To phase out Russian gas, Engie opts for shale gas

The war in Ukraine is driving Europeans to turn their backs on Russian oil and gas… and on to other resources, particularly shale gas. The industrial group Engie, whose main shareholder is the French state with 23.64 %, is no exception to the rule.

The newspaper The Echoes informed us on Tuesday, March 22, that it has decided to extend its import contract with the American company Cheniere Energy, No. 1 in liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the USA. Information confirmed by phone at reporter re by a spokesman for Engie. The group says it wants to diversify and reduce its reliance on Russian gas, which accounts for nearly 20% % of its inventories. We must be prepared for all eventualities »the spokesman said, citing the risk of Russian supplies being disrupted.

Engie will buy between 900,000 and 1.2 million tonnes from Cheniere Energy LNG depending on the years ». Therefore, to face the risk of shortages related to the war against Ukraine, Engie is increasing the volume and extending its contract with the American company: it now extends for twenty years, ie from 2021 to 2041, compared to eleven last year Execution.

This contract was concluded on July 23, 2021 under difficult conditions. According to confidential internal documents obtained by Friends of the Earth France and revealed by The world A few months later, Engie had deliberately ignored the negotiations and the signing of this contract, which was aliased within the company mustang ». The documents showed that the decision to sign the contract was submitted to the Executive Committee of Engie in April 2021 with the explicit recommendation, in the event of validation This transaction will not be made public so it will remain under the radar ».

A shale gas catastrophic »

The extension of this contract has therefore drawn the ire of environmental organizations. that LNG Much of the gas sold by Cheniere Energy is made from American shale gas, which is disastrous for groundwater and the climate »denounces reporter re Lorette Philippot, campaign manager at Friends of the Earth France. Engie has agreed reporter re than this gas may contain an undetermined amount of unconventional gas ».

The extraction of shale gas, a natural gas that has been banned in France since 2011, requires drilling 1 to 3 kilometers deep, large amounts of water and chemicals to break up the rock: this process is called hydraulic fracking » From where fracking. Not all of the fluid used in the fracking process is recovered after it is injected into the well. Chemicals remain underground, contaminating groundwater and threatening drinking water supplies. In addition, shale gas production releases methane, a gas with 72 times its potential Heat » that the CO2.

The exact origin of the gas is not disclosed by Cheniere, making it impossible to measure the leaks caused by the gas being transported to France », laments Lorette Philippot. According to several sources, including the Houston ChronicleCheniere notably exports through the Corpus Christi terminal in Texas LNG, shale gas from the Eagle-Ford Basin and the Permian Basin. Cheniere has also signed a contract to supply gas from the Permian Basin to supply its Corpus Christi Stage expansion project. IIIscheduled to go into operation in 2024. According to a report by Oil Change International published in November 2021, the planned production in the Permian Basin could consume almost 10 % of the remaining global carbon budget to limit global temperature warming to +1.5°C.

A new LNG terminal ?

This increased consumption of American gas, who could have come to an agreement at short notice in borderline cases », unacceptable if it extends the contract term to twenty years », Storm Lorette Philippot. For them, long-term contracts act as an incentive for the gas industry to invest in new production capacities and infrastructure, that negate the targets set in the Paris Agreement, which are achievable through the transition to renewable energy and sobriety ».

According to a United Nations Environment Program report published in October 2021 (UNEP) and leading international research institutes, global gas production is expected to increase by 3 % per year by 2030 to keep global warming below the 1.5°C warming threshold.

that LNG from Cheniere Energy could be transported to the Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG terminal. Wikimedia Commons/CC FROMYOU 4.0/Jibi44

Will the French government stop this project? ? He had done so in 2020, urging Engie to give up a 20-year supply deal with American liquefied natural gas producer NextDecade. But the war against Ukraine changed the game. In her March 8-10 meeting with US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, Barbara Pompili urged the United States to increase gas production. How related Politically, journalists then pointed out that by doing so she was encouraging the United States to engage in a practice banned in her country. The Minister for Ecological Transition replied hesitantly: I can only say that we have to find solutions in this emergency situation. »

The government is even trying to increase its reception capacity behind the scenes LNG brought by boats currently docking at the terminals of Dunkirk (North), Montoir-de-Bretagne (Loire-Atlantique), Fos-Cavaou and Fos-Tonkin (Bouches-du-Rhône). Corresponding The Echoes, France is planning with Engie to install a floating LNG terminal off the French coast, likely in Le Havre. Engie has not denied this information reporter re.

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