (or less) from sub-surface “reserves” only added “some” additional flow rate at a far lower off-season price thus lower its yearly average cost as clearly stated in the “stored gas %” paragraph and also in the “Jinglemerkel Santakaputt” paragraph and many other places of the article above.
But the feeble inflow from sub-surface “reserves” ALL BY THEMSELVES cannot provide either enough flow rate or constant pressure. Whoever tries to pull that trick would immediately ruin the surface nat-gas distribution pipeworks for GOOD…
We can look forward to a failing supply of nat-gas then … and all are happy. The risk is the supply of nat-gas does not fail.
Then Russia must not offer Germany nat-gas (in a distributable form, what we find all around Mediterranean), as that would help Germany. Russia must tell they do not have train capacity, or trucks, for transporting nat-gas to Germany. All that was sent to Ukraine. Sorry, Germany.
Interfax reported Russian Industry’s intent to make available, over time, LNG in an amount equal to a larger percentage of demand currently. The story appeared the day before yesterday I believe.
No matter the source (Russia included… or Qatar or the US or….) the article above discusses the “LNG illusion” in depth. Cordially Jorge
I am totally ignorant here, but I read some time ago about LNG docking/off-loading ships as a possible temporary solution for LNG ports in Europe. A possibility?
WillR, the article above discusses the LNG illusion in depth. Pelearse re-read starting from the very first paragraph. Thank you. Later I might comment further. Cordially Jorge
Typo, above I meant to say “Please” sorry !
Knowledge is good. Thanks for posting. An amazing conundrum in society right now. At a time where there is more access to knowledge than at any other time in history, the masses seem satisfied with mere information.
Thank you so much Jorge for this analysis and breakdown of actual stored gas versus continuously pumped gas during the winter seasons. Every EU politician has been talking about hitting the 90+% gas storage and that will be sufficient for the full winter. It’s nice to see the numbers that refute this base case.
It is still going to be a cold dark and hungry winter in the EU.
The purpose of sabotaging of Nord Stream 1+2 was to “It is still going to be a cold dark and hungry winter in the EU”
Then who was behind sabotaging of Nord Stream 1+2? We all know that.
I am glad you liked the article and that it made a difference to you. Sure hope it helps to better understand the problem at hand. Your final summary is right on target. Cordially Jorge
I imagine industry experts have informed their govt’s of these problems using stored gas as full replacement for ‘king kong’ flows , so what can the govt’s tell the public ? without creating panic , that in mid winter people will have no gas no heat no hot water , when the truth will come out there’s gonna be one hell of a public eruption and massive desperation,without any other recourse but to somehow get Russian gas flowing again.
Unchartered Waters, thank you for your valid and encouraging input
We can´t know what the industry experts know and were willing to report to government officials. Most of them — all — just strictly follow corporate CYA policies 100%. Above I responded to commenter “bestetti” along the same lines. So if you care to please do scroll up to read such. Also both of my responses to HBS (please find them above) are 100% pertinent.
Unchartered Waters, I believe that you are correct in your analysis and conclusions. BTW, now reverting the nat-gas sourcing is not simple, both politically and technically. The future winter problems of large and very important parts of Europe is sealed IMHO. We shall see, shan´t we ?
None of this makes sense. To me it looks like they are playing for time, until a state of emergency is declared and truth nolonger matters.
ah, yes, sir,
“To me it looks like they are playing for time, until a state of emergency is declared and truth no longer matters.”
As to our next question, “what is the end game?” Shall we also consider, “why?”
You may very well have the answer we are all looking for.
It could perfectly be as simple as you say.
Highly political BTW, thus not my field of expertise but still a 100% valid possibility
It has happened before and so far there is no technically valid explanation or way out of this mess.
iR.47 please stay with us here.
Your input is much appreciated.
Thanks for the information Jorge , always look forward to your expert knowledge on such technical difficulties of complex issues being understood by lay people but you also manage to entertain along the way in subtle ways. Good health to you Sir
Thanks to you UW and even better health !!!
Why is there no discussion of these issues in Europe? Are all their engineers so afraid of the politicians that they are just going to freeze in the winter? Your explanations are invaluable and make sense. I suppose the euro politicians are of the mind “after me, the deluge”
Of course there are discussions!!!
Have you ever stood outside the Vorstand’s (mgmt) door with roaring and shouting to be dimly heard?
And, gaining entrance – smiling suits!
Do you think any journalist (pronounced Urinalist for very good reason) is invited in?
So we at the ante-chamber are left guessing.
And guess we can!
JNS yes, engineers must be ” so afraid of the politicians that they are just going to freeze in the winter ?”
BTW, you must be referring to the baldy grey-haired generation only interested in a good retirement bonus. The younger ones either do NOT know about all of this (yes, they do not sorry to say) or they do NOT care as they run and feed upon virtual lies not factual reality.
thanks for this Jorge have a good rest.
umm….so UK bought Australia LNG…has no storage so now it is in France…. maybe we will not get it back ……
Thanks JJ and I think I´ll take such ´good rest´ momentarily, like right now !
OMG I am only 1/3 the way through this and Praise the Lord I don’t know if I can bring myself to finish it. First off Jorge has already thoroughly answered my most pressing questions regarding the EU assertions that the reserves are filled to 90% and Europe should skip happily through the winter ( not ) . Things are actually just as bad as they are looking. Still the ever rational and humane Putin has left the ball in Europe/Germany’s court as to lineB of N2, i.e. kiss off the US and NATO and take the goddamn gas, save yourselves you idiots. What a wonderful mind this author has, no doubt the result of a lifetime of application and study.
I truly thank your final comment, at least the part referring to a “lifetime of application and study” because my IQ and brain power is pretty much average nothing special to write home about. I do thank God though and my parents and grandparents and teachers for the education and respecfull attitudes they made sure I received. God bless them all.
Still, posts like yours widely and deeply justify my effort edwardi !!!
So a respectfull yet warm koala hug for ya !!
Politically speaking though, methinkxs that Europe is not yet ready to kiss NATO goodby, at least not yet… So you tell me how this story ends as I do not know…
Thank you for this I must admit I am not sure I get it all.
I have one question about all of this?
The US as several large bases in europe Germany in particular what do they do? If the base is warm and cozy this winter I can’t imagine this would go over well.
Susan, I am afraid you may have understood everything 101% correctly.
Yes, I bet you do ´get all´ that matters.
I say so because your question reveals a clear understanding of what should happen.
Yes, Ramstein — and many other military bases, ports, facilities, garrisons, embassies, etc etc. — will attempt to be warm and cozy for obvious personal & manpower reasons… but also for functional and operational military needs re fuels, electircal power, etc etc etc.
And there are MANY Ramsteins out there not just 1 (one).
So Ramstein would be the castle with the princes & princesses (Victoria and Ursula come to mind) surrounded by pitchfork torches, yes. You are correct Susan, we agree.
How does that story end ?
Your guess is as good as mine.
It´s not physics or math, it´s social-politics.
Society is 9 meals away from anarchy.
I am wondering how many days of shivering are we from unrest!
Excellent article Jorge, as usual!
i did like to read this article, if i comment on some sites they do not like people who to critical or have other opinions.
since 2015 Merkle with her open borders, Europe flooded with migrants, and the Green Party and Greta Thunberg – supported by George Soros, with her school strikes, but Soros is world wide active poisening other countries, manipulating elections, as in Chile, Colombia and yes an enemy of Putin.
I believe this conflict has been a trap and we are not told the truth, and BLINKEN is connected with Soros, his family, so the whole Biden administration is manipulated..
in the past years in the EU economists warning about an economic crisis, first the migration, covid and now the Ukraine crisis, so where we are now is no surprice, Europe is screwed, thanks to politicians who made us depending on only Russian gas, and Gerhard Schroder & Merkle helping to bring us in the current situation, i guess there are more involved.
how this is going to end i have no idea, just on the BBC that Biden & Putin meet in november .
so i believe this conflict is a trap for both sides, and the escape of this crisis is killing Europe.
and the 3rd world believes that the EU has the means to save and spend more money but the truth is that Germany is the opposite. and our debt in the EU is growing sky high.
the once powerful German – EU economy and industry in shambles thanks to the stupidity of the politicians from our countries and Russia.
All i see is that the EU over the past 20 years is committing political and cultural suicide, we did survive the migration waves, covid and now this Ukraine crisis and i wonder or even not surprised about the next moves what will happen.
but it has been predicted by experts from the finance world in the past 2 years.
but what i miss is that on the background the WEF, and others others are planning the future and they never mention the names of those people, just the politicians, but the people who pull the strings never.
Please don’t use lots of caps – changed this once. Next time the comment will go to trash. Mod.
Don Jorge, I admire your capacity for analysis and synthesis. I just wanted to express my thanks to you for offering us your wisdom.
Dios le bendiga
Mil gracias mil OscardeCaracas !
Australia is one of the worlds largest LNG exporters. Some is fracked from coal seams but the rest is traditional LNG ie from normal gas fields.
We literally have no spare capacity. As identified in the article the processing plants, loading facilities, ships etc are highly specialized, costly and take a lot of time to develop. When new fields are developed they are often done in conjunction with partners in Asia who help under write the deal by committing to buy production at pre set rates (assist with obtaining finance). So there is little to no capacity for Europe and the shipping tends to be owned by Asian interests.
A lot of Asian power generation plants can switch between gas and thermal coal so they often go with the cheaper option at the moment prices for both are off the chart.
So expand production you say? Well, one really big problem. Major Australian companies are no longer exploring for gas, oil or coal. Due to climate change agendas they are highly unlikely to get approval for development so why would you bother with the cost? Instead they are maximizing the life of existing assets and if they find additional gas near these existing facilities it will be developed and fed in, but that is it, there is no more coming on line.
We even have gas rich states who have banned new gas fields talking of building LNG facilities to import gas at greatly increased costs. No one calls them out, all politicians, the media etc are sold on climate change.
PS Production of LNG from the gas rich country of Papua New Guinea is controlled by Australian companies who get pressured from shareholders like black rock etc.
So in short, not only are there the issues Jorge identifies which are 100% accurate there is also an inability to develop new fields etc in some of the richest, politically stable zones in the world. For Europe it is a perfect storm and sadly its off their own making.
I have been a lurker, I hate war, its totally pointless, neither side will win, all will lose as we are now seeing. As George Carlin said fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.
Morgoth, I warmly “roger” and endorse all what you say and explain above.
You confirm that LNG has a very limited and highly focused future and only in specific cases. It´s not a universal energy source. So thanks for your valuable input and please keep it coming, be it criticizing, expanding, etc. One aspect not yet discussed is the difference in QUALITY between ´dirty´ fracked LNG gas and REAL best-of-class downhole pure natural gas from Mother Nature.
BTW it´s obvious you are both experienced and knowledgeable.
So your constructive criticism is particularly most welcome Morgoth.
Trust me it would help lots.
So you are strongly encouraged to find “gotchas” in my article because (thank God) I am very pleased to be human… and thus fallible !
Thanks again Morgoth.
Jorge, thanks for the reply, there was no criticism intended or any gotchas either. I am a pretty simple and direct person who has been exposed to the business case of LNG investment and knows the huge cost and commitment needed to get a field developed, plant built etc. When it comes to the science re fracked gas, the benefits of Russian crude and how the European plants are geared to process it etc (previous articles) I was clueless but thanks to you I have been able to verify what you said.
Apologies if I cam across the wrong way, I am not a word smith.
Dear Morgoth, no NO no apologies from you of any sort, please !
You came across just fine Morgoth, it was me who didn´t communicate well nor as intended !!!
So, 100% inversely, my sincere apologies to you Morgoth.
And also many thanks for replying once again.
What I meant to say Morgoth is to please always hop in and help out in the analysis because your experience and capabilities are not common at all. So I meant to welcome you with open arms to freely criticize anything so as to improve the message here. But I admit to have worded my post it in a way that was not the best, obviously. So thanks yet again Morgoth !
Good on ya Jorge, as a kiwi would say, for explaining this info so meticulously and from every direction possible!
You are to be commended for your perseverence buddy.
And on this site, I figure that in the case of probably 90% or more of the readers, that you are preaching to the already converted!
Like you say, basic High School Physics (I think I saw that at the beginning of your article), and you are right, it really doesn’t take too much intelligence to understand the concepts of what you are describing here (admit it, you enjoy writing a long story where every avenue is explored and there is no way to escape from the truths that you are telling). And I like reading such stories.
Anyway, to get to the crux of my comment, which initially was going to be the totality of said comment (sorry but sometimes I like to expand things too) – “Cognitive Dissonance”.
This is how they get away with it.
For anybody to understand how this world really spins, this phrase pretty well explains it in a nutshell.
For any readers who don’t know about it, the best thing they can do is to make the effort, because your world will gain much clarity!
Hi Hud !
And, as always, my sincere and warm thanks to you Hud for your valid input.
BTW, I fully endorse your thought re … ” it really doesn’t take too much intelligence to understand the concepts of what you are describing here”… ( nope it does not… AND yes I do yes I do yes I do ) … “admit it, you enjoy writing a long story where every avenue is explored and there is no way to escape from the truths that you are telling…”
I true that Hud.
Yes Sir, among other things I was taught precision, intellectual rigor, depth, perseverance and also thoroughness… by both of my parents and my other teachers too.
Still Hud, ACTUALLY I can´t be all of that all by myself, no way it is impossible !
I can´t possibly cover all bases all alone, can I ?
So in this Comments Section I seek critical thought and additional food for thought.
And I do get it ! So thanks all and please keep it coming.
I also enjoy learning, and I do just that right here and now.
Plenty of examples even in the article itself.
Like I miss Catherine gal, where is she ?
Her comments reveal whether my communication skills are down-to-earth.. or not.
Regards all !
Normalcy Bias comes to mind, Hud.
Re “The borrower must prove that it has a solid plan with guarantees in place to repay the loan with interest. ”
Well, who’da thunk it.
This was the signal advantage of the long-term contracts with Russia. So that Russia could finance the pipelines and meet long-term financial obligations.
Which idiots in the EU thought that they had to wreck this well-functioning system to ensure Russia was subject to “competition”?
And who is now crying in his beer because of the effects of “competition” on prices?
Surely it has now become obvious to all that the ludicrous paranoia re “dependency” on Russia has turned into the ghastly reality of “dependence” on the USA and who know who else?
This whole scenario is like someone telling a fellow who is happily married and has a good sex life with his wife that he should start openly frequenting whores, so as to make an ideological point with his wife and impress his pals. Pretty soon the poor fellow has been left by his wife and has syphilis, to boot!
Perfect analogy Taffy
Germany and rest of EU build their huge ecconomy on efficient energy largely dependant on a close neighbor’s inexpensive gas supply to then turn around and fault said neighbor for providing said cheap energy . I don’t understand their thinking like who burns down their own house an then blames a neighbor? who does that
Who does that, UW?
A faux republic, economic union that has destroyed its own, conglomerate, bond market with zero interest central bank policy that needs a scapegoat to cover imminent default?
Like a massive lie told to avoid detection of infidelity, maybe ….
Dear Taffy, long time no posts !
Regarding the financial aspect, your comment is 100% valid.
Of course, if discussing energy and power financing, the EU is not only wrong as it´s plain DEMENTIAL.
I mean if they wanted to bankrupt any faster they could not do it any better.
Yes Taffy, recalling my many other articles, I remember addressing the Russian tremendous financial advantage thus fully agreeing with your points above
Respectfull bear hug for ya Taffy !
( and keep your comments coming !)
Always a pleasure, Jorge!
I am always happy to see that there is a new post from you.
The simple fact that the energy required to liquify Natural Gas is equivalent to one-tenth the energy content of the liquified gas only hints at the extreme cost disadvantage of LNG imported by ship verses normal Natural Gas imported via pipelines. It will get far, far worse when LNG tankers begin sinking and LNG terminals start exploding. The destruction of Russian owned gas pipelines in the Baltic combined with the attack on the Kerch Straight bridge are precedents that justify such attacks by Russia.
Another great piece! I so look forward to your contributions and love how appreciative you are of comments. Mine concerns the sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines. Given what you say, the inability to retrieve stored gas means the body blow to the European economy will be considerably more serious than anticipated, by those who think getting gas from storage simply means turning on a spigot. Do you think the saboteurs were aware of the likely consequences of destroying King Kong? They may have inadvertently, from ignorance, landed a blow on Europe’s economy far more severe than what they were banking on.
Wayne, yes you are 100% correct as I do appreciate comments a lot !
No doubts or questions about that, trust me.
I seek and need comments for many good reasons.
Number one reason is I am a life-long student and thus always keep learning from comments, any comments, all comments, excellent, good, not-so-good, in-between, etc. Comments are my grade on the article presented. If comments were not reasonably ´good´ then my article was probably NOT good (at least). If not well understood (even in parts) it´s my bad and I need to know. If not complete (or almost) same thing. The author is responsible for making himself / herself understood. Readers justifiably demand clarity, it´s their right. Besides, the more daring the comments the more they force me to think outside the squarish boxes we all have in our heads. I love to think things out, it´s addictive.
Wayne, I also see your point.
My short answer is “not really” as
(1) we can´t yet know who did what where and when exactly, all of them, intellectual author(s) included
(2) we can´t know what full impact they knew the sabotage would have
Still, I tend to agree with your possible “ignorance” in view of the absolute sound-deaf silence from everyone else (including plain regular technical non-sabotage analysis) in relation to “reserves” extraction requirements. I have not heard of anyone ever mentioning this problem. So methinkxs that whoever was behind the sabotage — somebody´s Navy perpetrators included — probably did not really know it would also mean a hellish scenario for the supposed 90% “stored” nat-gas availability.
Best to you Wayne !
(And keep your comments coming)
Nature, and gaseous works, were hid in night
God said, Let Vilches be! and all was light.
quasi_verbatim thank you I can feel your goodwill.
But please remember l´m just like your regular next door neighbor.
A rare mix between Homer Simpson and Flanders, you follow ?
At a fancy cocktail party I would end up talking with the waiters not anyone else.
And I´m no “light” no… just a provocative loudmouth trying to think stuff over in front of you all, just that.
Thanks anyways for the idea of God being around, that´s good !
A gaseous Newton, if you catch the allusion.
Dear Mr. Vilches,
thank you for your incredibly detailed and competent articles! I’m reading it always with a pleasure…I’ve noticed some impatient commenters complained about the volume…
That’s the part of today’s problem – people are “google” educated experts and their expectation of simple answer/solution is unbelievable. So, thank you once more for your patience and exceptional knowledge…
P.S.: Austrian philosopher Konrad Paul Liessmann has wrote a book “The Theory of Miseducation” about the decadence of today’s educational system (EU/US). That’s a partial answer for the question: “How it’s possible they’re acting so stupid?” (today’s political representatives+experts). The other part of the answer should be: “They’re chosen to fulfill agenda.” (WEF’s The Great Reset). A bunch of (un)helpful idiots is much effective than WMD (V.I. Lenin knew it ;-)) The other hypothesis is, they bet on regime change in Moscow. The fifth column is huge in the Russia and still powerful and arrogant and supremacist western leaders believe they’ll win, so no need to prepare or find real solutions. The real plot is, why one line of the NS2 is still alive…?
Have a nice day.
Yes I follow you Supman, the problem now is our googlish “light” — or rather ´lite´ ? — soundbite culture all around us.
Regards from Jorge
It is a rare politician that understands anything… being a politician is an admission of not having any useful or productive skills other than lying and stealing…
Thank you Jorge for the detailed and layman explanation of the logistics and physics required for Nat Gas distribution in Europe. I think that European politicians are very well aware of this problem.
Back in March they probably counted on a swift collapse/caving of the Russian federation under the pressure (no pun intended) of Western sanctions to be able to force an even cheaper price cap on Russian gas. That was the most likely original calculation which made them feel they might be able to become even more competitive against The US and China.
As the crisis unfolded, the war continued, currency fluctuated and sanctions backfired it became devastatingly clear that this big gamble wouldn’t work and they found themselves in the ever increasingly unsustainable position of having to lose face or perish under the catastrophe of their now obvious miscalculations.
Thus, enter wrecking ball disaster capitalist USA which, sniffing the miasmic gas emission of Europe’s fear-induced flatulence (no pun intended), decided to hammer the last nail in their transatlantic “partners” coffin, destroying (or attempting to anyway) their NS lifeline and making sure that the point of no return was reached.
Deranged propaganda explanations of this act of international terrorism aside, it’s quite obvious that Germany, France and Italy are all waking up to the fact that the United States is a maniacal genocidal entity that won’t hesitate to destroy even their allies for its world domination plans. That gotta hurt. So I honestly believe that in a couple of months or so, the spigots of Russian Gas will be turned back on. As you clearly explained, there’s no other way and when people are freezing to death it will be that or a massive upheaval.
Crossing finger that smarter heads prevail.
Kep up the great work.
Jacopop, as we both know, this is not about me for sure. This is about some 800 million people to be directly affected by flagrant EU mis-management. So I´ll keep at it as best I can… and I do try hard, trust me. Your favorable comments are precious jet fuel to keep my mental turbines turning. So I thank you for being explicit. And I am so glad to see the article at hand makes a difference to you. Hang around with us with your most valuable input. Cordially Jorge
Hi Jorge, I’m late to the party here. Thank you for another fine essay which disabuses the notion that Germany will be ok this winter because there’s enough gas in storage. I’ve read this statement from various sources, so apparently many people believe this. Your explanation of why this is not feasible is very thorough and understandable.
I did see Blinken give his little speech about what a tremendous opportunity to wean Germany off Russian gas and have the empire of lies’ LNG. The guy has an IQ of room temperature. The fact that he said it right after N1 and N2 were blown up confirms what most of us know.
I read where there were massive protests in Germany for the government to turn on N2 – well now there’s nothing to turn on. Now the Germans are being sold a bill of goods about getting LNG from the U.S. I wonder also how the engineers/technical people view this explanation about gas storage/foreign LNG? Someone must surely understand.
We readers here are very fortunate to have you as a guest to explain reality to us. I always look forward to your analyses because I learn so much. Thank you Jorge. As I said earlier, you would make a wonderful teacher!
Catherine gal, fancy meeting you here !
And also many thanks for your words of encouragement and most valid input (more on that later)
Catherine, I always look out for your comments just to make sure I am down to planet Earth. It is not easy to communicate clearly such a “boring” (yet MOST important) topic and only with words, not even a diagram !
So please check out two key paragraphs in the article above.
One is entitled “Catherine´s comments”, and the second one is ” API-SPE-ASTM-NACE-ASME-AAPG” where I describe the difficult problem at hand. And your short and precise interventions help LOTS, trust me.
BTW, you rightly mention above the always repeated mantra regarding ” we have 95% storage so blah blah blah we´ll be okay blah blah blah “. But saying that may possibly be very much TRUE but still highly MIS-leading.
Because, yes yes yes TRUE enough Germany “may” have 95% filled storage. They often lie also, so we can´t be sure they really REALLY really have 95% filled storage. But still, let´s assume that it is actually TRUE alright and Germany DOES have 95% filled storage (approx.). But what difference does it make ?
Because as the article above clearly says, you could have your car´s gas tank 95% filled alright (TRUE) but you would still require MANY gas tanks for you to get to destination. The paragraph entitled “Jinglemerkel Santakaputt ” is KEY. Even if they extracted all of their famous “95%” reserves it doesn´t mean anything if Germany still needs 4 times that — per year — as clearly explained in the mentioned paragraph.
Best regards to you Catherine and please always hang around and let us hear your comments !
Jorge, another issue with stating that Germany has 90% storage reserves is that those “reserves” (if there are any) deteriorate at different levels depending on all the different variables. I missed this earlier when I commented. To me, the government stating that we have 90% of gas available in storage is even more meaningless.
I hope the German people wake up and realize what is happening to their country. At least , with your help the alarm is ringing for which I am very grateful.
Correct Catherine, correct yet again.
Your point is very well taken.
I tried to approach this aspect whenever describing the “zoo” in different parts of the article, meaning the enormous variation between different sub-surface caverns and reservoirs.
Furthermore, the 90% nat-gas availability gimmick is like saying ” I have 90% of my wallet all filled up with cash ” while not letting you know that´s all I have to pay for the Belgravia mansion I dare to buy this afternoon. Impossible, as many hundreds ( or thousands ? ) of 90%-filled wallets would be needed to effectively pay for such mansion.
Holy smokes. My eyes were glazing over by the time I got to all the acronyms, but I did understand it by then. Lol. Think I know one ASME, is American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Was married to one and he talked just like this article. A breed of their own, this alphabet soup.
That said. I have a much better understanding of the difficulties the EU faces.
Bear with us Cindy, and I know our ´breed´ (hahahh) can often be boringly nerdish. But still many of us can also be socially sensitive and focused on real flesh & blood people… and their well-being. I know this physics / chemistry / math stuff cannot possibly be fun no matter how simplified we try to make it… and it must also be very tiresome to listen to so much technical jargon. But like you rightly say Cindy the point is understanding reality a bit closer and thus being able to take better — informed — decisions. So I´m very glad to hear you now have “a much better understanding of the difficulties the EU faces ” . That was the whole idea behind the article, so for want of a better term please allow me to say ´mission accomplished Cindy´ (hahhah). Cordially Jorge
Thank you for your very well thought out content
So basically, what I suspected, but had not properly thought through was that the entire “storage” was basically a “capacitance” operating at a lower pressure than the “King Kong” but a slightly higher pressure than the demand from “society”.
The whole thing therefore, on a moment by moment (daily?) basis is not really dependent on King Kong, but over the slightly longer (still very short term – weeks?) it definitely is.
I had already thought through that to actually get the gas out of underground storage you would have to replace the volume you want to dis place with something else. Since there certainly is no membrane (in the way you have in an expansion vessel in a heating system) I had suspected that this “storage” was virtually useless as a stand alone supply.
So basically, you need to pressurise the entire system to get the gas out, and the only thing it was designed to be pressurised with, is gas of the same type. And it was assumed this would always be coming from Russia, at a defined supply pressure and volume.
In terms of engineers, and whether they understand what they’re doing, I can say that some can work a lifetime in a field and not “get it”. They make the same stupid mistakes from the wrong assumptions on their 65th birthday that they made on their 18th.
The situation is also that any engineer who opens their mouth and says something which doesn’t align with the political narrative would probably be fired, or worse accused of being an agent of Putin, so they shut their eyes and mouths and say nothing.
We must watch out for acts of sheer stupidity as the elites get desperate.
If they finally realise that the gas can’t be got out, they will demand to know “how it can be got out?”
If some fool tells them that it can be done by flooding the reserves with water for instance then they will do that, regardless of the implications.
Peak insanity will be reached as they sense the peasants with pitchforks rising. Decades of investment and engineering will be destroyed for days of survival for them. Followed by the ruination of the infrastructure, because no one will have the balls / bravery to say NO!
Your input was EXCELLENT and I agree with just about everything you righfully explain. I just loved some paragraphs of yours (for example) what you describe as engineers´ possible behavior, attitudes and beliefs. You forgot to add what younger engineers might do or say. let alone milennials ! So please explain yet more if all possible, please. The water flooding idea was hilarious…
What I would correct though is when you say … ´the entire storage is basically operating at a lower pressure than the King Kong flow but a slightly higher pressure than the demand from society…
Well, actually the sub-surface storage pressure must necessarily be many-fold HIGHER than the King Kong pressure so as to be able to emerge from underground and “blend into” the King Kong flow which picks it up with its many-fold higher MASS and flow rate so as to push it along (bulldozing) the subsurface nat-gas slowly emerging from underground in order to avoid freezing everything up re methane hydrates etc etc etc
Please keep up your valid comments PalmaSailor !
Thanks, I’m winging it because I don’t know anything about gas storage..
Younger engineers, are just that, young. Millennials are a problem all of their own with an entitlement and they all have an inability to think outside of society’s normalcy bias. They have mental and psychological stone walls in what purports to be their minds.
Viz the water flooding idea, If you waned the gas out for any purpose, political expediency etc.. you WOULD have to replace the volume in the storage with something heavier than the gas. Water is obvious, though to what extent that would absorb the gas, and what other problems it would bring, I don’t know. It would be a one off event of course, but that wouldn’t stop the politicians.
The operating pressure thing was my guess, and if, as you say, the sub surface storage needs maintaining at a much higher pressure then that implies that less than the capacity or NS 1 OR 2 could not be stored in addition to supplying “societal demand”. The question begs, if indeed it really is full to 90%.
Ok. Now I also understand, you need the flow from King Kong to extract the higher pressure stored product. It needs releasing into that ^^ King Kong lower pressure atmosphere / environment for it to “normalise” without freezing everything up.
The TL;DR thing then is that the situation is Vucked… you can’t actually get the stuff out in any meaningful volumes.
Release volume is probably capped / bottlenecked by the ratio that you have to blend it with King Kong product, and the volume that you have of King Kong product at the moment you want to release the stored product.
PalmaSailor your last paragraphs were best.
Also conceive the King Kong pipeline massive flow as a temperature buffer which avoid the freeze ups and methane hydrates due to sudden expansion o sub-surface nat-gas.
Take care, I gotta go now, family will kill me on Mother´s Day !!
Thank You Jorge. Very interessting information. Don’t understand all of it, but think I get the gist of it.
Basically the NS1 system needed to be functional to be able to empty the storage reseservoars to 0%.
This means that already when NS1 turbine problems started, and flow was reduced to 0%, it was a major emergency.
Now with N1 blown up, the emergency is unavoidable. It seems an even bigger disaster than portraied, as no gass was flowing through the NS system at the time anyway, so it didn’t seem to make much difference short term.
There is still some gass import via Ukraine, also from Norway. Would these lines be able to maintain the pressure in the storage reservoars to any useful degree ? I understand there is also some minor export lines going from France into Germany, presumably pressurised from the French side.
Dear iR.47, thanks for hanging around.
And please allow me to provoke your thoughts even further.
Your conclusions are mostly correct iR.47… except that sub-surface “reserves” in the very best of cases (meaning with a very powerfull King Kong pipeline flow on surface to incorporate them and drag them along thus avoiding freeze up by expansion plus methane hydrates) can only be partially extracted and always leaving a LOT behind… close to 35%… which is never recovered unless RE-pressurized yet again.
When a subsurface reservoir is produced onto surface it loses pressure and after a short while cannot be extracted any further ( or veeeeery slowly it just takes forever) unless RE-pressurized enough. Just that.
So we´d need to correct when you say “Basically the NS1 system needed to be functional to be able to empty the storage reseservoirs to 0%.” So just replace “0%” with “35%” and the rest of what you say is ALL valid. But the nat-gas received today by Germany from France or Norway is smallish, it wouldn´t explain much let alone move Germany´s industrial needle.
Now then, one of the problems here is we are all flying blind with no real data or info to draw valid conclusions from. Still, the question asked by HBS before is excellent
Exactly HOW and from WHERE is Northern Germany getting its nat-gas TODAY ?
Because it still does have nat-gas available, right ? And NS1 is shutdown isn´t it ? So ?
Regarding the possible subsurface reserves extraction — the best possibility out there, the rest are small fry — please allow me to put it this way :
(1) BEFORE this mess started — and for years yonder — the subsurface nat-gas extraction system worked WITH a very strong and powerful surface King Kong flow from the NS1 pipeline in order to just ADD-ON the nat-gas stored undergound to the surface NS1 flow to the tune of some 10% approx. during winter season as explained in detailed in the article above.
(2) NOW with 0 (zero) NS1 — or any other King Kong flow not even a “baby monkey” flow — how does this it work out ?
(3) Per official stats the stored “reserves” are always going UP — never ever DOWN — so reserves are NOT being used up, are they ?
Interessting questions. One thought comes to mind, the words of former European Commisioner ‘Junker’ ? “When it gets serious, you need to lie”. There is a lot that don’t make sense here.
As you say, we seem to be flying blind in lack of data and info. Maybe what we even have is questionable.
There is also the blackout of update of storage level of Ukrainian sites. Why would they do that ?
If one line of NS2 is still functional, could some secret deal have been made ? Could it be operational ?
Thanks for all your work and input. Things looks much more dark than anticipated.
Jorge, I really admire your efforts to convey complex technical logic of the hydrocarbon energy technology to the lay but sincere audience at the Saker Blog. Thanks. Another useful analogy to understand the point about reserves not being 100% useable is that of a car tyre of the tubeless variety. It takes a minute to fill it from a compressor. But even if you open the valve, the tyre does not become empty by itself. It requires to be squeezed from outside to fully remove the air. Ditto with a Swiss ball aka a gym ball. Easy to fill but difficult to empty.
Sumant, thank you for your suggestion.
I´ll try to focus more and better on that possibility.
Still, please do scroll down and find my answer in response to tonyopmoc´s post.
Thanks again !
I have just realised what LNG stands for: Look, No Gas.
America’s nightmare Brzezinski wrote, was …
– If Europa and Russia become prosperous we cannot control them any more, and there will be no reason to have NATO
The goal of the sabotage of NS1 + NS2 is to collapse Germany economically. Collapsing Germany will favor US Brzezinski explained.
I find this form Brzezinski very interesting
– Let us support the crazies [in Ukraine] … as in Afganistan
We believed the 2014 coup in Ukraine was the work of Soros and Victoria Nuland, and we believed they were mad neo-cons, exactly are told by PCR.
Well, that does not seem to be true. The 2014 coup was a Brzezinski plan about splitting Europa from Russia, and building up “crazies” for making terror.
The Brzezinski plan was not about making Ukraine part of NATO/EU, but about making Russians the new Jews. Russians were going to be targeted by terrorism, and a war of attrition was going to be the rule.
Europe has a very bad karma as is evidenced with the problems with fracked and shipped LNG. Europe’s culpability has much to do with the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement signed in 2014 after the Maidan Coup.
This treaty had only two purposes, neither benefiting Ukraine. Firstly it was intended to harm Russia by rupturing the ties with the Eurasia Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan). This was the geopolitical dimension. Russia was Ukraine’s main trading partner. Secondly it should subordinate Ukraine to the EU in the typical neo-liberal fashion by privatizing and deregulating the economy. Typically it was 2’000 pages long such that no-one really knew what they were signing.
The non-implementation of the Minsk Agreements was also the fault of Germany and France.
– Secondly it should subordinate Ukraine to the EU in the typical neo-liberal fashion by privatizing and deregulating the economy
Soros / Nuland / Biden / EU don’t favor neo-liberalism or private health care. They favor public health care (like NHS) and institutions (the military industrial complex will be one … headed by some Pentagon)
Joe Biden in Pennsylvania speech:
– In reality, a large number of populists favor free markets and limited government,
It is difficult to understand the spectrum of political views and positions mainly because it is not a spectrum but a multi-dimensional space. As far as limited government is concerned it makes a difference it one has it in a sovereign nation or in a country with corrupt leaders and a colony-like status.
The architech of 2014 coup is the same architech as in Afghanistan war – Brzezinski. RAND Corp is following Brzezinski’s analysis and agenda.
Brzezinski is the mentor of Obama, who is likely the de facto president.
Then we can conclude current Ukraine is a product of liberals (Brzezinski is one)
Appreciate the article, all good information. So what is the game plan with Ukraine? Looks to me that Europe and the US have no intention of deescalating this war even with Europe being the casualty. What happens in the next 2 months when Russia pushes the Nato army back to the western border? The Germans will be cold and hungry, the EU will be in turmoil and the western war machine will be on auto drive? Glad I live in Idaho and have a small farm, interesting times. Used to pay 250.00 a ton for fertilizer, now it is 1000.00 a ton, Laying mash for my chickens when I started was 6.00 a 50 lb bag, now it is 22.00. My thoughts are that 2022-2023 will be an opportunity to buy land and equipment with the number of people over leveraged if you operate debt free and have a little cash flow. Still trying to figure out if the dollar is going down with this crew in Washington running at warp speed with the printing press.
… or will the dollar take off in flight compared to Euro and emerging market currencies (including pound sterling) when capital flees their ruined economies, already mortgaged in rising $USD?
That means the US will be the last man standing – before confidence entirely collapses.
… or will the dollar take off in flight, compared to Euro and emerging market currencies (including pound sterling), when capital flees their $USD mortgaged economies, leaving the US the last man standing in a one-legged race?
Thank you for the article. I do not have the requisite knowledge to completely understand, so I use examples.
I first thought of a balloon where the balloon elasticity along with the gas pressure expels the gas. Of course, the balloon collapses as the gas escapes, and of course we do not want our gas caverns to collapse.
Then I thought of my propane tank – it is pressurized and I think/believe that it empties out when the spigot is turned. How does an underground natural gas storage facility differ from a propane tank in terms of releasing gas?
It could be that above ground natural gas storage (something like a propane tank) is what is feeding Europe since September, but I imagine that is fairly limited in scope.
I would like to understand the limitations of underground gas storage so as to counter an argument “it’s just like your barbeque propane tank”.
Thank you again for a very informative article.
PE Bird, thank you for your very valid comments !!
I agree with you 100% when you say that ” It could be that above ground natural gas storage is what is feeding (Northern) Europe since September… but I imagine that is fairly limited in scope.”
Yes, very limited scope you bet. And as mentioned right here before way above in response to HBS comments, that is certainly one of the possibilities. Please do scroll up lots and find our dialogue with HBS.
I am also convinced that you would benefit by scrolingl down and finding my response to “tonyopmoc”.
Furthermore, rigid solid homogenous wall-thickness propane tanks right here on surface (testable and checkable on surface) are waaaay and I mean WAAAAAY different from sub-surface caverns full of geological heterogeneity etc etc etc. They are 2 very VERY very different animals. The propane tank on surface is a cute kitty act while the underground cavern is a prode of bloody wild lions, you follow ?
The article includes several paragraphs addressing this point including the very last one, namely ” Sub-surface pressure management” which explains many things including very serious sub-surface cavern pressure limitations to avoid the risk of fracturing… with bad consequences. Other paragraphs also discuss this aspect.
I would’ve thought that extracting gas from the underground caverns would’ve simply been a matter of entraining the reserve gas in the normal flow.
Using the venturi principle, a relatively small flow can evacuate a very large chamber to near vacuum, geological considerations aside.
HMS Terror, thanks for your input which brings up further analysis.
The problem is that extracting gas from “underground caverns” at tremendously ultra high pressures — such as is the case — requires very carefull management, facilities, expertise, etc etc etc AND a massive surface flow to drag it along for distribution purposes and also perform as a temperature BUFFER because otherwise the suddenly DE-compressed underground stored nat-gas would freeze everything out most specially in European mid-winter temperatures.
The article above pretty much explains it me thinkxs.
HMS Terror, it may look to be simple enough but it is NOT. Water content re the methane hydrates nightmares, sudden DE-compression freeze outs etc etc etc make it very delicate. I would think that you would benefit by re-reading the article slowly and with focus on every concept.
BTW, the “geological considerations” you correctly and wisely mention in passing are TREMENDOUSLY important as under the circumstances it´d very easy to provoke very serious life-threatening accidents, total facilities collapse, blow-outs, unsollicited and UN-controlled sub-surface fracking, huge cracks and fissures, subsidence, induced earthquakes etc etc etc
I appreciate that the “reserves” are probably inaccessible in time for the coming cold season, but nothing I’ve read in your posts and others precludes them being deployed if/when the gas system is suitably altered.
Natural gas (not shale gas) is naturally found in highly pressurized, often very deep chambers. Extracting that gas at very high pressures and then delivering it to the end user at a few kiloPascals of pressure has its challenges I’m sure, but the realities are that it’s been done countless times in countless households around the world. We have more than a century’s worth of experience with the principles, difficulties and solutions under a wide variety of local circumstances and conditions.
BTW, one of the solutions to reducing the enormous pressures at the well-head is to use the gas to drive turbines directly, thereby getting an energy return on the resulting reduction of pressure. I came across a French concern based on Hainan Island promoting that concept a decade ago.
The “reserve” repositories doubtless differ from their natural counterparts, not least in the fact that their whereabouts and contents are known precisely. That and their accessibility can only make the gas they hold easier to extract, not harder.
As for the geology…
I don’t know whether the “reserve” chambers are man-made or natural, or a combination of both, but what we do know is that:
– if natural, then withdrawing the pumped in gas would simply return them to their original pressures and whatever tendency they had to cave in at the time.
– if man-made, then they would return to the state they were in at the time of their construction
– if dangerously unstable, we know how to deal with that too. Pumping in a geo-polymer as slurry is often part of the solution to stabilizing unstable geology. It would also serve to push out whatever gas remained in the caverns.
At the end of the day, it may all sound like some grand impossibility, but almost all of it is in fact good ol’ Fluid Dynamics, with which we’ve a long & successful history. I have little doubt that if the gas in those reserves were required desperately enough, solutions wouldn’t be far behind.
With both of my hands on my brain, I truly thank you eye-to-eye for coming forward and stepping up to the analysis of the technical challenge at hand. I was wishing for someone like yourself ( with obvious clear and precise oil & gas field experience ) to present counter-arguments to my thesis. I kid you not. But no one as knowledgeable as yourself ever showed up for the occasion. This means that your comments are most welcome and certainly advisable to debate and find defects or doubts in my philosophy.
HMS Terror, I am top busy right now and you deserve a detailed ad hoc reply which I will certainly prepare for you later. But at this moment I gotta go and be back today in a few hours. So thanks yet again and please look out for my response. Actually, I´d be expecting your additional reaction HMS Terror. So please hang around and present your case with rigorous critical thinking. We do not need peer group attitudes here. We need a constructive technical challenges. I will respond later.
OKay I´m baaaaaack… (finally)
So I´ll now respond to your excellent post HMS Terror. And thanks yet again and I urge you to continue with the discussion rebating and challenging any / all of my arguments, please.
#1 you say: “… the ´reserves´ are probably inaccessible in time for the coming cold season…”
I true that, which in practice means plain KAPUTT because cold is cold, dark is dark, power is power… and winter is almost here with no time left just about for anything other than contingency planning and deployment. Instead we all get lots of geo-politicking and blah blah yadda yadda never ever talking in depth, nothing to see here, everything will be OKay. So, in a nutshell, it´s already too late sorry to say. Thus from now on we are just talking hypotheses, shoulda and woulda and coulda… Winter cannot be postponed and the no nat-gas consequences would already be baked in, people can run but never hide.
You say: “… but nothing I’ve read in your posts and others precludes them being deployed if/when the gas system is suitably altered…” Here we go again. Time is already up, expired. The implosion will soon pick up speed with a life of its own. No subsequent “fix” can actually FIX that. For one, my posts cannot conceive any timely and suitable “fix” as the problem has not yet even been acknowledged by anyone outside The Saker. And UN-timely fixes are (a) even most probably non-existent as the only solution at this late stage of the European business model is to return back to 2021… And I´m not even sure that anybody would want that now for different reasons, let alone the Russians themselves already fed up, sick and tired of Western non-compliance, plain cheating and lying, and flagrantly lacking any agreement capabilities. Furthermore TPTB have convinced everyone (maybe even themselves !! ) that “non-fixing” worthless “fixes” such as LNG and supposedly extracting undergound stored “reserves” would save the day… So there is no room here and now… no possible Overton window… that would allow to launch any “fix” let alone if it actually doesn´t exist, you follow ?
#2 in sum, you summarizedly added : ” Natural gas at very high pressures has been extracted and delivered countless times around the world with more than a century’s worth of experience with the principles, difficulties and solutions under a wide variety of local circumstances and conditions.” Dead wrong, no we don´t, no we haven´t. HMS Terror this is a completely different animal as I shall emphasize later yet again. The article is crystal clear and explains the need to have a massive surface flow, which now is absent. Relieving the enormous high pressure stored at the many different artificially-created “zoo” animals (more on that later, mostly sub-surface easily frackable caverns) into a now EMPTY surface pipe which had always been FULL of high flow-rate nat-gas… — such as with the King Kong thermal buffering bull-dozing pipeline — … and expect it to perform as usual as if nothing had happenened… weeeellll that has never ever been tried out before, as it always was a bloody un-necessary EXPERIMENT which the principles and laws of physics and chemistry indicate it will have to fail miserably if ever attempted (probably not, because of last minute second thoughts from a thinking mind I bet)
The nature and risks of the artificially-created undergound caverns is briefly described in some paragraphs of the article above. Just as 1 (one) example — there are many more — at the very end the paragraphs starting with “conclusions” and also entitled “sub-surface pressure management”.
HMS Terror, I urge you to input regarding the following if you please
(1) BEFORE this mess started — and for years yonder — the subsurface nat-gas extraction system worked WITH a very strong and powerful surface King Kong flow from the NS1 pipeline in order to just ADD-ON the nat-gas stored undergound to the surface NS1 flow to the tune of some 10% approx. during winter season as explained in detailed in the article above.
(2) NOW with 0 (zero) NS1 — or any other King Kong flow not even a “baby monkey” flow — how can this work out ?
Below I´ll continue responding to the rest of your post.
Please bear with me, I need some coffeee now as no lunch for me today.
Thank you for your patience.
#3 you say: ” One of the solutions to reducing the enormous pressures at the well-head is to use the gas to drive turbines directly… ” OKay, it may possibly be… or it may not be. Maybe whatever XX YY ZZ for this case but not for that case (…but the “zoo” at hand is all different animals okay ?…) depending upon Dick & Tom and their sisters. The point is that what you suggest has NOT been done anywhere and instead it has just been (very dangerously) “assumed” that NOT having the surface King Kong surface pipeline flow is NOT a problem. As a matter of fact after having used it for decades they should be thinking it was always needless no ? I confess, I can´t believe what I am typing…
You also say that the French folks were “promoting that concept” a decade ago. But many of these are “very smallish” caverns designed and built for a very different purpose, namely to be an ADD-ON to the King Kong pipeline — as clearly described in the article — not a source per se. Plese refer to the paragraph entitled “misnomer”. Besides, you and I know that there is NO time now for promoting any fancy footwork which in the best of cases would turn out to be too little too late… and probably too cumbersome and way TOO expensive. My intellectual curiosity begs the question: how would the French direct turbine feed proposal handle the coming methane hydrates due to sudden high pressure expansion and water content picked up during sub-surface storage ? Please do not tell us it would be methanol and heated piping, please. The article addresses the lack of a subsurface nat-gas OCEAN to even dream about any of that. Please re-read paragraph entitled ” Alaska & Siberia & the Artic and beyond…”
“ The problem starts when ignorant fools dream up the idea that nat-gas reserves can be used as a 100% substitute for nat-gas flowing feedstocks. They simply cannot, period. Actually, God invented nat-gas reserves as a supplement to – not a substitute of – flowing nat-gas feedstocks so that in high demand season (winter) the cheaper nat-gas reserves piled up during low consumption season (summer) could be added to help satisfying winter´s high demand. Nat-gas reserves are good for nothing more than that and definetly not a substitute of flowing feedstocks”.
HMS Terror, then you go on with “… As for the geology…”
I have several isues with your initial description, but please allow me to focus on the last one, namely when you say… ” if dangerously unstable ” — (as many of them are as they were never ever supposed to be pressurized to such extremes for current high volume storage purposes) — ” we know how to deal with that too. Pumping in a geo-polymer as slurry is often part of the solution to stabilizing unstable geology. It would also serve to push out whatever gas remained in the caverns ”
HMS, will all due respect there are literally many hundreds (low thousands) of these sub-surface caverns in this “zoo” all different animals and yes many / most of them are highly unstable… but there is NO TIME left to do any grouting or shotcreting or whatever of any sort…
Chances are that these hurriedly over-pressurized sub-surface caverns and nat-gas reservoirs will crack or fracture.There are serious sub-surface cavern pressure limitations to avoid the risk of fracturing… with bad consequences. Not well-studied and inadequate soil mechanics on possibly un-consolidated formations throughout Europe is the name of the game. Accidents will happen. Initially these sub-surface storage facilities may possibly be pressurized enough. But as winter comes on, the sub-surface pressures will decline and accordingly their production rate will also decline. So, by mid-winter, even if the quantity of gas remaining were apparently enough (50% ? ) the rate of production to surface would not meet the traditional demand. Storing and later extracting nat-gas in sub-surface deposits under very high pressure requires tons of specialized operation, maintenance expertise, and funding. Extraction and delivery is very slow. Higher speed delivery to satisfy peak demand can only be sustained momentarily and necessarily running serious systemic risks.
Have any of the required experimental procedures ever been followed before throughout Europe ? What positive experience is there available in facilities this large and so heterogenous and widespread with so much at stake and no time to plan and prepare ? Why would all of these procedures under the new unforeseen conditions not be considered to be truly experimental ? Would absolutely everybody in charge of European nat-gas storage facilities know about these problems in advance and proceed exactly as required by a PLAN without risking any experimentation and/or improvisation ?
So let´s summarize the nat-gas zoo experiment that has never-ever been needlessly thought of in the history of physics and nat-gas extraction and/or surface distribution management. Let alone as designed and proposed by EU politicians that obviously know jack about basic physics & chemistry and could not care less about its consequences.
BTW these are NOT naturally flowing wells nor sucker-rod pumped wells with surface mechanical “grasshoppers” sucking oil & gas out, nor bottom hole producing wells with Electro Submersible Pumps (ESP)… These also are not water-swept wells such as in secondary recovery with water injected from near-by wells pushing the oil & gas to the producing wells, etc etc etc. These are sub-surface artificially pressurized nat-gas storage deposits, completely different animals altogether.
We may only know current sub-surface pressures (whatever them happen to be, all different) as exclusive driving force to extract underground ´stored´ nat-gas from highly variable deposits (the zoo) meaning variable pressure differentials and flow rates requiring yet an additional layer of overall nat-gas production plus distribution & timing / scheduling management. So we have highly heterogenous and variable cross-borders sub-surface deposits / caverns & reservoirs of different sizes, types and requirements — “the unpredictable zoo”. They are all different zoo animals in so many ways that no standardized solution is possible. All the zoo animals were commissioned at different times with different criteria and different designs, not ever inspected as surface structures would be, all of them found in different underground and soil conditions, no internal known lining, all with varying degrees of fissures, cracks, porosities and permebilities, etc etc.etc. All requiring different sub-surface pressure tests re fill-up, shut-in, and pressure drawdown values to control the possibility of a fracture or large enough crack which would seriously endanger everyone in a 10-mile radius (or more). There is no specific breakdown available regarding what “supposed” % of nat-gas reserves held exactly by which sub-surface “animal“ and at what current and future sub-surface pressure which will necessarily decrease through time.
I could go on and on, but here and now I rest my case.
And thank you yet again for your most valuable input HSM Terror
My apologies for the delay, but events overtook me on another front and required attention.
First, let me disabuse you of the notion that I am a pipeline engineer. While I do a lot of engineering, it is only due to having two engineer friends in the (off-shore) oil/gas business that allows me to sound vaguely knowledgeable in this field.
As you say, it’s too late to do much about the coming winter. Freezing temperatures are just around the corner, but the solutions ain’t. I have little doubt that the solutions will ultimately be political rather than technical if for no other reason than that they are more affordable.
I don’t disagree that Europe’s so-called “reserves” currently differ from the naturally occurring. In fact, as they’re currently set up, they act as accumulators rather than reserves. Large factory pneumatic systems often incorporate accumulators at various points in the system to maintain pressure, store and recapture energy, smooth pressure peaks/valleys and otherwise maintain balance in the system between heavy and light users.
My point was simply that an “accumulator” differs from a “reservoir” only in its connections to the rest of the system. Change the connections (I realize this sounds simpler than it is), and the accumulator becomes a reservoir, or vice versa.
Of course, the commercial viability of any such conversion is another matter. That in turn depends on a whole host of factors such as the nature and number of accumulators to be converted, their location in the system and geographically, and so on. If, as you say they’re numerous, individually small, and perhaps disadvantageously placed, the commercial viability of a conversion will be adversely affected.
As for all the talk about the difficulties of bringing a high pressure gas down to manageable levels, I remind that the pressure in a typical, 3,000m deep, conventional gas field is in the vicinity of 400 Bar.You can certainly correct me, but I’d be surprised to hear that the “reserves” are being held at or above this level. Even if they were, the techniques used to bring well head pressures down to the ~100 Bar region used in the pipelines to transport it onwards should surely work as well in (say) Germany as they do in (say) the heat of Qatar, frozen Siberia, under the North Sea or anywhere else. For clarity, the pressures mentioned above are “typical” and some reservoirs and pipelines exhibit pressures above and below these figures.
Furthermore, whatever the “reserve” gases may have absorbed during storage it could hardly be worse than what the original gas had absorbed during the countless millennia it had been sitting far below the surface. Natural gas reservoirs vary as to the contaminants and condensates in the gas they hold, and various techniques are used to deal with them or remove them if necessary.
As for hydrate formation, these are also not uncommon in the field, and again solutions for preventing their formation when the well’s technical “profile” suggests it will be susceptible, or dealing with them if they form are not unknown. There’s a library of solutions that oil & gas engineers have developed over the decades, and it is now largely a matter of selecting the right sort of solution for the problem at hand.
FWIW, I bounced your problems off one of my friends (the other is currently off-shore) and his comment was: “Well, King Kong and zoos aside, I’m not hearing anything I haven’t seen before.”
Dear HMS Terror, thank you for your focused and most valuable reply.
My response should be more extensive, but please allow me to focus only on the highlights
(1) You say. “… Change the connections… and the accumulator becomes a reservoir…” — ( or “buffer” ? )
But HMS doing that would be a helluva an ultra-costly and über-cumbersome project all by itself with still no awareness, no logistics, no guarantees of success, no established expertise, no hundreds of feasibility studies, no resources, no spare parts nor trained personnel foreseen, no bids, etc etc., etc…. and definetly NO time left, time is up, expired.
(2) You mention pressure draw-down control but no reference is made to flow-rate.
The European nat-gas grid requires a given minimum pressure in order for devices connected to it work properly. By the same token, a given minimum flow-rate is required in order for there to be enough nat-gas volume for everyone wishing to consume it. Less pressure, nothing works right. Less flow rate some many most do not get enough and completely defeats the purpose. The absolute precise values of either pressure or flow-rate is non-important. What´s important is the fact that it exists and that the King Kong pipelines provided BOTH. The 10% inflow (or less) from sub-surface “reserves” can only add “some” additional flow rate at a far lower off-season price thus lowering its yearly average cost as clearly stated in the “stored gas %” paragraph and also in the “Jinglemerkel Santakaputt” paragraph and many other places of the article above. But the feeble inflow from sub-surface “reserves” ALL BY THEMSELVES cannot provide either enough flow rate or constant pressure. Whoever tries to pull that trick would immediately ruin the surface nat-gas distribution pipeworks for good…
(3) You say ” it’s too late to do much about the coming winter. Freezing temperatures are just around the corner, but the solutions ain’t. I have little doubt that the solutions will ultimately be political rather than technical if for no other reason than that they are more affordable”
So HMS ? Sooooo ? Them will just freeze to death ? With all due respect I cannot follow your line of thought HMS Terror. Exactly what “political” solutions” are more “affordable” to be applied to solve the sheer lack of nat-gas ? ( … or oil for that matter… )
(4) For the the rest of my response please scroll up and find my reply to PeterK, most specially in regards to methane hydrates still a bloody nightmare as this is a highy variable “zoo” and not a well-known single large reservoir duly studied in depth let alone equipped to render such a revolutionary and un-foressen un-planned for service (not)
My response to your friend´s comments would be
(1) please be advised that the King Kong pipeline we are referring to in this case is 100% EMPTY with 0 (zero) pressure, 0 (zero) flow rate and 0 (zero) possibility of having it filled up with anything
(2) the numerous “zoo” problems re small size, poor location, heterogeneity, variations and sheer lack of physical TIME mean that the commercial viability of a conversion of any type whatsoever is very close to zero.
Cordially Jorge (and thanks yet again HMS Terror for raising the quality and depth of the debate)
You say “… As for all the talk about the difficulties of bringing a high pressure gas down to manageable levels…” etc etc etc
HMS Terror, please forgive my insistence but this is no NO no normal regular ordinary well-known situation whereby HP gas is brought on to manageable levels on surface. No, no, no no, one hundred times no…
This is a fully UN-known situation whereby sub-surface ultra-high pressure gas has to be brought on to surface with far lower (and thus manageable) levels as you correctly point out but repeat – repeat – repeat into a fully empty 100% empty surface pipeline… and NOT not NOT from a well-known, well-studied, well-equipped sub-surface location but rather from hundreds of individually very different highly heterogenous non-standaridized “zoo” animals with NO carbon-copy solutions as clearly explained in the article in many places already.
” Alaska & Siberia & the Artic and beyond…”
(specific paragraph regarding methan hydrates elsewhere – not here)
” I can already hear the howling of truly experienced experts letting us all know that the freezing-up problems of a strong differential pressure between nat-gas stored underground and surface pipeline (even empty, as it would now come to be) are today perfectly solvable. If such were possible (not) then a strong Delta P — as engineers call it — would all by itself be enough of a driving force No.1 to solve such problem without King Kong and get the sub-surface nat-gas all along the surface pipeworks… Oh, yes, I agree such “freezing-up” problems are pretty much “solved” yes of course … but only in Alaska and Siberia or wherever you happen to have a small ocean of sub-surface nat-gas reservoirs which justifies the design, construction, investment, equipment and huge operational expenses and expertise for the injection of methanol, pipe heating, etc. etc. all of which are very expensive and difficult solutions to operate with.. But not repeat not in a comparatively very small size and highly atomized zoo of European underground nat-gas ´storage´ facilities all pretty much different (no carbon copy solution possible) from each other requiring specific variations and modifications as widely distributed throughout different environments which are already installed and running… which certainly do not allow for such expensive ´solution´. It´s impossible now to up-end and retro-fit each individual sub-surface storage facility everywhere in Europe whatever its size, location and type so that it may have the means to deal with the impact of such suddenly de-pressurized nat-gas and further evenly distribute it on surface pipeworks at precise and agreed constant and homogenous pressure and flow-rate without planned coordination amongst the different cross-border stakeholders. Not. Sourcing, logistics, just-in-time distribution and injection of humongous volumes of methanol without prior notice is an unfathomable project all by itself”
Let’s use Germany as the poster boy for the problem.
Germany has a total of 40 storage sites, of which 13 are porous rock and the rest caverns. All of these would have undergone a full geological survey and selected for their internal homogeneity amongst other factors prior to being connected to the system and put into service.
They are, moreover closely grouped near heavy users, with porous rock storage predominating in the South and caverns predominating in the North. All but 13 are classified as capable of holding >2Twh (TerraWattHours) equivalent. Hardly “tiny”. That bodes well for it being both do-able and worthwhile to convert them to sources from accumulators.
Characterizing this as “a (heterogenous) zoo” requiring “King Kong flow” to bring it to life is to mask the hard technical issues with hyperbole. We’re not dealing with untameable, wild and/or fanciful beasts. Simply put, the porous rocks and caverns are operational accumulators in an operational pressurized system. The sources are (usually) remotely located porous rock formations and caverns holding gas feeding a system of pipes and accumulators that mimic the sources until it reaches the users. All along that chain, its behaviour is sure to adhere to the laws of Geo-chemistry & Fluid Dynamics so its problems are always going to be understandable, if not always solvable within commercial/political constraints.
A further point is that the pipes connecting the sources, accumulators and users are not going to be “100% empty”. Europe’s pipeline-storage network is a matrix of suppliers and users, much like an electrical grid. Gas/electricity is fed into the matrix by suppliers and is directed via “switching stations” by operators to buyer(s) according to an even more complex matrix of contracts.
Germany gets less than half its gas from Russia, Europe as a whole about 30%, so gas from sources in the North Sea, Algeria, etc, etc will continue to flow through the system. Just as Ukraine’s electrical grid is supplying power despite being half destroyed, there’ll be less to go around and there will be outages, but gas will be flowing. Buyers may not be able to buy all they’d like, but they’ll get what they can.
Under present conditions, when (EG) German operators have sufficient flows to “pull” gas from storage and augment that flow, they will. They’ll do it every chance they get until they can’t. There’ll be economic dislocation for Germany’s big users for sure, but an economically weakened Germany can (technically speaking) muddle through the winter without “freezing in the dark” if its politicians allow the system to do its job.
Unfortunately, that’s the real “King Kong” imponderable looming over the entire situation, so one wonders what Germany will look like as next Spring rolls around. It could look a lot better than it currently does if it opened the undamaged Nordstream line. 25.5 Bcbm coming into the system would leverage more of the stored gas and so could yield a total ~30Bcbm. Nothing to sneeze at in the current situation, and only political will stands in the way.
Dear HMS Terror, thank you for your input.
Your response is most welcome as it enhances the depth of the debate.
You are saying that now having a fully shutdown pipeline nat-gas feedstock actually has 0 (zero) impact upon sub-surface “reserves” extraction as if NS1 was never ever also needed for such purpose. You do not even address the missing (but required) RE-pressurization needs. Your analysis does not even touch upon the required nat-gas grid missing pressure and flow rates.
You readily admit that nat-gas users will only get what they can. And that is the problem, because “what they can” will not be “what they need”. It will just not be enough ASWKI and as expected and required. Our shared common-sense disagrees when you say…”… There’ll be economic dislocation for Germany’s big users for sure, but an economically weakened Germany can (technically speaking) muddle through the winter without “freezing in the dark” if its politicians allow the system to do its job.”…
In this particular case “averages” do not help. What matters is 40% of Russian gas missing in very specific areas — yet most productive — of Northern Europe and Northern Germany for which there are no possible substitutes. With a 10% damage to the wrong places such as this case European industry and supply chains will just grind to a halt.
Using Germany as the “poster boy” is most dangerous. Germans might have done this or that, but others who knows… This is Europe, Club Med included. Size, scattered location, doubtfull conditions are all part of the “zoo” which needs to be addressed, so far to no avail. Underground deposits might store whatever number of whichever terawatt-hours you indicate, but the problem still remains in extracting them from sub-surface under completely DIFFERENT conditions than what these were designed, constructed and operated till very recently thus requiring major modifications / reconversions obviously not carried out and very difficult to do without time, awareness, expertise and funding.
You say “…That bodes well for it being both do-able and worthwhile to convert them to sources from accumulators…” OKay, let´s assume they do “bode well”… Have they DONE it already, when so ? This reminds me when economists say …” Let´s assume we have a can-opener … so let´s have dinner ”
You say “… All of these WOULD HAVE undergone a full geological survey and selected for their internal homogeneity amongst other factors prior to being connected to the system and put into service…” Conjugating subjunctive / potential verb moods is wishy-washy. Present indicative is needed.
You say…”… Simply put, the porous rocks and caverns ARE operational accumulators in an operational pressurized system…” No, they never were and still are not until provenly modified something which should be publically known and it is definetly not.
You say…”… problems are always going to be understandable, if not always solvable within commercial/political constraints…” Understanding problems is not solving them by any means. These problems still exist and winter is getting closer and closer. This will not be fun.
HMS Terror, I am afraid that as explained above you have left many key issues unanswered.
Please review and agree if all possible.
We still all thank you greatly for your time and effort.
As Frank Sinatra famously said, the end is near.
Cordially and respecfully Jorge
I said no such thing, and I can’t see how might have implied it. In any case, it is irrelevant in this case as the pipes would not be empty, use of gas storage predates the advent of NS1 and (without looking into it) would’ve grown in quantity and volume with the system through the decades.
I’m not attempting any sort of analysis more granular than the meta level. As such, my posts reflect where/what I think the boundary conditions are, which differ from what you seem to think they are. That’s all, and nothing besides. I’m told that within those boundary conditions the problems are technical. In my world, that means solvable. Economic, social, logistical and political considerations, of course lie far outside the boundary conditions I’m interested in here.
I’m saying that the gas storage locations act as accumulators, and that the gas they contain can be extracted by known means. Nothing needs to be invented here. Whether those locations are in Germany, Spain, or Greece they will have gone through an EU mandated process of approvals to be activated, or to continue to be used. As such, they will have met certain stringent criteria and cannot be a wild hodge podge of crooks ‘n crannies and who knows what. There are at least 6 storage locations in Germany that have been removed from service in the last decade. Perhaps they were no longer needed, or perhaps they no longer met technical requirements, but as far as I know none of them collapsed. If you’re interested in what those approvals entail, you can look that up so much more easily than I can.
Germany is the subject country in the title to your post, so it seemed appropriate. More importantly, Germany is Europe’s heaviest user and the country where most of the missing gas is missing. Combine all that with Germany being Europe’s industrial heartland, and it makes a natural poster boy in my mind.
Even now, the fact of the matter is that only 25Bcbm of Europe’s current supply was sabotaged. 1 NS1 line is still available, and NS2 never delivered a molecule. Only politics prevents that 25Bcbm from coming back on line tomorrow so Europe could muddle through the winter, and only politics prevents NS2 & NS1’s damaged lines from being repaired and put into service to put your “King Kong” on steroids by Spring.
Put another way, it’s Europe’s politics that are driving Europe back to 1920, and it’s politics that will determine whether it slides relatively smoothly back to 1920 or tumbles chaotically on its way there. The availability of gas & pipelines, technical issues and the efforts of pipeline engineers/operators are not the gating items.
Look, Jorges, I understand that you’re quite excited about it, but Europe’s deteriorating situation can be laid squarely at the feet of its peoples. As an outsider, I watched Europe take a bizarre socio-political ideology, mix it with delusions of superiority and entitlement and put the combination ahead of respect for others and even pragmatic management. Perhaps the delusions helped sell the ideology, but almost every European I meet spouts that ideology’s slogans until you hit them in the head, all the while convinced that the rest of the world is not only unenlightened but somehow obliged to meet whatever demands they’ve dreamed up. Now those same ones are telling me that Putin will inevitably be put back in his place, supplying them with whatever they need at prices they want to pay. One shakes one’s head at the madness, but there it is. People go mad in crowds, but (alas) they regain their sanity slowly, and one by one.
Be that as it may, until & unless the internet is awash with photos of the Ideologues and their minions hanging from lampposts, I’ll limit myself to hoping that Europe is the only loss that the world suffers as it goes through the eye of the needle.
Dear HMS Terror, your input is most valuable and truly appreciated.
Finally we have now at least agreed in some important points and also agreed to disagree in some other points. And I can now also follow a bit better your attempted line of thought, except…
In general, you seem to think that politics would save the day all-around… and maybe with lots of difficulties somewhat it possibly could. But yet then you insist in how stubborn EU politics is and we fully agree there 100%. So… the problem is there and remains un-solved.
And just for the record, you say that the “1 NS1 line is still available…” and actually it is 1 (one) line of the NS2 that is available not any of the NS1 lines which have been fully blown up. No big deal, just setting the record straight for better understanding purposes we both want and need.
Whatever may be argued and done though about flow rate and pressure re-distribution, and however it´s diced or sliced, and although all the surface pipelines grid would not be truly and fully empty — although certain stretches might certainly be — still the 40% Russian nat-gas is fully missing in the system… and sub-surface “reserves” RE-compression is still needed just as much… (or else)
True enough, as you say ” use of gas storage predates the advent of NS1 ” yes we agree yet again. But once that NS1 King Kong flow was fully included as an active functional component of the 2021-22 sub-surface extraction mechanism, things changed accordingly and the “system” NO longer can function without NS1 as designed, constructed and operated cross-borders. It requires changes in record time — no longer can remain as is — and therein lies the huge problem.
We disagree when you say that, being just a “technical” problem it can be solved. Not necessarily, as happens in this case. There might possibly be a partially limited technical solution ( we agree yet again !!! ) but to implement it you need cross-border awareness, expertise, TIME, trained manpower, funding, political approval, etc. etc. etc. The economist “assuming” to have a can opener does not help any. The “can opener” is need right here right now (yesterday)
You say…” … the gas storage locations act as accumulators…” while I say that the gas storage locations MAY act as accumulators if duly modified, tested and commissioned in time which is something that for ample reasons given cannot possibly now be done. It is waaaay too late for that.
Referring to nat-gas deposits you say…” … as far as I know none of them collapsed…” – I did not suggest that either, but anyways you do not need for anything to “collapse”. Just interference from methane hydrates would be enough, and we cannot assume that the whole storage system everywhere would be readily equipped and manned for that… and other new problems.
You say that… ” the damaged lines can be repaired and put into service to put your “King Kong” on steroids by Spring.”. And THAT is the problem HMS Terror… by “Spring”… and what about winter here and now ?
We burn wood ?
We FULLY agree when you say that ” The availability of gas & pipelines, technical issues and the efforts of pipeline engineers/operators are not the gating items. “. No Sir, they are not. Everything is very well-known but just about nothing has been done about it. The technical solution exists but politics did not allow it to see the light of day.
HMS Terror, I fully endorse 101% your last 2 paragraphs. We couldn´t agree more.
Please keep your comments coming if all possible. They help lots.
Thanks for NS1/2 correction.
I should’ve done a better job at conveying my point. Namely, that all the technical solutions/workarounds, from effectively marshalling the “stored” gas to restoring large scale supply are contingent on political decisions and the political will to raise the funds and mandate the work.
On a macro-scale, agreed though local workarounds could still alleviate local shortages. Much like Ukrainian power engineers are doing today with the remains of Ukraine’s once robust electrical grid.
Europe’s extraordinarily complex gas system was built under favourable political agendas that promoted growth. Gas, oil and uranium flowed reliably in abundance, and Europe built a very comfortable life for itself on that flow. Some time ago, Europe’s political agendas inverted in favour of contraction. Under colour of a pandemic and geo-political dispute, the flow has been radically reduced. If it stays reduced, much of that complex gas system will become redundant and fall into disuse, and eventually into decrepitude. Should it come to that, it will take Europe generations to crawl out from under the Ideology that has it in its grip. God only knows what Europe will look like by then, but I’d wager it won’t be “European”.
PS: I notice that in a comment below that you again suggest I have experience in the oil/gas pipeline field. My experience is tangential only. Please note my previous disclaimer…
PPS: Thanks for the conversation.
There are huge natural methane hydrate deposits across the globe. the stuff stays solid at definite temp. and pressures, deep in the ocean. Bring it up and it lights up!
Not sure about the use by big oil, right now.
1 such deposit might be responsible for the Devils Triangle where planes simply dropped out of the sky because of hydrate degassing.
Another off the Norway coast caused the biggest subsea landslide known, with 2 mega-tsunami’s engulfing the Dogger Bank, and giving us Holland. Likely caused by ocean warming as the great Ice shelves melted.
Methane Hydrate is worth a discussion in it’s own right.
Methane = CH4
Carbon and 4 * Hydrogen
Carbon is the basis for life, and Hydrogen is one element of water.
Then we must get rid of Methane?
The hydrate is a clathrate – a kind of molecular cage.
Be sure the quantum chemistry is a nightmare, never mind the explosive potential!
I feels like a form of soap, for non-smokers!
Methane hydrate (CH4·5.75H2O or 4CH4·23H2O) is a solid clathrate compound in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water,
Methane hydrate is ok I understand, but Methane (Ch4) is dangerous you say
bonbon, above you say that ” Methane Hydrates is worth a discussion in it’s own right ”
I agree !
So let´s go for it as it would end up being the name of the game if underground nat-gas “storage” in Europe is mis-managed. The oil & gas industry wants to produce just that i.e-. OIL & GAS… nothing else. So big or small, cute or shiny, methane hydrates are BAD very BAD news for the oil & gas industry, pipeworks etc etc. So no, you do not want them around anytime anywhere period. No use for methane hydrates in oil & gas production or distribution, just BIG TROUBLE.
Thanks for you valuable input bonbon !
Never heard of this.
You are a bit of a star. I have read your previous articles, but didn’t comment because there was nothing I could add. I like the way, you engage with the people who comment here, accepting any criticism, but I can’t find any yet. I really like some of the comments too, which provide a simpler explanation of what you are trying to describe..
Sumant on October 16, 2022 · at 3:13 am EST/EDT
“Another useful analogy to understand the point about reserves not being 100% useable is that of a car tyre of the tubeless variety. It takes a minute to fill it from a compressor. But even if you open the valve, the tyre does not become empty by itself. It requires to be squeezed from outside to fully remove the air.”
Even a politician should be able to understand that, but who thinks politicians actually represent the people who elected them (or even worse like in those in control of The EU, no one elected them – like in The Rush 2112 song – “We have assumed control.”) well who the f’ck are you?
What is happening now, is a Massive American Attack, not just on Germany, but all of Europe.
Its not just a psychological attack – covid – and then the killer jabs, its a physical attack on all the people of Europe
The Germans are going to freeze and starve to death, as their economy is totally trashed, by their own politicians, who are not representing The German people, but American psychos out to kill us all.
The UK will be next on their hit list.
Apparently France is already shutdown. Use a horse and cart instead, cos their ain’t no petrol, diesel, or electric, and probably not much gas.
Dear tonyopmoc, thanks for you valuable input…
And I also agree 100% at least with some of your views regarding the outside world way beyond all of us right here right now. But regarding our spontaneous intellectual abode in this Comments Section I do have something to add. So please bear with me and let me explain… But where to start !
Obvious to anyone, I truly love and encourage comments because I learn lots from them and also the comments received make me think harder and better, with a different perspective. I just bloody need comments and it´s no secret I ask for such openly as any comment good or bad just suits me fine. I need to learn and I would never do that all by myself isolated in my own cocoon. The more challenging and “objectionist” the comments the better for my brain. I figure that if I know …”oh soooo much blah blah and defend my thoughts with such a strong conviction yadda yadda” … well then I better be able to defend my thesis no ? Otherwise it´d just be a rant of sorts yes ? And I do not have ANY political agenda whatsoever. So critical comments are most welcome !!
Also through comments I can (a) expand my line of thought and info like I am doing right now + (b) check on myself how good — or how bad — a communicator I am. If the audience gets something wrong it is my fault, not theirs.
Tonyopmoc, regarding simple(r) examples I have learned it is a two-edged sword. Simple(r) examples can help some parts of the audience true enough… but only part of the time. Then I get the counter-argument that the simple(r) example I gave is not what we are REALLY discussing and/or that it is an over-simplification (!!)… and then the original audience that benefitted from the simple(r) example may feel disappointed or frustrated or “sold on the cheap” with what turned out to be not the real thing.
So I try to balance the reasoning and stick to real-life situations always explained as simple as possible which is not easy. As a matter of fact in the article paragraph entitled ” API-SPE-ASTM-NACE-ASME-AAPG ” I address the problem at hand.
But hell no Tonyopmoc, I am no “star” !! Because this is not about me. This is about hundreds of millions of people directly affected in Europe all the way from Dublin to Moscow… and billions more indirectly affected throughout the rest of the world. Obviously enough, I am nothing more than one possible messenger and definetly not important in any way, shape or form.
Why not you may ask ? Well, for one, because 6 months ago you had not heard from me any and 6 months from now my human vulnerability dictates that I may not even be breathing.
So I am just 1 (one) possible “messenger” at best. And anyone amongst thousands could / should have been another (better ?) messenger, not just me. But apparently I have NO competition, go figure ! No wonder I am the “winner” (hahhhah) as I compete all alone man !!!
And not only that: as I always insist that mine here is a very lonely task while actively seeking your most welcome yet balanced encouragement. But no hard feelings. You have often read me insisting that right here and now is my second home. So…let me finish on that note !
Thanks for your reply.
You are still a Jodida estrella
Aahhahahahh noooo tonyopmoc, no way man.
I´m no bloody “star” !!!
At best, I´d just like to be remembered as a socially sensitive technical / intellectual loudmouth of sorts.
Take care Tony !!
If I remember correctly, this is the second article from Jorge commenting about the upcoming Gas debacle – Both of them are extremely detailed, highly technical, full of information and data and should scare the pants of everyone in Europe who’s still listening to the propaganda masquerading as MSM news – I guess all of us in the global South are going to see the utter devastation of the European continent in the next few months and hopefully the growth of a more nationalistic and less capitalist ruling class who keeps the welfare and interests of their citizens above that of the hegemon
Thanks for your kind words of encouragement Tranceislife.
I beg to “differ” with you though regarding my apparent ´effectiveness´ in that I do not seem to be scaring anybody into any worthwhile action, have I ?
I would feel a sense of ´accomplishment´ (sorta) if that ever happened before the debacle takes place, not after. We are pretty close to being left only with contingency planning at this late stage no ?
But no, my articles may have been interesting and entertaining, but not really effective I must reckon.
I wouldn’t agree simply because you are providing information and knowledge that nobody else is seemingly either unable or unwilling to and for that, you have my highest regards – A truth teller is very rarely recognised for his outstanding work because he’s telling what everyone knows but doesn’t want to understand or acknowledge because it’s just too painful – But I am sure there are thousands of people who follow your words and your writing very keenly ( I know I do) and for us, you provide the hope that the world isn’t fully mad yet and there’s still hope to make a change and get better – So pls keep this coming and I am sure all of us look forward to reading more articles from your side in coming days and months and years – Thank you and best Regards
Please know that your comments above make all the difference to me because — as you may guess — I do try hard… and all alone, BTW. But your spontaneous acknowledgement lets me know that many more must necessarily share an equivalent view. . Otherwise this article would not get 30 thousand viewers and 150 very specific comments. So you represent a whole bunch of people I am now obliged to.
In a nutshell, many thanks pal.
Respecfull yet warm bearhug for you from Jorge
(Italy will now move to more socialism?)
The best argument for a Lebanese chef in France to emigrate to Brazil is France is tons of regulations and paperwork.
The best argument for a Los Angeles dweller to emigrate to Idaho is Democrat California is tons of regulations and paperwork..
European people are too brainwashed so even when a certain number of people are protesting nothing will be done – at least not very soon.
I, as an European, don’t see much of a change immediately. Maybe after certain months, years. Somehow some governments within the EU will distribute some money under the name “to help people because of the inflation” in order to get “silence within the population”.
Everything is also implemented in the name of “green future”, “climate change” etc. So the majority is either confused or not very well informed as the mainstram media are extremely “well working”. Or at least has no real clue what is going on. Same goes when it comes to Ukraine. Mainstream media is working extremely well.
– I, as an European, don’t see much of a change immediately.
With gas prices * 10 you will se more changes in Germany / UK / Nederland / Poland than you like
FED is increasing interest rates. Usually Europa will follow.
It is like nuking the economy. First mortgages will get higher interest rates, then housing prices will go down.
Money is created by mortgages foremost, so when housing prices goes down there will be less mortgages, and less money. Money is destructed when a mortgage is ended.
– Earlier this week, the average five-year fixed-rate mortgage breached 6% for the first time in 12 years, while the average two-year fixed rate has passed the mark for the first time since 2008. Property experts have predicted that average house prices in the UK could fall by at least 10% next year.
10% fall of house prices -> 7-8% restriction of Money -> GDP wil fall by 7-8% in UK as expected effect.
Then, how much sense does it make to increase corporate tax by 31%, from 19% to 25%?
It does not make sense. The Guardian and the other liberals are wrong.
monnalisa, a certain “silence within the population” facilitated by some enormous distraction to conceal each country’s sovereign default, I’d wager.
Central Bank Digital Currency’s affinity to enhance total spectrum surveillance, evoking Orwellian fear, uncertainty and doubt, works just as well with Basic Income theories already come to fruition. They also accommodate their interlinked, looming defaults. We’ll know when they begin issue of permanent bonds. Those mirror the Real Debt – the consequence of a policy supporting its constant accrual that rejects any notion of ever paying it off.
It’s not Modern Monetary Theory when the USA, as example, has 70% of its cash held by foreign hands.
Russia’s contribution of natural gas to Europe has dropped by 40% of 9% between the North Stream state terrorist attack and the reduced gas volumes via Ukraine which will only get worse as Winter proceeds.
Naftogaz of Ukraine provides 20% of the natural gas for Europe and in 2020 reached 28.3 billion cubic meters (BCM) of gas storage.
To critically analyze the dynamic system problem with natural gas in Europe requires an understanding of stocks (gas storage) and flows (Russian gas delivery and Ukraine gas production). If one excludes Ukraine’s domestic gas production from the European supply, then Europe can only rely on a maximum Naftogaz storage stock of 30 BCM and the Russian flow of 40 BCM/year. Unfortunately, Naftogaz currently only has a stock of 13 BCM in storage, and Russia’s gas flows are based on a yearly contract and not a monthly supply contract. Thus Europe is facing a shortfall of 17 BCM of storage and 10 BCM of Russian gas, for a shortfall of 20 BCM over the next four months as described below.
Currently, Naftogaz has the capacity of storing 30 BCM of natural gas in its underground storage reservoirs. Unfortunately, Naftogaz no longer publishes monthly gas storage capacity status reports for each of its storage reservoirs. It also has gas storage facilities in Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Germany:
Naftogaz was found to only have 13 BCMin the Ukraine underground storage as of October 14, 2022. It is attempting to increase natural gas production in Western Ukraine.
Naftogaz is attempting to increase the gas storage to 19 BCM: “Naftogaz would have to import 5.8 BCM of gas to fill underground storage facilities to 19 BCM by the winter season, in keeping with government instructions. “If you are going to have such a lot in storage, as the government wants, at the beginning of the heating season then you need to import almost 5.8 BCM of additional gas and you have to spend $8 billion, which is a lot of money for Ukraine,”
Ukraine’s natural gas supply capabilities to Europe are potentially compounded by Naftogaz currently facing default on its debts: “Ukraine’s Naftogaz has become the first Ukrainian government entity to default since the start of the Russian invasion after the state energy firm said it would not make payments on international bonds before the Tuesday expiry of a grace period.”
The financial crisis is due in part to many customers (especially domestic) being unable to pay their gas bills:
The financial losses of Naftogaz have been a recurrent problem with losses of 680 million in 2020.
Meanwhile, Naftogaz is suing Gasprom for nonpayment of gas transmission fees based on a gas contract to provide 40 BCM of gas each year from 2021-2024. Ukraine expected o earn $7 billion/year in transit fees:
Part of the transit fee issue is that Kyiv halted the use of a major transit route blaming interference by occupying Russian forces. Consequently, gas flows to Europe via Ukraine fell by 25% as Russia refused to redirect the gas to a pipeline that bypasses the new Russian Oblasts.
Adding to the confusion is the halting of oil flow through “the southern branch of the Druzhba oil pipeline, which flows through Ukraine to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.” According to the Russian firm Transneft, the transit payments cannot be processed due to sanctions.
Will future sanctions stop natural gas flows from Russia via Ukraine as is currently done for Russian oil? In the worst case, the NATO war against Russia may stop all Russian gas flows into Ukraine and perhaps the gas pipeline to Europe may shut down either Russian attacks or blackmail by Ukraine to increase military aid from NATO.
For giggles, Ukraine now plans to sell its natural gas to foreign investors
Ukraine had 905 BCM of natural gas reserves (as of January 2022). If Russia acquires most of Ukraine East of the Dnipro River and Odessa it will control at least 87% of these natural gas reserves.
Ukraine claims an additional 880 BCM unproven reserves based on seismic data, most likely offshore of Crimea and Snake Island.
Probably the IMF and US Lendlease trying to clawback ‘something’ before the Ukie economy goes tits up.
Your comment, ’47, beggars the question of ~when did Naftogaz’ arrears become its most prominent feature?
” the current infrastructural “readiness” of Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities is 100%. 13 bcm has already been pumped into this storage”,
touted CEO Yuriy Vitrenko among other achievements of “security” and “production”, or does the phrasing and close placement of those two quoted numbers suggest a positive affirmation that “maximum” infrastructure “targets” have already been met?
This Public Service Announcement’s lede heralds the phrase,
“increasing gas *production” … with the use of “new technologies” and equipment.”
My father, an advertising manager for a regional chain of weekly newspapers, asked me as a boy what the most persuasive word in advertising was,
“Free”, I smugly replied.
He promptly corrected me. ” Wrong. The word is *New*. ”
Mind you, this was the mid-20th Century. The newspaper’s presses spanned the building’s length, spinning huge rolls, a single sheet of paper weighing a half ton or more at incredible speed, bearings and rollers and belts emitting an awesome stridency. The odor of ink permeated deep as the coffee stains and cigarette burns at my father’s cut and paste station, manual typewriter at the ready for written “copy”. I still have a few of those substantial steel scissors.
Creating a photo image was a chemical process carried out in a darkened room. Letters and numbers, cut from miniature blocks of bare metal in myriad sizes, facilitated transfer of text to a page with a peculiarly tactile sense and smell. Items incomprehensible today as the irony and idiom embedded in my speech so familiar to the era – I sometimes boast that three of the five people who think “as fast as I do” are now dead.
I vaguely remember Kennedy’s funeral, a man called Khrushchev, and our third grade teacher’s student poll of whether or not we should escalate bombing North Vietnam (yes, by a razor thin margin).
Point being, the PSA’s style resonates with the Dulles and company created Cold War. How do these Western Institution’s methods of obligatory financialization you mention, ’47, indicative of numerous Imperial goals relentlessly interfering in other nation’s affairs correlate to my government’s New Red Scare?
Today’s interference does not inspire hubris-like zeal. These interminable trespasses, become so reckless and transparent, have evolved into desperate acts that precede an imminent, bloody failure.
We use a different word, and pretty much comprises what media has become, fluff.
The perennial question is whether the Western elites really are as delusional and stupid as they seem, or are they deliberately sowing chaos?
Satanic entities feed on the misery that chaos brings. Whether the satanic entity is a group of humans, or some other being(s) is an interesting question. One could also postulate that a certain medical procedure has brought a similar amount of misery.
Irrespective of the EU’s ongoing attempt to commit energetic and economic suicide, the troubles are not going away. Peak FF and Peak Oil in particular mean the ongoing demise of the economy as we knew it. It’s been a great party for the last 50+ years, the biggest in human history, but all parties have to end some time.
We’ll all get a turn at being Sri Lanka, but perhaps the EU’s suicide means the rest of us get to party on a bit longer.
The Green Energy delusion (or again deliberate misdirection) means that rather than maximising our remaining FF supplies, we’ve cut our own throats by throttling investment in FF. Current discovery of new supplies of oil is <10% of global consumption on an annualised basis.
It may not seem like it, but these are the "good old days" folks.
Dear Jorge, I just want to thank you cordially for your latest essay which I really liked. I enjoy reading all your articles and also the discussion in the comments section. Your analogies are easy to understand e.g. one of the 2 driving forces is like the King Kong bulldozer flow, also the zoo, etc.
So, everything you write is very useful and helpful and eye opening. Your articles are gems.
BTW. I have noticed that no politicians in Slovakia have been aware of this failing nat-gas storage and LNG experiment, except for one who did grasp that the inflow is needed to push the nat-gas out of the storage.
Dear Kate, thank you oh so much for your very kind words of encouragement.
But please get a far larger THANK YOU Kate for your precise and focused feedback letting me know what comes through and how it gets to readers. Kate, you are most important because probably you are not technically oriented. But you are the least common TECHNICAL denominator, so take that as a very special compliment of mine.This means that I better get through to you Kate, or else… For it is not easy to communicate technical stuff to non-technical people, such as all powerfull politicians. So it´s extremely important to get your comments allowing my improvement if advisable or required. Thanks again Kate, and congrats !
Italy officially planning to grind to a halt ?
per Russia Roday link at
RT is blocked in the U.K.
Can you copy paste the content please..?
Sure, my pleasure PalmaSailor
” Italy may suspend industrial production for 30 days this winter as part of an emergency energy-saving plan if Russian gas supplies are cut, the newspaper Il Messagero reported on Monday. Italian Energy Minister Roberto Cingolani proposed the measure amid an EU-wide plan to reduce gas consumption by 15% over the coming months. In July, the bloc agreed on rationing to increase its energy security as it seeks to wean itself off its dependence on Russian energy. Italy relies on imports for nearly 75% of its energy. At the start of this year, the country was importing 40% of its gas from Russia, but by July this figure had dropped to 25% due to sanctions”
” Cingolani’s emergency plan is based on two hypothetical scenarios, according to the outlet. The first implies a complete stoppage of Russian gas supplies starting November 1, which would entail Italy seeing a shortfall of 6.45 billion cubic meters of gas. In this case, the Italian government would resort to a mandatory reduction in consumption and move to rationing across industrial sectors that would last for 31 days.
In the second scenario, gas supplies would be cut off starting January 1. This would be costly but would not necessarily entail a halt of industrial production.”
There is yet some more PalmaSailor but this is the meaty part.
RT has recommended this app – it is called psiphon3 and it will allow you to overcome the blockage.
It is a free VPN and it works perfectly.
Maybe this app should be also recommended here at the Vineyard for everyone who cannot access RT.
” China Halts Resales Of Russian LNG To European Buyers ”
Please feel free to tell me ´in-my-face´ I am a glorious nut and that by Christmas everything will just be hunky dory. Do it, please, so I can relax a bit.
Thanks for having confidence in “ordinary, nontechnical” people to understand technical ideas if these are broken down and explained clearly, and for stepping up to the plate. Of course your humorous asides make the medicine easier to swallow. You are a delightful teacher to have around!!
Often, more technically savvy and experienced commenters highlight an issue that has occurred to me as I read your explanations. Then it turns out that, actually, I did pretty much get it but didn’t know how to frame my question. The more detailed analyses that follow such comments and “challenges” can be understood by most commenters here, even if they would not be able to reproduce the arguments without intensive study. Gradually, however, even ordinary nontechnical people can get more and more of the drift of how these complicated systems work.
As for Europe’s politicians—it sure beats me why so many politicians are shuffling along like a whole herd of “know-nothing” Alfred E. Neumans bleating, so it seems, “What, me worry?”
In case you have never heard of Alfred E. Neuman, he is a midcentury American cultural icon who epitomized the mentally mediocre and lazy incurious, sporting his trademark idiot grin while disaster looms . . .
Yessss Taffy yessss you old wise man, I enjoyed “Mad” magazine for years !!
And thanks for your words of praise Taffy. Having non-technical people understand technical stuff makes all the difference to me. They matter lots, far more than technical folks many of whom seemingly never want to get their feet wet, do they ? Hmmm…. So, I am truly proud of being instrumental, and of THEM non-techies and of their effort of course. But I do try hard I tell ya, just like them !!
I guess it probably shows, but there is even far more to it than just saying it.
Maybe in the future someone or something somehow tempts me to spill all of the beans !!
Take care Taffy, I count on you to let me know where the ball is you wing man…
Over 15,000 German stores are facing bankruptcy due to soaring energy costs, Der Spiegel reported on Friday, citing the German Retail Association (HDE).
According to the report, the HDE wrote a letter to Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck in which it warned that the “exploding energy costs” are making it impossible for increasing numbers of retailers to make ends meet. The group called the situation “existentially threatening” and said that around 16,000 businesses may go bankrupt this year, while the “negative trend” is likely to continue through 2023.
If you all commenters would please scroll up (lots) you would find my yet most important (cordial) “debate” of sorts with PeterK who impresses me as a highly knowledgeable commenter with plenty oil & gas field experience. It´d be worth your time and trouble, trust me.
“Russia sanctions cause EU diesel shortage” – per Bloomberg
A record drop in diesel stocks is expected in the winter precisely when seasonally high demand hits the EU
“Germans urged to ration more gas”
Consumption must be reduced by 30% to avoid shortages, a study suggests
First it was 15%, then it was 20%, now it seems that 30% savings are needed. Do I hear 40% ? 50% ?
“Pre-crisis gas consumption needs to come down by 30%”, Der Spiegel quoted Gunnar Luderer from the Ariadne project at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who released the research.”
If you all commenters would please scroll up (lots) you would find my yet most important (cordial) “debate” of sorts with *HMS Terror* who impresses me as a highly knowledgeable commenter with plenty oil & gas and also pipeline field experience. It´d be worth your time and trouble, trust me.
Only five (5) EU Member States — Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Austria — have three quarters (75%) of the nat-gas storage capacity, while a full third of the smallest Member States (33%) have none 0 (zero). Europe also better have lots and lots of * solidarity * amongst its freezing members this coming winter.
I wrote a poem in your honor — and to mercouris and all patient teachers with such bottomless good will to humanity! I posted it here on the Cafe. Your work and constant effort is not in vain. And we are most appreciative.. 🙏🏼🤲🏼💯
Please click on the link below and find a map locating gas storage facilities in Germany.
Please note that there are none in Germany´s Northeastern corner. The area delimited by Berlin, the Baltic Sea and the Polish border does not have any storage at all, neither “porous” (former acquifers, the ´bad´ type) nor “salt caverns”.
Credit to INES at https://erdgasspeicher.de
Actually, to be more precise, EAST of Hamburg / Berlin / Leipzig and Stuttgart there are no nat-gas storage facilities in Germany. This includes Dresden / Nuremberg / Schwedt / Rostock / Lübeck etc etc etc. and many other highly developed and industrialized regions in Germany. The above will necessaily have serious consequences indirectly affecting other areas also. The area surrounding Münich is an exception.
Please click on the link below and find map locating gas storage facilities in Germany.
Please note that there are none in Germany´s Northeastern geographical corner. The area delimited by Berlin, the Baltic Sea and the Polish border does not have any storage at all, neither “porous” (former acquifers, the ´bad´ type) nor “salt caverns”, the ´better´ types…
Credit to INES at https://erdgasspeicher.de
Serious diesel shortages worldwide this coming winter. Even NO diesel at any price…