During the latest Public Accounts Committee hearings, Konrad Mizzi has kept insisting on the great contribution he made to this country by allegedly lowering energy prices. Konrad Mizzi has always insisted on excusing his corruption for his incredible genius which brought us value for money. In a way, the message to the Labour voters has always been the same and many Labour voters still accept this message gleefully: even though Konrad Mizzi was corrupt, he’s still a good man for lowering our electricity bills.
There is no incredible contribution to be found in Konrad Mizzi’s self-declared genius. I am not an energy expert, but my level of stupidity is good enough to be able to read a chart. And when looking up the charts, it becomes glaringly obvious that Konrad Mizzi either doesn’t know what he is talking about, or he is a total crook willingly and knowingly trying to deceive everyone. Someone, should really try and get to the bottom of the ridiculous things our politicians say and do and this is why I am trying to build an investigative journal. Politicians get away with saying too much shit at our expense.
So, let’s do a basic roundup. Konrad Mizzi is saying that he bought gas at a fixed price of $10 dollars for five years when he signed the contract in April 2017. According to all the charts available online, gas in April 2017 was around 50% lower than Konrad’s purchasing price. According to the Ycharts the price and metric quoted by Konrad marks the price of gas at $5 in April 2017. He says he bought it at a fixed price of $10 for the next five years.
Other gas price charts show a similar curve where the price bottomed around 2017 and gas price was way below Konrad Mizzi’s purchasing price.
Today, according to Konrad Mizzi we are now buying gas from Electrogas at a 14% rate of the price of Brent crude. Since April 2017 Brent crude has shot up by more than 50%..
So, I can’t seem to really find where’s Konrad Mizzi’s genius. As an energy trader, he seems total shit since he seems to be buying energy at premium rates with prices that are much higher from market rates which keep going against him on a longer time frame.
Now, let’s go to the spike of the price of European gas which supposedly justifies the corrupt Electrogas contract. The spike in natural gas has only happened with regards to European gas while US gas is still relatively cheaper, although American gas will also be affected by European prices. One of the reasons for the spike in the price of European gas stems from geopolitical factors and the over-dependency of Europe on Russia from gas. Undoubtedly, Russia has a lot of leverage on the gas price as it is the biggest net exporter of gas in the world. The EU has also prepared a fact sheet on the current gas crisis which you may read here. Currently, apart from problems of supply that helped the price increase in gas, the price is also volatile due to the emerging conflict in Ukraine.
By hindsight, the Electrogas project has made us more reliant on gas and therefore, indirectly exposed to Russian geopolitical risks. Europe may now be also waking up after many years to its grave historical mistake that being overly dependent on Russian gas may not necessarily be a good thing. One would also have to consider that even if one buys gas from sources outside Russia, the gas market, just like the oil market is still heavily conditioned by the supply issued by Russia. Germany has also exacerbated the European gas crisis by shutting down nuclear plants, while France is doubling down on nuclear by updating its nuclear technology.
Looking back, it seems that as the energy crisis loomed over Europe’s schizophrenic history of reliance on Russian gas, we rushed in at the last point in history and took the wrong side of the trade. Prosit Ministru. The government’s solution for the current European gas crisis is, of course, subsidies: just throw money at it like we are throwing money at all our problems. I still don’t get what people find so technocratic in Clyde Caruana, but more on this on a separate post.
What is also so fascinating about all of this is Miriam Dalli’s silence. There is an energy crisis in Europe and our Energy Minister is nowhere to be found except for inaugurating “public gardens”. And this is why our country is going to face multiple crisis under Robert Abela’s premiership. We have a government that is focused to cover up corruption and extending rent-seeking rather than solving problems and building our country.
Miriam Dalli has literally no idea what’s going on in the world of energy. She is a previous ONE propagandist and a close collaborator of Joseph Muscat and has been made Energy Minister to cover up the corrupt Electro deal. After two years in office, the Labour government should have stood for the public interest and unravelled the corrupt Electrogas deal, however, Abela has continued executing the Electrogas deal and Miriam Dalli has successfully deflected the negative attention.
Meanwhile, as Europe is immersed in an energy crisis, we aren’t even part of this discussion and we have no strategic plan. We are going to keep doing what was planned during Joseph Muscat’s administration by doing the gas pipeline project with Gela in Sicily, which is currently being directed in secrecy by a board of political appointees who also have no experience in the energy sector. Electrogas is also going to be compensated by the government for procuring gas from other sources, and the government has no problem in all of this. We have an army of lawyers in government and a lawyer as a Prime Minister who isn’t even capable of bringing up one single legal argument in the public interest, and instead are more focused to preserve and cover-up past corrupt contracts and activities. The CEO of Enemalta is Jonathan Cardona, a political appointee who has no experience or qualifications in energy whatsoever.
Tell me again, how are we in safe hands with these corrupt dilettantes in power?