Original: Voice of Sevastopol
Initially published June 22, 2014 in Russian by VooDoo
Initial Translation: Master Butch
Final Translation: Alice Seberry
Edited by S. Naylor
Various claims and messages keep coming from the South-East battle-front. Periodically, folks veer from one extreme to the other — from “Putin has abandoned us all” to “we’ll do it all ourselves”. In reality, if we look at certain fundamental issues, many pieces fall into place. And it becomes clear that Russia can’t just “flush away” the whole South-Eastern state of Novorossia or even the Slavyansk part. That would be the equivalent of losing at war for 30–50 years to come.
I will take a try at piecing the puzzle together, convoluted as it all may be. Please excuse me in advance — I just can’t take it any more, the naggers and pessimists have gotten to me. Excuse me also for the lack of references— much of what I cite below has already appeared on this thread, but I have neither the desire nor the time to dig them all up.
The US public debt of $18.5 trillion is well-known and has been widely discussed. Besides that basic factor, there are various fundamental trends; one of which is that, sooner or later, the question of energy resources will stand out above all.
Pieces of the Puzzle:
This is the actual power generated by different sources (blue area at the bottom – hydropower, grey area above it – coal, next layer up – gas and oil, and the uppermost – nuclear power), and the red line shows energy consumption in gigawatts. The whole table demonstrates a sort of prognosis for the period 2010-2100. Note that the green line curving upward stands for sources of energy generation that are anticipated to be developed to take the place of the traditional ones (currently, nuclear fusion energy with laser ignition).
The main point of this graph is that by the year of 2030, the beginning of a prolonged decline in energy production is predicted. This graph is from the website of the US government’s Energy Information Administration: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/reports.cfm.
For a long time this view was understood to be nothing but fear-mongering, just to squeeze out some money to fund scientific programs. But there is a significant point — the website itself is a solid source of authoritative information, for many purposes, including decision-making by politicians (decisions as to whom to fund, and how much).
|The Share of Resources in
Primary Energy Production
Brown – gas
Blue – coal
Green — oil
The purpose of the analysis is very simple — just to determine how realistic it is to think that the Power Industry can replace traditional technologies (burning gas, coal and oil) with alternatives — nuclear, hydro, solar, wind. The model takes the most optimistic scenario from the standpoint of consumption. This envisions minimal changes in consumption due to an increase in global population, given the aging trend among the general population (whereby, the global population will peak and then begin to gradually decline due to aging by around 2045).
If we conjecture that solar and wind power technologies will be developed at the same pace as other sectors of the power industry have done (like, for example, the exponential growth of nuclear energy in the 15 years following 1965), then by the year 2050 non-gas, oil and coal energy sectors will provide half the amount needed to keep the slowly dying, aged global population warm. That means that we’ll still need gas, coal and oil until at least 2050.
The recent (this May, if I’m not mistaken) interview with the German Energy Minister was most curious (I won’t give the citation for the same reason — no time to dig it up) in which an official of the German government finally admitted a fact long since recognized by all techies and physicists:
Energy produced by solar and wind comes in bursts, it’s not constant. There may be sunshine, there may be a breeze— or there may not be. These types of energy generation require enormous batteries to store energy equal, for example, to the capacity needed to provide a day’s worth of electricity to a town/region/country. Then, when the wind is dead calm or it’s raining, the battery will supply the consumers. The Minister’s main point was that it will be 10–15 years before we solve the problem of how to manufacture such batteries. That means that solar and wind power stations cannot yet compete with conventional fuels. Except for those cases where, for a single-family home, a solar battery can be used — the size of an outhouse.
What does it all this have to do with Ukraine, Novorossia and the re-shaping of the world? Just look at the picture and try to imagine that all the US senators and congressmen, Obama and Merkel, and others all over the world are doing the same. And it is not important how accurate the picture is — those people will be making decisions with this picture in mind. The picture is clear: it’s essential to grab the sources of oil, gas, coal immediately (before 2030), as well as the ways and means to transport them (specifically gas and oil pipelines). And the one who succeeds in taking possession of as much as possible is sure to become a leader and ride the tide of the energy crisis expected in 2030. That is just some 15–16 years off.
This is the engine that drives many of the games we see in the modern world. Take the shale revolution, for example. A pretty ambiguous phenomenon, actually. We have both optimistic prognoses and analyses and pessimistic ones.
And such efforts continue to be made. The reason is pretty clear in the picture above: a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. If you do not have your own natural gas, then production of shale gas – at today’s prices – becomes justified and profitable.
Then, we see hysterical efforts to create alternative energy sources such as nuclear fusion. The USA has already invested a couple billion bucks in laser ignition technology through the Livermore Laboratory, which, after 20 years, has not managed to ignite anything, though it bounds from one success to the next along the endless path to success:
- National Ignition Facility Announces Record Amount Fusion Energy
- Fusion “Breakthrough” at NIF? Uh, Not Really
- Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion
But that’s not the end of the story. In the United States another alternative project is under way – Omega – at Rochester University.
The problem is aggravated by the fact the $2-3 billion investment needed to keep the program going is not available; billions just melt away like snow in spring. So it becomes necessary to shift the burden of scientific research onto the shoulders of the Europeans, who since 2005 (for the first draft, and since 2008 for real) have been working on the Controlled Nuclear Laser Ignited Fusion program (with some American assistance):
France has a separate Nuclear Laser Ignited Fusion program of its own – Megajoule.
Japan also has a Laser Fusion program, despite their problems with Fukushima.
France goes on building its alternative Nuclear Fusion reactor at full speed — on the basis of the old Soviet idea of containing the reaction within strong magnetic fields in a Tokamak complex [Note: a tokamak is a device that uses a magnetic field to confine plasma in the shape of a torus].
Though now it is a large international project with participants including Europe, China, Russia, USA, India, Japan and Korea.
The fact that billions of dollars and euros are being invested in advanced science and Nuclear Fusion technology, despite the flood of financial crises, must clear away all illusions. The specter of declining energy production has struck politicians as quite a serious problem. It is taken as a signal to get moving. Those who secure sufficient energy resources by 2030 will be able to survive. All the rest will have to fight for resources, annihilating each other, or will quickly fall back quite literally into the era of burning wood and dung.
And here they come… the sly Ukrainians with their shale gas.
It has long been said, you should never boast about your gas and oil, or you’ll call a democracy down upon your head. They were warned but didn’t hear; better to just thumb one’s nose at Moscow.
And now let’s read carefully how the Yuzivska shale gas field (southern Kharkov and northern Donetsk region) shows up in terms of statistics:
- estimated deposits, 4 trillion m3;
- planned production capacity (so far), 10 billion m3 a year; and,
- planned investments in the development of the Yuzivska and Odessa (whoa!) gas fields in the 30 years to come – on the order of 50-70 billion dollars.
That’s assuming the price of gas in Europe remains the same – $400 for 100 m3. After a simple calculation we see that the bowels of the earth at Donetsk and Kharkov contain an estimated 4 x $400 billion = $1600 trillion.
Annual income at current prices may reach, at a minimum, 10 x 400 million = $4 billion.
Let me ask you, what might one do to Ukraine in order to get 1.5-2 trillion bucks? Anything one chooses, in the most perverted fashion. And this is the Yuzivska field only!
Just about everything suddenly becomes clear, say, the composition of the governing board of the company that plans to help “Shell” produce gas.
By the way, note that in that article, and above, the Odessa shale gas field is mentioned … And if we just cast a glance at the map of Ukrainian shale gas fields the Poltava region stands out, where test drilling has already begun.
A couple of trifling details might be added.
- Let’s match a map of battle operations in the South-East against the map of the Yuzivska gas field. Very curious indeed.
- Let’s recall that the tender for exploiting gas at the Yuzivska gas field was won by the British-Dutch company “Shell”, which immediately expressed interest in drilling as soon as possible (first half of 2014) and gas production (already!) in 2015 (sure as hell – time is money!)
- Let’s recall a recent story about shale gas in the Donetsk region. Sorry for the reference, but in this case it’s suitable. In November–December 2013, housewives with pots and pans were protesting against shale gas drilling.
- And, finally, let’s look over the map of pipelines passing through Ukraine.
… and mentally try to match it against the Yuzivska field map. No great effort will be required to see that the Yuzivska gas field is very close to the “Soyuz” main pipeline and a relatively small sum of money would be required to connect the drilling area to the main and thence straight ahead — to Europe. Though “Gasprom” won’t much like it.