Jack Sharples

Research Fellow

Dr Jack Sharples is a Research Fellow on the Natural Gas Research Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES), having joined the Institute in January 2018. He holds a PhD and MSc in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Glasgow, and a BA in Politics from the University of York. Prior to joining the Institute, he spent four years as a Lecturer in Energy Politics and International Relations at the European University in St Petersburg. Outside OIES, he has been the author of the ‘Gazprom Monitor’ monthly analytical reports for the European Geopolitical Forum (Brussels) since June 2012.

He is the author of several academic journal articles and book chapters, including: ‘The international political economy of Eastern European energy security: Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union’ (2018); ‘Europe’s largest natural gas producer in an era of climate change: Gazprom’ (2017) ‘Energy transitions in carbon-producing countries: Russia’ (2016); ‘Building the Energy Union: the problem of cross-border gas pipeline interconnections in Baltic, Central, and South-Eastern Europe’ (2016); ‘The importance of gas storage facilities in the European gas and power markets’ (2016); ‘The shifting geopolitics of Russia’s gas exports and the impact on EU Russia gas relations’ (2016); and ‘Russian gas supplies to Europe: the likelihood, and potential impact, of an interruption in gas transit via Ukraine’ (2016).

Areas of Expertise

Political economy of natural gas in Europe and Russia; Energy security; Development of the EU gas market

Contact

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                    [post_content] => Gas prices in Europe have crashed through the $2 range discussed in two previous OIES comments. The June TTF monthly price closed below $2 and, for the next few months, the forward curve suggests this will continue. The amount of gas in storage in Europe has played a crucial role in pricing movements, absorbing a lot of the excess LNG supply in 2019. With COVID-19 impacting globally on gas demand, and LNG export capacity still increasing, it looks increasingly likely that storage could be pretty much full, possibly in early August. The moment of truth will then have arrived in the global gas market. If there is still too much LNG trying to find a home, then there will need to be more supply shut in, from both LNG and pipeline gas, if prices are not to turn negative. Looking forward, the forward curve suggests a more than doubling of TTF prices in the summer of 2021 over 2020. The historic relationship, between storage utilisation and TTF prices, suggests that utilisation would need to be much lower next year than this. LNG flows into Europe would then need to be significantly curtailed, which can only occur if there is a big rebound in Asia LNG demand in the order of 20% year on year. In the absence of this, prices in Europe, and in Asia, may stay at stubbornly low levels through 2021, prompting more LNG shut-ins next year, and making it very difficult to return to the status quo ante COVID-19.
                    [post_title] => $2 Gas in Europe (Part III): Down, Down, Deeper and Down
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                    [post_content] => With the increasing likelihood of European gas storage hitting 'tank tops' by the end of summer 2020, Ukrainian storage facilities could ease the European storage shortage. A combination of substantial storage capacity, discounted tariffs for transporting gas to the storage facilities, the storage of gas in a 'customs warehouse' free of customs duties, and the increase in Ukrainian import capacity through the addition of backhaul (virtual reverse) capacity are facilitating the injection of gas into Ukrainian storage by European companies and traders. This comment examines the different factors involved, and the amount of gas that is likely to be stored in Ukraine in summer 2020. In doing so, we conclude that not only will Ukrainian storage ease some of the pressure on the European market in Q3 2020, but it is also likely to hasten the integration of Ukraine with the European gas market.
                    [post_title] => European gas storage: backhaul helps open the Ukrainian safety valve
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                    [post_content] => In our previous Insight, The Russia-Ukraine gas transit deal: opening a new chapter, we examined how the recent Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement was reached, and analysed the terms of the deal. This follow-up Insight analyses broader question of Russian gas transit to Europe, and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine deal on other routes that bring Russian gas to Europe. This includes longstanding routes, and two new pipeline projects, TurkStream and Nord Stream 2.  It also examines the impact of the deal on the Ukrainian gas market, and the likely short-term price effects in the European market. In doing so, this Insight analyses the broader context surrounding the Russia-Ukraine gas transit agreement.
                    [post_title] => Implications of the Russia-Ukraine gas transit deal for alternative pipeline routes and the Ukrainian and European markets
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                    [post_content] => On 30 December 2019, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy signed agreements covering the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine for the period 2020-24, with transit volumes of 65 bcm in 2020 and 40 bcm per year thereafter. In this Insight, we analyse how the deal was reached, the terms of the deal, and the likely transit flows via Ukraine during the period of the deal. We conclude that the deal will provide Gazprom with sufficient transit capacity in 2020, and from 2022 onwards, by which time we expect Nord Stream 2 and the Bulgarian & Serbian connections to Turk Stream to be operational. This leaves 2021 as a ‘bridge’ period, in which Gazprom may be obliged to book additional transit capacity via Ukraine.
                    [post_title] => The Russia-Ukraine gas transit deal: opening a new chapter
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                    [post_content] => The OIES Natural Gas Quarterly aims to provide a regular insight into the thoughts of Research Fellows on topical issues as well as providing a different angle on trends in global gas pricing. In the pricing section, the Quarterly reviews the LNG Tightness measure, looks at the Russian gas export price to Europe versus the marginal cost of US LNG and also reviews prices on Gazprom’s Electronic Sales Platform (ESP). In Asia we compare the Japanese LNG import price with the LNG spot price and also look at Chinese domestic prices compared with JKM.

The Quarterly also outline our views on the Key Themes for 2020, including thoughts from Mike Fulwood on LNG project FIDs and how developers may need to accelerate plans if they are not going to miss the next window of opportunity in the mid-2020s. Mike Fulwood and Jack Sharples then question the availability of LNG for Europe and ask whether sufficient storage will be available to take all the possible supply. Anouk Honore then looks at a possible cause for optimism for European gas demand, highlighting key legislation that should be passed in 2020 concerning coal phase out in Germany. Continuing the European theme, Marshall Hall discusses likely further progress this year in the transformation of the Dutch gas market, while James Henderson considers the increasing diversity of Russian gas export flows via pipeline and LNG. Jack Sharples develops the theme of Russian gas exports further, suggesting that the Gazprom ESP can provide further evidence concerning the company’s export strategy in 2020. On a different, but still European, theme Anouk Honoré considers the potential impact of the new EU Green Deal and considers how it could be developed further during the year with potentially long-lasting consequences for the energy system. Martin Lambert then suggests that 2020 could be the year when we start to see more active progress in decarbonisation outside Europe, with Australia, Japan and even the US highlighted as possible sources of technology development and practical action in the decarbonisation of the gas sector. Michal Median then outlines her view on the outlook for the Chinese gas sector in 2020, suggesting that coal to gas switching could regain some momentum and that LNG could benefit as a result. Finally, Patrick Heather looks at the emergence of the JKM price marker as a benchmark for gas prices in Asia and suggests that further progress could be made this year towards it becoming the pre-eminent pricing tool in the region.

 
                    [post_title] => Quarterly Gas Review - Issue 8
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                    [post_content] => The trilateral talks between the EU, Russia, and Ukraine regarding the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine beyond the expiry of the existing transit contract, on 31 December 2019, have so far failed to yield a solution. With the deadline fast approaching, the sides remain far apart in their negotiating positions. This Insight assesses the current state of the negotiations, the likelihood of an interruption in Russian gas transit via Ukraine in January 2020, and the potential impact of such a suspension of gas transit.
                    [post_title] => Russia-Ukraine gas transit talks: risks for all sides
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                    [post_content] => Gazprom has traditionally sold gas to its European customers under long-term, oil-indexed contracts. However, in recent years it has been forced to adapt to changing market rules in Europe and an increasingly competitive global gas market. As part of this adaptation, Gazprom launched its Electronic Sales Platform (ESP) on the 20th of September 2018. From this platform, Gazprom has been selling spot volumes to new and existing counterparties, for delivery to ten destinations in central and NW Europe.

This Energy Insight examines the volumetric and pricing outcomes of the first 9 months of trading on the exchange and attempts to draw some initial conclusions about the Gazprom strategy linked to it. Monthly sales volumes now exceed 1 bcm - the equivalent of 8% of Gazprom’s monthly long-term contract sales in Europe, and so are clearly non-negligible. Furthermore, the weighted average price of transactions on the ESP has been below the average price of Gazprom’s LTC sales to Europe since February 2019 and has been between the average hub prices at TTF-Gaspool (floor) and Austria-Slovakia VTPs (ceiling) since April 2019. As a result, it is clear that the new trading platform could be set to play a significant role in Gazprom’s export strategy to Europe and is worthy of increased analytical attention for anyone interested in the development of the European gas market and the role of Russian gas within it.
                    [post_title] => Gazprom’s Gas Sales via its Electronic Sales Platform (ESP)
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                    [post_content] => On the 1st of January 2020, the global shipping sector will face a highly significant shift in the regulation of sulphur emissions from the consumption of shipping fuel. In preparation for that shift, ship owners have several options for achieving regulatory compliance. These include switching to low-sulphur oil-based fuel, installing ‘scrubbers’ to remove sulphur from exhaust gas, and switching to LNG as a bunker fuel.

Stringent limits on sulphur emissions from shipping have been in place in northern Europe since 2006–07, and these limits were lowered in 2010 and 2015. This stepwise approach mirrors (and indeed foreshadows) the approach seen at the global level, where limits on sulphur emissions were introduced in 2005 and tightened in 2012. The shift in January 2020 will replicate, at a global level, the regional change experienced in northern Europe in 2015.

Northern Europe has seen the most substantial development of LNG as a shipping fuel, in terms of supply (bunkering) infrastructure and the growth of a fleet of vessels powered by LNG. This region therefore represents a valuable case study, through which this paper identifies the main drivers of the uptake of LNG as a shipping fuel, and the extent to which the experience of northern Europe may be repeated at a global level post-2020. The paper concludes that, with the global LNG market expanding and the size of the global LNG-fuelled fleet set to double by 2022, global demand for LNG as a bunker fuel is set to grow significantly.

Podcast
                    [post_title] => LNG Supply Chains and the Development of LNG as a Shipping Fuel in Northern Europe
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                    [post_content] => With European gas import demand having risen substantially since 2014, Gazprom has dramatically increased its sales on the European market. In Q1 2018, Gazprom reported record daily gas exports to Europe in late February and early March. This Comment addresses the question of how those volumes were delivered to the market, and the extent to which the infrastructure for delivery of those volumes was used,  highlighting that, in times of peak European gas import demand, full utilisation of the Nord Stream and Yamal-Europe pipelines left Ukraine as the only transit route with spare capacity. Until Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream are built, Gazprom will remain dependent on gas transit via Ukraine throughout the year, with Ukraine providing substantial flows in summer as European gas storage facilities are refilled, and a combination of significant flows and additional spare capacity in the winter peak demand period.
                    [post_title] => Ukrainian Gas Transit: Still Vital for Russian Gas Supplies to Europe as Other Routes Reach Full Capacity
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                    [post_date] => 2018-03-26 15:05:46
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                    [post_content] => The arrival of the first Russian LNG supplies to the UK coincided with the deterioration of UK-Russia diplomatic relations, triggering debates over the role of Russia in UK hydrocarbon imports. Although Russia is the largest supplier of UK coal imports, coal is being phased out of UK energy consumption. Russia is just one of several substantial suppliers of crude oil and refined oil products to the UK, with levels of UK oil demand being strongly linked to developments in the UK transportation fuel mix. By contrast, natural gas is the largest source of UK heat and power generation, and underpins non-transportation sector energy consumption. UK gas import demand is currently largely met by pipeline imports from Norway and LNG imports from Qatar. However, as the UK seeks to cope with fluctuations in domestic gas demand through increased LNG imports and gas trade with north-western Europe, following the closure of the UK’s only seasonal gas storage facility, the challenge to UK energy security is not dependence on Russian gas supplies but rather increasing exposure to international gas market volatility.
                    [post_title] => UK Dependence on Imported Hydrocarbons: How Important is Russia?
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                    [post_date] => 2018-03-05 12:22:25
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                    [post_content] => Gazprom has confounded many expectations by enjoying two record years of gas sales in Europe in 2016 and 2017. External factors have certainly played a role in its success, with overall European demand rebounding, indigenous production continuing to fall and alternative sources of imports failing to deliver at the expected levels (especially LNG). In addition, Gazprom has demonstrated  a level of flexibility in its pricing strategy that has kept its gas very competitive, with the result that its market share in Europe has grown to 35%. However, the anticipation that this figure could rise towards 40% and above has led EU politicians and policy-makers to become concerned about over-dependence on Russian gas, and many now wish to ensure that Gazprom’s future options are limited by obstructing potential new pipelines. In addition the politics surrounding Ukraine, the imposition of stricter US sanctions, questions surrounding  the DG COMP investigation into Gazprom’s activities and the Stockholm arbitration ruling over contracts with Ukraine add further layers of complexity. This paper therefore explores whether Gazprom’s two anni mirabiles in 2016 and 2017 can be repeated or whether Russian gas faces a more challenging environment in the rest of the decade.
                    [post_title] => Gazprom in Europe – two “Anni Mirabiles”, but can it continue?
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            [post_date] => 2020-06-16 10:44:28
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            [post_content] => Gas prices in Europe have crashed through the $2 range discussed in two previous OIES comments. The June TTF monthly price closed below $2 and, for the next few months, the forward curve suggests this will continue. The amount of gas in storage in Europe has played a crucial role in pricing movements, absorbing a lot of the excess LNG supply in 2019. With COVID-19 impacting globally on gas demand, and LNG export capacity still increasing, it looks increasingly likely that storage could be pretty much full, possibly in early August. The moment of truth will then have arrived in the global gas market. If there is still too much LNG trying to find a home, then there will need to be more supply shut in, from both LNG and pipeline gas, if prices are not to turn negative. Looking forward, the forward curve suggests a more than doubling of TTF prices in the summer of 2021 over 2020. The historic relationship, between storage utilisation and TTF prices, suggests that utilisation would need to be much lower next year than this. LNG flows into Europe would then need to be significantly curtailed, which can only occur if there is a big rebound in Asia LNG demand in the order of 20% year on year. In the absence of this, prices in Europe, and in Asia, may stay at stubbornly low levels through 2021, prompting more LNG shut-ins next year, and making it very difficult to return to the status quo ante COVID-19.
            [post_title] => $2 Gas in Europe (Part III): Down, Down, Deeper and Down
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Latest Publications by Jack Sharples

Latest research by Jack Sharples