To understand the Kremlin’s motivations in regard to its smaller, and relatively impoverished, neighbor, the key fact to know is that Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s heating-fuel supplies — namely, natural gas.

To get it there, Russia relies mostly on two aging pipeline networks, one of which runs through Belarus and the other through Ukraine. For this, Russia pays Ukraine around $2 billion a year in transit fees.

Russia is a petrostate and relies on oil and natural-gas sales for about 60% of its export revenue and 40% of its total budget expenditures. Any crimp on Russia’s ability to access the European market is a threat to its economic security.

so writes Lukas I. Alpert in Marketwatch. Samuel Bailey is credited for the below map, found on the Wikipedia page, “Pipeline Transport.”

Ironically the cost for Russia will be “decertification” of Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Closer to home: big news came from the Supreme Court today re: the Dakota Access Pipeline. The court declined to hear Energy Transfer’s plea to avoid a legally mandated environmental review.

The ruling is a huge victory for North Dakota tribes including the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe which rallied support from across the world and sued the US government in a campaign to stop the environmentally risky pipeline being built on tribal lands.

It signals the end of the litigation road for the Texan energy company, but the pipeline, known as DAPL and open since 2017, will continue to operate as the review is carried out.

You gotta be on the side of the tribes here, they don’t want a pipeline under their lake. But on the other hand, aren’t pipelines a pretty good way to transport oil? What’s better, trucks? Trains?

Oil and gas is extracted in inconvenient places and is messy to move. The limited pipelines create chokepoints. Remember when “hackers” shut down Colonial? 45% of all the fuel consumed on the East Coast comes through that one pipeline.

A map of US pipelines made using a tool at FracTracker.

Here in greater Los Angeles we have refineries, so several pipelines flow out. If I understand right, just two pipelines, one from here and one from Utah, bring all the necessary jet fuel, heating oil, and gasoline to Las Vegas.

You’d think there’d be one of those books called like Invisible Veins: How Pipelines Run Our Lives but I couldn’t find one. If you look up “pipeline” in books on Amazon, you get a graphic novel, some books about metaphorical “pipelines” like in education and income, and this one:

Beautiful cover. The target audience for that one seems to be those involved in legal matters:

In this edition of Oil and Gas Pipelines in Nontechnical Language, Tom Miesner and Bill Leffler leverage the hundreds of courses they have taught in the past decade, along with the interaction with their audiences, clients, and opposing attorneys to present a totally understandable view of pipeline inception, planning, construction, start-up, and operation. Those experiences allowed them to expand but simplify the complexities of pipelines, including a totally revised chapter on equipment that provides a complete view of pipeline components. A separate chapter on control systems updates this technology.

At over $100 that’s too expensive for a probably very boring book right now, but we did get this one:

and will report

In this lyrical manifesto, noted climate scholar (and saboteur of SUV tires and coal mines) Andreas Malm makes an impassioned call for the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop–with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools. We need, in short, to start blowing up some oil pipelines.

Haven’t read it yet, but blowing up an oil pipeline seems like one of the messiest things you could possibly do! You really gotta believe in the ends justifying the means etc. if you’re blowing up pipelines to help reverse ecological collapse.

I wonder if we ought instead to say a prayer for the health and safety of all pipelines!

We’ll let Malm make his case.

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