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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Caspian gas pipeline accord to be signed soon

kazakhstanrussiaturkmenistanRBC, 21.11.2007, Moscow 09:55:29 – An agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan on the construction of a Caspian gas pipeline will be signed by the end of 2007, a Russian government source close to the trilateral talks told journalists, adding that internal approval procedures were nearing completion, and that the document would be endorsed soon. Although there are no outstanding issues regarding the agreement with either Turkmenistan or Kazakhstan, the source considers it unlikely that the document will be signed during Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov's visit to Turkmenistan on November 21-23, as not all the required paperwork procedures have been completed yet.

New pipeline reduces oil dependence on Russia

November 18, 2007 - Russia Today - A new pipeline connecting Greece and Turkey has opened and will reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. The pipeline carries gas from the Caspian oil basin to Europe. The costly 285-kilometre-long pipeline, will be capable of carrying 12 billion cubic metres of gas per year. Officials say the project will be further expanded to Italy via an underwater pipeline to be completed by 2010. The EU strongly backs the project as it is seeking to diversify its energy suppliers and reduce its dependence on Russia, which accounts for about a quarter of its gas.

Turkmenistan Reaffirms Commitment To Russian-backed Caspian Gas-pipeline Plan

Berdymukhammedov11-21-2007 - Radio Liberty - In a speech to the cabinet in Ashgabat on November 19, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov reaffirmed Turkmenistan's support for a Russian plan to construct a new natural-gas pipeline that would skirt the Caspian Sea, ITAR-TASS reported. He explained that "Turkmenistan adheres to its partnership obligations" and stressed that it "is making efforts to develop the Caspian pipeline project." The Russian project was first formulated in May, based on an agreement signed between the Turkmen, Kazakh, and Russian presidents. Speaking after his visit to Turkmenistan for an international energy conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman also said on November 20 that he "was not convinced" that Turkmenistan would fully support a rival U.S.-backed Caspian Sea gas pipeline that would bypass Russian territory.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Greece, Turkey Inaugurate New Pipeline

November 19, 2007 - Moscow Times - TURKISH/GREEK BORDER - Greece and Turkey on Sunday inaugurated a pipeline that will pump natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe, easing the continent's dependence on Russian energy supplies and boosting ties between old rivals. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Costas Karamanlis, his Greek counterpart, shook hands in a symbolic meeting on a bridge over the river Evros, or Meric in Turkish, which separates the two countries. "We are forming a bridge as an energy transit country," Erdogan said in a speech at a ceremony held at Ipsala on the Turkish side of the border. The project marks another step forward in boosting ties between two former foes, creating energy partners out of two NATO members who came close to war as recently as 1996. The pipeline will eventually carry around 12 billion cubic meters of gas a year -- 3 bcm for Greece and the rest for re-export to Europe -- from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field. The European Union is backing the Greek-Turkish project as it seeks to diversify its energy suppliers and reduce its natural gas dependence on Russia, from where it buys about a quarter of its gas.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gazprom faces delays to Nord Stream launch , report says

November 6, 2007 - REUTERS - MOSCOW – Russia's Gazprom will postpone the start-up of the Nord Stream pipeline by several months as it faces delays in clearing the project with all the countries involved, Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday. The agency quoted Nord Stream's technical director, Sergei Serdyukov, as saying the start of construction of the underwater link had been delayed by six months to July 2009, while first deliveries had been postponed by two months to Nov. 30, 2010. He said some countries in the Baltic region had delayed clearance of the project. He did not specify which countries. Gazprom has previously said the Nord Stream group was struggling to get permission from German officials to build an onshore section in Germany, which would ship Russian gas to the continent when it arrives by the underwater pipeline. Apart from Gazprom, the Nord Stream group includes German firms BASF and E.ON. Dutch company Gasunie has also been holding talks to join the project. Gazprom has said problems with German officials emerged amid a debate in the European Union about whether to allow major energy suppliers to control distribution assets in the EU. Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden have also raised ecological and other concerns about the project, which is set to further deepen Europe's heavy dependance on Russian gas. In Poland, prime minister in-waiting Donald Tusk said on Tuesday Germany and Russia might soon abandon their plan to run the pipeline under the sea. “This initiative, this project, has not been prepared well,” Tusk, who is due to be nominated prime minister this week, told a news conference. “I hope and I hear some signals that in the nearest future the sponsors of the project would be ready to seriously correct it,” he added, without elaborating. Poland fears the pipeline bypassing its territory would enable Russia to cut of crucial gas supplies to the country while continuing to deliver to western Europe.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Nord Stream AG to consider Swedish route change proposal

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Nord Stream AG, the operator of a project to build a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, said on Thursday it would consider Sweden's proposals for altering the pipeline's route. The Swedish government demanded on Wednesday that the Nord Stream route be deviated eastward to Baltic coasts to reduce any environmental danger to the country. Nord Stream AG is to make a thorough consideration of the proposed new route, saying in a statement that, "Nord Stream is confident that the route which will be presented to the Swedish authorities later this year is the best possible solution in terms of technical, environmental, and economic feasibility". The company said the route had been the subject of intensive international consultations with all the countries on the Baltic Sea for more than a year, and was currently being streamlined. Finnish authorities proposed laying the pipeline along an alternative route in the Gulf of Finland. This would bring the pipeline closer to Estonian shores. In late September, Estonia officially turned down Nord Stream AG's request to approve research on the Baltic seabed in Estonian commercial waters because the research would involve drilling in the area. The ambitious Nord Stream pipeline project is estimated to be worth around $12 billion and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The first of two parallel pipelines, approximately 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) long, each with a transport capacity of some 27.5 billion cubic meters per annum, is to become operational in 2010. In the second phase, capacity should double to about 55 billion cubic meters a year. The project has been heralded as an important contribution to the long-term security of gas supplies and a test of energy partnerships between the European Union and Russia. Russian energy giant Gazprom owns a 51% stake in Nord Stream AG, with Germany's BASF and E.ON. holding 24.5% stakes, respectively.

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