Nord Stream 2: It’s not (just) the economics, stupid!

Russian gas has long been an instrument of political influence on Ukraine, the former ‘Eastern Europe’, and the continent as a whole. This is abundantly clear in Moscow’s full-on promotion of the Nord Stream 2 project where contested cost forecasts, energy diplomacy, and the tying in of firms from EU countries are all part of a strategy with geopolitical as much as commercial aims. Continue reading

Dr Discount Crude cannot cure European refining’s ills

When Europe’s embattled refining sector was jolted back to life last year by low input costs and wide crack spreads, few thought the remission would last. The relief provided by lower crude prices would inevitably fade, with a return of the pain caused by what the IEA described in its May Oil Market Report as “the strong gravitational forces of structural demand decline”.

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UK steel: Brexit cloud — no silver lining

Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU left the global steel industry scratching its head as it tried to assess the consequences. But UK steel industry workers who voted for a UK exit from the EU – ‘Brexiteers’ — despite the warnings may now be looking back ruefully at their ‘out’ votes. For if, pre-vote, it could be said that opinions for and against were in a rough equilibrium, the post-vote landscape looks distinctly one-sided, with positives hard to spot.

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