*The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe*

What an excellent book.  Imagine somebody — in this case Thane Gustafson — taking all those snippets of gas history you used to read about and turning them into a coherent, well-written narrative.  The Dutch disease, Norwegian gas, the origins of Gazprom and Western Siberian reserves, the French decision to go nuclear, and much more.  It’s all here.  Every topic should have a book like this about it.   Excerpt:

Kortunov’s importance as the founder of the Soviet gas industry and the originator of the gas bridge with Europe cannot be overstated.  Without his vision and drive, organizational talent, and political skill, the development of West Siberian oil and gas might have been delayed by as much as a generation.  Gas exports to Europe would have remained modest, for lack of sufficient ready reserves and a pipeline system through which to ship them.  Above all, the rapid displacement of coal and oil by gas in the Soviet primary fuel balance  — one of the last successes of the Soviet planned economy — would have taken much longer.  By the beginning of the 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell apart and the Soviet oil industry with it, it was the gas industry, by then Russia’s most important source of primary fuel, that kept the Soviet cities heated and lighted, while oil was exported for desperately needed dollars.  That was Kortunov’s legacy to the country he so ardently believed in.

Due out in January, you can pre-order your copy here.

Comments

Anyone else wondering when Putin will let Trump know that Nordstream is a Ukrainian plot to keep him from being reelected?

Putin is busy propping up the anti-fracking hysteria in the US. He apparently has Biden and Warren fully on board.

Don't forget anti-nuclear hysteria.

Shows what you know. Trump doesn't even shop at Nordstrom.

So we should let Russia swallow Europe whole, right?

Russia's GDP is $1.7 trillion. The GDP of Poland alone is one-third that. Germany's GDP is $3.7 trillion. There are limits to what even an anaconda can achieve.

Australia's GDP is three-quarters that of Russia and we're the largest natural gas exporters in the world, but no one is ever scared we're going to swallow them.

Au contraire - the world is onto Australia's clever plan to use its vast continental scale resources to take over any country foolish enough to buy from it.

Besides, the U.S. has plenty to sell at a price no customer can refuse.

Dammit! They're onto us! But not matter. The task at hand is almost complete, Thanks to high recycling rates, the steel content of most military hardware in world is now high enough for Australian earth benders to affect it and, as for our air benders -- well, let's just say you should have listened to Greta Thunberg when you had the chance. She was your best, last hope.

You'all realize that gas is at record lows, even not adjusting for inflation, right? All that Permian basin fracked oil that produced so much extra natural gas that the pipelines built can't hold it. So natural gas as a sort of "Green Fossil Fuel" should be a passing fad in a decade or three. I recently passed on converting my inherited Athens apartment building to natural gas since the oil furnace runs just fine and it's roughly about the same in costs. The only real advantage of natural gas is that it's trendy and a selling point to Green buyers, but at the moment I'm just renting out the building, not selling it.

ah but natural gas isn't quite natural. There secretes water, while not polluted, it is nearly impossible to contain. What do contain and détente have in common? There is a lag, not in a gap. In the former its silence that permeates industry until when principle of observation usurps the common devotion to energy.

I'm no expert on global gas consumption, but I expect the consumption to trend downwards thanks to the still falling cost of solar and wind generating capacity.

I was talking to a Norwegian the other day about PV in Singapore (Norwegians are all experts on Singapore distributed PV) and she said the Singapore government was finally going to act on getting solar panels and roofs in addition to things such as floating PV arrays. That's going to cut a lot of natural gas consumption and much the same will happen around the world.

Your chat program is getting really good.

But the Crikey imitation falls more than a bit flat.

What does Greta have to say about this?

Hold up. What does our sneering state television director Gretchen have to say about this?

-1 to both

Both of these comments are obvious bullshit partisan trolling. We already have anonymous for derailment.

History of natural gas is fascinating. Political ramifications are enormous in the medium term, probably even larger in the long run as Western Europe shuts down all nuclear power.

For anyone who claims Russia is a threat, solve for the equilibrium.

There's no dangerous or provocative move that Putin or the next despot can't make, even if it harms the Russian people. All they have to do is mobilize state media to convince Russians that defending their pride against some historical affront or imagined threat demands it. And that is pretty easy.

Why are you asking us? Go ask her yourself.

I'm not surprised this is a great book since Gustafson is a great Russian scholar and he is especially an expert on Russian Energy history. I pre-ordered it on Kindle. Gustafson wrote a book around 40 years ago which was one of my favorite books on the Soviet Union, Reform in Soviet Politics. Lessons of recent policies on land and water. Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

I'd recommend Alex Epstein's "The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels," for its analysis of natural gas in terms of peak-load (i.e., the capacity to scale up beyond minimal demand). Whether or not frac'ing, as he claims, is one of the safest forms of energy extractions (EPA reports in the Trump administration appear to vindicate this) is up for debate, but I'd hope that readers of Gustafson's book would be aware of what has been a useful book to me for my thinking on energy. As it happens, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels 2.0 is due August 2020, so might be a good digestif.

Its moral to kill jobs and slash wages?

Or is the moral case based on fossil fuels costing more because of higher labor costs?

I can't think of any large region suffering from labor shortages requiring labor saving, job killing, burning of fossil fuels.

Note, places like Africa do not benefit from importing refined oil instead of paying to import solar and wind and battery capital Africa can't produce. Building solar and battery systems will require lots of local labor. If Africa does as Asia and moves up the value chain, it could bring in obsolete equipment and use local labor to produce inferior parts for the local market, building up manufacturing.

The biggest problem of mining in Africa is the higher value refining and then production of intermediate goods is done outside Africa or with rewards (wages) going to non-African workers.

Economies are zero sum. Costs are benefits, ie, the costs of wages and the incomes to workers, and the goal is increasing incomes of the people soo they can pay to consume more of what workers produce.

How do Europeans or Africans et al benefit sending money to Russia which spends the money on imports to feed its military industrial complex, in exchange for fossil fuels?

mulp, you do realize you come across as a complete crackpot when you post tangential nonsense like this, right?

Hard to see how fracking could possibly be a risk to anyone given the water being pumped is literally miles under any drinking water source. Imagine being worried about something on the surface surrounded by a mile thick rock wall. Most of the concern are lawyers trying to get a tort going in their usual rent seeking fashion.

Similarly the concern over the GHG emissions from Nat Gas are overblown, almost all of the recent drop in emissions in the US has come from switchIng from coal to Nat gas, renewables barely makes a dent. If the world switched from coal fired to Nat gas generation in places like India and China it would significantly delay temperature rises due to CO2 by several hundred years compared to the climate apocalypse scenario which is based on a rapid increase in coal. Furthermore for the skeptics it is also would drastically improve local air quality with huge headland welfare benefits.

"Similarly the concern over the GHG emissions from Nat Gas are overblown"

A decade ago, a substantial amount of methane was being directly vented to the atmosphere, and methane is a far worse GHG than CO2. However, for the most part it's burnt off now, which breaks it down and makes if far less harmful.

So, there's truth to the accusation that fracking has issues. It's just that any full analysis indicates fracked natural gas is still way better than mined coal for the environment.

There are salt mine in the arudivian province that funnel money to Russia.

I wonder what the workers there say to each other as they're heading in to start another day?

"Hi ho, hi ho, we're funneling money to buy blow,
It's not a sin to send cash to Putin, hi ho, hi ho!"

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