Posted March 06, 2023
By Sean Ring
The EU Still Pays Russia for Fossil Fuels
- The EU imports substantial Russian fossil fuels despite price caps, sanctions, and bans.
- Only China imports more from Russia.
- The EU imports $119 million of fossil fuels per day.
Good morning on this bright, lovely Monday from Piedmont.
I hope you had a restful weekend. I slept so much that my cough finally stopped.
This morning I was drinking a Lavazza Tierra Reserva cappuccino at my favorite cafe and wondering what to write. Then I found an article on our favorite Doom Porn website, Zero Hedge.
Titled “Which Countries Are Buying Russian Fossil Fuels?” it shows a chart Niccolo Conte over at Visual Capitalist created based on information provided by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
To say it made me laugh is an understatement.
Believe me, I’m happy the EU isn’t starving itself of energy, thanks to any misguided USG diktat. And yet, the Germans (especially) are doing a shocking amount of neocon bidding.
Let’s look at the graphic and see what we can glean from it.
Here’s what the fuss is about:
Credit: Visual Capitalist
Honestly, this may look worse than it is. But here’s how I’d summarize it.
China, Russia’s de facto ally, has paid the Russians over $66 billion for its fossil fuels. Turkey, a member of NATO but not the EU, has paid Russia about $25 billion. And India runs closely behind the Turks, at $24 billion.
But those warmongering Germans! They’ve paid the Russians over $26 billion themselves, evenly split between crude oil and natural gas.
Before you call Ze Germans “hypocrites,” let me offer an argument in their defense: priorities.
If you believe in The State, and my goodness, the Germans do, then the state's first duty is to protect its citizens.
Deindustrialization is no way to protect your citizenry. So, I imagine the German government is trying to please its colonial master, the USG, without destroying its own country’s infrastructure and industry.
Not only that, but Germany also must stealthily protect itself because the idiotic German Greens want to send Germany back to agrarian times.
What’s the answer for Germany?
It seems to be “shout at Russia over the Ukraine war while quietly importing Russian fossil fuels.”
But why import oil, natural gas, and coal from Russia if Germany is so green?
Let’s take each in turn.
Oil: The Most Important Fuel on Earth
Oil is the most important fossil fuel for several reasons:
- Abundance: Oil is one of the most abundant fossil fuels on the planet. It’s estimated that there are trillions of barrels of oil reserves around the world.
- Versatility: Oil can be used in various applications, from transportation fuels to lubricants, plastics, and chemicals.
- Energy density: Oil contains a large amount of energy per unit of volume. This makes it an efficient fuel source for transportation and power generation.
- Infrastructure: The infrastructure for extracting, refining, and transporting oil has been developed over many decades, making it easier and more cost-effective than other fossil fuels.
- Economic importance: Oil is a major driver of the global economy, with many countries relying heavily on oil exports to generate revenue and create jobs.
Everything you are wearing, sitting on, typing on, eating, or watching was either made with or transported to you by oil. It’s that simple. We can’t live without it.
Just have a look at how an oil barrel is “cracked” or what it’s split into:
- Gasoline: About 45% of a barrel of crude oil; powers cars.
- Diesel fuel: About 25%; used in transportation and industrial applications.
- Jet fuel: About 8%; powers aircraft.
- Heating oil: About 4%; heats homes and buildings.
- Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG): About 4%; used for cooking, heating, and transportation.
- Asphalt: About 3%; used in constructing roads and other infrastructure.
- Petrochemicals: About 7%; used in producing plastics, synthetic materials, and other products.
The remaining 4% of the barrel makes other products, including lubricating oils, waxes, and other specialty products.
Let’s look at coal, which is much dirtier.
Coal: The Other Cheap Fuel
Coal is still used as a fuel source because of its abundance, low cost, and reliability in electricity generation.
- Abundance: Coal is incredibly abundant, and there are large reserves in many parts of the world.
- Low cost: It’s an attractive option for electricity generation, particularly in countries with limited financial resources.
- Reliability: Coal-fired power plants provide baseload power. Baseload power is the minimum amount of electricity consistently required to meet the energy demands of a given area or region at any given time. This is important for maintaining a stable power supply.
- Infrastructure: Many countries have invested heavily in coal-fired power plants and related infrastructure, such as transportation and storage facilities, making it more difficult to transition away from coal.
Coal burning is a dirty business.
There have been quite a few technologies invented to clean it up, such as flue gas desulfurization (FGD), low-nitrogen oxide burners, coal gasification, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC).
Different clean-up technologies fit different situations. That is, some technologies work in some cases and don’t work in others.
Finally, let’s look at natural gas, a clean-burning fossil fuel.
Natural Gas: A Cleaner Fossil Fuel
Natural gas is considered a cleaner form of energy because it produces fewer emissions when burned. Here are some reasons why natural gas is regarded as clean energy:
- Lower carbon emissions: Natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as coal and about 30% less CO2 than oil when burned.
- Reduced air pollution: Natural gas combustion emits fewer pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter than coal and oil. These pollutants contribute to air pollution and can have negative health impacts.
- No ash or sludge: Natural gas combustion doesn’t produce ash or sludge, which are byproducts of coal combustion that can cause pollution and environmental damage.
- Versatility: Natural gas can be used in various applications, from electricity generation to heating and cooking. It can also be used as a transportation fuel, particularly in compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).
And still, Greens moan about natural gas while politicians call it a “transitional power fuel.”
Why Not Renewables?
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power are less predictable and unreliable baseload power sources due to their variable output.
Theoretically, renewable energy sources can be combined with energy storage systems, such as batteries, to provide baseload power and reduce dependence on traditional baseload power sources.
But this hasn’t proven economically feasible yet.
Over the past year, Russian fossil fuel revenues from the EU fell by 85%, and the oil price dropped by 50%.
Daily Russian fossil fuel revenues have fallen from $1.2 billion to $567 million, or about 52%.
But Russia is not out of partners. Russia is surviving, with China, India, and Turkey picking up the slack.
Despite the bans, sanctions, and price caps, the EU is still Russia’s second-largest trading partner.
But it remains to be seen if the Germans and the rest of the EU can stay away from Russian goods without destroying their own economies.
See you tomorrow!