revista presei pe energie 11 mai

2010/05/11

ziare.com: Pretul gigacaloriei ar putea creste cu 250% in Bucuresti

Pretul gigacaloriei va creste in Capitala cu 250% in urma disparitiei subventiei la caldura, a declarat, luni, presedintele Ligii Habitat Urban, Mihai Mereuta. El a mai spus ca e de acord cu ideea ca subventiile “la gramada” nu sunt corecte.

Sistarea subventiilor la apa calda si caldura este una dintre masurile anuntate de presedinteleTraian Basescu pentru reducerea deficitului bugetar, asa cum cere FMI.
Mihai Mereuta sustine, totusi, ca o masura sistarii subventiilor nu trebuie luata in obisnuitul “stil heirupist” romanesc.
“In Bucuresti, disparitia subventiei ar insemna 250% crestere a pretului gigacaloriei. Daca mergem pe declaratiile pe proprie raspundere atunci cu adevarat va fi un jaf, ar trebui anchetate 1.700.000 de persoane in legatura cu subventiile. Pe de alta parte, in clipa in care debransarile vor creste va deveni ineficient sa transporti energie”, a spus Mihai Mereuta la Realitatea Fm, completand ca si distribuitorii de gaze fac presiuni si cer o crestere de 22% a pretului.

Jumatate din populatia Capitalei va plati mai mult pentru apa calda si caldura, care nu vor mai fi subventionate, potrivit primarului general Sorin Oprescu, decat pentru pensionari si pentru cei cu salarii foarte mici.
Oprescu a afirmat ca de subventii au nevoie doar 46-48% dintre bucuresteni, restul urmand sa plateasca pretul integral de 300 de lei/gigacalorie, si nu pe cel subventionat de 119 lei.

ziare.com: Iulian Iancu: Facturile la gaze si curent ar trebui sa scada cu 30%

Fostul secretar de stat din Ministerul Economiei, Iulian Iancu, a declarat luni seara ca anual se fura intre 1,1 si 1,4 miliarde de euro in sistemul energetic din tara noastra. Iancu sustine ca facturile la gaze si curent ar trebui sa scada cu 30%.

Iancu a mai spus la Antena 2 ca jaful din energie trebuie oprit si ca in aceasta iarna romanii vor avea de suferit din cauza crizei si a preturilor foarte mari la energie, ramanand fara apa calda si caldura.
Fostul secretar de stat din Ministerul Economiei arata ca pretul gazelor nu ar trebui majorat, in ciuda faptului ca se cere din nou majorarea pretului cu 22%, conform unor surse.
Iancu a spus si ca se intentioneaza inchiderea societatii Termoelectrica, pentru ca apoi sa fie vanduta pe bucati baietilor destepti din energie.

Mediafax: Videanu: România poate deveni exportator major de electricitate în sud-estul Europei, în 8-10 ani

România poate deveni un exportator major de electricitate în sud-estul Europei, în următorii 8-10 ani, prin investiţii masive, a declarat luni ministrul Economiei, Adriean Videanu, pentru Reuters

Guvernul va reorganiza producătorii de stat de electricitate în două companii holding, până la sfârşitul lunii iunie, operaţiune care, potrivit lui Videanu, va stimula concurenţa şi eficienţa producţiei.

Planul este în prezent blocat de o investigaţie a Conciliului Concurenţei, despre care Videanu speră să fie finalizată favorabil până la începutul lunii iunie.

Noile companii, care vor reuni producţia ieftină de energie nucleară şi hidro cu centralele pe cărbune, au nevoie de investiţii 4-8 miliarde deeuro pentru a respecta standardele de mediu ale UE şi pentru creşterea eficienţei, a spus Videanu.

Sectorul are totodată nevoie de unităţi noi de generare a energiei, astfel încât necesarul de investiţii în domeniul energiei este de “câteva zeci de miliarde de euro”, pe care România speră să le obţină prin încurajarea parteneriatelor statului cu investitori privaţi din sectorul energiei, a arătat ministrul.

“În următorii 8-10 ani, România poate deveni un factor de stabilitate în regiune, în domeniul furnizării de electricitate. Aş vrea ca anul 2020 să prindă România cu o producţie de electricitate restructurată, eficientă”, a spus Videanu.

România se va asocia cu investitori regionali pentru diferite proiecte, inclusiv pentru construcţia a două noiunităţi la unica sa centrală nucleară.

Printre investitorii privaţi interesaţi de dezvoltarea unor proiecte în România se află Enel (Italia), CEZ (Cehia), RWE (Germania) şi GDF Suez (Franţa).

România are potenţialul să instaleze “câteva mii de megawaţi” în anii următori, consideră Videanu, care nu a precizat o cifră exactă.

În opinia sa, sectorul energetic al României este atractiv “datorită dimensiunii pieţei, dar şi a politicii fiscale”.

El a avertizat însă că amânările repetate ale restructurării producţiei au făcut sectorul vulnerabil.

“Lipsa unor decizii majore de restructurare a producţiei de electricitate, amânarea investiţiilor pentru protejarea mediului, timp de atâţia ani, reprezintă o vulnerabilitate majoră a sectorului energetic”.

Videanu a mai arătat că vânzarea şi listarea participaţiilor minoritare deţinute de stat la companii energetice, în acest an şi în 2011, ar putea genera 1-2 miliarde euro. El şi-a exprimat speranţa că producătorul de gaze Romgaz va fi listat la bursă în 2010.

În aprilie, Videanu a cerut Romgaz să tatoneze pieţele internaţionale pentru posibile importuri de gaze, analiştii considerând că este vorba despre o încercare de diversificare a furnizorilor, faţă de Rusia.

Videanu a declarat, luni, că “ruşii nu sunt singurii care vând gaze””, adăugând că există oportunităţi pe pieţele din Germania, Austria şi Norvegia.

“Am cerut colegilor să analizeze pieţele, ca element de concurenţă”, a adăugat el.

Ministrul a criticat totodată unii traderi de energie, pentru distorsionarea pieţei cu oferte sub cele ale producătorilor locali, pe care le retrag în ultimul moment, el precizând că este o practică incorectă, urmând să fie notificat Consiliul Concurenţei.

Romania Libera: Cine va controla noile zăcăminte de gaz din şisturi argiloase

Pe parcursul ultimilor 10 ani, forarea în mai multe zone ale lumii a scos la iveală rezerve de gaz natural gigantice în şisturile argiloase, o sursă de gaz care ar putea schimba în viitor felul în care arată azi geopolitica şi pieţele energetice, notează cotidianul american Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citat deAgerpres.

După unele estimări, doar în America de Nord există aproximativ 1.000 de trilioane de picioare cubice (cubic feet, cf) de gaz, suficient cât să acopere necesarul de gaz al Americii pentru următorii de 45 de ani. De asemenea, Europa, ar deţine singură circa 200 de trilioane de cf de gaz.

Pe de altă parte, chiar dacă foarte mulţi – printre care premierul rus Vladimir Putin – sunt convinşi că gazul natural din şisturi argiloase are potenţialul de a schimba raportul de forţe în domeniul energetic, principalele două contraargumente la adresa exploatării acestei resurse sunt următoarel: în primul rând, exploatarea acestor resurse gazeifere din şisturile argiloase este prea scumpă, iar în al doilea rând ea comportă unele riscuri la adresa mediului înconjurător.

Pe parcursul ultimilor 10 ani, s-au dezvoltat noi tehnici pentru a reduce  drastic preţul exploatării acestor resurse, iar dacă companiile petroliere importante intră în joc, tehnologia de extracţie va avea un cost şi mai redus.

Atunci când vine vorba despre riscurile la adresa mediului, criticii au într-o oarecare măsură dreptate, în condiţiile în care forarea pentru a ajunge la şistul argilos poate afecta apele de adâncime, chiar dacă şistul argilos este situat la mii de picioare sub stratul de apă.

Pe de altă parte, unul dintre cele mai importante efecte pe care le-ar avea exploatarea rezervelor din şisturile argiloase priveşte împiedicarea formării unor carteluri ale gazelor naturale, prin faptul că rezervele sunt dintr-o dată disponibile mai aproape de casă.

Înainte de descoperirea rezervelor de gaze din şisturile argiloase, producţia internă scăzuse în SUA, Canada şi Marea Nordului, ceea ce presupunea o dependenţă din ce în ce mai mare de rezerve străine.

Şi mai problematic, aceste rezerve se găseau în regiuni ale lumii instabile. Două ţări deţineau cele mai mari rezerve de gaz: Rusia şi Iranul, rezervele acestor două state reprezentând peste jumătate din rezervele cunoscute de gaz.

Înainte de descoperirea rezervelor de gaz din şisturi argiloase, experţii se aşteptau ca gazul natural lichefiat să reprezinte jumătate din schimburile internaţionale de gaz până în 2025, în creştere de la 5%, în anii ’90. Odată cu descoperirea rezervelor de gaz din şisturi argiloase, această cotă va fi mai probabil de o treime.

În plus, această descoperire a rezervelor poate schimba politica lumii, punând la respect unele state care ridicau de mult timp probleme (cum ar fi Iranul) şi aducând unii rivali în tabăra Occidentului.

Potrivit WSJ, resursele de gaz din şisturi argiloase sunt aşteptate să se extindă la state cum ar fi Polonia, România, Suedia, Austria, Germania şi Ucraina. Odată ce va fi exploatat acest gaz european, Kremlinul va fi presat puternic să îşi folosească exporturile de energie ca pârghie politică.

Bursa: Europa va avea prima electrocentrală chinezească

Dongfang Electric Corporation, din China, a încheiat o înţelegere cu Grupul EFT pentru construirea termocentralei Stanari, din Bosnia şi Herţegovina. Este prima înţelegere de acest fel semnată de producătorii chinezi în Europa, semnalând o evoluţie importantă în sectorul energetic european, potrivit unui comunicat remis redacţiei.
“EFT a purtat negocieri cu patru producători de echipamente energetice pentru proiectul de la Stanari, dar oferta celor de la Dongfang a fost pe departe cea mai competititivă. Producătorul chinez va construi la cheie o centrală de 300 MW, în 45 de luni. Valoarea totală a proiectului este de 500 de milioane de euro; EFT îl va finanţa cu fonduri proprii în proporţie de 25%, restul urmând să fie acoperit prin credite luate de la un consorţiu de bănci chinezeşti şi europene”, a declarat Vuk Hamovic, preşedintele Grupului EFT.
Wen Shugang, preşedintele Dongfang, a afirmat că proiectul Stanari “reprezintă o mişcare importantă pentru intrarea corporaţiei Dongfang în Europa, căci va constitui o referinţă pentru viitoarele proiecte ale corporaţiei pe acest continent”.

RIA Novosti: Russian companies show interest in energy projects in Syria – Medvedev

Russian companies show interest in a number of energy projects in Syria, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said shortly before his visit to the country on May 10-11.

In an article published in Syrian newspaper Al Watan, Medvedev said: “Russian companies work on issues of participating in such promising projects as the construction of oil refineries in the city of Deir ez-Zor, the Zenobia oil pipeline and a central trunk gas pipeline.”

The Russian leader said a great amount of work lies ahead the two states for their relations to be taken to a qualitatively new level.

Medvedev is set to discuss with his counterpart Bashar Assad economic, energy and military cooperation as well as international problems.

Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko told journalists that the visit would be the Russian head of state’s first one to Syria, whereas Assad has visited Russia three times, the last time being in August 2008.

Bilateral trade in 2005-2008 grew more than fourfold to reach some $2 billion, but went down some 30% in 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Moscow and Damascus have had a good experience of cooperation in the fuel and energy sector.

RIA Novosti: Russia, Turkey to sign number of oil, gas documents – Kremlin

Russia and Turkey are preparing a number of documents in the energy sphere for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s official visit to Ankara May 11-12, Presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko said on Monday.

“The sides will sign a memorandum on cooperation in oil transportation security through the Black Sea, as well as a number of other documents between Russian companies and their partners,” Prikhodko said at a briefing, adding that “the most important commercial contracts” would be with Rosneft and Gazprom.

He called cooperation between the two countries on such large projects as the South Stream gas pipeline, the Blue Stream-2 gas pipeline, as well as the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline “extremely perspective.”

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said in an interview with the Turkish Cihan news agency that both countries were “developing the topic” of constructing the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline and expressed his hope that the joint project on building the oil pipeline would agreed on at the ministerial level.

Turkey has repeatedly invited Russia to join the project launched in 2007 and due to be completed in 2011 but has not received a positive response.

The $1.5-billion pipeline, which is being built by the Turkish holding Calik Energy and Italy’s ENI, will extend 700 kilometers (435 miles) through Turkey from the Black Sea port of Samsun to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.

The pipeline’s projected capacity will be 60-70 million tons of oil a year (1.2-1.4 million bbl/d).

The project is designed to reduce the oil transportation load on the Black Sea’s Strait of Bosporus and the Dardanelles on the Marmara Sea, which handles some 150 million tons (1.1 billion bbl) annually.

The South Stream project is designed to annually pump 31 billion cubic meters of Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and onto other European countries along the bed of the Black Sea, with the pipeline’s capacity expected to be eventually increased to 63 billion cubic meters.

RIA Novosti: Russia, Turkey agree terms of nuclear power plant construction

Russia and Turkey have agreed all the details and commercial terms for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Saturday.

“The principles of the nuclear power plant construction have been agreed. We have defined all the basic commercial terms,” Shmatko said in an interview with the Turkish news agency Cihan NA, adding that the price of electricity to be generated by the NPP had also been agreed but it was premature to disclose it.

An international consortium consisting of Russia’s nuclear power equipment and service export monopoly Atomstroyexport, electricity export company Inter RAO UES and Turkish Park Teknik won a tender for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in June 2009.

The consortium proposed building four nuclear power units with a capacity of 1.2 GW each under a Russian project. The nuclear power plant was expected to be built near the Mediterranean port of Mersin in the Akkuyu area and put into operation in 2016-2019.

in November 2009, however, Turkey cancelled the results of the tender over disagreement with the prices of electricity, Russia proposed to charge for electric power generation by the nuclear power plant.

In early 2010, Russia and Turkey agreed on cooperation in building the Turkish nuclear power plant.

“We expect that basic documents will be signed as soon as possible and the construction of the nuclear power plant will begin,” Shmatko said.

apa.az: Russian gas to be supplied to Turkey at a discount

Turkey will purchase Russian gas at a discount of 10 percent, APA reports Turkish press.

The memorandum connected with it will be signed within the framework of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Turkey which will begin on May 11.

Note that, Turkey is the biggest importer of Russian gas after Italia and Germany. 62 percent of its imported gas comes from Russia. Russia’s Gazprom Company sold 20 milliard cubic meters gas to Turkey in 2009. It is planned to put up this number to 30 milliard cubic meters in current year.

trend.az: SOCAR: Azerbaijan and Turkey develop intergovernmental agreement on gas issues

The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and representatives of the Turkish national pipeline companyBotas are working to prepare an intergovernmental agreement on gas issues in Baku, SOCAR head Rovnag Abdullayev said at the opening of a bust of late national leader Heydar Aliyev at the gas-processing plant today.

The sides are discussing the details of the principle agreement on gas prices in the first and second stages of the Shakh Deniz Field and the transit of Azerbaijani gas through Turkey, which was reached between Azerbaijan and Turkey earlier, Abdullayev said.

Azerbaijani gas is supplied to Turkey at $120 per 1,000 cubic meters. However, the cost of gas for consumers on Turkey’s domestic market is over $300 per 1,000 cubic meters.

As stated in the contract with Turkey, gas transit prices from Shah Deniz can be reviewed after one year, which means a new price can be introduced April 15.

Turkey has repeatedly stated its readiness to pay the difference that arises in the case of an agreement between the parties on a new gas price in the first stage. Gas sales to Turkey under the second phase of Shah Deniz will be carried out already at the rate of the new price.

Under the current contract, Turkey must receive 6.6 billion cubic meters of gas from Shah Deniz in the first stage of the field’s development. Shah Deniz reserves are estimated at 1.2 trillion cubic meters.

The contract to develop the offshore Shah Deniz field was signed on June 4, 1996. Participants to the agreement are: BP (operator) – 25.5 percent, Statoil Hydro – 25.5 percent, NICO – 10 percent, Total – 10 percent, LukAgip – 10 percent, TPAO – 9 percent, SOCAR-10 percent.

Novinite: China Mulls Participation in Bulgarian Nuclear Power Plant – Report

Bulgaria: China Mulls Participation in Bulgarian Nuclear Power Plant - Report
Bulgaria has stopped construction of its second nuclear power plant until it finds a new investor and funds to complete the project. Photo by BGNES

China and Serbia are considering a joint participation in the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant in Bulgaria’s Danube town of Belene, according to a Serbian minister.

The news was reported Monday by the Serbian radio B92, citing the Serbian Minister of Energy and Mining, Petar Skundric, who is on a visit to China.

Skundric had said after meeting the Chinese Deputy Commerce Minister, Gao Hucheng, that if the two countries reach a final agreement for the revitalization of blocks B1 and B2 of the Kostolac Thermoelectric Power Plant (TPP) this would create favorable conditions for joint participation in new energy projects.

Hucheng, on his part, had voiced deep satisfaction from the talks about “collaboration in the nuclear energy system of a third country.”

In their report B92 reminded that Serbia confirmed it interest in Belene during the recent trip of Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to Belgrade.

In the beginning of February, China and Serbia signed a preliminary contract on power station cooperation including the revitalization of the two existing blocks B1 and B2 of the Kostolac TPP, each of 350 MW capacity, and increasing capacities of the open pit Drmno to 12 million tons of lignite per year, with the construction of the new block B3, by the turnkey system.

energia.gr: Russia, Turkey To Sign Energy Deals During Medvedev Visit

Russia and Turkey will sign more than 20 agreements, including energy deals, during President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Ankara this week, his top foreign policy aide said in comments released Monday.

“Some 25 agreements will be signed,” the Kremlin’s top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko said.

Medvedev will travel to Turkey on a two-day visit Tuesday, on a trip that will also see him making a landmark visit to neighboring Syria earlier this week.

In Ankara , Russia and Turkey will sign a co-operation memorandum to build and service a nuclear power station, Prikhodko said, without providing further details.

Russia has long looked to build Turkey ‘s first nuclear power plant but a Turkish court last year scrapped a tender won by a Russian-led consortium to build the plant. A consortium led by Atomstroiexport , Russia ‘s state nuclear giant, had been the only bidder in the tender to build four nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 4,800-megawatts at Akkuyu, in the Mediterranean province ofMersin .

Agreements to be signed by gas giant OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) and state oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.RS) will be among the “most commercially significant” deals to be signed, Prikhodko said.

Russia is Turkey ‘s main gas supplier and wants to build a section of its key South Stream pipeline through Turkey ‘s portion of the Black Sea to create a new route for Russian gas to Europe that will bypass Ukraine .

Turkey , which supports the rival European Union-backed Nabucco pipeline, has agreed to allow Moscow to start surveys in its territorial waters in the Black Sea for South Stream.

Writing in an article for the Turkish daily Zaman, Medvedev praised intensifying ties between the two countries.

“We can confidently say that Russian-Turkish ties are approaching the level of a full-fledged strategic partnership,” he said in comments released for publication Monday.

energia.gr: Romania Aims to Become a Hub for the European Gas Market

Taken together, EU financial support for interconnecting emerging Europe’s gas network combined with the prospect of liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments of Azeri gas arriving in Romania via Georgia could see Romania turning into a gas transit hub before you can say “Nabucco.” However, claims that these plans could replace that EU-backed pipeline are arguably overblown.

Two separate developments came together in early 2010 that could see Romania develop as a gas transit hub before the ongoing battle between two competing gas pipeline projects, Nabucco versus Russia’s South Stream, is decided.

Firstly, Romania, Georgia and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum in Bucharest on April 13 for gas transport through the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania-Interconnection project, known as Agri. Romania’s economy minister, Adriean Videanu, told newswires the plan could be finished before the EU-backed Nabucco project to pipe Caspian basin gas to Europe via Turkey is completed sometime after 2015.

The gas produced will be transported by pipeline to Georgia, liquefied or compressed, and then shipped to Romania for domestic use or onward to other EU countries. According to earlier statements by Romanian Energy Minister Tudor Serban, the project could handle 3bn-8bn cubic metres of gas per year (cm/y), and would cost €4bn-6bn to build. Romania’s Transgaz Medias and Azerbaijan’s Socar, plus a Georgian company, would implement the project.

Secondly, the EU finalised plans to increase the linkages between individual gas transportation networks of member countries to reduce energy risks by making it possible to supply one market with another. Gunther Oettinger, European commissioner for energy, announced on March 5 that funding for a whole string of related projects, including interconnectors to be built between Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. Romania currently lacks any export capacity for gas to Central Europe, so the EU plan is to build an interconnector from Romania’s Arad to Hungary’s Szeged that would provide new options for transiting gas. “In three to four years, Romania will be sending gas all the way to Austria,” Serban was quoted by Ziarul Financiar as saying. “The project with Azerbaijan and Georgia could be completed quicker than Nabucco.”

First steps

Romania energy specialists see these plans – basically a downscaled version of the “White Stream” plan for Black Sea gas pipeline bringing Azerbaijani gas to Europe – as the first steps towards Romania becoming Europe’s southern gas transit hub. According to Jean Constantinescu, former head of the power sector regulatory body and of Transelectrica, the national distribution network operator, and current president of the Romanian Institute for Energy Development Studies (IRE), “In my opinion, the new connections to Hungary and Bulgaria are the first steps only.”

“Gas suppliers know that Romania is a particular candidate for a regional gas hub on the so-called ‘Southern Gas Corridor,'” he explains to bne. “Its strong points relate to existing gas infrastructure, the largest in the region, and to huge potential for gas storage facilities including depleted gas deposits. Gas storage in Romania, as for instance at the Margineni facility, can protect against problems in Ukraine and elsewhere.”

Constaninescu also agrees with Serban that the project will be implemented “most likely in advance of Nabucco commissioning.”

Aureliu Leca, a Romanian energy secretary in the early 1990s, tells bne he sees “a big question mark” hanging over the hugely costly and complicated Nabucco project. “The recent discussions between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania are supported by the fact that Romania has over 100 years experience with natural gas, and a developed, if dilapidated, interior network, and considerable existing underground storage capacities, and a number of potential sites we have identified,” Leca says. “This is a project on the government agenda, and it seems the only economic way of getting Caspian gas. LNG would be more expensive than gas from Nabucco, but it is more realistic.”

International experts are, however, more sceptical about the significance of the project. The volume – a maximum of 8bn cm/y – is small compared with the Nabucco pipeline’s proposed 31bn cm/y. They argue that Azerbaijan’s interest in the project may be more tactical than strategic; the country is in a diplomatic spat with Turkey over the latter’s US-backed rapprochement with Armenia, and due to Turkish overtures to Iran as potential gas supplier. Moreover, Azerbaijan wants higher prices for the gas it sells to Turkey. The threat of cutting Turkey out of the Caspian transit route provides leverage in all these questions.

Independent energy analyst Andrea Bonzanni argues projects like Romania’s are not a competitor of Nabucco, but “are just conceived as a back-up choice in the case Nabucco fails and, most importantly, a bargaining chip to show transit and receiving countries, as well as the companies involved in the venture, that Azerbaijan has alternatives to Nabucco and therefore its participation has to be well-rewarded.”

“Nabucco is expected to be operational by 2015, but the timeframe is highly uncertain due to the lack of upstream suppliers and financing,” says Bonzanni. “State-of-the-art technology can indeed guarantee supplies of LNG within a shorter time, but I doubt any of the parties involved will push hard for a rapid conclusion of this venture,” says Bonzanni.

Moreover, Romania is not the only country hatching similar plans. Azerbaijan recently agreed on a similar smaller project to ship 1bn of compressed natural gas to Bulgaria. “Undoubtedly, Romania aims at becoming a hub for the European gas market in order to solve its problems of energy security and gain regional leverage. These projects are, however, shared by several countries in Southeastern Europe and Turkey or Bulgaria, with South Stream and/or Nabucco, definitely better candidates for this role,” says Bonzanni.

If you can’t beat’em

Adding to the confusion are recent talks between Russia and Romania’s national gas company Romgaz about the latter participating in the Russian South Stream project to move Russian gas under the Black Sea through the Balkans and on to Italy. And further complicating matters, Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Italian energy giant Eni, Gazprom’s partner in the South Stream project, was quoted on March 12 as proposing a merger of the rival projects Nabucco and South Stream for part of the route: “We would reduce investments, operational costs and increase overall returns.”

The LNG project definitely adds to doubts about Nabucco, the viability of which is being questioned due to the geopolitical risks it is exposed to in terms of sourcing supplies and securing their transit. These risks range from the recently announced Turkmenistan-China pipeline, to increasing US-Iran tension, the many ramifications of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, and the surge in extraction of unconventional (shale) gas. Such doubts produce a vicious circle, since weakening resolve on the part of any one participant weakens the willingness of others to commit unconditionally. This means that, despite the EU’s unflagging enthusiasm, the project might still die the death of a thousand doubts.

But speaking April 16 to Kyiv students and journalists, Nabucco’s adviser/lobbyist, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, was his usual rambunctious self: “South Stream would go through the deep waters of the Black Sea, and I do not see it being built.” Asked from where Nabucco would get its gas, he named the Caucasus, Central Asia, North Iraq, “…and even further south.”
The main event of the Russian-Turkish summit will be the first meeting of a new council for higher co-operation headed by Medvedev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin said.

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