Wednesday 1st of February 2023

cooking with no gas......

Germany’s former chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said she does not regret her decision to sign natural gas deals with Russia during her 16 years in power, arguing that Moscow has long been a “reliable energy supplier” and offers lower prices than its competitors.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Lisbon, Merkel explained that Germany has long sought to move away from coal as an energy source, and that Russian natural gas was the best available option as Berlin aimed to eventually “arrive at CO2-free forms of energy.”

“From the perspective of that time, it was very rational and understandable to obtain pipeline-bound gas from Russia, which was cheaper than LNG [liquefied natural gas] from other parts of the world,”she said on Thursday, adding that “Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable energy supplier.”

After taking office in 2005, Merkel presided over two major gas deals with Moscow, both intended to funnel energy directly into Germany from Russia through the Nord Stream 1 and later Nord Stream 2 pipelines, which bypassed transit states such as Ukraine and Poland.

However, Nord Stream 2 never became operational, as Merkel’s successor, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, paused the project’s certification just days before Russia sent troops into Ukraine in late February. Nord Stream 1 ceased deliveries in August amid mounting tensions between Russia and the West, and while Russian officials cited the inability to safely operate the route due to sanctions, Berlin suggested the decision was political.

Portions of both pipelines were severely damaged by mysterious underwater explosions last month – after President Vladimir Putin stated on several occasions that Russia could start gas deliveries via Nord Stream 2 without delay, if the EU were to give the green light. 

The cause of the blasts remains unclear, though Russia has deemed the incident a terrorist attack, observing that the United States would stand to benefit from the destruction. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for his part, cheered the incident as a “tremendous opportunity” for Europe “to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy.”








Germany’s Minister for Special Affairs Wolfgang Schmidt has come under fire from a hawkish Bundestag member over his vision of Berlin’s recent move not to provide Kiev with German battle tanks, according to the German news outlet n­-tv.

Speaking at a government gathering earlier this week, Schmidt upheld the position of the German government on the matter, comparing calls for the supply of the Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev with Nazi Germany’s desperate hopes that its long-range V-2 ballistic missiles, also known as “Wunderwaffe” (“wonder-weapon”), would have helped them win WWII.


“Sometimes I'm tempted to call it the German V-2 syndrome,” Schmidt claimed, insisting that there is no “wonder-weapon” that may swiftly put an end to the Ukraine conflict.


Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Bundestag's Defense Committee and member of the liberal Free Democratic Party, was quick to balk at Schmid, saying that she “collegially” urges him “to deepen his knowledge of weapons a little bit”.



“After he does so, he will quickly realize the fact that the comparison with Nazi weapons is not only completely inappropriate, but simply wrong,” she argued.


The remarks came after German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht made it clear last month that Berlin’s new batch of weapons to Ukraine, including MARS II multiple rocket launchers and Dingo armored vehicles, will not include the battle tanks that Kiev requested.

Russia Raps West Over Its Arms Supplies to Ukraine

Moscow has repeatedly slammed the West for its weapon supplies to Kiev amid the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine, warning that western countries “are playing with fire”. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cautioned that "any weapon [and] any arms shipment on the Ukrainian territory" would be considered “a legitimate target” by the Russian military.

For her part, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has recently stressed that “Washington has once again demonstrated how much it has lost touch with reality, having actually become a party” to the Ukraine conflict. According to her, “further evidence of this is the US Congress recently agreeing on the allocation of a new assistance package to the Kiev regime worth almost $12 billion.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, for his part, underlined that the Ukraine conflict had become another pretext for the US and its allies to unleash an economic and information war against Moscow in order to deplete it strategically. “Ukraine has been picked [by the West] as an instrument of a hybrid war against Russia,” he said.



Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted in his address to the nation in late September that the West’s current goal is “to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy” Russia. Putin referred to “some irresponsible politicians in the West,“ who “talk about plans to organize the supply of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine, systems that are capable of launching strikes against Crimea and other regions of Russia”.


The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that the West’s supplies of such weaponry to Kiev would become “red lines” for Moscow, which the ministry said had enough instruments to retaliate.

The world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile, the V-2, was developed during the Second World War in Nazi Germany as a "vengeance weapon". The weapon was designed to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the anti-Hitler coalition’s bombings of Germany.





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germanic tanking....

The energy in crisis in Germany is turning into a manufacturing crisis, with an executive at the ArcelorMittal steel company saying that the German wing of the company can no longer compete due to soaring energy coasts.

“Production in Germany is currently no longer competitive,” said Reiner Blaschek, the CEO of ArcelorMittal Germany, which recently shut down two plants in the country. He is calling for quick political intervention, saying, “We need competitive energy prices for industry.”

Gas and electricity prices, which have soared in recent months due to sanctions and Russia’s decision to cut gas flows, have left many industrial companies with input costs too high to remain profitable, and many economic experts are forecasting further pain for Germany’s core industrial sector, which would have knock-on effects for the rest of the German economy.

At ArcelorMittal’s steel plant at the port of Hamburg, workers are coordinating production to ensure it does not interfere with peak electrical loads — seen during the morning and evening — for residents in the city of Hamburg. The Hamburg steel plant consumes an enormous amount of energy. For example, in one of the smelters that makes crude iron, it uses 76,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity in just one hour, which is the equivalent of half a million televisions, according to German newspaper Die Welt.

“We have the gas needs of the city of Lübeck and the electricity needs of Kiel,” said Ansgar Jüchter, an engineer at the plant.

With electricity prices skyrocketing, suddenly the plant is at the mercy of the markets. It is not just about coordinating around peak electricity usage, but also around the weather. The plant can now only afford to produce steel when there is enough solar power and wind energy flowing on the grid. 

However, the plant also consumes huge amounts of natural gas, and in that regard, the situation is even worse. The plant produces sponge iron inside a 60-meter tower, and the key ingredients for its production are iron ore and gas. Starting on Oct. 1, the plant will stop producing this key ingredient for the steel industry until further notice.








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