revista presei 5 martie

2010/03/05

Hotnews: Patru proiecte energetice in care este implicata Romania, printre care Nabucco, au fost selectate pentru finantare de Comisia Europeana

Comisia Europeana a selectionat pentru finantare 43 de proiecte energetice majore. Printre acestea se afla si patru proiecte in care este implicata Romania: constructia conductei Nabucco, interconectarea cu retelele de gaze din Ungaria si Bulgaria si un proiect de intarire a securitatii aprovizionarii cu gaze prin inversarea fluxului. Pentru proiectul Nabucco, CE aloca 200 de milioane de euro, pentru interconectarea retelelor de gaze dintre Romania si Ungaria, contributia UE va fi de 16,6 milioane de euro, iar pentru interconectarea cu Bulgaria, suma ajunge la 8,9 milioane de euro. De asemenea, pentru proiectul de inversare a fluxului de gaze, in eventualitatea unei intreruperi de scurta durata a aprovizionarii, Transgaz va primi 1,5 milioane de euro.

Comisia aloca, in total, 2,3 miliarde de euro pentru 31 de proiecte europene din domeniul gazelor si 12 din domeniul energiei electrice. Este cea de-a doua decizie financiara din cadrul pachetului de redresare economica in valoare de aproape 4 miliarde de euro. Este si cea mai mare suma investita vreodata de UE in infrastructura energetica.

„In cadrul planului de redresare al UE, finantam investitiile «inteligente» – acordam stimulente pe termen scurt pentru atingerea unor obiective pe termen lung”, a declarat presedintele Comisiei Europene, José Manuel Barroso. „Investind in infrastructura critica, dam un impuls economiei si crearii de locuri de munca si, in acelasi timp, ne asiguram ca cetatenii UE vor avea curent electric si caldura in case, chiar si in cazul unor intreruperi de aprovizionare. Am tras invataminte din ultima criza a gazelor si este unul din motivele pentru care am hotarat sa alocam un sprijin financiar important pentru proiecte de noi infrastructuri energetice”.

La randul sau, comisarul european pentru energie, Günther Oettinger, a precizat ca nu a mai fost aprobata niciodata o suma atat de mare pentru proiecte energetice. “Am ales proiecte cheie care vor contribui la o mai buna integrare a retelei energetice europene, dand flexibilitate fluxurilor de energie peste frontierele statelor membre. Obiectivele energetice si ecologice ale Europei necesita investitii mari si riscante in infrastructura care nu aduc profituri imediate. Problema este ca proiectele de acest tip risca sa sufere amanari in actualul climat economic. Or, in acest moment, Europa poate juca un rol important in mentinerea lor pe ordinea de zi”,a spus Oettinger.

Cele 2,3 miliarde de euro vor fi puse la dispozitie in urmatoarele 18 luni

Comisia va aloca 910 milioane de euro pentru 12 proiecte de interconectare a retelelor de energie electrica si 1,3 miliarde de euro pentru 31 de proiecte de gazoducte. Proiectele selectionate astazi vor ajuta la finalizarea unor importante investitii care riscau sa sufere mari intarzieri din cauza incetinirii activitatii economice. Cofinantand in proportie de pana la 50% unele segmente din aceste proiecte, UE va stimula sectorul privat sa investeasca, la randul sau, pana la 22 miliarde de euro. Suma de 2,3 miliarde de euro va fi pusa la dispozitia promotorilor proiectelor in urmatoarele 18 luni.

  • Proiectele selectionate din domeniul infrastructurii energiei electrice si gazelor naturale reprezinta prioritatile energetice ale UE.
  • Printre acestea se numara ameliorarea interconectarii statelor membre si reducerea izolarii unor zone mai indepartate, cum ar fi cele trei state baltice, Irlanda si Malta.
  • O alta prioritate, care se confirma astfel, este necesitatea de a intari securitatea aprovizionarii cu gaze prin sprijinirea unor proiecte de inversare a fluxului in noua state membre, precum si a proiectelor Nabucco si Galsi menite sa asigure diversificarea importului de gaze naturale.

In martie 2009, UE a alocat 3,98 miliarde de euro pentru a sprijini redresarea economica a Europei. Comisia va prezenta un raport Consiliului European in martie 2010.

detalii: document-2010-03-4-6990739-0-lista-cele-43-proiecte-energetice

ziare.com: CE nu considera concurente proiectele South Stream si Nabucco

Comisia Europeana nu considera concurente proiectele South Stream si Nabucco si le considera “excelente”, a declarat joi comisarul european pentru energie, Gunther Oettinger.

“Proiectele South Stream si Nabucco nu sunt concurente, in opinia noastra”, a spus el, la Bruxelles, relateaza RIA Novosti.

Potrivit comisarului, cele doua proiecte sunt “excelente” si extrem de importante pentru UE.

Proiectul South Stream este al Gazprom, Eni si EDF. Acest gazoduct va lega prin Marea Neagra orasul rus Novorossiisk de orasul bulgar Varna, inainte de a se desparti in doua ramificatii, care vor ajunge in Italia si Austria. Capacitatea sa este estimata la 63 miliarde de metri cubi de gaz pe an.

Nabucco va aduce gazul de la Marea Caspica spre Europa, ocolind Rusia. Cu o capacitate de 31 miliarde metri cubi de gaz pe an, el va trece prin Azerbaidjan, Georgia, Turcia, Bulgaria, Ungaria, Romania si Austria, noteaza RIA Novosti.

money.ro: CE acordă 2,3 mld euro pentru 43 de proiecte de infrastructură energetică

Comisia Europeană va acorda 2,3 miliarde de euro pentru proiecte de infrastructură energetică. Planul vizează 31 de proiecte de gaze naturale şi 12 de electricitate şi reprezintă cea mai mare investiţia făcută de Uniunea Europeană în acest domeniu.

Comisia Europeană a selectat 43 de proiecte energetice majore, care vor contribui semnificativ la revenirea economică din Uniunea Europeană şi vor creşte siguranţa aprovizionării, prin crearea unei infrastructuri trans-frontaliere.

Comisia a acordat 910 milioane euro pentru 12 proiecte de inter-conectare a reţelelor de electricitate şi 1,39 miliarde euro pentru 31 de proiecte de gaze naturale. Deciziile vor ajuta la finalizarea unor proiecte de investiţii majore, care riscă să fie întârziate din cauza contextului economic dificil. Prin cofinanţarea acestor proiecte, cu o contribuţie de până la 50% din partea UE, se vor atrage investiţii de până la 22 miliarde euro din sectorul privat.

O parte dintre proiecte implică şi România: Comisia vrea să ofere 200 de milioane de euro pentru Nabucco, dar şi 27 de milioane de euro pentru trei proiecte în care este implicată compania Transgaz. Confrom preşedintelui Comisiei Europene Jose Manuel Barroso, toate proiectele Uniunii vor avea impact pe două direcţii majore: vor impulsiona economia şi piaţa muncii şi vor asigura aprovizionarea locuinţlor cu încălzire şi electricitate.

Romania Libera: CE finanteaza 4 proiecte energetice cu participarea Romaniei, printre care Nabucco

Romania este implicata in 4 dintre cele 43 de proiecte energetice majore alese joi de Comisia Europeana pentru finantare, printre care Nabucco, proiect pentru care contributia maxima de la bugetul UE va fi de 200 de milioane de euro, transmite Agerpres.

Numele companiei solicitante a co-finantarii de la bugetul UE este Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, iar celelalte tari implicate sunt Austria , Ungaria, Bulgaria si Germania.

Proiectele selectionate din domeniul infrastructurii energiei electrice si gazelor naturale reflecta prioritatile energetice ale UE.

Inca doua proiecte in care este implicata Romania vizeaza interconexiunile retelelor de gaz. Este vorba de Interconexiunea retelelor de gaz Romania-Ungaria, cu o contributie maxima de la bugetul UE de 16,606 milioane euro, la care compania participanta romana este Transgaz SA, si Interconexiunea retelelor de gaz Romania-Bulgaria, cu o contributie maxima de la bugetul UE de 8,929 milioane de euro  si la care participa de asemenea societatea Transgaz SA.

In fine, al patrulea proiect cu implicare romaneasca este unul privitor la modernizarea conductelor pentru a asigura fluxuri de gaze naturale si in celalalt sens decat cel specific livrarilor obisnuite, pentru a putea interveni astfel in cazul unor crize energetice in tari vecine. Valoarea contributiei maxime de la bugetul comunitar este de 1,56 milioane de euro, iar compania implicata este Transgaz SA.

Prin decizia de joi, Comisia aloca 910 milioane de euro pentru 12 proiecte de interconectare a retelelor de energie electrica si 1,39 miliarde de euro pentru 31 de proiecte de gazoducte. Proiectele selectionate joi de executivul UE vor ajuta la finalizarea unor importante investitii care riscau sa sufere mari intarzieri din cauza incetinirii activitatii economice. Co-finantand in proportie de pana la 50% unele segmente din aceste proiecte, UE va stimula sectorul privat sa investeasca, la randul sau, pana la 22 miliarde de euro. Suma de 2,3 miliarde de euro va fi pusa la dispozitia promotorilor proiectelor in urmatoarele 18 luni.

RIA Novosti: EU rejects view of South Stream, Nabucco gas pipelines as rivals

The European Commission does not view Russia-backed South Stream and Western Nabucco gas pipeline projects as rivals, European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Gettinger said on Thursday.

He praised both projects as important for the European Union but added that the European Commission would provide financial support only for Nabucco as a project making it possible to reduce dependence on Russia as a natural gas exporting country.

The South Stream project, designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian natural gas to the Balkans and on to other European countries, involves Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece.

The pipeline’s capacity could be eventually reach to 63 billion cubic meters annually. The gas pipeline is expected to start operating in late 2015 and account for about 35% of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.

The project is part of Russia’s efforts to cut dependence on transit nations, particularly Ukraine. It is widely considered a rival project to the EU-backed Nabucco, which would also transport Caspian and Central Asian gas to Europe but would bypass Russia.

RIA Novosti: Gazprom confirms Ukraine paid for February gas

Russian gas monopoly Gazprom confirmed on Thursday that Ukraine’s national oil and gas company had paid in full for gas delivered by Russia in February.

Under the current contract, Naftogaz is to pay for each month’s gas deliveries no later than the seventh day of the following month.

Naftogaz paid for the January gas on February 4.

Novinite: EC Energy Commissioner: No Conflict Between Nabucco, South Stream

Bulgaria: EC Energy Commissioner: No Conflict Between Nabucco,  South Stream
European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger ays a final decision on the future of the Nabucco pipeline project will be made in 2010. Photo by eegas.com

The European Commission (EC) does not consider the Nabucco and South Stream gas pipeline projects as competing against each other, and sees no problem with Bulgaria being involved in both.

Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has praised both projects as essential for the European Union (EU), but added that that the EC should provide financial support only for the Nabucco project, leaving Russia responsible for South Stream.

The South Stream gas pipeline project is designed to transport an annual 31 B cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian natural gas to the Balkans and other European countries including Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Italy and Greece. The pipeline capacity could potentially reach 63 B cubic meters annually. The pipeline is expected to become operational in late 2015.

Oettinger has further stated that Nabucco was “especially worthy of financial support”, claiming it would significantly reduce Europe’s energy dependence on a single supplier.

He added that the natural gas crisis had highlighted Europe’s excessive dependence on Russian supplies.

The Energy Commissioner also announced on Thursday that there would soon be an international conference on Nabucco, and a final decision on the project would be taken by the end of 2010.

The Nabucco project manager, Reinhard Mitschek, had predicted several months ago that the project would go online in 2014, with initial supplies of Iraqi gas, with Azerbaijan contributing from 2016.

Mitschek has confirmed the original estimate of EUR 7,9 B as the cost of the project, stating that up to EUR 150 M would be needed to begin construction in 2011.

Novinite: Bulgaria Benefits from Brussels EUR 2,3 B for Energy Projects

Bulgaria: Bulgaria Benefits from Brussels EUR 2,3 B for Energy  Projects

The planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline. File Photo

The European Commission gave a green light to EUR 2,3 B to finance forty-three energy projects in Europe in a bid to boost the energy sector, it said on Thursday.

“Investing in key infrastructure will not only give a push to the economy and employment, but it will also help ensuring that citizens’ homes will have heating and electricity, even in the event of supply disruptions,” the commission’s President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

Bulgaria will receive funding for the Nabucco pipeline project, which is supposed to carry Caspian gas to Austria. All Nabucco projects are receiving EUR 200 M, while its potential competitor ITGI–which would carry the gas to Italy–will get EUR 100 M.

Other gas and electricity infrastructure gas links connecting different European Union markets or making it possible to reverse the gas flow in the pipelines, such as those between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece – were also granted millions of euros.

Bulgaria and Greece will receive EUR 45 M to connect their gas pipelines, while the sum allocated for Bulgaria and Romania for the same project stands at EUR 8,9 M.

Novinite: Bulgaria, Serbia to Sign Pipeline Deal on Friday

Bulgaria: Bulgaria, Serbia to Sign Pipeline Deal on Friday

The 180-kilometre, 2 billion cubic metre gas pipeline passing through Nis and crossing the border near Dimitrovgrad will be the first interconnection between the Serbian and Bulgarian transportation systems. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The energy ministers of Serbia and Bulgaria wil sign a deal on Friday in Brussels, which will enable the implementation of the gas interconnection project between the two countries.

The 180-kilometre, 2 billion cubic metre gas pipeline passing through Nis and crossing the border near Dimitrovgrad will be the first interconnection between the Serbian and Bulgarian transportation systems.

Serbia’s Energy Minister Petar Skundric will travel to Brussels to sign a joint statement with his Bulgarian counterpart Traicho Traikov, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The European Union Energy Commissionaire Guenther Oettinger will also attend the ceremony, it added.

The cost of the pipeline is estimated at between EUR 100 M and EUR 120 M.

Novinite: Italy’s Edison Forms JV to Build Greece-Bulgaria Gas Pipeline

Bulgaria: Italy's Edison Forms JV to Build Greece-Bulgaria Gas  Pipeline

The pipeline, dubbed Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, or IGB, has the possibility to access EU funding. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Italian energy company Edison has formed a venture with Bulgarian and Greek partners to build a EUR140 million pipeline linking the two countries in a bid to ease their reliance on Russian natural gas, the company announced.

Edison has contracted Bulgarian Energy Holding, or BEH, and Greece’s Depa to build the pipeline. The project is expected to be wrapped up in 2013.

The annual capacity of the pipeline is between 3 billion cubic meters and 5 billion cubic meters, most of which will come from the Caspian region, it said in a statement.

The pipeline, dubbed Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, or IGB, has the possibility to access EU funding.

BEH will own a 50% stake in the company while Edison and Depa will hold an equal share of the rest.

energia.gr: Edison, BEH,Depa To Build EUR140M Greece-Bulgaria Gas Pipeline

Italian energy company Edison SpA (EDN.MI) said Thursday it has formed a venture with Bulgarian and Greek partners to build a EUR140 million pipeline linking the two countries to reduce their reliance on Russian natural gas.

Edison said it signed the deal with Bulgarian Energy Holding, or BEH, and Greece’s Depa to build the pipeline for 2013. The annual capacity of the pipeline is between 3 billion cubic meters and 5 billion cubic meters, most of which will come from the Caspian region, it said in a statement.

The pipeline aims to reduce Bulgaria’s dependency on Russian gas and is part of the effort by European Union countries to diversify sources with projects such as Nabucco and the Italy, Turkey Greece Interconnector, or ITGI.

The pipeline, dubbed Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, or IGB, has the possibility to access EU funding. BEH will own half the company while Edison and Depa will equally own the rest.

Edison and Depa are among the companies spearheading the ITGI, which aims to import 10 billion cubic meters a year into the EU from the Caspian and Middle East.


apa.az: Turkish Parliament approves Nabucco Project

Baku – APA. Turkish Parliament approved on Thursday a bill on a deal signed by Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey to launch Nabucco pipeline project which will link Europe to the Caspian Sea region.

According to “APA-ECONOMICS” citing Turkish media, the Nabucco pipeline is expected to transport the oil and gas through eastern and northern borders of Turkey to Austria through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

In his reply to MP’s questions the Minister of Energy and National Resources Taner Yildiz stated that Turkey secures its interests in Nabucco agreement. Two thousand km of the three thousand long pipeline will pass through the territory of Turkey.

The Nabucco project represents a new gas pipeline connecting the Caspian region, involving the creation of «Nabucco Gas Pipeline İnternational GmbH» consortium which includes OMV (Austria), MOL (Hungary), «Transgaz» (Romania), «Bulgargas» (Bulgaria), «BOTASH» (Turkey) and RWE (Germany) with 16,67 % percent shares for each. 1/3 of the project expenses will be allocated by stock holders, while the remained by financial-credit structures. Estimated investment costs including financing costs for a complete new pipeline system amount to approximately 7.9 billion Euros. The pipeline length is approximately 3,300 km. According to market studies the pipeline has been designed to transport a maximum amount of 31 bcm/y and will be put in service in late 2015.

georgiandaily.com: Hungary Hosts Region-Wide Summit on Energy Security

Vladimir Socor

The prime ministers of eleven countries in Central and Southeastern Europe met on February 24 in Budapest, for the first Energy Security Summit in this region. Hungary initiated the meeting as the current chairman of the Visegrad Four group of Central European countries, inviting the other seven in a Visegrad Plus format, with the potential for institutionalization on energy issues.

Heads of government from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina attended the meeting, along with representatives of European institutions and the United States.

The eleven countries’ total population exceeds 100 million, the great majority of whom are European Union citizens. Most of these countries face similar challenges in the energy sector, notably the need to diversify from dependence on Russia (which the meeting carefully avoided highlighting). Holding regular prime-ministerial meetings would raise the energy security agenda to the highest political level, on a region-wide basis, within the existing framework of EU internal and external energy policies.

The summit’s communiqué called for resilience measures to deal with possible supply disruptions, as well as for the diversification of suppliers and routes to the region, particularly for natural gas. The governments express their readiness to harmonize their energy projects, support each other’s diversification efforts, advance the EU’s common energy policies, and use EU funding for implementing projects of region-wide interest.

The prime ministers called on the EU Commission to develop emergency plans and effective solidarity mechanisms for responding to supply disruptions. Noting the lack of adequate interconnections, and limited possibilities for reversing gas flows among these countries for emergency assistance, the communiqué urges higher national investments in connectivity and storage projects, with contributions from the EU’s cohesion policy funds. The communiqué emphasizes the need for North-South interconnections, which are almost entirely missing, since Soviet-legacy pipelines run exclusively East-West.

Formation of a unified internal gas market in the EU would substantially enhance these countries’ energy security. To advance the market’s unification, the prime ministers call for shifting the contractual gas delivery points to the EU’s external borders in the future (the fact left diplomatically unsaid is that Gazprom-led projects, such as Nord Stream and South Stream, would perpetuate EU market fragmentation on a number of counts, including delivery points located inside the EU’s borders).

The prime ministers’ communiqué reaffirms support for the EU-planned Southern Energy Corridor. A fine-print footnote mentions noncommittally that several of these countries are also involved in [Gazprom’s] South Stream project. This codicil is traceable to Serbia’s and Slovenia’s unquestioning belief in South Stream, as well as Croatia’s late-surging hopes in a Russian oil and gas bonanza (EDM, January 14, February 26).

The summit endorsed the Hungarian government’s proposal for a gas delivery and transmission concept, involving a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal on Poland’s Baltic coast and another LNG terminal on Croatia’s Adriatic coast, both to be linked through interconnectors with the planned Nabucco pipeline (Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria). Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai describes this concept as a region-wide energy security triangle (MTI, February 25).

An interconnector would run from Poland via Slovakia, adding to the interconnectors currently under advanced construction between Croatia and Hungary and between Hungary and Romania. As a net result, Central Europe could be linked to natural gas or LNG reception points on the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Sea coasts, at EU borders. Thus far, however, the EU is funding a modest share of the interconnector projects.

That framework, if implemented, can substantially advance the fulfillment of the NETS (New Europe Transmission Systems) concept, launched in 2007 by the Hungarian energy company MOL. The goal is to interconnect the gas transmission systems of Central and Southeastern European countries, in line with EU market unification goals.

LNG import terminals in Poland and Croatia have been under discussion for a number of years, without results. However, the surge in LNG availability since 2009, at competitive prices against pipeline-delivered gas from Russia, brightens the prospects for those LNG terminals.

Attending the summit in Budapest, the US State Department’s special envoy for energy affairs Richard Morningstar proceeded to Croatia for follow-up consultations. That country’s Prime Minister, Jadranka Kosor, assured the Budapest summit that Croatia would efficiently convey seaborne oil and gas supplies from the Adriatic coast to the inland countries. She also announced her government’s commitment to completing the LNG terminal and its dedicated pipeline inland by 2014. However, Kosor awaits a Russian offer to join South Stream during her March 2-3 visit to Moscow. The LNG Adria project would face the risk of further delays if Croatia does join the South Stream project (Poslovni Dnevnik, February 26; Novi List, Vecernji List, March 2).

The prime ministers have decided to hold regular meetings in this format, for continued discussion on improving energy security in the region and within the EU. They have also decided to create inter-governmental working groups at expert level, dealing with specific energy projects of common interest. The priorities include (not necessarily in hierarchical order) LNG, Nabucco, North-South gas interconnectors, other interconnections in the region, and diversification of crude oil supplies.

georgiandaily.com: Russia’s Energy Development Drive Slows Down

Sergei Blagov

Against the background of difficult international energy market conditions Russian companies have become less interested in finding new oil and gas fields and developing existing deposits. Notably, the country’s gas monopoly Gazprom dropped its earlier plans to take over a giant Kovykta deposit and has postponed the development of yet another huge project, Shtokman.

Earlier this month, Russia’s subsoil resources agency, Rosnedra, issued a forecast indicating that the country’s energy companies were likely to find fewer new deposits. New discoveries amounted to a total of 620 million tons of oil and 580 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in 2009, but the number is expected to drop by 14 percent this year and decline further in 2011-2012, the agency said (Interfax, February 2).

However, Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Yuri Trutnev, argued that by January 1, 2010 the country’s proven oil resources equaled 1990 levels, due to the continued programs of geological research, aimed at finding new oil deposits (Interfax, RIA-Novosti, February 3). In March 2008, the natural resources and environment ministry suggested doubling government funding for all geological research projects, up to 40 billion rubles ($1.33 billion) per year in 2011-2020, or up from about 20 billion rubles ($851 million) in 2007. However, in 2010 the government is yet to confirm these figures.

Amid the weakening international energy demand, Russian oil and gas giants apparently became less keen to develop existing deposits. Notably, Gazprom said it was no longer interested in the acquisition of the giant Kovykta gas field in Eastern Siberia’s Irkutsk region. On February 3, Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller announced that the company would not need Kovykta to export gas to Asia-Pacific. Gazprom would rely on its deposits in Western Siberia and Yakutiya for that purpose, he said. Until November 2009, Miller had insisted that Gazprom was interested in the Kovykta deal (Interfax, RIA-Novosti, February 3).

On February 17, the country’s environmental watchdog, Rosprirodnadzor, said in a statement that it recommended withdrawing the Kovykta license. However, Russia’s subsoil resources agency Rosnedra did not review the recommendation on February 19, and the matter was put off until March 4 (RIA-Novosti, February 19).

Last summer, TNK-BP reportedly tried to find another buyer, including Rosneft’s shareholder Rosneftegaz, but Kovykta was not sold. Subsequently, TNK-BP may be losing not only the Kovykta license but also the $664 million it spent to develop the deposit. BP’s Russian subsidiary TNK-BP is the main shareholder in Rusia Petroleum, which still holds the license to operate Kovykta. TNK-BP owns 63 percent in Rusia Petroleum. Russia’s Interros controls 26 percent and the Irkutsk regional government holds 11 percent.

In 2007, Russian authorities targeted the Kovykta project, officially for failing to fulfill its 9 bcm per year production quota. The regulatory pressures were understood to be aimed at putting the giant Kovykta gas field, which is estimated to hold between 2 and 3 trillion cubic meters (some 71-106 trillion cubic feet) of gas, under state control.

However, three years ago, Moscow refrained from stripping TNK-BP of its Kovykta license, but administrative pressures apparently helped a state-run energy giant to clinch a deal. In June 2007, Gazprom, Britain’s BP and TNK-BP agreed that Gazprom was to acquire a 63 percent stake in Kovykta. TNK-BP, which is Russia’s third-largest crude producer, also pledged that its natural gas producing subsidiary, Rospan International, would form a joint venture with Gazprom.

Prior to the June 2007 deal, Gazprom repeatedly denied any interest in Kovykta, and insisted that demand for Kovykta was not expected before 2015. The companies initially planned to finalize the Kovykta deal in the third quarter of 2007, but the deadline was repeatedly postponed.

Meanwhile, another Russian state-run energy giant became less keen to use its licenses. On February 16, Vostok Schmidt Neftegaz, a joint venture between Rosneft and BP, voluntarily discontinued its license to develop the East Schmidt deposit of Sakhalin-5 project (Interfax, February 16). Furthermore, the development of another major project, Shtokman, was put off. On February 16, Shtokman Development said production at the giant Shtokman gas field may start in 2016, or three years later than originally planned. It also said the project may not include liquefied natural gas (LNG) production during its first stage, and a final decision on LNG is due in 2011 (Interfax, February 16).

In February 2008, Gazprom, France’s Total and Norway’s StatoilHydro signed an agreement to create Swiss-registered Shtokman Development AG that would develop and finance the Shtokman project. Gazprom and its partners pledged to start gas supplies from the Shtokman field, with estimated gas reserves of 3.7 trillion cubic meters (131 trillion cubic feet), by the end of 2013 and start LNG supplies in 2014.

The project’s first phase was expected to produce some 23.7 billion cubic meters (837 billion cubic feet) of natural gas annually. The total cost of the Shtokman project to develop the Arctic off-shore gas field was earlier estimated at $30 billion.

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