Saturday, June 30, 2007
Greece to join South Stream pipeline
June 26, 2007 - Associated Press - ISTANBUL, Turkey - Greece says it will take part in the construction of a natural gas pipeline that will run under the Black Sea, linking Russia with customers in Europe. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of Greece made the announcement about the South Stream pipeline after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday at an economic forum comprising countries in the Black Sea region. "This is a very important project, which will help bolster energy security but also diversify supplies of natural gas to the European Union," Karamanlis said at the forum in Istanbul. "Greece, after examining this subject in collaboration with Russia, Bulgaria and Italy, is ready to proceed with this major project." Italian energy company Eni SpA and Russia's state-controlled OAO Gazprom said this past weekend that they had signed a memorandum of understanding on the possibility of supplying Russian gas to European Union countries through the South Stream pipeline. Construction on the pipeline may begin in the next two years, potentially clearing the way for an annual capacity of 30 billion cubic meters. Under the plan, more than 550 miles of pipeline would be placed under the sea and across Bulgaria before splitting off in two directions, north through Hungary to reach Austria, and south through Greece and on to Otranto, a port near the southeastern tip of Italy, the Italian news agency Apcom said. "Greece is becoming an international energy hub for the transport of oil, electricity and now natural gas," Karamanlis said. There has been some concern about deepening European dependence on energy from Moscow, which grew sharper after Russia cut gas to Ukraine, and by extension customers farther west, in a political dispute in early 2006. A year later, oil supplies through Belarus were reduced in another dispute.
South Stream pipeline project open to other companies - Gazprom
MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom's [RTS: GAZP] deputy CEO said Monday the issue of other countries joining the project to build a natural gas pipeline across the Black Sea remains open. The Russian energy giant and the Italian gas company Eni SpA signed June 23 a memorandum on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which will stretch for 900 kilometers (560 miles) along the seabed of the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria, reaching a maximum depth of over 2 kilometers (1.2 miles). "We have agreed with Eni that joining the project is open," Alexander Medvedev said, adding that the possible participation of a Bulgarian company was desirable, but that the form and extent of that participation remained subjects for discussion. On Sunday, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Balkan energy summit in Zagreb that Bulgaria "is ready to join the South Stream project." Earlier Sunday, Medvedev said that third parties would be able to participate in the construction of land-based stretches of the pipeline, while Gazprom and Eni would exclusively share equal stakes in the pipeline's underwater section. Medvedev also said that the new project should not be viewed as an alternative to other international projects Gazprom is working on, but rather as a supplement to them, adding that all the necessary conditions for the project, such as natural gas reserves, existing contracts with Italy and high demand for gas in Europe, already existed. He said the South Stream, with an estimated annual capacity of about 30 billion cubic meters of gas, along with the Nord Stream, Blue Stream and Blue Stream-2, is a united system of Gazprom exports.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Bulgaria ready to join South Stream pipeline project - president
ZAGREB, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - Bulgaria's president said his country would participate in the construction of a new natural gas pipeline under the Black Sea. Russian energy giant Gazprom and Italy's ENI signed on June 23 a memorandum on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which will stretch for 900 km (560 miles) along the seabed from Russia to Bulgaria with a maximum depth of over 2 km (1.2 miles). "We are ready to join the South Stream project," Georgi Parvanov said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Balkan energy summit in Zagreb on Sunday. "The project will give us the opportunity to develop Bulgaria's economy. It will have a positive effect on southeastern Europe," Parvanov said. Speaking at a press conference in the Croatian capital, Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy CEO, said other participants could join the construction of the new pipeline, with estimated annual capacity of about 30 billion cubic meters of gas. He said third parties would be able to participate in the construction of land-based stretches of the pipeline, while Gazprom and Eni would exclusively share equal stakes in the Black Sea underwater section.
Russia, Italy agree to build new gas pipeline across Black Sea
ROME, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Italy signed Saturday a memorandum on the construction of a new natural gas pipeline from Russia to Europe across the Black Sea. The memorandum was signed in Rome by representatives of Russian energy giant Gazprom and Italy's ENI in the presence of Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and Italian Economic Development Minister Pierluigi Bersani. The pipeline, which will be called South Stream, will stretch for 900 km (560 miles) across the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria at a maximum depth of over 2 km (over 1 mile). Speaking at a press conference in Rome, Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom's deputy CEO, said the new pipeline's estimated annual capacity will be about 30 billion cubic meters. "This [the memorandum] is another real step in the implementation of Gazprom's strategy to diversify routes of Russian natural gas supplies to European countries and a considerable contribution to the energy security in Europe," Medvedev said. Ministers Khristenko and Bersani highly appraised Gazprom and ENI's initiative and pledged in a statement to "provide favorable conditions for economically effective implementation of the project."
Russia-China pipeline progressing
15 June 2007 - Upstream OnLine - Construction of the first Russia-China oil pipeline is going well and is expected to be completed by next year, experts from the two countries said today. The pipeline will initially supply China 10 million tonnes, or 73.5 million barrels, of oil annually, increasing to 220.5 million barrels a year. The feasibility of three gas pipelines from Russia to China is also being discussed, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Li Guoyu said. In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would increase Russia's oil exports to Asia to 30% of all its oil exports by 2020. Putin also said that an oil pipeline, starting from the Taishet on the western bank of the Pacific Ocean, would be constructed. The 4000-kilometre-long pipeline would pass through Skovorodino, which is only 70 kilometres from the China-Russia border. A sub-pipeline starting from Skovorodino would extend to Daqing, the most important oil production base in China. "I believe the Russian government will fulfill its commitment and finish the pipeline in due time," Li said. He said the oil China will get from Russia would ease the energy strain. China imported about 1243.2 million barrels of oil last year, but only 110.3 million barrels were from Russia, China Daily reported.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
China and Russia Close to Pipeline Construction Completion
[Neftegaz.ru] 15.06.2007 - Construction of the first Russia-China oil pipeline is expected to be completed by next year. The pipeline will initially supply China 10 million tons annually. It will gradually increase to 30 million tons a year. The feasibility of three more gas pipelines from Russia to China is also being discussed, said Li Guoyu, an expert with the China National Petroleum Corporation.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Gazprom acquires 12.5% stake in Belarus pipeline
MINSK, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russian energy giant Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] has acquired a 12.5% stake in Beltransgaz, the first of four installments under a deal with Belarus' gas pipeline operator, the Belta news agency said Wednesday. "Today, a 12.5% stake in Beltransgaz has been transferred into Gazprom's ownership," it said citing the government property management agency. Gazprom Monday paid $625 million to Belarus for the first 12.5% stake in Beltransgaz ahead of schedule, which will go to the republican national development fund. The May 18 deal to buy 50% in Beltransgaz for $2.5 million in four equal installments by 2010 is expected to tighten Gazprom's operational control of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, thus far its main export route to Central Europe running through Belarus. The Russian energy giant said earlier that the Belarusian pipeline was worth $3.3 billion, well below the $5 billion valuation Belarus had long insisted on. The final deal was largely concluded late last year as Russia and Belarus became embroiled in an oil and gas dispute after Gazprom, keen to bring former Soviet republics in line with market rates for energy supplies, doubled the gas price to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Transneft to issue Eurobonds to finance Siberian pipe project
MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-run oil pipeline operator Transneft said Wednesday it would issue Eurobonds to finance the construction of the Siberian pipeline Russia is building to pump crude eastward. The ambitious East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, managed by the company, is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East, which will then be sent on to China and the Asia-Pacific region. Transneft said it would issue five-year U.S. dollar- and euro-denominated bonds after it held its Eurobond road-shows in Europe and the United States, but declined to specify the size of the issues. Eurobond road-shows will be held on June 7 in London, June 8 in Paris, June 11 in Munich and Frankfurt, June 12 in Amsterdam and June 13 and 14 in New York, the oil pipeline operator said. The ESPO project was launched in April 2006 and the first leg of the pipeline, 2,700 kilometers (1,677miles) long and estimated at $11 billion, will be commissioned in December 2008. It will link Taishet, in the East Siberian region of Irkutsk, to Skovorodino, in the Amur region, in Russia's Far East. The initial project plans have been revised as the pipeline's first stage was rerouted for ecological reasons about 400 kilometers (250 miles) away from Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater body, and divided into three segments following a series of discussions and a presidential order. The second stage will involve the construction of a Skovorodino-Kozmino pipeline, to pump 367.5 million barrels per year, and an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline's capacity to 588 million barrels.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
US urges Turkmen pipeline talks
01 June 2007 - Upstream OnLine - The US renewed its call to Turkmenistan today to revive talks on a new Caspian Sea gas pipeline that would link Central Asian deposits with Western markets, bypassing Russia. Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan agreed on 12 May to build a pipeline around the Caspian Sea, a move that boosted Moscow's dominance in the region but irritated Washington. Steven Mann, a senior US State Department official, said during a visit to the Central Asian state that Washington's position on the Trans-Caspian deal had not changed. "We believe it is enough to supply gas into Russia and to do the Trans-Caspian pipeline as well," he said. The pipeline deal with Russia hushed speculation that after the death in December of long-serving president Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan might open up to foreign trade with new gas export routes such as the US proposal or a Chinese deal. Under Niyazov, Turkmenistan, which is Central Asia's largest gas producer, pursued an increasingly isolationist policy and cut its contacts with other nations to a minimum, exporting almost all its gas via Russia's pipeline system. Despite the continued reliance on Russia, the new president, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is seeking to play a more active role in the region. "We look forward to the international private sector coming to Turkmenistan," said Mann, who served as US ambassador to Turkmenistan in 1998-2001. "Investment conditions in Turkmenistan have not been attractive for the private sector over previous years, so I am hopeful that President Berdymukhamedov and his administration are going to change these conditions," Reuters quoted him as saying. He said delegations from US corporations had recently visited the nation and a number of others planned to visit soon to discuss various projects, but gave no details.
Russia in talks over China pipeline
31 May 2007 - Upstream OnLine - Russia is in talks to build a gas pipeline to China which should be partially completed in the next five to six years and is interested in investing further in the country's energy sector, Russia's energy minister said today. "We will go about developing infrastructure for supplies of natural gas and crude oil to China," Viktor Khristenko, Russian minister of industry and energy, told Reuters in an interview. Russia was also interested in investing in oil production, refining and marketing in China - the world's second largest oil consumer - in addition to gas distribution. He said Moscow wanted to build gas pipelines from gas fields in eastern and western Siberia. Decisions would be made based on the development of the Chinese gas market and restructuring of its energy markets as a whole. "To a certain extent, there's uncertainty related to the fact that the natural gas market in China is in the making," he said. "I think it may also be linked potentially with the discussion on the greenhouse gas emission problems and the respective restructuring of the Chinese energy sector." Khristenko said talks were underway and that progress on at least one pipeline was expected in the next five to six years. "Volumes, capacities and timeframe for such gas transport distribution systems are being discussed," he said. "That's mid-term. We're not talking about 20 years from now. Rather five to six years." He said Russia's expansion to China would not jeopardise contracts between Gazprom and Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas. "This bears no risk for Gazprom's obligations towards its European partners. There are contracts, and as such these obligations for up to 30 years from now will be fulfilled." Russia, which has been criticised for not investing enough to meet its future export obligations, currently supplies about 25% of the 27-nation European Union's gas. Khristenko said there was enough gas to go around but said Russia would balance new contracts between Europe and consumers in Asia.
Armenia Builds Pipeline to Import Gas from Iran
01.06.2007 - [Neftegaz.ru] - ArmRosGazprom, Armenia's Russian-owned national gas company is likely to build the second and final section of a natural gas pipeline from Iran by the end of next year. The first 40-kilometer Armenian section of the pipeline stretching from the Iranian border to the southeastern town of Kajaran was inaugurated in March by the president of the two neighboring countries. Officials said then that Armenia will be able to import large volumes of Iranian gas only after the construction of the pipeline’s second, much longer section that would extend it from Kajaran to the southern Ararat Valley.
Caspian Gas Pipeline construction to begin in 2008
06-01-2007 RBC News - Construction of the Caspian Gas Pipeline will begin in the second half of 2008, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov said after talks with Kazakh counterpart Karim Masimov. Fradkov said an intergovernmental agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on the gas pipeline construction should be prepared by 1 September. The three countries also planned to agree on the reconstruction of the existing gas transportation system with the participation of Uzbekistan. The project is scheduled to start in the first half of 2008. Now that Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to build the Caspian Gas Pipeline, the construction of an alternative trans-Caspian pipeline bypassing Russia becomes impossible, many experts believe. Moscow hopes that other countries will join the project, too. Fradkov also expressed satisfaction at the Russian-Kazakh cooperation in the gas sphere and the signing of a number of important documents, including on investment projects of Russian gas giant Gazprom and Kazakhstan’s national gas company KazMunaiGaz, cooperation at the Orenburg gas processing plant and gas supplies from the Karachaganak field. Mikhail Fradkov pointed to the need for Russia and Kazakhstan to set priorities in their trade, economic and investment cooperation. He said business and political relations of the two countries were becoming more regular, offering a guarantee of their steady development in future. The Russian premier described cooperation in the spheres of hi-tech, fuel and energy and trade as a priority.