Redefining 💥Energy Flux💥
A premium newsletter analysing global natural gas markets through the lens of Europe’s net-zero journey
I’ve been on the road since the New Year, but eagerly anticipating the restart of Energy Flux in 2024. This email covers a lot of ground about the paywall, subscriptions, referrals, and the newsletter’s editorial remit. Regular posts resume next week.
Energy Flux has evolved a fair bit since it was born way back in July 2020 as a personal blog. It started with a very broad remit, but after much experimentation and reflection, I’ve boiled it down to this: to analyse global natural gas markets through the lens of Europe’s net-zero journey.
I have updated the ‘About’ page with a Q&A that explains in more detail my rationale for this focus, and what subscribers can expect. Ahead of the restart of the weekly publication cycle, I am sending out this refreshed definition to all readers. Scroll to the end to read the text in full.
As previously flagged, I’m making some important changes:
Most posts will be paywalled from now on
The rate for new subscriptions is set out here
There’s also a group discount (refresh the Subscribe page if it doesn’t appear first time)
I’m starting a referral programme that gives complimentary access in exchange for new readers (more on this below)
If you’re an existing paid subscriber, you already have full access
As a token of my immense gratitude to those paid readers who continued to support Energy Flux over the past year or more, your legacy subscription rate is frozen in perpetuity (and for the same reason I am not offering promotional discounts).
Refer friends, read for free
I’ll be honest: I don’t like the paywall. It slows the growth of the email list and makes Energy Flux inaccessible to many readers. But the newsletter needs to generate enough revenue to make it a worthwhile endeavour. The referral programme fixes this.
As I understand it, the readership breaks down into two core segments: those who read for professional purposes, and those who read for pleasure (hopefully there’s a fair bit of overlap too).
Those in the ‘professional readership’ camp who would like full access are encouraged to take out a paid subscription and pass the expense on to their employer.
For those without a corporate subscriptions budget, I acknowledge that paying the full rate might be hard to justify. For this reason, I have set the referral tiers deliberately low so that it is easy to gain complimentary access:
Get a 1 month comp for 2 referrals
Get a 6 month comp for 6 referrals
Get a 12 month comp for 10 referrals
These tiers are well below the Substack default. Here’s how to participate:
When you use the referral link below, or the ‘Share’ button on any post, you'll get credit for any new subscribers (free or paid). Simply send the link in a text, email, or share it on social media with your network. When more friends and colleagues use your referral link to sign up, you’ll receive the benefits listed above.
The Leaderboard page will list the top referrers (it’s currently empty because I’ve only just enabled referrals).
If you are not able to hit the referral tiers and cannot afford a subscription, please get in touch to discuss a bespoke arrangement that fits your budget (click here or hit reply to this email).
I am also happy to manage corporate accounts via annual invoicing, and add groups of readers to the paid list manually. This avoids Substack and Stripe fees, allowing me to pass the savings on (two large organisations have already done this). Again, please get in touch to discuss.
Moreover, I love hearing from readers. I’ve learned a huge amount from the many smart folks on the list over the years. Feel free to reply to any email to share your thoughts in private, or leave a public comment if you’re a paid subscriber.
As ever, thank you to everyone for reading Energy Flux. The newsletter would not exist without you.
P.S. Read on for the ‘About’ Q&A…
What is Energy Flux?
Welcome to Energy Flux – the newsletter that analyses global natural gas markets, energy economics and geopolitics through the lens of Europe’s net-zero journey.
Energy Flux is written by me, Seb Kennedy, to raise awareness of how gas markets work – and to analyse the significance of big movements in wholesale gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas) prices.
Who is it for?
Anyone whose personal or professional interests overlap with the European energy transition, or who wants a better understanding of the role of gas in a volatile, decarbonising world.
Investors, energy companies, think-tanks, NGOs, legal firms and policymakers are the main recipients – but the audience is diverse and some of the most avid readers are curious individuals or energy aficionados without professional ties to this space. It’s a broad readership and everyone is welcome.
For better or worse, gas and LNG are still a pillar of the European energy system. Natural gas is both the hero and the villain of Europe’s energy transition, literally keeping the lights on when renewables fall short but at significant economic and environmental cost.
The economics of gas shot up the political agenda following Russia’s full invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Europe’s pivot to LNG triggered intense price volatility that sent shockwaves through global energy markets and squeezed consumers in all gas-reliant segments of the economy.
As the marginal generator, gas typically sets the power price. With Europe now leaning more heavily on LNG, understanding global LNG market dynamics is essential to understanding the economics of zero marginal cost generators (renewables and nuclear) in most western European electricity markets.
For upstream producers, there is a strong incentive to gain exposure to global LNG markets. But gas-producing countries often find that embracing LNG exports means importing higher prices. Gobbling up the arbitrage in the quest for bigger upstream margins comes at the expense of consumers – with potential for political consequences.
The volume of gas traded as LNG overtook that of pipeline gas in 2021, and the gap will only widen. Yet this crucial fuel is poorly understood: price formation lacks transparency, trade dynamics are clunky and LNG contracts are opaque, to say the least. Energy Flux exists to shed light on these murky niches of the energy system, and to make sense of what’s driving market sentiment.
Who are you?
I am a freelance energy journalist and market analyst using data to carve out engaging narratives about the economics of decarbonisation.
I’ve been writing about energy since 2008, when I started as a cub reporter on the UK renewables beat. Since then I have written for a variety of trade publications and consultancies about oil and gas, LNG, hydrogen, energy geopolitics, market design/regulation and climate policy in international markets. Check out my LinkedIn bio here.
What’s your agenda?
Energy Flux is 100% editorially independent. It is funded entirely by paying subscribers, which allows me to provide unbiased coverage of energy market developments.
That said, I do have opinions and these shape my writing. I support efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on gas and LNG where cheaper and cleaner alternatives exist. Demand reduction and energy efficiency are among the most powerful tools in the climate policy box.
Over-reliance on LNG unduly exposes consumers to market volatility and (geo)political machinations in faraway places, while undermining European climate policies and energy security. It also renders the fuel unaffordable in emerging markets that are pursuing coal-based industrialisation pathways – markets where LNG might otherwise help reduce emissions.1
I seek to balance that position with an explicit acknowledgement of the importance of gas to European prosperity and industrial productivity. If gas and LNG supplies are constrained too quickly in the name of climate action, emissions could spike and much of Europe (as well as other regions) could even be plunged into turmoil.
My aim in writing Energy Flux is to bring nuance and clarity to the debate on the role of natural gas in Europe’s energy transition, while questioning the prevailing narrative that decarbonisation will support LNG demand growth for decades to come.
Paid subscribers will receive on average one newsletter per week, usually on Monday morning UK time.
These weekly posts alternate between:
The EU LNG Chart Deck – a datavis-heavy analysis of recent gas and LNG price movements (e.g. JKM-TTF spreads, freight costs, US LNG netbacks, EU spark/dark spreads)
Occasional Deep Dives – longer text-based essays that explore under-reported themes in gas, LNG and the wider energy system.
‘Free’ readers will receive paywalled previews of premium content, and the odd free post. For full access and to leave comments, take out a paid subscription – and support independent energy journalism 😇
If you enjoy the content but can’t afford a full subscription, please get in touch to arrange a bespoke plan. Alternatively, you can gain complimentary access by participating in the referral programme.
I am also happy to manage corporate accounts personally via annual invoicing. Again, please get in touch to discuss this.
A small caveat
Family demands and travel will occasionally disrupt the publication cadence. I will always give paid subscribers notice of upcoming breaks to the schedule, and will seek to make up for any ‘missing’ posts throughout the year.
I usually pause billing if there is likely to be a gap of a few weeks or more. We all need periodic downtime, but fair’s fair.
Seb Kennedy | Energy Flux | January 2024