Month: October 2020

Stable or crisis prone? Global Natural gas markets – Akos Losz

This week we speak to Akos Losz, an Energy Analyst, in the  InternationalEnergy Agency Division of Gas, Coal and Power Markets. Akos is also a non-resident fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy. 

In this week’s episode, we cover the release of the October issue of The Global Gas Security Review 2020 which has an extraordinary analysis of the Covid-19 impact on the regional and global gas markets. We learn how Ukraine has switched from storing Russian gas to now storing extra EU gas. The impact from the social and economic lock-downs transformed the gas markets and heavily impacted both pipeline and LNG gas shipments. The sector was already weakening going into 2020 and the last six months mark a new era in the turbulent history of the gas sector.  

 As Akos and I discuss, gas is contractually more independent from other fossil fuels now. It is no longer index to the price of oil or serving just as a replacement for coal. With both larger gas infrastructure projects coming online and the maturity of markets and contracts, gas is seeing a new age. Towards the end of the interview, we delve into the future of biogas and hydrogen. Here we take a look at what is gas and both the short-term and long-term prospects of a more environmentally friendly gas sector. Well, if this is possible.  

My short take away from this interview with Akos is that the natural gas market has fundamentally changed over the past ten years. The importance of listening to this interview is to understand both the strong position gas holds in the energy system, but also its precarious position due to market forces. In addition, there is an underlining tension around the role of gas in the future. We just briefly discussed the concept of a ‘gas bridge’, gas as a transition fuel. And we learn how and why the EU is the world’s ‘market of last resort’ for gas. Hint, it has to do with ample capacity to receive gas and the open market concept. 

Putting Climate Action Online – Anna Ackermann

In this episode, we cover why Anna Ackermann became interested in climate and energy, and how starting out with an engineering degree in Ukraine led her to dig deeper into how to change the energy system. Anna did a master’s degree at Central European University in Hungary. After her return to the country in 2014, she became a leader changing policies to increase the role of renewables and energy efficiency.  

We conclude our discussion by considering the role of online events as a way to stay up-to-date on the latest research and news, along with how to host a better online event – something we’ll be trying out very soon.  

The take away for me in this interview was Anna’s long-running interest in climate issues and how her initial – almost standard – education as an engineer was insufficient to answer her own natural curiosity and drove her to find ways to change both the formal institutional system and then starting the Climate Online portal to encourage further change. 

Anna is one of our former Central European University masters student who earned her degree in Environmental Sciences Policy and Management, as part of the Erasmus MESPOM program, that brought her to CEU and to the University of Manchester. Anna’s story post-university is both informative and inspiring for what we do after we leave formal education and how sharing our own interests and hobbies, can make a difference in the much bigger world of climate change and energy transition.  

The Seeds for an Energy Research Revolution – Benjamin Sovacool

Benjamin Sovacool talks about how he didn’t want to get involved in energy, but Professor Richard hearse kidnapped him into the field, but only after Benjamin’s car was broken into and all of his research stolen. He also goes into detail about the benefits and challenges of scholarly multidisciplinary collaboration and ongoing training for researchers.

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