Entries by Rudolf Huber

No filter will save us – particulate matter kills

Anyone knowing this blog and me sure knows the rationale. Diesel is garbage that is incinerated in a driving waste processing plant (the diesel engine). This produces huge amounts of highly toxic side products, which reach us through the exhaust shaft of the vehicle. Much of it reaches our lungs and some of them (the […]

The true price of LNG

Multiple times since I have turned into the Pitbull, I have faced the same questions. How do I get myself into the LNG business? How will I get LNG spot cargos or even a term commitment? What shall I do to get ready for LNG or to get ready for the next big thing in […]

The Danube river – from backwater to energy artery

Some days ago I met an old couple from Düsseldorf in the tram. They were on a Danube cruise from Düsseldorf through the Rhine, the Main, the Rhine-Main-Danube channel and all the Danube river down to the Black Sea and back. That’s an impressively long trip through the mightiest inland waterway system of Europe. They […]

The shape of things to come – Methanopolis

Robert Kennedy said in a 1966 Cape town speech “There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in […]

LNG startup companies and the investors game

No cash – no business. That’s stone old wisdom. Any LNG venture – even a smallish fuelling outfit – needs a certain amount of cash to get rolling. Most people don’t have the necessary cash on their bank account so that gets you into the investor’s game. I had a couple of business ventures in […]

The value of bad news – only good news is toxic

Too much good news can kill an otherwise perfectly healthy project as it raises a lot of alarm bells. Those problems are not to be taken lightly and need careful planning and constant calibrating of the project. But denying that it’s there is not going to make things better as educated partners, customers, officials and investors will not miss out on it.

Forget hydrogen – here comes biomethane

Hydrogen is often being touted the final solution to all our problems with vehicles and pollution. It does not produce CO2 (at least not directly) and for that fact alone its the darling of the tree huggers. But reality – as so very often – is much more complex. On balance hydrogen is not really the stuff you want in your tank and it comes at a very heavy price.

The emerald factor – LNG from Colombia

Many know Colombia for its Emeralds, even more for its wild past during the drug wars. The wars are over and visitors can enjoy one of the most beautiful counties on earth again. But to the energy man, Colombia rings for its huge super high quality coal reserves. But how is coal important to a LNG man?

Africas energy master plans – any good in them

I have seen many of those plans and they have never worked. Not because they are African. This stuff cannot work if you put it in Europe or North America. Because grand Master plans generally are impossible to realize. They inherently lack flexibility, which is necessary to deal with unforeseen events or twists and turns in the market or the international energy scene.

The diesel engine – a driving garbage incinerator

The diesel engine is the backbone of our transport economy. But diesel is also trash. It is a formerly unwanted by product of refining oil and its the disillate closest to the bottom of the barrel which is even worse. It is a very dirty fuel that produces a plethora of nasty byproducts, all of them deleterious to human health. Its a shame that the world of the 21st century is still hooked on it.

Leapfrogging – LNG for Africa

Many African countries are oil producers but they are also beset by frequent power outages. At the same time they flare Natural Gas in huge volumes. Infrastructure to bring that gas to power plants and then further distribute electricity is weak or non existent. That could be a blessing in disguise as the continent is on the verge of an energy revolution.

Beyond the thunderdome – pigshit and LNG

The pigshit produces methane which keeps Bartertowns lights going and vehicles fuelled in Mad Max. That huge tapestry of pigs is the films true moment to be remembered as this is innovation at its purest. Forget wind turbines and solar panels. In the future, we will get our fuel from hog-poo.

European Natural Gas prices – where are we headed

European natural gas prices are a shambles. The ones say that one can’t make a living under those conditions as the price is to low for comfort.
The others say that it’s to high for gas to be competitive. Who is right? An off the beaten path analysis.

A couple of things were conveniently forgotten by those driving the portfolios. First gravity – everything that goes up eventually will come down. European energy utilities and gas traders deluded themselves into believing that the Bonanza would be never ending.

LNG on rails – networking fuel

Road transport might offer ultimate flexibility as one can easily bring anything just about anywhere but when that flexibility is not even needed it comes at a horrendous price.
The main difference between a network model and point to point transport is that the network is a loose system of different nodal points between which lumps of whatever (in our case LNG) zip zap around. These nodal points supply smaller satellite distributors which in turn are the backbone of the supply system.

Why terrorists will hate the new LNG world

We cannot easily say that we did not try (in homeopathic doses) to wean ourselves off our addiction to imported hydrocarbons but who wants to take a reduction in lifestyle, even if that meant financing (directly or indirectly) some people that may wish to harm us. In simple words, we gave some of those who might want to kill us money – to increase their ability to do so. Plus our presence on their lands further stoked their ire. Not really smart but a reality we seemed had to live with so far.
No more. The unconventional gas revolution has already done more for US national security than all nation building programs combined.

Nabucco is dead – but thats what fossils are

Wouldn’t it make sense to try bringing the incredible gas wealth of the Middle East and the Caspain Sea to well paying European customers? OK, back to the moment when OMV was in heavy labor, just about to give birth to the Nabucco idea. Europe was a big fat gas pie for the newly liberalized Gas market players.
The market grew to infinite proportions (at least in our wet dreams) and it was believed that no matter what volume of gas one threw at it, the market would gobble it up voraciously.

Lessons from Shtokman

While the world was having a beauty sleep an earth moving event sent ripples through the Barents Sea – and made the infantile dreams of the classical energy monopolist in Europe (trust me – they are still an abundant species but they have learned to don the market gloves) a little less sweaty.

LNG or emulsion fuels – whats it gonna be

It’s a thorny question. And not one with a clear-cut answer possible. But I have been exposed to both and will jump into the snakepit for you. LNG or Emulsion Fuels? Those who have gone through my Linkedin profile (and others) will not have missed out on the fact that until last year I have […]

Dancing stars with hippos – flex for regas

LNG regasification has been a no-business for pretty much all of its history. The terminal owners/operators are pretty happy with this state of affairs as their life was real simple so far. Dont move and take in guaranteed returns – that was the mantra. All this will have to change if the LNG industry is serious about going normal.

LNG is cold (when it should be cool)

It’s incredible how misunderstood Natural Gas and especially LNG is by the general public. It’s the solution to many of our problems (at least energy wise) and still it has a bad name. That’s a shame as this stuff is so incredibly cool, it would have to be invented if it did not exist already.

A letter from Obama

About 2 months ago I had written an open letter to president Obama. Here is his response. Right below it I explain why I think that LNG as a fuel is not just a blimp or a bridge technology as some like to call it. Its an energy earthquake and it will ring in a new paradigm shift.

Going nuclear – LNG’s natural friend

Nuke and LNG could not be more different. Nuclear power is the king of cheap baseload. Once built – it makes little sense to switch a nuclear power plant off just because of changes in the demand picture. LNG is the king of flexibility. It can be switched on and off very rapidly. And as said, as a liquid it stays nicely in a vehicles tank waiting to be regasified on demand and combusted in order to produce forward motion (or any other thing you do with internal combustion engines).

LNG from the US – between drivel and miracle drug

Does anyone still remember the US LNG import adventure? Seems to be a long way off. Today, everyone talks about the US becoming a huge LNG exporter. Asia of course looks like a big nice ice cream on a hot summer day to a distressed LNG terminal operator. But there is also big competition on this premium LNG buying region.

What your experience is worth in a wormhole

Expertise can be a drawback. Sometimes it’s outright deadly. Some things – sometimes – change so deeply, so radically that old experience does not even serve as a valid foundation for new learning anymore. It becomes so harmful – you must get rid of it – or else you face oblivion. In Natural gas – this happens right here – right now.

The China LNG story – more toxic than the US story was

The US seems to be on the verge of becoming an LNG exporter. This, combined with new volumes from Australia, show the prospect of Asia being drowned in LNG. But there is a shiny white knight on the horizon. China with its ever-growing industries, with its endlessly expanding consumer markets, with its insatiable thirst for energy promises to become the new LNG El Dorado.

LNG supply for Asia – fighting the Hydra

New Asian LNG buyers (outside the JKT and China) have a problem. They are perceived to be in the “I will pay any price for LNG” club by sellers. Many of them face vastly different situations from each other in their home markets. Not an enviable position but one that can be dealt with.

“Sandy” and the power of distributed power generation

Superstorm Sandy has blackened out large parts of the American East coast. Electricity generation was not the problem but rather power lines on wooden poles. Distributed generation offers a solution. We all have followed the news on super-storm Sandy while it laid waste to a large swathe of the American North Eastern Seaboard. This time New York […]

OMV’s Roiss speaks out for shale

OMV’s Gerhard Roiss makes the case for shale gas in Europe. He is right as Europe needs the resource and cannot allow itself to fall behind. I was planning to have a post on shale gas for Europe in December but current news pushed me to this one. Those who know me will not be […]

LNG cost blowout – Black Mamba bites

Sky-high CAPEX plus cost overruns and a fundamental shift in the LNG market mean trouble for some LNG projects. Some will scratch by but I bet there will be a couple of very high profile failures. Just a couple of days ago I have used the Black Mamba metaphor for LNG CAPEX cost explosion and we are handed […]

LNG sellers will become more like widget makers

High fuel prices have caused the shale gas boom and there is no end in sight. When the dust settles, sheer entrepreneurial forces will have transformed the planet. The golden age of gas is just about to begin. The EIA predicts that the US will be the biggest oil producer worldwide by 2020. And by […]

Mr. Obama, could this be your LNG term?

Mr. Obama – you are in your second term now. There is an entrepreneurial spirit under the Natural Gas hood. Being friends with them will help America a lot. Congratulations Mr. Obama, Now that the celebrations are over – back to work. And there is one item that is dear to us Natural Gas fans. […]