The president has declared this Energy Week. The immediate result has been a lot of speeches, including one by energy secretary Rick Perry. Unfortunately, the former governor of oil and gas-rich Texas temporarily confused the words “imports” and “exports”, and pasted a typically offensive Trumpian label on an unexceptionable policy: “The path forward is for US energy dominance,” he told reporters. Fortunately, it will be a benign if self-serving dominance: “An energy-dominant America will export to markets around the world, increasing our global leadership and influence.” In practice, this will mean a large increase in exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) — natural gas cooled to minus 162C, condensing it to a liquid. Which is good news for Britain, Europe and Asia and bad news for Vladimir Putin, who has not hesitated to use western Europe’s reliance on Russian gas as a geopolitical bargaining chip. The EU depends on Russia for 30% of its gas. Germany leads the dependency parade: Russia provides 40% of its natural gas. Like other countries, Britain has not embraced fracking. When the inevitable day comes that UK planners realise that the Hinkley Point C nuclear project will be late, uneconomic and subject to all the operating problems experienced by French-built nukes, a new dash for gas, this time for LNG, will get under way lest the 80% of UK households powered by gas get chilly come winter.
Times 2nd July 2017 read more »