revista presei pe energie 14 ianuarie – part II

2011/01/14

apa.az: Azerbaijan and Iran intend to implement projects in third country

Today, a press conference on results of President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC Seyid Masud Mirkazemi’s visit to Azerbaijan was held in Baku. According to APA-ECONOMICS, the minister has held meetings in government bodies within the framework of visit.

Minister Mirkazemi says that the main purpose of visit is to develop the cooperation in energy sector between two countries: “Opinions on oil and gas export, underground gas storages, electric energy, exchange of personnel and others issues were exchanged during the talks”.

He noted that, the joint committee between two countries will hold meetings in each 6 months, research cooperation opportunities in separate spheres: “At the same time, Azerbaijan and Iran have discussed the implementation of joint projects in the third country”.

apa.az: Nabucco consortium: “Information on merging of Nabucco and South Stream is not truth”

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH has refuted the information on merging of Nabucco and South Stream projects.

According to consortium, there are no considerations on the part of the consortium in this regard. Nabucco is on its own a very competitive project.The Nabucco project has made significant progress last year with the start of the Environmental & Social Impact Assessment; the signing of a mandate letter with the EBRD, EIB and IFC. The start of the front-end engineering design of the two feeder lines in Turkey, as well as the first pre-qualification process for long lead items. All these elements are crucial in the development of the pipeline and serve to show that Nabucco is the most advanced project in the Southern Corridor.”

Remind that, the Nabucco pipeline (also referred as Turkey–Austria gas pipeline) is a proposed natural gas pipeline from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March in Austria diversifying natural gas suppliers and delivery routes for Europe. The pipeline attempts to lessen European dependence on Russian energy. The project is backed by several European Union states and the United States and is seen as rival to the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project. At the same time, there are some doubts concerning viability of supplies. The main supplier is expected to be Iraq in cooperation with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and possibly Egypt.

Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002 and the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. The project is developed by the consortium of six companies. The final investment decision is scheduled to be made in 2011. If built, the pipeline is expected to be operational by 2015 and it will carry 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

South Stream is a proposed gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas to the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further to Italy and Austria. The project would partly replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria, and is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline. The completion is due by 2015.

trend.az: Azerbaijan, EU sign declaration on southern gas corridor

Azerbaijan and European Union have today signed a number of documents in a ceremony following a meeting of both delegations, AzerTAj state news agency reported.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso have signed a Joint Declaration on Southern Gas Corridor.

Head of the Azerbaijan’s permanent mission to the European Union Emin Eyyubov and Head of the European Union Delegation to Azerbaijan Roland Kobia have signed a memorandum of understanding on National Indicative Program for 2011-2013 between Azerbaijan and European Commission and a memorandum of understanding regarding a framework document on Comprehensive Institution Building Programme between Azerbaijan and European Commission.

trend.az: LTC contracts to help EU to get Azerbaijani gas

The European Union should provide Azerbaijan with long term contracts (LTC) for buying fuel to get gas from the country, editor in chief of the European online magazine Eurasia Energy Observer, Andrej Tibold, said.

For Azerbaijan the decision to whom to sell the gas is primarily commercial and it will go for the best possible deal.

“So most of it comes down to whether the EU market can provide Azerbaijan with the right price and contracts that will guarantee long-lasting purchases,” he told Trend via e-mail.

The EU’s major gas buyers have, however, in recent years become more reluctant to conclude long term contracts (LTC), for several commercial and political reasons.

For Nabucco to be realised, such LTCs are considered as necessary since they will guarantee the commercial viability of the pipeline in the long run. Whether these LTCs be in place in the near future remains to be seen. In such a case the EU can, besides providing some financial incentives for Nabucco, only try to use political means to convince Azerbaijan to choose for the Southern Corridor, but it cannot buy Azerbaijani gas, he said.

The concept of the “Southern Corridor” includes diversifying the routes and sources of energy supplies and increasing the EU energy security. One of the priorities for the EU projects within the Southern Corridor is the Nabucco gas pipeline project, which involves gas supplies from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU countries.

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Energy Commissioner Günther Herrmann Oettinger intend to visit Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan this week.

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq are considered the main fuel suppliers for the Nabucco project.

The EU’s primary is of course to lobby for the Southern Corridor, including Nabucco. In order to assure Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan that Nabucco will be realised, it is in need of a guarantee from these same countries that they will act as suppliers, he said.

The EU has realised that if wants to be considered a serious competitor for Turkmen gas, it needs to speak and act with a single voice, he said.

The EU’s plans for a Caspian Development Corporation (CDC), meant to purchase gas for European companies under EU flag, is taking more concrete shapes, he said.

Perhaps that Barroso will try to assure Turkmenistan that the EU will eventually be able to buy Turkmen gas through this entity. Undoubtedly Barroso will also convey the message of the need for political reforms in Turkmenistan, he said.

At present, there is a lack of necessary infrastructure to transport Turkmen gas to Europe through the effective route. The construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline could be one of the solutions to this issue. This issue will also be discussed during the visit of the EU senior officials to Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, he said.

The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline will have a length of about 300 kilometers and be laid on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea. The pipeline will connect to Azerbaijan where it will link to the South Corridor, which includes the Nabucco pipeline project, which is a priority for the EU.

Its construction is hampered by the unresolved issue of the status of the Caspian Sea now.
Turkmenistan’s position is to gain the consent of those countries through which it will stretch (that is, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan) to lay the gas pipeline.

It is hard to imagine that countries like Russia and Iran would not look for effective ways to oppose the Trans-Caspian pipeline, he said.

On the other hand, the Turkmen president recently suggested that exporting gas in a liquified form should also be considered. Perhaps this would be an alternative to the pipeline, at least for smaller volumes. Or it could be interpreted as a sign that Turkmenistan is nevertheless not that convinced about the viability of a Trans-Caspian pipeline in the near future.

Last summer, Italian Eni proposed SOCAR to take part in the transportation of 6.8 billion cubic meters of compressed gas from Turkmenistan through the Caspian Sea by ships.
The parties made a decision within the SOCAR working group SOCAR and Eni to study the whole range of issues within this project, in particular, technical, legal and commercial issues.

Novinite: EU Strikes ‘Breakthrough’ Natural Gas Supply Deal with Azerbaijan

The EU has made a “breakthrough” deal with Azerbaijan on the supply of natural gas to the Union from the Caucasus country and on the development of the so called Southern Gas Corridor with several major pipelines including Nabucco.

The President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed Thursday in Baku a Joint Declaration on gas delivery for Europe in Baku.

Under its terms, Azerbaijan for the first time commits in an official written document to supplying substantial volumes of gas over the long term to the European Union, while Europe provides access to its market for them.

The Joint Declaration has been described an important step in the realization of the so called Southern Gas Corridor, the route expected to bring Caspian Sea and Central Asian gas to the EU, and the diversification of Europe’s energy supplies.

“This is a major breakthrough. This agreement confirms Europe’s direct access to gas from the Caspian basin, thus enabling the realization of the Southern Corridor. This new supply route will enhance the energy security of European consumers and businesses,” stated EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, who is on the much-anticipated EC visit to Baku together with EU Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger.

“As gas imports increase in the decades to come, we need new supplier countries,Azerbaijan foremost amongst them, in addition to our established partners,” Oettinger is quoted as saying by the EC press service.

The declaration signed in Baku Thursday stipulates that Azerbaijan will provide sufficient gas to enable the creation of the Southern Corridor, while the EU andAzerbaijan together will provide the infrastructure to supply gas to Europe.

The Southern Gas Corridor entails the construction of several pipelines, such asNabucco (running from Turkey to Austria and Germany via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary), ITGI (Interconnection Turkey-Greece-Italy), White Stream (known also as the Georgia-Ukraine-EU pipeline) and TAP (the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline), aiming to bring gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe. The EC points out that Nabucco aims to bring gas to the border of Europe with a brand new pipeline, whereas TAP and ITGI requires the strengthening of existing infrastructure in non-EU countries.

The Commission states that in the next months Azerbaijan will make a further decision on which of these pipelines to prioritize.

“We signed a Joint Declaration on the Establishment of the Southern Gas Corridor, through which the EU will directly receive Azerbaijani gas. Realizing this corridor is in our shared strategic interest. It is vital for the security and diversification of our energy supply and demand. Azerbaijan wants to diversify its exports as much as the EU wants to diversify its imports. The Southern Corridor will give Azerbaijan reliable, physical access to the EU energy market – which is the world’s largest. It therefore provides a long-term perspective for its development. In the same vein, we look forward to a swift allocation process for the Shah Deniz II gas field. I hope this will enable us to announce the Azeri-EU deal of the 21st century,” EC President Barroso stated in Baku at a joint news conference with Azerbaijan President Aliyev.

Shah Deniz II is expected to add roughly 16 billion cubic meters natural gas toAzerbaijan’s  production, 10 bcm of which would be ready for export to the EU. BP and Statoil each own 25.5% stakes of Shah Deniz. The State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, or SOCAR, OAO Lukoil Holdings of Russia, France’s Total SA and National Iranian Oil Co. all own 10% each, while Turkey’s TPAO owns 9%.

Azerbaijan has thus emerged as the first major natural gas supplier for the EU from the Caspian Sea region, thus providing for lessening the 27-nation bloc’s dependence on gas imports from Russia.

The several pipelines from the Southern Gas Corridor, which provides an untappednatural gas supply route for the EU circumventing Russia, will supplement the existing gas supplies that the Union gets through pipelines from from Russia, Norway and North Africa, most notably Algeria.

The Southern Gas Corridor appears to be especially important for EU countries such as Bulgaria, which get the overwhelming share of their natural gas fromRussia. The Russian gas supplies to Europe were disrupted on two occasions in 2006 and 2009 because of disputes between Gazprom and Ukraine, which is a major transit country.

Azerbaijan, together with Iraqi Kurdistan, will be the major initial supplier of natural gas for the Nabucco gas transit pipeline.

After visiting Azerbaijan, President Barroso and Commissioner Oettinger will travel toTurkmenistan to discuss political and energy issues, including Turkmenistan’s potential natural gas supplies for Nabucco.

In November, Turkmenistan announced it was ready to provide the project with more natural gas that it can handle, a revolutionary statement of Turkmenistan‘s First Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamukhamedov described the NabuccoConsortium as very promising leaving the Nabucco Consortium convinced that it will strike a supply contract with Turkmenistan.

Khojamukhamedov said Turkmenistan could provide up to 40 billion cubic meters ofnatural gas per year, more than the planned capacity of Nabucco which is 31 billion per year.

Christian Dolezal, Spokesperson of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH, the Vienna-based project company, said that in order to secure international funding for the construction of the pipeline, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH needs to secure between 10 and 18 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

Dolezal said the first gas supplies for Nabucco are expected to come fromAzerbaijan – about 8 billion cubic meters per year at first, of which 6 billion could come from the Shah Deniz 2 field. Another 10 billion cubic meters are expected from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the consortium is awaiting the outcome of talks with the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, the Nabucco consortium, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH has formally refuted the information on the potential merging of the Nabucco andSouth Stream projects stemming form a throwaway remark by the US ambassador to Italy, David Thorne.

Nabucco and the Gazprom-sponsored gas transit pipeline have been widely considered rival projects, with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger formally admitting in November 2010, the first such admission by an EU institution, that the two pipelines are competitors.

Novinite: Nabucco Consortium Refutes Any Plans for Merger with South Stream

Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH has formally refuted the information on merging of the Nabucco and South Stream projects stemming form a throwaway remark by the US ambassador to Italy, David Thorne.

According to the consortium, it has no considerations in this regard thus dispelling the rumors about a hypothetical merger of Nabucco with South Stream, as reported by La Stampa, which quoted Thorne on January 10.

Nabucco and the Gazprom-sponsored gas transit pipeline have been widely considered rival projects, with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger formally admitting in November 2010, the first such admission by an EU institution, that the two pipelines are competitors.

Preparations for the Nabucco project started in 2002 and the intergovernmental agreement between Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria was signed on 13 July 2009. The project is developed by the consortium of six companies. The final investment decision is scheduled to be made in 2011. If built, the pipeline is expected to be operational by 2015 and it will carry 31 billion cubic meters ofnatural gas per year.

In November 2010, Turkmenistan announced it was ready to provide the project with more natural gas that it can handle, a revolutionary statement of Turkmenistan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamukhamedov described the Nabucco Consortium as very promising leaving the Nabucco Consortium convinced that it will strike a supply contract with Turkmenistan.

At the present the project company is involved in talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, asking for an EUR 4 B loan. These negotiations are expected to be completed in 2011.

Dolezal said the first gas supplies for Nabucco are expected to come fromAzerbaijan – about 8 billion cubic meters per year at first, of which 6 billion could come from the Shah Deniz 2 field. Another 10 billion cubic meters are expected from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the consortium is awaiting the outcome of talks with the Iraqi government.

The construction of the Nabucco gas transit pipeline will start in 2012, and the first natural gas deliveries through it should be a fact in 2015, he explained.

From that, the direct investments in the Bulgarian economy from the construction ofNabucco will be about EUR 400 M and a few hundred jobs. Another about 1000 jobs will be created indirectly by the project.

Despite the neat timeline for the construction and entering into operation ofNabucco, Dolezal indicated that 2011 will be key for the project because this is when the first contracts with the natural gas suppliers will be signed by the consortium.

The Nabucco shareholders are: Bulgarian Energy Holding (Bulgaria), Botas (Turkey), MOL (Hungary), OMV (Austria), RWE (Germany) and Transgaz (Romania), Each shareholder holds an equal share of 16.67% of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH.

The Nabucco gas transit pipeline is supposed to be ready by 2015. The CEO of the project company Mitschek has made it clear that the project company is certain of Bulgaria’s commitment. He has also expressed confidence that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and IFC – a member of the World Bank Group, will support the project with respect to finding funding.

South Stream is a proposed gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas to the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further to Italy and Austria. The project would partly replace the planned extension of Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and Austria, and is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline.

In November, after months of exhausting talks, Bulgaria and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement for the construction of the Bulgarian section of theSouth Stream gas transit pipeline in the presence of their Prime Ministers, Boyko Borisov and Vladimir Putin, in Sofia. The ownership of the Russian-Bulgarian joint company to build and manage the Bulgarian South Stream section will be split 50-50%.

The South Stream gas transit pipeline is supposed to be ready by 2015. Its construction is expected to cost between EUR 19 B and EUR 24 B. It will be transporting 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, or 35% of Russia‘s total annual natural gas export to Europe.

The South Stream pipe will start near Novorosiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast, and will go to Bulgaria’s Varna; the underwater section will be 900 km long.

In Bulgaria, the pipe is supposed to split in two – one pipeline going to Greece and Southern Italy, and another one going to Austria and Northern Italy through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

The project was initiated by Gazprom and the Italian company Eni, and the French company EdF is also planned to join as a shareholder. It is seen as a competitor to the EU-sponsored project Nabucco seeking to bring non-Russian gas to Europe.

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