revista presei pe energie 22 noiembrie – part III

2010/11/22

energia.gr: EU Says €200bn Needed for Energy Grids by 2020

The EU executive presented its energy infrastructure priorities for the next two decades.

It warned that the EU will not meet its goals on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emission reductions and security of supply without significant investment in cross-border interconnections and in integrating renewable energy into the network.

“We’re still using the old territorial limits, which existed before the European Union,” EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said, presenting the EU executive’s communication. He pointed out that the EU is currently not able to transport energy from West to East or from North to South.

Only half of the required investment in energy transmission networks will be delivered by the market on time, the Commission said. “The other €100bn will require public action on permitting and leveraging the necessary private capital,” it said.

Priority corridors

The Commission defined four priority corridors for electricity and three for gas where concrete projects eligible for European funding will be identified in 2012. These projects of “European interest” will also benefit from an accelerated permitting process with a time limit for the final decision, it said.

The EU executive said it would propose a new financial instrument in June 2011 to support the priority projects from the EU’s next long-term budgetary period (2014-2020).

The electricity priorities include an offshore grid in the North Sea and a connection to transport power from wind parks to Northern and Central European cities and to hydro storage in the Alpine region.

Other projects are aimed at connecting the Iberian Peninsula with France, strengthening the regional network in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe and integrating the Baltic energy market into the European market.

For gas, two priority corridors run North-South in Western Europe to remove internal bottlenecks and in Eastern Europe to boost Baltic market integration.

TheSouthern Gas Corridoris also given priority status to deliver gas directly from the Caspian Sea to Europe with the aim of bypassing Russia. It will also be discussed by the EU and the US at an upcoming summit in Lisbon.

Electricity ‘highways’

In terms of a long-term strategy to decarbonise Europe’s energy supply, the Commission proposes to establish a plan for the development of “electricity highways,” the first of which could be commissioned by 2020.

These lines would be able to transport wind power from the North and Baltic Seas and solar power from the Mediterranean to major consumption centres.

The strategy also mentions planning for transport infrastructure for CO2 after carbon capture and underground storage technology becomes commercially viable, probably after 2020.

Novinite: Bulgaria Confirms It Will Request Derogation on South Stream from EC

Bulgaria will ask the European Commission for a derogation, so that a substantial part of the South Stream pipe be used only by shareholders, confirmed energy minister Traicho Traikov Tuesday.

After Saturday Bulgarian PM Borisov and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed in Sofia two documents for setting up a joint venture for the construction of the Bulgarian section of South Stream, an EU spokesperson announced Monday that the EC wants Bulgaria to make sure third-party companies are given access to theSouth Stream pipeline.

Tuesday Minister Traikov confirmed earlier information that Bulgaria will request a derogation from the EU principle which requires a strong liberalization of access to infrastructure.

According to Traikov, Bulgaria will request that 50-70% of the South Stream pipe be accessible only to the joint venture shareholders, while the rest be liberalized.

“In that, South Stream will be not different from Nabucco, in which a part of the infrasturcture will be reserved to shareholders only,” stated the Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Energy.

Traikov was confident that this adjustment will be completely feasible and in no way will hamper the execution of the project.

Novinite: Turkmenistan Says to Give EU More Gas than Nabucco Can Handle

Turkmenistan is ready to provide the EU with some 40 billion cubic meter of natural gas annually for the Nabucco gas pipeline project.

This has been made clear by Turkmenistan‘s First Deputy Prime Minister Baymurad Khojamukhamedov who spoke at the “Oil and Gas Turkmenistan-2010″ forum attended by about 700 delegates from 36 countries, reported the International Business Times.

Khojamukhamedov pledged there would be an agreement on constructing a trans-Caspian pipeline along the bottom of the sea to transport Turkmen gas across the Caspian to Azerbaijan where it would be fed into pipelines linking up with theNabucco pipeline.

In his words, a pipeline from gas fields in Eastern Turkmenistan to the Caspian Sea was already under construction.

Turkmenistan‘s Deputy PM made it clear that it had 40 billion cubic meters of spare natural gas annually to offer the EU.

“Taking into account domestic demand in the west of the country and supplies from there to Iran, we will have 40 billion cubic meters of gas free every year, so European countries need not worry,” he said.

This amount is larger than the projected capacity of 31 billion cubic meters of gas annually which Nabucco is supposed to transfer from the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Caspian Region through Turkey into Bulgaria and the rest of the EU.

“It’s very good news for us that others supported this initiative,” he added. “It supports our president’s policy of diversifying export markets for Turkmen natural gas and we are bringing these plans to life. Today, we are selling gas to Iran, China andRussia and talks on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline are moving at a fast pace. This initiative now opens up one more direction – across theCaspian Sea – and the opportunity to sell our hydrocarbons on the European market,” explained Khojamukhamedov.

Turkmenistan has not formally committed yet to any supplies for Nabucco even though its officials have mentioned the 3300-km long EU pipe as part of the country’s scheme to diversify its markets.

Turkmenistan‘s support as a gas supplier could prove to be key for Nabuccobecause the project has been seriously questioned over the lack of potential sources. As of now, after its expected completion in 2014, it is expected to draw gas from Iraqi Kurdistan and Azerbaijan.

The race between Nabucco and its rival Russian sponsored project South Stream appears to be tightening after last week Bulgaria and Russia signed a key deal for the construction of the South Stream section on Bulgarian soil.

Bulgaria, which is a crucial participant in both projects, has lent support for bothNabucco and South Stream.

Novinite: Slovenia Hails Progress of Russian South Stream Pipeline

Several days after the future of the South Stream gas transit pipeline emerged more certain as Bulgaria and Russia signed a respective deal, Slovenia‘s PresidentDanilo Turk hailed the progress of the project in Moscow.

Turk is on an official visit to the Russian capital, which started on Wednesday.

In an interview for the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, the President of Slovenia, which is located on the northern section of the future route of South Stream, says his country sees notable progress in the project, which it views as strategically important for both Russia and Europe.

He has underscored Slovenia‘s awareness that South Stream is a complex project whose success depends on all participants.

Furthermore, Turk makes it clear that that Slovenia‘s sees no contradiction between South Stream and its EU-sponsored competitor Nabucco.

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.

Novinite: Inter RAO Eyes Enel’s Bulgaria Coal-Fired Plant, Wind Parks – Report

Russia‘s state power trader Inter RAO wants to acquire not only the majority stake of Italian energy giant Enel in Maritsa East 3, a Bulgarian coal-fired plant, but also its wind parks near the Black Sea coast, according to reports.

“We will offer in exchange the Russian government’s stake in Russian power producer OGK-5, controlled by Italy’s Enel,” Boris Kovalchuk, Chairman of Management Board at Inter RAO UES, said, as cited by Moscow-based Komersant newspaper.

Italian energy major Enel owns 56% of OGK-5, the Russian government owns 26.4% and the rest is held by minority shareholders, including the EBRD. Inter RAOis expected to take over the governmental share at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.

Should the Russian company acquire Enel‘s assets in Bulgaria, it will become of the biggest energy companies in the country, accounting for about 12% of its electricity output.

Komersant newspaper cites experts, who say Inter RAO‘s planned Bulgarian purchases fit in well with the strategy of the Russian company, which already owns GRES, the largest power station of Moldova, which exports electricity to Romania and Bulgaria.

Inter RAO also plans to be part of the consortium, which will construct the 4.8 GW Akkuyu nuclear plant. Turkey’s first nuclear power plant is scheduled to be put into operations in 2011, with completion expected in 2018.

Russia‘s Inter RAO has been tipped as the most likely buyer of a majority stake in Bulgaria’s Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant, controlled by Italy’s Enel SpA, according to Italian media reports from the beginning of October.

Inter RAO may be the leading candidate among five bidders interested in Maritza, Italian daily Il Messaggero reported, without citing sources.

According to the report Enel, advised by Deutsche Bank AG, aims to pocked EUR 600 M from the sale and talks are at advanced stage.

Fulvio Conti, CEO of Enel SpA, said at the beginning of September that the Italian company will sell its stake in Bulgaria’s Maritsa East 3 power plant in the fall of 2010.

Conti made it clear that Enel plans to sell gas distribution assets in Spain by September, and its Bulgarian coal-fired power plant shortly after that, but declined to give a value for the sales.

In late July, Austria’s utility EVN, which already owns EVN Bulgaria, an electricity distribution company in south and southeast Bulgaria, confirmed it is holding talks for the acquisition of a majority stake in the Maritsa East 3 coal-fired power plant.

British utility International Power, US power producer AES Corp. and CEZ AS are also said to have shown interest in acquiring Enel majority stake in Maritsa East 3.

A year ago Enel increased the capacity of Maritsa East Three plant to 908 megawatts, up from 840 MW, and also put new desulphurisation installations on the plant’s four units.

Experts comment that the potential buyer is probably eying a 100% stake in the plant, in which the state owns a 27% stake. The rumors were fanned by a statement of Energy and Economy Minister Traicho Traikov, who recently announced that the state can land EUR 200 M from the sale of its stake in the plant.

The plant is located in the Maritsa East lignite coal mining complex in southern Bulgaria, which generates 30% of the country’s electricity. Enel also owns seven wind parks of 3 megawatts near the Black Sea coast.

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