Scientists and climate activists have highlighed and warned against the significant global warming impact of fossil gas and an expansion of related infrastructure. Furthermore, analysts have also repeatedly criticized Europe’s deep dependency from Russia – created particular by Germany with the help of petrochemical giant BASF and it’s daughter Wintershall Dea. Putin’s war in Ukraine is forcing the EU now to profoundly restructure it’s energy landscape and to save gas for the coming winter. But while the public is being told to shower cold and heat less Europe is still feeding a fossil fuels hungry petrochemicals and plastics industry. Andy Gheorghiu outlines the major findings of a new report that reveals the significant dimension of this gluttony and that calls for a profound new diet for this sector.
The war in Ukraine reveals the consequences of Germany’s fossil fuel dependency on Putin’s regime in a brutal way. The international voices to cut these fossil ties are growing by the day. Many oil and gas producing companies – such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil – have already pulled out of Russia. However, Germany’s largest oil and gas company, Wintershall Dea, is still reluctant to follow these examples. Andy Gheorghiu gives a brief overview about Wintershall’s history and explains how its deep-rooted ties with state-controlled Gazprom – including its Nord Stream projects partnerships and a swap-asset deal that hand-delivered Germany’s largest gas storage to Putin – have also deepened Germany’s dependence on Russia.
On April 4, 2022, the IPCC published he third part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Referring to the findings and key results, UN General Secretary António Guterres said that “investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness” while also outlining that “such investments will soon become stranded assets”. In this blog post, Andy Gheorghiu explains why new LNG terminals in Germany are not an exception – even after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine has revealed the dependency of Europe on Russian gas. For a long time, gas has been touted as a bridge fuel. Now it turns out that gas is not only a significant contributor to the climate crisis but also a fuel to co-finance Putin’s war machine. A fast phase-out of fossil gas is inevitable, but some think that liquefied natural gas (LNG) will help the EU get rid of the Russian dependency. In this blog series, Andy Gheorghiu describes the situation in Germany and explains why the proposed LNG terminals are a climate disaster and risk to deepen the fossil dependency.
At the beginning of the COP26 the United States, the European Union and over 100 partner countries launched the so-called Global Methane Pledge – aiming at reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030. The overarching goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). At the same time, the EU Commission is working on a legislative act to reduce methane emissions in the oil, gas and coal sectors. Andy Gheorghiu summarizes the state of play, explains the importance of the petrochemical sector and the supply chain and questions how ambitious the upcoming EU methane regulation might be.
After long years of neglecting the science about the negative climate impact of fossil gas (i.e. methane) the EU Commission finally came up with a Methane Strategy, with a concrete legislative proposal on the energy sector expected later this year. There is large consensus on the need to reduce methane emissions due to its high warming potential to limit global heating, but will the EU Commission propose sufficient measures and what other innovative policy options exist? Andy Gheorghiu summarizes the key highlights of an online event around a new study exploring this question.
Environmental disasters and global warming severely threaten global biodiversity. Few wild places can boast diverse ecosystems that are largely intact. One such area – Kavango Zambezi Transfontier Conservation Area (KAZA) – is being threatened by plans by the oil and gas industry. Andy Gheorghiu reports on the fight to prevent oil and gas extraction in Southern Africa that is threatening our planet’s largest nature protection zone.
While the Irish Centre For Human Rights has outlined severe negative impacts from fracking, the German Expert Committee on Fracking sees no reason to recommend a comprehensive fracking ban. Andy Gheorghiu outlines the fault lines of the debate and explains why it is vital that the general public weighs in to comment on the draft report of the German Expert Committee on Fracking.
Fossil gas has long been touted as being the cleanest of fossil fuels as well as a needed “bridge technology”. Plastics on the other hand have been hailed an integral part of modern society that might even deliver climate benefits due to their light weight. Andy Gheorghiu takes a closer look at the link between gas, climate and plastics and argues for an EU Methane Regulation that applies strict rules for both the fossil energy and the petrochemical sector.
Ineos who? That was more or less my response too when I first heard of Ineos. And yet in 2019 Ineos was once again among the global top 5 chemical companies (in terms of sales, which totalled €27 billion). Ineos is also the top European producer of ethylene, the basic feedstock in today’s petrochemical industry and an essential component in the production of plastic. Andy Gheorghiu reports