by Jorge Vilches for the Saker Blog
For your own children´s sake - on my knees and with my saddened eyes humbly looking downwards - I beg of you to please stop the current self-destructive nonsense dead in its tracks by immediately demanding from your political class to import the bloody Russian oil normally once again as Europe had been doing for dozens of years. The impact that the ban on Russian oil has upon your daily lives now and for years yonder is such that at the very least a Referendum should have been held. But it was not, and without consultation, the EU leadership acted on their own.
Please be advised that the EU un-elected brass simply does not represent you or your needs. They were all voted amongst themselves into their positions like members of a committee in a private country club. If left unchecked, EU politicians will now continue misrepresenting you and, on your behalf — with your hard-earned assets and livelihoods – will keep on picking a most unnecessary and prolonged armed conflict with Russia, eventually forcing upon you a total war scenario where chances play out all very strongly against you, with Russia probably resulting unscathed.
European leaders crave for their war, so they can´t think of a better way to provoke it than by applying ever larger and ´meaner´ sanctions on Russia as if (a) sanctions were effective and (b) as if Europe could win such war (not).
Accordingly, we now have yet another set of spanking new EU “sanctions” in package No. 6 that will eventually backfire flat on Europe´s face – like all the others — such as banning the insurance and financing of oil tankers that carry Russian oil. Accordingly, the EU is now trying its very best to
(1) bankrupt the successful Western oil tanker insurance business by reducing the number of participants
(2) induce higher shipping and insurance costs worldwide by reducing the number of participants
(3) foster the development of yet another Russian import substitution service namely oil tanker insurance & financing
(4) seriously hinder the world´s economy by not allowing deliveries of any oil tankers carrying Russian oil anywhere (EU or non-EU) thus cutting off some 15% of the world´s oil supply from the world market and necessarily sending its price yet higher with yet more EU-induced inflation as if we had not had enough already, please brace for it.
(5) force the construction of a new Russian-Chinese-Indian oil tanker fleet leaving idle part of today´s fleet
(6) tempt Russia to embargo strategic value-chain upstream items with captive consumers cascading into multiple failures thru lack of nat-gas, rare earths, inert gases, potash, sulfur, uranium, palladium, vanadium, cobalt, coke, etc.
Russia does not need to fire a single shot or land a single missile on European territories to win such a total war. Think tanks in Europe and elsewhere know this but say nothing. It´d be plenty enough for Russia to just shut off your nat-gas supply, period. And not even to the whole of Europe. It could possibly be to only, say, some limited area in Germany.
But you need not put up with any of this. Europe should already have learned from history books and its generals not to underestimate or discriminate against Russia. Let alone cheat on it repeatedly as Europe has done since the downfall of the former Soviet Union. Yet again, history will not be kind to anyone directly or indirectly involved, including yourselves. Equivalent events took place in Europe not that long ago and winter will not care what was said where or why or by whom. It will just freeze and starve Europeans to death with no mercy. Just ask the Germans: they should remember, or the French, they like history a lot. Russian attrition warfare is most efficient in any territory.
Please do not waste any more precious time with forever failed attempts to find substitutes of any kind. Quite simply it is very easy to prove in a matter of minutes ( see plenty of references below ) that God Almighty has no adequate oil available for you in large enough quantities anywhere on planet Earth other than Russia, let alone deliverable at refineries and processing plants per your own needs and capabilities. You simply cannot dismiss one full third of your oil supplies in one sudden stroke of a pen and assume that nothing important will happen including a very negative direct impact upon the price YOU pay. It´s market dynamics 101 that only a fool would dare to ignore, so innocent masses of humans should not pay for the stupid decisions of some few unelected groupie politicians that know jack about basic technical requirements. This is a live & kicking very tough field engineering for dirty-fingernails folks that don´t talk much, not yadda BS at a Brussels cocktail party with laughs, plenty of drinks, hot air, and photo ops.
bid forms AWOL
And not a single one yet making the scene, go figure… The current EU course of action necessarily calls for the 2022 execution of at least 100 projects related to the Russian oil ban thus allowing for non-Russian oil imports. Probably many more than 100 projects need to be executed if all refineries, processing plants, ports, pipelines, logistics infrastructure, etc., etc. are taken into account. But let´s keep it simple and in round figures. The Schwedt refinery alone will require 11 major projects at the very least already described in a previous article. As Schwedt can no longer export anywhere, large areas of nearby Western Poland will be left without fuels now having to urgently find an equivalent Polish supplier close by (???) if any. Same for Slovakia´s Slovnaft which will now also have to quit exporting – but unlike Schwedt — making it unviable although possibly still operational for domestic markets albeit with a huge new deficit to be paid by …?…?… (!!!). Who or how will Slovnaft export markets be supplied now is a dangerous mystery because of rough geography and unexistent logistics plus a newly required distribution infrastructure. All in all, we are talking hundreds of billions of euros that Europe does not have — and should not print — to be paid back in 40 to 50 years’ time long after (supposedly) fossil fuels have been phased out of the EU. This in and of itself does not make any sense whatsoever, but it does blend in perfectly well with other nonsensical stuff of this surreal non-Russian oil sourcing idea. Banks should logically reject approving any financing of dead-on-arrival projects such as these. Still, be it as it may, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies should right now already be underway “puffing smoke” as engineers say amongst themselves in such circumstances. Yet no headlines announced on anything, no bid forms issued or trans-European call for bids, no joint-ventures, no engineering firms, plans or specs guidelines, no bidding documents, no tentative schedules, no consultants, no commissions or committees, no bid opening and contract award dates: nothing. Of course, one very serious possibility is that the effective EU plan is to keep on buying Russian oil as always but now from third parties instead at a MUCH higher price with kick-backs here and there no? So all of what´s missing would actually be another European fake as the Maastricht Treaty acceptance criteria just to name one. This would at least make EU “sense” no? Can´t make this stuff up…
no diesel so freeze
Europeans: even in theory, there are no viable oil-field reservoirs able to expand their production for the enormous quantity and type of oil blends you need even if they wished to or if geopolitics allowed them. So what would happen then without massive amounts of high-quality diesel fuel that European transportation and industries require?
There is no viable tanker fleet afloat either for such an unexpected and suddenly imposed massive supply-switch project, with complex geo-climatological access and serious sea lanes issues plus seasonal requirements with dedicated facilities yet to be designed, built, permitted, and commissioned, and with terribly limited installed infrastructure at key unloading ports from heavy-duty/heavy traffic roads to cranes and dedicated storage facilities. The same goes for nonexistent in-land logistics for delivery of such yet unknown boutique oil blends with still-to-be-seen minimum quality specs and anywhere near the enormous un-findable quantities as Europe requires no matter how you dice it or slice it or pray for it. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Just maybe some “fly-by-night” un-vetted headache providers. You are thus running around in circles with the very serious and certain risk of freezing and starving millions of Europeans to death very soon which Russian oil has solved for you for decades. And whichever narrative you choose, it will always be your own stupid needless fault, not Vladimir Putin´s for Heaven´s sake who is still willing to sell Russia´s oil to you with very important discounts, something which you should not ever take for granted despite Europe´s recent shameless robbery of legitimate Russian savings deposited at Western banks, including personal individual accounts and assets.
So for your own benefit please stop the Russophobia right now, reverse the current unwarranted course 180 degrees, return the money robbed, by your own doing change your leadership ASAP, accept Russia´s territorial claims, accept the decline of Europe and the Western world at large, drop the Anglo-Saxon Brexitology superiority philosophy, guarantee Russia´s existential security and stop the shameful European nonsense now exposed for the world to see.
Otherwise, enter your very own European angry pitchforks with lit torches that will fix this fast. Are you ready?
Not that long ago, the French Revolution was planned and led by the middle classes. And in the very near short term that will be the new game of the game throughout Europe if the EU leadership insists on fighting a-la Don Quixote its inevitable dependency on Russia. Besides, in case you didn´t notice, Russia is winning on all fronts, militarily, geopolitically, logistically, socially, economically, and financially. The Ruble is as strong as it cares to be and Russia is the only world power able to self-sustain independently from what happens in the rest of the world. After many years of trying to accommodate your requirements, Russia simply does not care anymore what the West thinks, does, or threatens to do. It can now beat you at any of the three at any time. Your sanctions work against Europe, not Russia. You must see and feel that for sure, so why do you fake being blind? Or are you “brain-dead” per President Macron?
Russia´s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov nailed it for history: the West is simply not “agreement-capable” with the post-Brexit US-led Anglo-Saxon leadership in charge. Did you not have enough with Victoria Nuland´s loud and clear “ fuck the EU ” audio recording? What else would you need to accept what´s really going on? Maybe having a character such as Volodymyr Zelenskyy ruling the Ukraine? He already is… Why has European leadership now turned so unwarrantedly Russophobic? You do not need to be their friend, but why should you make Russia your enemy even proposing an anti-Russian coalition cartel?
A network is only as strong as its weakest link. As initially explained in the “their war” paragraph, just-in-time fragility will trigger cascading failures throughout Europe in a matter of days, if not hours. So what´s the European game plan for the 21st. century without energy security? Fighting even more yet again amongst yourselves? What will become of Europe without Russia as a business associate and energy provider? Are you aware of how weak European economies and fragile finances currently stand? Did you know that 85% of the world´s population does not belong to NATO?
Hungary et al will continue to receive cheap and excellent Russian Urals blend through the Druzbha South pipeline for a yet undefined period of time. This would mean a wholly unfair competitive environment with tremendous advantages for some few over those fed with new unknown expensive non-Russian oils plus the costs for the corresponding retro-fitting / reconversion downtime (or plain non-performance) kicking them outright out of the market for an unknown period of time possibly bankrupting them and creating extraordinary logistics problems to consumers throughout Europe. Allowing for the Druzbha South pipeline to continue feeding 15% of Europe with excellent Russian oils will provide the perfect comparison standard of practice. And it would reveal the fallacy that Russian oils can be substituted easily and without enormous great pains per Ursula von der Leyden´s historical bad joke: “the EU will make sure to phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion to allow us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes minimizing the impact on global markets”. It´d be like trying to change your car´s engine oil while cruising at 150 km/hr on a German autobahn.
quantities & qualities
By any means, there are definitely not enough adequate oil blends around to satisfy European requirements without continuous Russian high-quality Urals supply. And also please understand and accept once and for all that a specific oil blend is not just “an oil blend” to be plugged & played anywhere anytime. A very specific refinery or processing plant tune-up needs to be specifically matched with an always constant high-quality oil blend in large enough quantities and for a given desired output such as diesel. No “open architecture” is possible here, that´s just for IT nerds, not for chemical engineering realities. And definetly there are no vendors all lined up happily willing and able to sell you their oil blend in unlimited quantities already fully adapted to whatever plant you may have for whichever desired production output you may need. And also any door-to-door pipeline performs infinitely better than the best batch-delivery system, let alone with un-prepared ports thousands of kilometers away from “beach-front bazaar” vendors.
Should ´climate change´ already agreed goals reduce or further increase worldwide oil production? Which is it, please make up your mind. Furthermore, oil-field production will be very hard to maintain into the near future because of constant shale reservoir depletion, fracking prohibition, ever-increasing labor shortages, rising drilling costs due to worldwide inflation, and temporary or permanent lack of missing components caused by supply chain disruptions.
no people no project
For decades Europe has streamlined supplies and specifically matched its processing capabilities for the Russian Urals blend which means that now Europeans cannot just suddenly switch to whatever little and bad oil blends are found elsewhere. It just does not work that way. If any of that is attempted, the result will be absolutely disqualifying higher prices and costs plus un-thinkable risks for the whole European economy. Furthermore, Europe will spend a FORTUNE it does not have while simultaneously risking project non-performance of the trouble full reconversion projects required ending up with many half-finished facilities that will not be anywhere ready on time, or ever. And as 95% compliance is not enough to produce a single drop of a processed product (diesel or whatever) this means that under current circumstances and 2022 established deadlines until Europe has 100% modified and retrofitted facilities up and running you really have NOTHING. Additionally, the human resource challenge related to all of the above is insurmountable and probably un-compliable.