revista presei 24 noiembrie

2009/11/24

ziare.com: Belarusul va plati pentru gaz cu 30%-40% mai putin decat vecinii

Belarusul va plati in 2010 un pret mai mic cu 30%-40%, pentru gazul rusesc, fata de vecinii sai, a spus luni presedintele rus Dmitri Medvedev la intalnirea cu jurnalistii din Belarus.

“Daca vorbim despre relatiile energetice, acestea au o baza normativa stabila. in prezent furnizam gaze naturale la un pret de 122 de dolari pentru o mie de metri cubi, in al patrulea trimestru”, a spus Medvedev pentru jurnalisti, informeaza RIA Novosti.

“Anul viitor acest pret va fi luat in considerare, nu-l voi anunta acum, dar aceasta va fi calculat potrivit contractului care a fost semnat.

Insa va pot spune sigur ca acesta va fi oricum cu 30%-40% mai mic decat pretul de livrare a gazului catre venicii acesteia”, a asigurat presedintele rus.

standard.ro: Conpet: Transportul de ţiţei din România va scădea cu 30% în 2009

Transportul de ţiţei din România a scăzut cu 30% în primele zece luni din 2009, la 7,55 mil. tone faţă de aceeaşi perioadă din 2008, din cauză că rafinăriile au importat cantităţi mai mici de ţiţei.
Scăderea de 30% se va păstra la nivelul întregului an 2009, iar în 2010 aceasta va fi de 10%, estimează Nicolae Dobromir, directorul de operare al Conpet, citat de NewsIn. “Contractele pentru anul viitor nu au fost încă semnate, însă am avut deja discuţii cu toţi clienţii noştri tradiţionali, Petrom, Rompetrol, LukOil şi Steaua Română din Câmpina, care nu au un plan de marketing în totalitate”, a precizat Dobromir. În primele zece luni, veniturile companiei au scăzut cu numai 1% faţă de 2008, deoarece au fost aplicate tarife diferite, iar preţul de transport a crescut faţă de 2008.

Ziua: Pretul petrolului a depasit 78 dolari/baril, sustinut de deprecierea dolarului

Pretul petrolului a urcat luni la bursele electronice din Asia, depasind nivelul de 78 dolari/baril, in contextul in care deprecierea dolarului a sustinut cererea, relateaza AFP, potrivit NewsIn.

In tranzactiile de dimineata, pretul petrolului ‘light sweet’ cu livrarea in ianuarie a urcat cu 79 centi, la 78,26 dolari/baril, in timp ce pretul petrolului Brent, din Marea Nordului, a crescut cu 69 centi, la 77,89 dolari/baril. Pe bursa de la New York, petrolul a incheiat sedinta de vineri la o cotatie de 76,72 dolari/baril.

“Am constatat o depreciere a dolarului fata de euro, iar investitorii prevad o tendinta de depreciere a monedei americane pe termen lung, astfel ca a existat un aflux de cumparare in sectorul petrolier si in sectorul materiilor prime”, a declarat Victor Shum, analist in cadrul Purvin and Gertz.

Vocea Rusiei: În atmosferă se emană mai multe gaze de seră

Concentraţia de gaze de seră în atmosferă a atins un nivel înalt record. Această concluzie a fost trasă de Organizaţia Meteorologică Mondială (OMM). Pentru prima dată în ultimii 7 ani a crescut conţinutul de metan.

Secretarul general al OMM, Michel Jarraud, este pesimist în ce priveşte evoluţia evenimentelor. La sfârşitul secolului, temperatura medie pe Terra a crescut cu aproape 6,5 grade, fapt ce duce la topirea gheţarilor, creşterea nivelului Oceanului Mondial şi la serioase catastrofe naturale.

Jarraud consideră că în lupta împotriva schimbării climatului sunt necesare acţiuni mondiale internaţionale.

Vocea Rusiei: Gazprom şi Austria intensifică colaborarea în proiectul South Stream

Gazprom şi Austria intenţionează să intensifice colaborarea în proiectul construirii gazoductului South Stream, se menţionează în informaţia holdingului difuzată după încheierea întâlnirii preşedintelui comitetului de conducere al Gazprom Aleksei Miller şi ambasadorul Austriei în Rusia Martin Vukovic.

Părţile au ajuns la concluzia, că dintre toate proiectele de gazoducte existente şi proiectate în Europa, South Stream se evidenţiază prin amploarea şi importanţa sa pentru consumatori.

De asemenea Miller şi Vukovic şi-au exprimat încrederea că South Stream va aduce un aport considerabil la asigurarea securităţii energetice a continentului european.

RIA Novosti: Naftogaz delegation to visit Moscow to sign gas documents

A delegation of Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz will visit Moscow on Tuesday to hold talks with Russian energy giant Gazprom and sign documents excluding fines for Ukraine.

“Tomorrow we will sign documents that the actual volume of gas the country [Ukraine] consumed in 2009 is 25 billion [cu m], and an application for next year,” Naftogaz CEO Oleh Dubyna said Monday.

Dubyna said the documents are an official confirmation on the part of Russia that it will not use sanctions on the “take or pay” clause in the gas supply contracts obligating buyers to pay for the entire contracted volumes.

Instead of 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas, Ukraine will buy less than 25 billion in 2009. The ex-Soviet state is liable to penalties for under-importing under a bilateral agreement with Gazprom if the shortfall exceeds 20%.

But Russia has said it will not fine Kiev for falling short of contracted purchase volumes due to the ex-Soviet state’s difficult economic situation.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who met on November 19 in the Ukrainian city of Yalta with his counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko, reiterated that no sanctions will be used against Ukraine.

He also said the contract-stipulated amounts of gas to be purchased by Ukraine in 2010, or 52 billion cu m, will be adjusted. According to Naftogas estimates, Ukraine will be able to buy only some 30 billion cu m.

Russia, which supplies around one quarter of Europe’s gas, briefly shut down supplies via Ukraine’s pipeline system at the start of the year amid a dispute unpaid bills and new prices.

The conflict was resolved in January, when Putin and Tymoshenko reached a deal on imports and transit for 2009.

Ukraine transits around 80% of Russia’s Europe-bound gas.

RIA Novosti: Turkmen president to discuss energy partnership in Italy

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov will start a two-day official visit to Italy on Tuesday, the presidential press service said.

Berdymukhamedov will hold talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Local media say a large package of bilateral agreements to expand cooperation is to be signed following the talks, to focus on energy issues.

The European Union considers Turkmenistan as one of the key possible suppliers of natural gas for the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, due to bring Caspian gas via the Balkans to Central Europe and reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian gas.

Turkmenistan is making huge efforts to bring its energy resources to global markets. Italy’s oil and gas concern Eni has showed interest in the Turkmen hydrocarbon market.

A Turkmen-Italian business forum is also expected to be held in the Italian capital Rome during the Turkmen leader’s visit.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. Italy is Turkmenistan’s eighth largest foreign trade partner. According to Turkmen statistics, bilateral trade in the first 10 months of 2009 exceeded $385 million.

Eurasia Daily Monitor: Moscow Backtracks From Strategy to Bypass Ukraine’s Gas Transit System

By: Vladimir Socor

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko declared on November 16 that the Nord Stream pipeline on the Baltic seabed would not be used for diverting gas volumes away from Ukraine’s transit pipelines to Europe. In effect, this statement acknowledges that the Nord Stream pipeline, from Russia directly to Germany, is not a Ukraine-bypass project (Interfax, November 16).

As if on cue, the Gazprom-led Nord Stream consortium confirmed for Western audiences that this project is not about avoiding East European transit routes, but is simply targeting North European gas markets other than those being supplied through the Ukrainian transit pipelines (Wall Street Journal, November 18).

In a similar vein, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared on November 14 that the South Stream project –from Russia via the Black Sea to southern and central European countries– is intended to “discipline Ukraine.” This statement, too, implies that the undersea South Stream is meant to pressure Ukraine, not actually to bypass it, particularly as Russian authorities have never been able to identify gas sources to supply South Stream (Interfax, November 14).

These statements mark a political retreat from Moscow’s long-standing threats to circumvent Ukraine through Nord Stream and South Stream. Those threats had aimed to intimidate successive Ukrainian governments into ceding control over the Ukrainian transit system to Gazprom, lest the flow dry up.

Gazprom’s threats were hardly credible, however. All along, the Russian company lacked the means to modernize the Ukrainian transit system (unless it would enlist allied companies in West Europe to finance the upgrades in Ukraine for Gazprom). Moreover, the European Union and Ukraine signed an agreement in March 2009 on upgrading Ukraine’s gas transit system, irrespective of Gazprom. This agreement solidified the European interest and strategic stake in preserving the integrity of Ukraine’s gas transit system and its full-throttle operation for Russian gas deliveries to Europe.

By the same token, Moscow’s disclaimers of intent to bypass Ukraine might discomfit certain European parties to the Nord Stream and South Stream projects. From Germany (main customer for Nord Stream gas) to Slovenia (latest entrant to Nord Stream since November 14), those parties had taken Moscow’s threats to bypass Ukraine seriously. Some conventional wisdom had it that Nord Stream and South Stream were Ukraine-bypass projects and that their viability rested on gas volumes being shifted from the Ukrainian system into the two Stream projects.

At the moment, Russia wants Ukraine to consider an agreement on bilateral cooperation in the gas sector. The Russian draft’s centerpiece is a proposal on Gazprom’s participation in upgrading Ukraine’s gas transportation system until 2030, apparently through a consortium arrangement. As energy minister Shmatko admits, however, Ukrainian approval is far from assured and would have to be sought from several power centers in Ukraine (Interfax-Ukraine, UNIAN, November 17).

The Russian proposal is clearly timed to coincide with Ukraine’s ongoing presidential election campaign. It seems designed to test the position of Ukraine’s political forces and draw support from Moscow-friendly parties and candidates ahead of the January election, when those forces need Moscow’s goodwill more than they would later. It looks like an opening proposal in what Moscow probably anticipates to be a post-election negotiating process. And it adds to the circumstantial evidence that Moscow is not holding fast to the previously intimated strategy of circumventing Ukrainian pipelines through Nord Stream and South Stream.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has promptly clarified her position: “No matter where I am, in power or opposition, I will never allow our gas transport system to be privatized, any consortiums to be created, or any other states to encroach on our gas transport system. This is our national treasure, which must permanently remain in Ukrainian state ownership” (Interfax-Ukraine, November 16).

With Russia’s own gas production stagnant and its declared readiness to assume new supply commitments growing, a wide gap has opened between Russia’s actual export potential and its declared promises of gas to external consumers. Some of those potential consumers (notably in German business circles) reckoned with Gazprom’s monopsony to continue with regard to Turkmen gas, so as to free up gas volumes from Russia’s own production for export to Western Europe. That expectation, however, now seems increasingly unlikely to be fulfilled. The financial-economic crisis has compelled Gazprom to suspend its imports of Turkmen gas since April and to downscale its declared offer to import Turkmen gas next year and afterward. Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad field, which accounted for the lion’s share of Turkmen gas exports to Russia, is now being partly reoriented for export toward Iran.

In mid-November, Turkmenistan completed the construction of a new export pipeline from Dauletabad, southward to Iran, with a first-stage capacity of 6 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year and a planned second-stage capacity of another 6 bcm annually. The new pipeline, which runs in eastern Turkmenistan, adds to the existing pipeline in the western part of the country, Korpeje-Kurt Kuy, delivering up to 8 bcm of Turkmen gas to Iran (www.iran.ru, November 20).

Turkmenistan and China are set to inaugurate in December the new gas pipeline from the Bagtyarlik contract area, for an ultimate volume of 30 bcm of Turkmen gas to China via Kazakhstan. Thus, early production from newly opened Turkmen fields is headed in directions other than Russia, in line with Ashgabat’s export diversification policy.

With Russia’s monopsony rapidly losing ground in Turkmenistan, the ambitious Nord Stream and South Stream project look even more questionable. South Stream can hardly expect to be filled with Turkmen gas; and Nord Stream can hardly count on Turkmen gas volumes in Russia to free up equivalent Siberian gas volumes for export to Germany and other possible Nord Stream destinations.

Thus, Moscow now seems to backtrack from its earlier threats to bypass Ukraine through Nord Stream and South Stream. Russia’s own stagnant production, the loss of monopsony in Turkmenistan, and –at least as importantly– the E.U.-Ukraine agreement on upgrading Ukraine’s transit system are at this stage defeating Moscow’s strategy to bypass Ukraine. Accordingly, Moscow is reverting to its earlier strategy to seek control of the Ukrainian system under the guise of a consortium formula that would include Western companies allied with Gazprom.

Eurasia Daily Monitor: Medvedev Smiles to Europe, While Putin Stamps his Authority

By: Pavel K. Baev

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev with President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso

The Russia-EU summit in Stockholm last week was hailed by commentators on both sides as friendly beyond expectations and the most successful in the long series of tense and content-free summits. A few months back, Moscow –irritated by the strong Swedish condemnation of the Georgian war– had proposed holding the event in Brussels, but Foreign Minister Carl Bildt duly toned down his criticism and the long-expected decision on granting Gazprom permission to build the Nord Stream pipeline across the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea created the warmest possible atmosphere for the summit (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, November 19).

This “thaw,” however, does not signify a “reset” in the Russian-European pseudo-partnership, and non-stop smiles have hardly made a significant contribution to rebuilding eroded trust. In an express-poll conducted by Ekho Moskvy on November 18, more than 70 percent of its liberal audience defined relations between Russia and the E.U. as “confrontation” and only 20 percent –as “cooperation.” The outgoing E.U. leadership had opted for a problem-free summit on the eve of the crucial vote for the first ever President of the European Council as well as a new High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy (www.gazeta.ru, November 19). At the next summit, scheduled for June 2010 in Rostov-on-Don, Catherine Ashton, who has taken the latter job with a newly strengthened mandate, might disillusion Medvedev who assumes that “things are progressing quite nicely” towards a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

One of the stumbling blocks is Russia’s ambivalent course on acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Medvedev’s claim that he had instructed the cabinet to take the “shortest path” offered only a modicum of clarity. The most alarming divergence of interests, however, is happening exactly in the most developed “space for cooperation” –energy trade and investment, and Medvedev’s smiles did little to restore Russia’s reputation as a reliable exporter (Vedomosti, November 19). A far more important event in this respect occurred the next day in Yalta, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had a late night meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko. They agreed to a deal on prices and volumes for the supply and transit of Russian gas, which would have been great news for European consumers, were this bargain not so directly aimed at influencing the presidential elections in Ukraine next January. Putin saw no reason to deny himself the pleasure of making rude jokes concerning Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, and Tymoshenko was only too happy to play along (Kommersant, November 21).

The quality of this humor would not surprise European leaders (except, perhaps, Lady Ashton who has not savored it before), but the fact that Putin again seeks to harvest political dividends from the gas business is alarming. That this time he finds it beneficial not to punish Ukraine for violating contract agreements (Tymoshenko has received a multi-million dollar gift, as Putin confirmed a waiver on Gazprom’s trademark “take-or-pay” provision) which may lift some concerns about another “gas war.” The intrigue, however, is certain to take many new turns after the Ukrainian elections, and the E.U. Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs knows perfectly well that the newly-signed memorandum on setting an early warning mechanism provides no guarantee against sudden disruptions (Kommersant, November 17).

The “gas-for-promises” deal with Tymoshenko may not be that profitable for Russia (particularly since her promises are known to be less than rock-solid), but it has reaffirmed Putin’s role as the “decider.” Medvedev, therefore, is left with the public relations functions of beautifying Russia’s image abroad and making rousing speeches that mix patriotism and liberalism in healthy doses. He is trying to push these boundaries by issuing instructions to the government, but Russian bureaucracy is adept at sabotaging orders and reporting on their impeccable implementation. The real power of the presidential office is in hiring-and-firing, but Medvedev remains extra-cautious in using it. His advisor Mikhail Lesin, the former media minister and a key manipulator in Putin’s propaganda machine, was sacked with the stamp “abuse of office” last week, but this scandal remains an exception that proves the rule (Kommersant, November 19).

Medvedev focuses on the message that the pre-crisis prosperity amounted to a “humiliating dependence on raw materials” and that “the habit of living off export earnings” must be broken. Putin is clearly not comfortable with this denunciation of his achievements, and he has launched an ideological counter-offensive exploiting the pronounced disappointment in various political quarters about Medvedev’s lackluster address to the Federal Assembly on November 12 (www.gazeta.ru, November 18). The first salvo was delivered in a speech to the Russian Geographic Society (which Putin has benevolently taken under his trusteeship), which opened with a reassertion of Russia’s greatness derived not only from political stability and economic competitiveness (both, in fact, rather problematic) but from its sheer size (Vremya Novostei, November 19). The forceful follow-up was Putin’s speech at the congress of the United Russia party, which politely applauded Medvedev’s short address, but rallied to close ranks around its true leader. Putin elaborated on the ideology of “Russian conservatism,” which implicitly, but unmistakably, opposes Medvedev’s discourse on “innovations.”

In a show of unity, the two co-rulers had dinner in a cozy St. Petersburg restaurant, but the diverging course of leadership is dividing their odd “tandem” (www.grani.ru, November 19). Medvedev is trying to connect with the loose but powerful idea of “change” and argues that Russia cannot continue prospering as a petro-state, but Putin counters with the affirmative “Yes, we can.” Indeed, for the vast state bureaucracy, which constitutes a natural base for United Russia, Medvedev’s diatribes against “an archaic society in which the leaders think and decide for everyone” are positively alien, and the vast majority of the populace suspect that change can only be for the worse. Putin has prevailed over a feeble effort to gather a coalition of “modernizers” by using the most efficient tactics –allowing Medvedev to prove his uselessness as a leader of such a coalition. This predictable bureaucratic triumph leaves him in the position of a boy who plugged a hole in the dam with his finger, while the tide of change is about to overflow.

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