Email of the day 3
Comment of the Day

May 12 2014

Commentary by David Fuller

Email of the day 3

On the future path of EU energy policies:

“Dear David, I hope all is well with you and your family. Also, congrats on the successful transformation of the service. It seems to function smoothly now, after some minor initial setbacks. I was hoping to hear your current views on the future path of EU energy policy. More specifically, the role of Russian imports. In light of recent events, one hears a lot of talk about Europe diversifying further its energy supply. Is that an emerging trend to be taken seriously or just lip service? If this takes place, what sort of substitutes do you see as most likely? Obviously, the potential impact on the energy sector is significant. For the record, I'm long Royal Dutch Shell and a small cap share called Exmar, involved in LNG/LPG shipping. So not entirely unbiased here:) Many thanks in advance.”

David Fuller's view

Thanks for your kind words and interesting questions.  Regarding development of the service, last year Eoin and I concluded that we had to jump from what we saw as a deteriorating environment.  It was not easy and it was very expensive but the alternatives were unconscionable, in my opinion.   Under the circumstances, the initial setbacks were most unfortunate, particularly regarding the Chart Library.  Eoin’s efforts have been instrumental in improving the Library and they continue.  For instance, we will soon have some frequently requested indicators.    

Regarding energy, well done on Exmar and I trust you have had a good run in this recovery.  

As for the EU, I have long felt that it needed to diversify its energy policies.  The subject is inevitably contentious but we had what I regard as political rather than economic policy decisions, which considerably increased Europe’s energy costs and dependence, while reducing viable sources of supply within the region.  The closure of nuclear facilities was way premature in terms of both their cost and effectiveness.  I assume that Europe will eventually increase its energy supplies but it has largely refused to develop its known reserves of shale gas and oil.  Many European countries have blighted their countryside with increasingly unpopular windmills. 

On the one hand, I think Europe is facing reality and talking about diversifying its own energy supplies.  On the other hand, it is also hoping that business with Russia gets back to normal, reducing the emergency.  Solar is probably the least controversial route in terms of Europe’s own supplies, particularly if panels are placed on viable rooftops rather than the development of large, separate solar plants.   

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