The price of gas on the London ICE exchange soared above $ 3,200 per thousand cubic meters. Since mid-August, the cost of fuel on the spot market has increased 3.5 times. The reduction in Russian gas supplies is forcing traders in Germany, France and Italy to buy fuel on the market to fill storage facilities. However, the price has become too prohibitive. The head of the association of German gas suppliers warned that the trade in fuel at such a cost becomes unviable.
Households in Great Britain face a leap in energy bills from October after the regulator raised the energy price cap, taking the average gas and electricity bill to £3,549 a year.
In a potentially devastating blow for hard-pressed consumers already struggling with soaring inflation, Ofgem approved the £1,578 increase on the current price cap of £1,971 for the average dual-fuel tariff – a rise of 80%.
This cap may be revised even further, indeed the regulator hinted that will be the case as winter sets in and energy prices will continue to rise.
Guardian reports the claims of Sharon Graham (pictured below), head of the Unite union, that at a picket line at Felixstowe Port, she told strikers that workers’ anger at the cost of living is as strong as the time of the poll tax riots. People, she says, could rise up again as they did in the 1990s.
Research published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) has shown that the Belgian industry has already moved to rapidly reduce its consumption of both electricity and natural gas. The NBB has warned of a rapid contraction of the Belgian chemical, pesticides, fishing, and forestry industries in the near future. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned that the country faces long-term economic hardship due to soaring energy costs. Although De Croo affirmed his belief that Belgium will overcome its difficulties, he wasn’t initially optimistic, stating that:
“The next five to ten winters will be difficult. A very difficult situation is developing throughout Europe. Some sectors are facing serious difficulties with these high energy prices,”
An understatement if ever there was one.
The Norwegian fertilizer producer Yara announced a reduction of up to 35% of production capacity due to a record high gas prices in the region.
The American company CF Industries announced the suspension of ammonia production at a plant in Britain.
And at the plants of Grupa Azoty and Anwi in Poland, production of nitrogen fertilizers was likewise halted, and furthermore, it also reduced the volume of production of liquid CO2 and dry ice.
As a direct consequence of these and other shutdowns, among many other beverage and food producers, The Carslberg Polska company is in a panic – the carbon dioxide reserves of beer producers will not be enough to last for more than a week.
Similarly, due to high gas prices, the largest Lithuanian fertilizer plant in the Baltic States is shutting down production.
And the cherry on the cake surely must be that due to European sanctions, Russian ammonia-containing fertilizers are stuck in Estonian ports where representatives of the ports are afraid that they may spontaneously explode.
All of the above is but a snapshot of an endless litany of examples showing us the slow death of European industry thanks to an economic suicide brought about by years of insane energy policies compounded by the equally senseless sanctions imposed on Russia. Policies that will turn Europe into a third-world continent.
Meanwhile, French President Macron had stark news for the nation when he addressed his first cabinet meeting, stating:
“I believe that we are in the process of living through a tipping point or great upheaval. Firstly because we are living through… the end of what could seem like the end of abundance.”
Referring to the war in Ukraine, he added: “Our system based on freedom in which we have become used to living, sometimes when we need to defend it, it can entail making sacrifices.”
But it is evident, that it will be common citizens, those that, unlike the president, don’t enjoy vacations on luxury yachts who will need to tighten their belts further. It will be them that ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche‘. For the elite, like Macron himself, abundance is not going anywhere any time soon. It will need to be taken away from them.
The fertilizers stuck in Estonian ports, may or may not explode – but it’s only a matter of time before the populations of Europe will.