Thursday, December 20, 2007
Trans-Balkan partners form operator
18 December 2007 - Upstream OnLne - Russia, Bulgaria and Greece signed an agreement today on the creation of a project company, Burgas-Alexandroupolis, for the trans-Balkan pipeline that will export Black Sea oil via Bulgaria and Greece. The company will be registered in the Netherlands, Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said in a statement. President Vladimir Putin said Russia aimed to have the scheme completed soon. "This is the penultimate step before realising the project. We heard today from our ministers and experts they intend to complete it in the very near future," Putin told reporters during a state visit to Moscow by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. The 285 kilometre pipeline will take 700,000 barrels per day of Russian oil a year from Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Burgas to Greece's Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea, with the possibility to increase this to 1 million barrels in the future. The three countries in March sealed a long-postponed deal to build the pipeline, which is due to come on stream in 2009, and is seen as a further consolidation of Russia's influence on the European energy market. Transneft, Russian state-controlled oil producer Rosneft and Gazprom Neft , the oil arm of gas export monopoly Gazprom , will share the 51% Russian stake and provide crude for the project. Bulgaria and Greece will each have 24.5% of the pipeline, which will bypass the congested Turkish Bosphorus Straits and has an estimated cost of up to €1 billion ($1.43 billion). Greek shareholders of the project include the country's largest refinery, Hellenic Petroleum , oil company Thraki and the government, while the Bulgarian project company Burgas-Alexandroupolis BG will own the Bulgarian stake, Reuters reported.
Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan sign Caspian gas pipeline deal
MOSCOW, December 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed on Thursday an agreement to build a natural gas pipeline along the Caspian Sea coast. Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, the region's major gas producers, agreed on May 12 to build a pipeline along the Caspian coast to pump 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Russia's pipeline network. The pipeline deal is seen as a major blow to U.S. and European Union efforts to build an alternative pipeline under the Caspian Sea, bypassing Russia, to pump Central Asian gas to Europe via Azerbaijan and Turkey. Putin, who attended the signing ceremony, said the project would boost Europe's energy security. "The creation of this new energy artery will allow large-volume gas supplies in the long-term to our partners and will become a new major contribution by our countries to improved energy security in the Eurasian space, and in a larger context, for our consumers in Western Europe," Putin said. Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, who signed the deal on behalf of Moscow, said the Caspian pipeline would be launched before the end of 2010. "All project and investment decisions will have been taken by the end of 2008 and we expect the pipeline to go into operation no later than the end of 2010," Khristenko said
Caspian gas pipeline construction agreement to be signed Dec. 20
ASHGABAT, December 18 (RIA Novosti) - A tripartite agreement between Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia on the construction of the Caspian gas pipeline will be signed in Moscow December 20, the Turkmen president's press service said Tuesday. The agreement was reached during talks between President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Russian Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko. The pipeline from Turkmenistan, to run along Kazakhstan's Caspian coastline to Russia, is designed to pump 10-20 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Russia's pipeline network, and is a rival project to a Western-backed trans-Caspian pipeline bypassing Russia. Turkmenistan, the second largest gas producer after Russia among ex-Soviet states, exports gas via a Russian-controlled network of pipelines.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Russia unaffected by Nabucco trans-Caspian gas pipe project
BUDAPEST, December 7 (RIA Novosti) - A trans-Caspian gas pipeline project bypassing Russia would not hurt its interests or the interests of the country's energy giant Gazprom, a deputy industry and energy minister said on Friday. "That point of view only exists in the minds of the media," Ivan Materov said. The $6 billion pipeline project is expected to link energy-rich Central Asia to Europe through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009, enabling the pipeline to go on stream in 2012. The official also said that Russia does not regard the Nabucco project as a rival or alternative to the South Stream project, which is designed to carry gas to southern Europe from Russia. He said gas pumped along the Nabucco pipeline would be too expensive and uncompetitive, compared to South Stream. The European Union wants the project to diversify its supply routes away from Russia and to boost European energy security. Russia's energy giant Gazprom and Italy's Eni signed a deal in late November to set up a joint venture to conduct a feasibility study for South Stream at a ceremony in Moscow attended by President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. The pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and supply 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Possible routes for the land section of the pipeline in Europe are still being discussed. The project is set to strengthen Russia's position as Europe's main energy supplier. The country already provides 40% of the continent's natural gas needs. Russia has sought to build direct export routes to the EU since bitter disputes with the ex-Soviet republics Ukraine and Belarus, which affected supplies to Europe. European nations have expressed concerns over growing energy dependence on Russia and sought to diversify supplies to enhance their energy security. The Russian Kommersant daily said on Thursday that Hungary's oil and gas company MOL had suggested merging at least eight gas transportation companies in Central Europe into a consortium, tentatively called New Europe Transmission System, in a bid to secure more beneficial loans, including for Nabucco.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Russia will not drop South Stream project due to rival pipeline
MOSCOW, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow will not cancel the South Stream natural gas pipeline over a rival project, Nabucco, which will supply Caspian gas to Europe bypassing Russia, a government official said on Thursday. "I am 100% sure that it [the South Stream pipeline] will be built, and this makes the Nabucco project extremely uncompetitive," a government source said. He said that although the route for South Stream, which will pump gas from Russia to Bulgaria and on to other European Union states, has not been finalized, and not all project participants have been determined, the project is a "settled issue." "Although no feasibility study has been conducted and the route has not been determined, European countries including Italy and Greece have a strong interest in the project, and there is market demand for gas. There are no obstacles to the project," the official said. Russia's energy giant Gazprom and Italy's Eni signed a deal in late November to set up a joint venture to conduct a feasibility study for South Stream at a ceremony in Moscow attended by President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. The pipeline is set to cover over 900 km (560 miles) under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria and supply 30 billion cu m of gas annually. Possible routes for the land section of the pipeline in Europe, connecting to Austria and Italy, are still being discussed. The project is set to strengthen Russia's position as Europe's main energy supplier. The country already provides 40% of the continent's natural gas needs. Russia has sought to build direct export routes to the EU since bitter disputes with the ex-Soviet republics Ukraine and Belarus, which affected supplies to Europe. European nations have expressed concerns over growing energy dependence on Russia and sought to diversify supplies to enhance their energy security. Russian Kommersant daily said on Thursday that Hungary's oil and gas company MOL has suggested merging at least eight gas transportation companies in Central Europe into a consortium tentatively called New Europe Transmission System in a bid to secure more beneficial loans, including for Nabucco. The $6 billion pipeline is to pump gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia on the Black Sea floor to Ukraine and further on to Europe. Construction is scheduled to start in 2009, and the pipeline is set to go on stream in 2012. The paper said the European Commission has approved the deal.
Russia-China Pipeline Costs Reach $12 Bln
December 7, 2007 - Reuters - The St. Petersburg Times - BEIJING — The cost of an oil pipeline from Russia to China has risen to $12 billion, and the countries’ struggle to agree on a pricing deal for a similar gas pipe could drag on for years, a Russian energy official said Wednesday. A global escalation in raw materials prices and the depreciation of the dollar boosted the link’s costs, said Vladimir Sayenko, deputy head of the fuel and energy department at the Industry and Energy Ministry. “Currently we are talking about approximately $12 billion. This has to do firstly with the fact that pipes got more expensive, the dollar-to-euro exchange rate and some other global economic trends,” he told an industry conference in Beijing. Originally budgeted at less than $7 billion and recently quoted at around $11 billion, the spiraling costs meant an agreed price of near $40 per ton would now likely have to be renegotiated, he said. But the project was still set for completion near an end-2008 target date, Sayenko said. “It seems to me it will be built on time, maybe three months [delayed] — not a great difference. The difference is the investment,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the Sino-Russo-Kazakh Oil and Gas Forum in Beijing. Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said last month that the schedule to complete the first 600,000-barrel-per-day section of the pipeline by the end of 2008 was still in force.
Siberian oil pipe construction could be delayed for six months
MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) - The construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline managed by state-run pipeline operator Transneft could be delayed for six months, the president of the Republic of Yakutia said on Tuesday. The ambitious East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then on to China and the Asia-Pacific region. The project's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. "Doubts have emerged lately about the timeframe for the project's implementation but this is a realistic task and the maximum delay could be six months," Vyacheslav Shtyrov said. The Yakutian president said the problems with the timeframe were related to contractors, as Russia was currently building several major pipelines and was experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel. "I believe there are no grounds for changing the timeframe, although there are some subjective reasons, including the new management of Transneft. At the same time, the project has got a good start and it is necessary to comply with the timeframe," Shtyrov said. In the first stage, a 2,757-kilometer (1,713-mile) section will be built with a capacity of 30 million tons (220.5 million bbl) of oil per year. The project's first leg will link Taishet, in East Siberia's Irkutsk Region, to Skovorodino, in the Amur Region, in Russia's Far East. The second leg will stretch for 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) from Skovorodino to the Pacific. It will pump 367.5 million barrels of oil annually. The second stage also envisages an increase in the Taishet-Skovorodino pipeline's capacity to 588 million barrels.
Dutch and Russian interests lay undersea pipe
7th November, 2007 - Big News Network - An agreement between Dutch gas company Gasunie and Russian monopoly Gazprom will see a controversial pipeline being built beneath the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany. The agreement gives Gasunie a nine percent stake in the Nord Stream consortium, which is planning a 1,200-kilometre undersea pipeline from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald in Germany. Gazprom controls 51 percent of the pipeline, which it plans to use to supply gas to western Europe when it is completed in 2010. The project has run into objections from Sweden and Estonia on environmental concerns. Poland, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, objects to the fact that it is being bypassed by the new pipeline.