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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Natural Gas in Exchange for Time

Sep. 16, 2006 - Kommersant - Altai gas pipeline might make no profits in 2011
During his meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Gazprom "specify" when the project to supply natural gas to China by means of the Altai gas pipeline is to be carried out. The pipeline is being designed now. "Specification" might be the bargaining for price with China: if Gazprom fails to increase the profitability of the project, the date of beginning the supplies might be postponed for 3 or 4 years from 2011. President Putin met with Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller on Thursday night. Miller reported on planned gas supplies to China according to the memorandum of understanding signed by Gazprom and CNPC in March. Putin announced in spring that 80 billion cubic meters of natural gas are to be sold to China, which was later changed to 68 billion cubic meters. Gazprom plans to supply first 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2011 by means of the Altai gas pipeline. However, experts believe it is hardly possible to begin supplies to China in 2011, due to the lack of extra gas (beside that for Europe) which could be sent to China. Europe offers no less than $180 for 1,000 cubic meters of Yamal gas. Thus, the price offered by China should be not lower than Europe's. Some experts doubt the Altai project will pass the ecological expertise. Yet, China cannot pay as much as Europe where gas prices range from $280 to $300 for 1,000 cubic meters. Turkmenia and Kazakhstan have already signed agreements with China to supply 50-80 billion cubic meters of gas which is cheaper than Russia's. Natural gas extracted by oil companies might be a solution for Gazprom. However, Gazprom does not hurry to sign contracts with oil companies, and to develop the route for the Altai pipeline. Gazprom said it is now only justifying the investment into the project. Vladimir Putin's words about "specification of dates" might really be addressed to Chinese authorities: the more compliant they are about the price, the sooner Altai pipeline will be constructed.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Russia To Hold Europe Tight - New Pipeline

05.09.2006 13:58 - [Neftegaz.ru] - Russia, Greece and Bulgaria have agreed to begin construction of a long-delayed oil pipeline that will link the Black Sea to the Aegean. An official agreement on the issue will be signed by the end of the year. The new pipeline will cut the heavy oil tanker traffic in the congested Bosphorus Straits. It is estimated that current delays caused by so many ships trying to load oil in the Bosphorus cost energy companies at least 500 million euros a year. "Russia is one of the principal suppliers of the energy resources for the European and world markets, and Greece and Bulgaria for a long time have been our reliable partners in this field, so this partnership represents for Russia a particular interest," President Putin said. He added: "Russia isn't imposing any strict conditions for this project. We want just this kind of venture to proceed with our traditional partners." More than half of the 280 kilometer pipeline would pass through Bulgaria. It is projected to cost 700 million euros ($1 billion) and would have a final annual capacity of 35 million tons of oil. The pipeline will make Greece a transit hub for Russian energy exports to the West and strengthen Moscow’s grip on the market. It will run from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean.

Russia, Bulgaria, Greece agree to sign pipeline deal by year's end

MOSCOW. 09/ 04/ 2006 (RIA Novosti economic commentator Vasily Zubkov) ATHENS, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - The leaders of Russia, Bulgaria and Greece adopted in Athens Monday a joint declaration on energy cooperation under which they agreed to sign an intergovernmental deal on the construction of an oil pipeline in the Balkans by the end of 2006. The $1-billion project, which will run 280 kilometers (175 miles) from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece's Alexandroupolis, on the Aegean, will allow Russia to export oil through the Black Sea, bypassing the often crowded Bosporus Strait in Turkey. The Russian, Bulgarian and Greek governments signed a memorandum on the pipeline's construction in April 2005. "This project is extremely important, not only to our three states, but also to Europe's economy and energy industry," Vladimir Putin said. "The declaration adopted today outlines the current tasks in the energy field," he said. "I am convinced this field may become a driving force in Russian-Greek-Bulgarian short-term and long-term cooperation," he said. "We regard reliable energy access as a condition of the dynamic and stable development of civilization. This may be achieved only if the interests of all members of the energy chain, energy producers, transit countries and consumers, are taken into account" Putin said. Putin, after meeting with the Greek and Bulgarian leaderships, also urged them to make the most of the opportunity, rather than continue discussions that have been under way since 1993. "If we go on cooperating in this way, there will be no result," he told a news conference. "It will be a missed opportunity, in both the economic and political sense." Putin said Russia did not wish to set any harsh conditions, and only wanted such project to be implemented. "I want the people of our countries, including Bulgaria, to be informed about the essence of this project and about our agreements," Putin said. "Russia does not put forward any harsh conditions. We only want that such projects with our traditional partners be implemented." Earlier Monday the prime minister of Greece said his country, Russia and Bulgaria agreed to sign an agreement on the construction of an ambitious oil pipeline, Burgas-Alexandroupolis, in 2006. "The position of the three countries is that we have agreed to sign an agreement on the construction of the pipeline in 2006," Kostas Karamanlis said. "It is important for our people and our economies." President of Bulgaria Georgi Parvanov said in turn that the meeting was a success and the leaders of the three countries managed to settle within 45 minutes all problems that had been accumulating all these years. "The further prolongation of the project's implementation would have catastrophic consequences," Parvanov said. "I am glad that within 45-50 minutes we managed to overcome all contradictions that accumulated over the years." Sergei Bogdanchikov, the head of Russia's state-controlled oil company, Rosneft, said Russian companies might hold a controlling stake in the pipeline project. "Russian companies, as companies that supply the pipeline with oil, may have a controlling stake," he said. Bogdanchikov said the members of the pipeline building consortium were yet to be finalized, though he added that Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, Russian-British oil venture TNK-BP, which coordinates the project for the Russian side, and other companies, were interested in the project. Bogdanchikov said he believed the pipeline could be commissioned in 2009-2010. He said he did not know whether U.S. Chevron would participate in the project, and said oil producer LUKoil has not voiced its interest in the project. Bogdanchikov said the pipeline project was extremely important to Russia, as the country needs additional export routes. "It is important that it will be implemented in cooperation with other countries, which will make our consumers confident regarding the reliability of supplies," he said. He said Russian companies would invest about $1 billion into the project. Bogdanchikov said the speeding up of the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline is not linked to the commissioning of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, but linked to the demand for oil in the world. The Samsun-Ceyhan project was proposed by Italy's Eni and its Turkish partner Calik Group. The prospective pipeline, whose length will be 700 km (435 miles), will go via Turkey, from the Black Sea port of Samsun, to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean. It is designed to reduce the oil transportation load on the Black Sea straits of Bosporus and the Dardanelles, which is some 150 million tons (1.1 billion bbl) annually.

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