Short, medium or long? After having considered at the end of March that France would need “medium-term or long-term” of Russian gas, the president of Engie estimated that our country would be “probably able to reduce very significantly” his addiction from here to three or four years.
“In the long term, yes. The question is in what term”, said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu on May 7 at the microphone of France Inter. Its routing relies on a whole infrastructure network (gas pipelines, liquefaction facilities, etc.) that is complex to put in place.
“If we had to face a brutal interruption, it is a scenario which is much more difficult, and will require adjustments which will probably also be brutal”, added the boss of the energy company.
Russian gas represents 20% of Engie’s supplies
Especially since Russian gas still represents 20% of Engie’s supplies. Also he announced on May 3 the purchase of 1.75 million tons per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG), resulting from a hydraulic fracturing process prohibited in France, from the American NextDecade, in coming from the future Texas Rio Grande terminal from 2026 and for fifteen years.
“The current tensions on the energy markets have reinforced the relevance of our strategy of diversifying sources of supply to meet our priority: to ensure the security of supply for our customers”, argued a spokesperson for the energy company The gallery on May 4th.
A reversal already started at the end of March, since Engie had then extended a contract with another American group, Cheniere Energy, in order to buy more LNG from it than planned, and this for twenty years. The tricolor company therefore does not intend to abandon the precious hydrocarbon anytime soon, with these new contracts running until 2040 and beyond.
Liquefied natural gas is the least polluting
And yet, LNG, which must be liquefied and then regasified, and which transits by sea, turns out to be polluting to say the least. In detail, its footprint is 58 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (KWh) on average, compared to 23 gCO2/KWh for “conventional” gas transported via pipelines. Not to mention that the one produced on American soil goes through “hydraulic fracturing”, that is to say deep drilling, mobilizing large quantities of water and chemicals to break up the rocks.
A process banned in France since 2011, due to a risk of contamination of groundwater but also of methane leaks, this greenhouse gas with a potential 80 times more warming than CO2 on a twenty-year scale. It was moreover this precise point which had concentrated the criticisms in 2020, and resulted in the renunciation of the contract with NextDecade. But the situation has changed, defends Engie today.
” NextDecade has made significant progress by committing to reduce emissions at the Rio Grande terminal by 90%, notably through a CO2 capture and storage project “, assures a spokesperson to The gallery. The gas in question will be of responsible origin (RSG), sourced from the main gas producers in the Permian basins [le plus grand champ pétrolier des Etats-Unis, ndlr] and Eagle Ford “, with a “ control by an independent third party “, continues the group.
A “sustainable energy transition” label with Bureau Veritas
At the same time, on May 5, the energy company launched a “TED” label (for “sustainable energy transition”) supposed to ‘give citizens and territories guarantees of rigor and transparency'” on the development of wind farms, so that they can “appropriate”.
Co-designed with Bureau Veritas, the world leader in auditing and certification services, it will include, from June, Engie’s solar and wind activities in France, before being extended to methanisation during 2022, ensures the group. Follow-up audits by Bureau Veritas will then be scheduled for 2023 and 2024.
“It’s about building projects with the local authorities, while providing trust and systematizing our long-term commitments. On this base, we will build tailor-made projects. By adjusting the location and the exact height of wind turbines in a given territory, for example,” said its director general, Catherine MacGregor.
Concretely, this label includes nine commitments “which go beyond regulatory requirements and which Engie undertakes to systematically deploy”, argues the company. In order to strengthen the involvement of stakeholders, it will be a question, for example, of deploying, for each project, a “tailor-made and scalable interaction system”or even “provide the local municipality with an assessment of the positive impacts”.
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