Nikos Tsafos Profile picture
Feb 24 5 tweets 1 min read
How do you ensure energy security against an enemy?

Europe bought energy from the Soviets during an era of managed rivalry. It bought energy from a weak Russia in the 1990s, and handled occasional flareups during Russia’s resurgence in the 2000s and 2010s. But this is new.
Few of the scenarios or strategies that Europe has used to secure its energy needs are designed for the world that we woke up to today. The European energy security toolkit is premised on a geopolitical balance that has been totally upended.
The war will reshape Europe’s tolerance for relying on Russian energy. No doubt. Eventually it will rewire the Eurasian energy system. But this is years away. How can Europe safeguard its energy system now?
Europe needs bold ideas.

How about a European Defense Production Act to make and install 100 million heat pumps?

How do you break the link between gas and power prices?

Do you pay suppliers to boost gas supply for a while?

Pay industries to not consume gas?

Think big.
In the end, Europe must also accept that energy security is often achieved through means that have nothing to do with energy.

You cannot fight tanks and helicopters with money and rules. Only raw military force can do that.

Sooner or later energy security is just security.

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More from @ntsafos

Feb 22
Targeting NS2 is significant as a sign that Germany is fed up with Russia. That's why it matters. The energy implications are trivial—killing NS2 does little to improve European energy security. But the willingness to hit NS2 shows that Germany believes Russia crossed a line.
The idea that NS2 would rewrite the energy map of Europe was always far fetched—a talking point that gained potency through repetition, not truth. Let's not pretend that European energy security is stronger as a result of NS2 dying (if this is, in fact, death). It isn't.
Europe's energy security agenda remains the same with or without Nord Stream 2. Diversification of supply, ensuring infrastructure redundancy, stronger regulation of markets, a real strategy for seasonal balancing, faster decarbonization—none of those things rest on NS2.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 19
The gas that transits Ukraine today mostly ends up in Italy. Here are some numbers I'm looking at when thinking about Italian energy security.

tl;dr: Italy's strategic stocks would be a lifesaver if gas flows through Ukraine were interrupted.
Italy meets winter demand through storage and pipeline imports. LNG is important but small relative to those other flows. Storage, in particular, is key. At times, storage has delivered almost as much as international pipelines.
Russia is Italy's largest supplier but Algeria is not far behind. In January 2022, in fact, Algeria delivered more gas than Russia (as flows from Russia declined). Other supply sources are important too, but no source, on its own, can match what Russia and Algeria deliver.
Read 5 tweets
Feb 7
The idea that Europe didn’t do anything after 2006 and 2009 in terms of its dependence on Russian gas is rubbish. But this argument mostly fails to understand the basic contours of European gas policy over the past 15+ years. Let’s review.
Europe’s LNG import capacity grew by 3.4x between 2005 and 2021. Almost every country added more capacity after 2005 than it had in 2005. LNG imports have more than doubled. No one can look at that and say Europe has neglected LNG.
In terms of pipelines, Algeria launched a second route to Spain, the Southern Corridor opened up, and Norway is maxed out. There is no real supply out there waiting on Europe to drag it in. (Not realistically, at least—I say that for the “but the East Med” folks).
Read 13 tweets
Jan 25
How do you punish / deter Russia? Most options on the table are either too big or too small. One option that isn’t talked about, but should be: targeting Russia’s participation in Europe’s energy transition. This could really hit Russia.

A thread.
Russia is too integrated into the European energy system to attack today. You cannot stop Russian gas exports. You can hit their growth prospects but who cares—they will adapt (or evade). Even NS2 is a poor target too—best case, it’s a reputational loss. Russian power is intact.
But the energy system is changing. Europe is changing. Russia knows this—even if it is sometimes in denial, or wants to taunt Europe. Russia understands that the European Green Deal is an existential threat. Without the European energy market, what is Russia?
Read 6 tweets
Jan 24
Lots of discussions these past few days about what happens to European energy (gas) in the event of a conflict in Ukraine. I've been writing and tweeting about this in various places. Here is a thread consolidating those points.
Ukraine in 2022 is not the same as Ukraine in 2006 or 2009. Gas transit is down 70 percent versus 1998. At this moment, gas through Ukraine goes to only a few countries. The affected area is much smaller than in the past.

Read also:…
Can Europe access more LNG? Yes. But it has to bid it away from other markets since there is little production upside. Where? The U.S., Africa, some South America, but mostly Qatar. There are limits to this reshuffle. But in the past Qatar has sent ~3 mmt per month to Europe.
Read 6 tweets
Nov 17, 2021
Coming out of COP26, I yearn for a general theory of emissions reductions. I don’t want to talk about ambition, bending the curve, or what countries are proposing to do. I want to talk about *performance*. Are emissions falling? Where? How much? Why?

A thread.
Let me start with my favorite example: California, a state widely seen as a climate leader. Do you know how much California reduced CO2 emissions between 2005 and 2018? 8 percent. Same as Florida. Yes, there are caveats. But still: 8 percent?? Not exactly impressive…
Here is Norway’s oil consumption, the leading market for EVs. Barely a dent visible. I don’t want to minimize Norway’s record in EVs. I wish we could all be like Norway. Over time, it will make a difference. But my point is: look at the math that really matters. It’s unforgiving.
Read 13 tweets

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