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European Gas Reserves Dwindle, Prices Soaring, Cold Winter Could Mean ‘Gas Disaster’

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Europe´s natural gas crisis isn’t letting up. Reserves are low. Prices are high. Utility customers are getting hit with higher bills. Major Russian supplier Gazprom isn’t selling gas like it used to.

It all raises the question: How exactly is Europe, which imports most of its energy, going to make it through the winter without a gas disaster, especially if the season turns out to be colder or longer than usual?

Here’s how the European Union, home to 447 million people, will try to deal with the crisis:

Not Like That! Greta Thunberg Decries Inclusion of Nuclear, Gas in EU Green Playbook https://t.co/PIxHykAVV8

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 23, 2021

THE PROBLEM IS LOW STORAGE LEVELS: Utilities turn to gas stored in underground caverns to handle sudden additional demand for gas for heating or electricity. But Europe started 2021 with gas storage only 56% full, compared with 73% a year earlier. The reasons vary: cold weather last winter, lack of Russian deliveries on the spot market and robust demand in Asia for liquid natural gas that comes by ship. Europe’s association of pipeline operators says cold weather would mean needing to import 5% to 10% more gas than the maximum volumes observed in recent years to avoid the risk of shutoffs.

AS A RESULT, GAS PRICES HAVE SOARED: The benchmark price in Europe is around 80 euros per megawatt hour, more than four times its level of 19 euros at the start of 2021 and up from as low as 4 euros in 2020. Prices have eased from as much as nine times their level at the start of last year. That price shock is feeding through to utility bills, alarming consumers and politicians.

EUROPE IS RELYING ON HIGH PRICES ATTRACTING MORE SUPPLY: Analysts at Rystad Energy used ship-tracking data last month to watch 11 tankers bringing liquid natural gas, or LNG, to Asia make U-turns in the middle of the ocean to take advantage of lucrative sales in Europe. With prices so high, traders were tempted to divert cargoes to Europe even if they had to offer 100% of the price as compensation, analysts at data firm Energy Intelligence said.

“I wouldn’t say that LNG is 100% enough, but it will play a very important role” in Europe’s energy solution, said Xi Nan, head of liquid natural gas markets at Rystad. But she added a caveat: “Depending on how much Europe is willing to pay.”

Captives of Russia: European Energy Prices Soar as Putin Holds Back Gas Supplies https://t.co/HPddwWFyil

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 8, 2021

RUSSIA HASN’T SENT AS MUCH GAS: State-owned Gazprom has sold less short-term gas through its pipelines crossing Poland and Ukraine and hasn’t filled as much of its European storage as it normally does, though it appears to be fulfilling its long-term contracts. Analysts believe Russia may be underlining its desire for Europe to approve the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that bypasses Poland and Ukraine. There also are increased tensions with Europe over Russian troop deployments near the Ukraine border.

LETTING STORAGE FALL TOO LOW CAN BE A PROBLEM: As storage caverns are depleted toward winter’s end, the pressure falls and gas comes out more slowly. That means reserves might not fall all the way to zero but might deliver gas too slowly to meet a sudden surge in demand.

IN THE SHORT TERM: European governments are offering cash subsidies to consumers to soften the blow. Sweden became the latest Wednesday by announcing 6 billion kronor ($661 million) to help households most affected by higher electric prices.

LONGER TERM: The solution is more investment in renewables such as wind and solar. Yet officials concede gas will play a role for years during that transition.

POLITICAL UNREST IN KAZAKHSTAN ISN’T CONTRIBUTING: The resource-rich Central Asian country supplies oil to the EU – but not gas – and the oil flow wasn’t affected by violent protests that began over soaring fuel prices but quickly spread, reflecting wider discontent over Kazakhstan´s authoritarian government.

Boris Johnson Planning Gas Tax Hikes to Pay for Green Agenda Despite Rising Costs and Shortages: Report https://t.co/Sk8Ho2IxmG

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 9, 2021

EUROPE REMEMBERS WHAT A BAD WINTER CAN MEAN: A late-winter cold snap in 2018 sent energy prices skyrocketing. Britain warned that some industrial uses of electricity powered by natural gas could face shutoffs. It didn´t come to that, but no one wants to see that scenario. Nor a repeat of the disruption from January 2009, when a pricing dispute between Gazprom and Ukraine led to a two-week shutoff in southeast Europe. It cut off gas heat to 70,000 apartments in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, forcing people to stay with relatives and emptying stores of space heaters.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS: EU legislation requires countries to help each other in the case of a gas shortfall. Governments can declare a gas emergency and shut off industrial customers to spare households, hurting the economy but sparing a humanitarian and political disaster.

In theory, they can demand cross-border gas supplies from each other. In recent years, Europe has built more reversible pipeline connections but not enough to cover the entire continent, leaving some countries more exposed than others.

Yet the system has never been tested, and there are questions about how willing countries would be to share gas in a crisis. The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, is working on revising the rules to include joint gas purchases but on a voluntary basis, said Ruven C. Fleming, energy law blogger and assistant professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

The revision “is a quite clear indication that even those who installed the mechanism don’t think it would work very well,” Fleming said.

High Gas Prices Push EU Inflation Higher https://t.co/CvdgAzYiSL

— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 31, 2021

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New York Governor Blames ‘Illegal Gun’ in Fatal Shooting of NYPD Officer

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) blamed an “illegal gun” in the fatal shooting of NYPD officer Jason Rivera on Friday night.

Rivera, 22, was shot and killed and a second officer, Wilbert More, 27, was shot and wounded, Breitbart News reported.

The shooting suspect, Lashawn McNeil, 47, opened fire on Rivera and More as they approached him in a long hallway, CBS New York noted. McNeill was then shot twice by a third officer.

On Saturday, Hochul tweeted, “Last night, a shot from an illegal gun took the life of a NYPD officer.” 

Last night, a shot from an illegal gun took the life of a @NYPDnews officer.

When I say we’re going to do everything we can to stop the scourge of illegal guns in our state, it’s not just talk. We are tripling funding for efforts to get these guns off the streets. pic.twitter.com/zXv0xbL4Em

— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 22, 2022

“When I say we’re going to do everything we can to stop the scourge of illegal guns in our state, it’s not just talk. We are tripling funding for efforts to get these guns off the streets,” Hochul added.

New York Mayor Eric Adams (D) responded to the shooting death of Rivera by calling for more gun control, Breitbart News reported

New York has some of the most stringent gun controls in the country. Mike Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety ranks New York No. 3 in the nation “for gun law strength.”

Those laws include everything the Democrats are pushing at the federal level under the guise of safety, including universal background checks, a “high capacity” magazine ban, an “assault weapons” ban, a permit requirement to buy a handgun, a red flag law, gun storage requirements, “ghost gun” regulations, and a prohibition against gun possession by felons, among other controls.

McNeil, the man who allegedly shot the NYPD officers Friday night, is a convicted felon.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkinsa weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. You can sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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Gingrich: January 6 Committee, AG Garland ‘Lynch Mob’ ‘Face a Real Risk of Jail for the Kind of Laws They Are Breaking’

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sees alleged abuses by the House Select Committee and the Department of Justice investigating the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol as having consequences.

During an appearance on FNC’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Gingrich suggested those who he said were misusing and abusing the process could “face a real risk of jail” for the laws they had broken during the so-called investigation.

“Well, you have, both with Attorney General Garland and with this select committee on January 6, people who have run amok,” he said. “They are breaking the rules. They are going after people in a way which is reminiscent of the British monarchy using closed-door systems that we outlawed deliberately because we’d seen it. We knew what it was like. And they’re running over people’s civil liberties. And what they need to understand is, on January 4 next year, you’re going to have a Republican majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate.”

“And all these people who’ve been so tough and so mean and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas for every document, every conversation, every tweet, every email, because I think it’s clear that this — these are people who are literally just running over the law, pursuing innocent people, causing them to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees, for no justification,” Gingrich continued. “And it’s basically a lynch mob.”

“Unfortunately, the attorney general of the United States has joined that lynch mob and is totally misusing the FBI,” he added. “And I think, when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down, and the wolves are going to find out that they’re now sheep. And they’re the ones who are, in fact, going to, I think, face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they are breaking.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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CBS Host Stunned NOT ONE Participant in Face the Nation’s Focus Group Believes America is in a Better Place After One Year of Joe Biden (VIDEO)

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After Joe Biden’s first year in office, NOT ONE participant in Face the Nation’s focus group believes America is in a better place.

CBS host Margaret Brennan was stunned when the entire panel of six participants, including Biden voters, said America is on the wrong path.

“During the course of the pandemic, “Face the Nation” has been listening to Americans, through Zoom, to get their thoughts on COVID, the economy and how the government is handling it all. On Friday, we checked back in with six of them,” host Margaret Brennan said.

“Who feels like we are in a better place now than we were a year ago?” Brennan asked the panel of six participants.

TRENDING: Wisconsin Speaker Vos Is Secretly Pushing Legislation to Increase Number of Drop Boxes After Judge Ruled Them Illegal in State

Every participant said no.

Margaret Brennan was stunned: “No one believes we are in a better spot?”

“I just don’t understand. I thought this is going to be a president for the people of the people,” said Beth, an Independent voter.

Even the Biden voters on the panel blasted Joe Biden.

VIDEO:

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