|Interview | 18 December 2014
Interview with Torstein Indrebø, Honorary Secretary General of IGU
Gas is part of the long term solution to climate change
Torstein Indrebø, then Secretary General of the International Gas Union, was a distinguished guest of the XXI Autumn Gas Conference organised by the Slovak Gas and Oil Association. Energy analyst Jozef Badida discussed with him the role of natural gas in a low-carbon energy mix, climate goals, Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute and challenges ahead of IGU.
|Expert contribution | 18 December 2014
Operations maturity: Smart management of smart grids
By Kai Hui
A utility with two million smart meters in the field is inundated with approximately 750 million data elements each day – that’s almost twice as many data elements as there are tweets floating around the global Twittersphere on a daily basis.
Smart grids set to revolutionise national power systems
By Jeremy Bowden
Smart meters, big data, analytics, cloud-based technology, and the internet of things are all making contributions to a smarter energy system, which is likely to revolutionise the energy sector, according to delegates at the recent Smart Grid World Summit in London. The combined impact is expected to rival that already seen in telecoms or banking, where much of the technology has its origins. Development is being driven by regulators in the area of smart metering, and by price variations and customer choice in countries with competitive markets, along with the need to accommodate more intermittent renewables, major offtake points and distributed generation. All this has major potential implications for utilities, new business models and consumers.
|Analysis | 20 November 2014
Russia. Still-life Under Sanctions
From the headlines that we see in the press lately it seems that Russia’s main problem is economic sanctions imposed by the West in relation to the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian economic situation can be characterized as cautiously pessimistic: in light of the sanctions currently in place, the 2015 economic development prospects aren't very positive. There are certain expectations that the sanctions will be lifted at some point sooner or later; but as it stands today, the Rouble is becoming weaker, prices are increasing and oil price developments aren't favourable for the Russian budget dependent on oil export income. However, it is questionable whether these developments are solely the result of sanctions introduced against Russia by US and the EU throughout 2014; moreover, it is questionable whether the lifting of the sanctions will solve any of the problems effectively, as many of the commenters hope.
Finns are not nuclear power friendly – they are pragmatic
By Reiner Gatermann
The Finns are attributed with two national characteristics: Sisu (best described as the strength not to give up, bravery, resilience and acting rationally in the face of adversity) and – secondly – they are pragmatic. Finland’s entire history of nuclear power, commencing at the end of the seventies and still going strong, is characterised by these two attributes. There cannot be many countries in the world where about half of the population is in favour of nuclear power, where communities were competing to become the home of a new nuclear power plant, where government, parliament and companies are not deterred by the extreme – about nine years - delay of the still pending start up of a nuclear power plant, and where Greenpeace is in vain looking for stronger support in the population and the media. According to Katarina Koivisto, energy writer for the Swedish speaking Finnish newspaper Huvudstadsbladet, “the Finns see nuclear power as the one alternative to get more power to a price that does not rise too high”.
- The Persian Promise or Betting on Uncertainty - 23 October 2014
The Russia-Ukraine political crisis and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine served as a wake-up call to Europe’s stance toward the rising Russian power in the post-Soviet space and the new challenges it poses to the region. Facing uncertainty over the stable supply of Russian gas that satisfies the EU’s 30% of gas imports, the EU’s energy diversification plan includes increasing gas storage, switching to alternative fuels, and integrating other external gas providers...
- Putting a price on EU's energy security - 9 October 2014
As the energy landscape goes through significant changes both in the European Union and outside its borders, the EU finds itself in the middle of energy transformations. On-going liberalisation of European energy markets, completion of the Single European Energy Market initially scheduled for the year 2014, as well as the ambitious decarbonisation strategies that the EU has committed to - these are some of the key issues on the European energy agenda...
- The Role of 'European formulas' in the Russia-Ukraine Gas Debate (part 3) - 25 September 2014
In this article I will address the issue of Ukraine’s Euro-integration impact on Russian gas transit to the EU. Ongoing reforms of the management structure of the Ukrainian gas transportation system (UGTS), also resulted from the legal obligation of the Energy Community member states to adapt their energy systems to provisions of the EU energy 'acquis communautaire' (Third EU Energy Package), as well as from the current Ukrainian leadership's implementation of its own “sanctions” against Russia, which can cover energy transit, have been changing comparative economics of Russian gas transit to the EU.
- Challenging Croatian business environment and haemorrhaging European refinery industry - 11 September 2014
MOL, the Hungarian oil & gas company, has been facing a tough time in Croatia since taking effective control over the national energy champion – INA, in 2009. According to Marcus Lippold if there isn't an amicable solution reached with the Croatian government, MOL would be willing to sell its stake in INA...
- The hunt for precious metals is on - 28 August 2014
Whilst the European energy sector depends for many products and processes on precious and rare metals, their supply is unstable or insufficient. Although global competition for these metals is increasing, new recycling facilities in Europe are coming on stream.
- European smart grid roll-out on target - 14 August 2014
Currently across much of the European Union programs are being implemented to install smart meters in every home and business. This, combined with power and control networks, will provide the infrastructure upon which our widely anticipated smart grids can operate, enabling a much better control of the continent’s energy demand and supply...
- The Bigger Oil Story Behind the Headlines: Interview with Michael Levi - 14 August 2014
While we fixate on sexy headlines about Chinese military threats in the South China Sea, for instance, or Washington 'lifting the ban' on crude oil exports, we miss the bigger stories—and we miss the reality...
- Elimination of the Baltic "Energy Island" and its Importance for Further EU Market Integration in Sector of the Electric Energy - 4 August 2014
The Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in terms of energy infrastructure are frequently referred to as an 'energy island'- the region having very few interconnection routes with the rest of the European Union (EU). As for natural gas, the three states are fully dependent on one third country supply source - the Russian Federation, and a single supply route - a pipeline natural gas transmission network linking Latvia and Estonia directly with Russia, and Lithuania with Russia via Belarus...
- The Role of 'European formulas' in the Russia-Ukraine Gas Debate (part 2) - 4 August 2014
According to ITAR-TASS, as cited by The Moscow Times on 04 July, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger on 03 July asserted EU companies' right to sell Russian gas, which they buy from Gazprom at the delivery points within the EU, back to Ukraine. Energy companies in the EU have an “absolute right to dispose of gas bought from Gazprom at their discretion, including delivering in the reverse to the Ukraine,” Oettinger said via his spokeswoman Sabina Berger...
- "Responsibly energising a growing world" - while dashing for coal? - 11 July 2014
Whether it is despite the latest complications in the international politics or thanks to them, Moscow was in the centre of world of energy for the past couple of months – with the grand opening of the 21st World Petroleum Congress at the Kremlin Palace taking place on June 15 being one of the highlights. What followed was a four-day event, undoubtedly the largest oil and gas industry conference of the year...