revista presei pe energie 23 august

2010/08/23

Mediafax: Finanţele au bugetat 350 milioane lei din datoria Rompetrol, dar vor insista pentru plata integrală

Ministerul Finanţelor a bugetat la rectificare venituri de 350 de milioane de lei din plata datoriei Rompetrol scadentă în luna septembrie, dar va insista la negocieri pe achitarea întregii sume datorate, având mandat să meargă în justiţie, au declarat pentru MEDIAFAX surse guvernamentale.

“Finanţele au trecut la rectificare încasări de la Rompetrol de numai 350 de milioane lei, pentru că asta era suma pe care au promis kazahii că o vor plăti. Era valoarea certă pe care o putea accepta şi FMI. Cei de la Ministerul Finanţelor au mandat să negocieze recuperarea întregii sume. Statul are şi soluţii dure, dar trebuie o acţiune echilibrată, pentru că sunt unii dintre marii contributori la buget”, au spus sursele citate.

Potrivit acestora, statul va merge în justiţie, susţinând că stingerea datoriei se poate face ori prin achitarea sumei, ori prin conversie în acţiuni, dar nu prin ambele variante.

“Kazahii au anticipat şi au angajat patru dintre cele mai mari case de avocatură din România”, au adăugat sursele.

Conversia în acţiuni a întregii datorii fără plata parţială a unor sume ar fi făcut ca statul să preia pachetul majoritar de acţiuni.

Rompetrol a achitat deja aproximativ 50 de milioane de euro din contul datoriei şi a promis că va vira în următoarea perioadă o sumă apropiată.

De fapt, acţionarii Rompetrol au promis că plătesc doar o sumă care să le permită să păstreze controlul companiei după conversia în acţiuni a restului de plată, au mai spus sursele. mai mult

money.ro: România şi Bulgaria negociază la nivel tehnic realizarea unei noi hidrocentrale pe Dunăre

România este extrem de interesată de realizarea unei noi hidrocentrale pe Dunăre împreună cu Bulgaria, care ar putea fi construită cu atragerea unor investitori privaţi, a declarat astăzi ministrul Economiei, Adriean Videanu.

”România este foarte interesată ca, împreună cu prietenii bulgari, să realizăm un proiect atractiv pe Dunăre. O nouă hidrocentrală pe Dunăre este superfolositoare”, a spus Videanu. Potrivit acestuia, în prezent, experţi din cele două ţări negociază la nivel tehnic acest proiect.

Întrebat când ar putea fi luată o decizie concretă privind acest proiect, ministrul a arătat că ”un obiectiv de o asemenea anvergură nu se poate realiza într-un termen pe care să îl dai drept limită”. ”Eu mi-aş dori un parteneriat public-privat între statul român şi cel bulgar şi sectorul privat care să investească în acest proiect”, a mai spus ministrul. mai mult

Adevarul: UE presează România să-şi ecologizeze termocentralele

Tot mai multe unităţi energetice riscă să se închidă dacă nu reduc gradul de poluare. România va cere Comisiei Europene o derogare privind termenele de conformare la normele de mediu ale producătorilor de energie.

România riscă o nouă procedură de infringement pentru încălcarea prevederilor tratatului de aderare la Uniunea Europeană. La aproape patru ani de când România a devenit membru al blocului comunitar, în sectorul energetic nu s-a făcut mai nimic pentru a se atinge ţintele de mediu pe care ni le-am asumat prin tratat.

ceste prevederi sunt cu atât mai importante cu cât sectorul energetic este responsabil de cea mai mare parte a emisiilor poluante, iar problemele legate de mediu şi de schimbările climatice au devenit prioritate a Uniunii Europene.

Investiţii uriaşe

Pentru că termocentralele româneşti vor continua să polueze la fel de mult şi după ce expiră termenele de conformare, Ministerul Economiei şi Departamentul pentru Afaceri Europene (DAE) au decis să trimită Comisiei Europene, peste două săptămâni, un punct de vedere comun la Bruxelles. Concret, vom cere o derogare la termenele pe care le au termocentralele din România pentru a se conforma cerinţelor de mediu. mai mult

Gandul: România începe negocierile privind vânzarea certificatelor de emisii de CO2

Săptămâna aceasta Guvernul va începe negocierile privind vânzarea de certificate de emisii de CO2, a anunţat Adriean Videanu, ministrul Economiei. “Până acum sunt exprimate opt cereri, care sunt între câteva milioane tone până la 100 milioane tone. Începem de săptămâna viitoare negocierile”, a declarat ministrul la finele săptămânii trecute, într-o conferinţă de presă. Autorităţile de la Bucureşti estimează că prin vânzarea acestor certificate ar putea fi aduse la bugetul statului între 1,2 şi 2,5 miliarde de euro, bani care vor fi direcţionaţi către investiţiile de mediu şi în unităţile de producţie a energiei care sunt depăşite tehnologic. În perioada 2008-2012 România s-a angajat faţă de Uniunea Europeană să nu emită mai mult de 1,279 miliarde de tone gaze cu efect de seră, diferenţa între cantitatea produsă efectiv şi acest plafon putând fi tranzacţionată, respectiv poate fi achiziţionată de către cei care şi-au atins deja plafonul. mai mult

wall-streat.ro: Nabucco va fi alimentat cu gaze din Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan si Irak

Gazoductul Nabucco va fi alimentat cu gaze naturale din Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan si Irak, prin doua conducte la granita Turciei cu Georgia si Irak, a anuntat consortiul care deruleaza proiectul, potrivit Mediafax.

“Vor exista conducte de alimentare catre granita turco-georgiana si catre cea turco-irakiana. Ruta planificata ofera o gama larga de surse de aprovizionare pentru Nabucco, care va primi gaz din Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan si Irak. (…) Din cauza contextului politic, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International nu are in vedere o a treia linie de alimentare catre granita turco-iraniana”, se arata intr-un comunicat al consortiului care deruleaza investitia.

Gazoductul Nabucco, investitie evaluata la 7,9 miliarde euro, va alimenta cu gaze din regiunea Caspica si Orientul Mijlociu pietele din Europa.

Proiectul este derulat de un cosortiu format din compoaniile Botas (Turcia), Bulgarian Energy Holding (Bulgaria), MOL (Ungaria), OMV (Austria), RWE (Germania),Transgaz (Romania). Fiecare companie are o participatie de 16,67%.

Adevarul: Gazprom şi Naftogaz ar putea crea un nou gigant

Gazprom şi Naftogaz au reluat discuţiile privind formarea unei companii mixte, după ce propunerea premierului rus Valdimir Putin ca producătorii energetici să fuzioneze a deranjat criticii ucraineni, care anticipau o preluare ostilă a Naftogaz de către Gazprom, informează „The Moscow Times“.

În cadrul unei întâlniri desfăşurate la Moscova, Alexei Miller, directorul executiv al Gazprom, şi Iuri Boiko, ministrul Energiei din Ucraina, au discutat despre „dezvoltarea unui parteneriat strategic între cele două companii şi demararea unei noi runde de discuţii despre crearea unei companii mixte”, potrivit unei declaraţii emise de Gazprom. mai mult

money.ro: GDF Suez vrea să cumpere depozite de gaze de 1 mld. euro în Germania, de la Shell şi Exxon Mobil

Grupul francez GDF Suez este interesat să cumpere depozite de gaze de un miliard de euro în Germania, scoase la vânzare de Exxon Mobil şi Royal Dutch Shell, au declarat pentru Le Figaro surse apropiate discuţiilor, transmite Reuters.

Potrivit Le Figaro, GDF concurează cu subsidiare de investiţii în infrastructură ale Deutsche Bank, Axa şi Prudential pentru activele vizate.

Un purtător de cuvânt al GDF Suez a refuzat să comenteze informaţiile, afirmând că nu poate confirma sau nega.

Shell şi Exxon Mobil au lansat în luna iunie a anului trecut procedura de vânzare a BEB Erdgas und Erdoel GmbH, companie de depozitare a gazelor deţinută în parteneriat cu cele două grupuri. mai mult

Vocea Rusiei: Atomul paşnic, sub controlul AIEA

Darea în funcţiune în oraşul iranian Busher a centralei nucleare reprezintă un eveniment marcant, care confirmă respectarea de către Rusia a tuturor obligaţiilor luate în faţa partenerilor şi a normelor dreptului internaţional. Aceste cuvinte au fost rostite în raportul şefului „Rosatom”, Serghei Kirienko, prezentat premierului rus, Vladimir Putin, în ajunul lansării centralei nucleare, prevăzută pentru 21 august.

mai mult

inforusia.ro: Rosneft are acces la un zacamant din Emirate

Gigantul rus Rosneft si partenerul din Emiratele Arabe Unite, Crescent Petroleum, au demarat un proiect de forare a campului gazifer Sharja. Unda verde a proiectului, in care Rosneft detine 49 la suta, a fost data la sfarsitul saptamanii trecute la Moscova, in prezenta viceprim-mninistrului rus si presedintelui Rosneft, Igor Secin. Acesta a anuntat ca Rosneft va investi 630 milioane de dolari in exploatarea zacamantului din emiratul Sharja, estimat la  70 miliarde metri cubi de gaze naturale si 16 milioane tone gaz condensat. Prima extractie din zacamant ar urma sa aiba loc in 2013, potrivit RIA Novosti

Presedintele Crescent Petroleum, Hamid Jafar, a fost primit, in timpul vizitei de cateva ore la Moscova, de primul-ministru Vladimir Putin. Sharja, pe litoralul Golfului Persic, este al treilea emirat din EAU dupa numarul de locuitori, dupa Abu Dhabi si Dubai. Proiectul marcheaza intrarea Rusiei in exploatarile de hidrocarburi din Emirate.

RIA Novosti: Russia’s Gazprom says in new talks on JV with Ukraine’s Naftogaz

Gazprom on Friday launched a new round of negotiations with Naftogaz of Ukraine on forming a joint venture, the Russian gas monopoly said.

Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuri Boiko held a working meeting in Moscow earlier on Friday.

“During the meeting, there were discussions on the development of the strategic partnership between the companies, and a new round of negotiations began on a joint venture between Gazprom and Naftogaz,” the company said in a statement.

Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev has said that the shape of the Russian-Ukrainian partnership in the energy sector will be determined before the year is out.

Opinions differ, however, on quite what form it should take on.

While Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the companies should push for a joint venture , Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed a merger, something that the Ukrainian opposition fears would put the country’s sovereignty at risk.

RIA Novosti: Putin discusses energy cooperation in Iraq with Crescent Petroleum

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has discussed energy cooperation in the Middle East with Chairman of the Board of Directors at oil company Crescent Petroleum Hamid Jafar, the Russian government’s press service said on Saturday.

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is a member of the board of directors, was also present at the meeting.

“During the talks, future cooperation in the energy sector of Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries was discussed,” the press service said.

Crescent Petroleum is the oldest private oil and gas company in the Middle East. It has held operations in Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Canada, Tunisia, Argentina, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates for more than 40 years. The company’s headquarters are located in the emirate of Sharjah.

ITAR TASS: Putin, Crescent Petroleum CEO discuss energy coop in Mideast

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has met chairman of the board of directors of Crescent Petroleum Hamid Jafar to discuss energy cooperation in the Middle East.

According to the government press service, “Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has met chairman of the board of directors of Crescent Petroleum, chief executive officer Hamid Jafar. The meeting also involved Iraqi ex-prime minister Ayad Allawi.”

The meeting focused on energy cooperation of Iraq and other Middle East countries, the press service said.

apa.az: Russia and Armenia sign contract about construction of atomic energy station

Russia could provide more than 20 percent of the funding for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Armenia, worth an estimated $5 billion, Russia’s nuclear chief said on Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

The Russian and Armenian presidents are expected to sign an intergovernmental nuclear cooperation agreement during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s state visit to Armenia, which began yesterday.

“The agreement involves technical cooperation,” Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Rosatom, said. “It also proposes participation in co-funding schemes.”

He said a joint Russian-Armenian company had been set up to build the 1000 MW plant.

“It is to raise at least 40 percent of the funding for the NPP with 60 percent expected to come from investors,” Kiriyenko said.

Trend.az: Bosnia reviews Nabucco project

The Bosnian BH-Gas gas distributor asked that the Turkish Botas state pipeline company to assist with the construction of a pipeline adjacent to the Nabucco gas pipeline, the aEnergy Intelligence Group reported citing BH-Gas General Manager Almir Bekarevik.

Botas is a member of the Nabucco consortium.

BH-Gas receives over 300 million cubic meters of gas annually from Russia via neighboring Serbia.

Nabucco will transport 31 billion cubic meters of Caspian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe via Turkey. The pipeline is seen as a rival to the South Stream Project implemented by the Russian Gazprom. The project is designed to carry up to 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe via the Black Sea.

Bekarevik said Bosnia needs access to both South Stream and Nabucco.

The Nabucco gas pipeline project is worth 7.9 billion euro. Participants are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE. Each participant has an equal 16.67-percent share. Construction is planned to launch in 2011, with first supplies commencing in 2014.

Azerbaijan and Iraq are considered major potential gas suppliers for the project’s first phase.

Bosnia can also receive gas through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which is one of several options aimed at supplying Caspian gas to Europe.

Kazinform: Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus discuss package of draft energy agreements within Single Economic Space

ssues concerning development of a package of draft energy agreements within formation of the Single Economic Space were discussed in the Ministry of Energy of Russia at a meeting of Russia’s Minister Sergei Shmatko with Minister of Energy of Belarus Alexander Ozerets and Kazakh Minister of Oil and Gas Sauat Mynbayev.

As the press service of the Russian Ministry informs, the meeting took place prior to a sitting of the Customs Union’s Commission which was held August 18. First Vice Chairman of the Russian Government Igor Shuvalov, Vice Minister of Energy of Russia Anatoly Yanovsky, Vice Prime Minister of Belarus Andrey Kobyakov, First Vice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Umirzak Shukeyev as well as the members of the governments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan attended the meeting.

The parties discussed the course of work on draft agreements formatting the regulatory-legal base of the Single Economic Space.

Novinite: Bulgaria Eyes HSBC, Societe Generale, Rothschild for Belene N-Plant Consultant

HSBC, Societe Generale and Rothschild have been shortlisted in the tender for a financial consultant of Bulgaria’s planned Belene nuclear power plant, the country’s energy holding announced.

Six candidates submitted at the end of March documents to bid in the tender opened by the Bulgarian Energy Holding for Belene consultant – HSBC, Societe Generale, KPMG in a consortium with McGuireRothschildArgil, and Ernst & Young.

The Bulgarian Energy Holding is expected to pick a consultant to help it decide how to proceed and attract new investors for the planned Belene nuclear power plant by September, according to the energy minister.

The Bulgarian government has said it will pay Russia for the production of the first unit atBelene nuclear power plant only after it finds a strategic investor.

The first reactor is expected to be built by mid-September for delivery to the site. Bulgaria has to pay an installment of EUR 280 M in addition to EUR 300 M already paid.

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov unexpectedly said in June that his country was “giving up” on Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project decision, and that construction on the planned Belene nuclear power plant had been suspended.

In a dramatic twist that left all of Europe confused, Borisov retracted his statements shortly afterwards, saying that the Bulgarian government hasn’t made a final decision regarding the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and Belenenuclear power plant.

The statements caused confusion and dismay in Russia.

After it took office in July 2009, Bulgaria’s new center-right government of the GERB party made it clear it was going to reconsider the country’s participation in the three large-scale energy projects – South Stream gas pipelineBurgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, andBelene Nuclear Power Plant.

Bulgaria suspended the construction of its second nuclear power plant until it finds a new investor and funds to complete the project at Belene, on the Danube, 180 kilometres northeast of the capital Sofia.

The country’s center-right government has reportedly courted Romania and Serbia as it angles for a new chief investor in its second nuclear power plant Belene to replace the German energy company RWE, which withdrew last autumn.

The plant was originally to be built by Russian company Atomstroyexport for EUR 4 B. The firm had signed a contract with the previous, Socialist-led government, swept from power by Borisov‘s conservative GERB party swept in last year’s July elections.

energia.gr: Gazprom Denies Talks On European Gas Export Pricing

Russian state-controlled gas producer OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) Friday denied it is holding talks on price reductions for European companies, following a report that German utility E.ON Ruhrgas AG is seeking lower prices.

The Vedomosti daily reported earlier Friday that E.ON Ruhrgas had asked Gazprom–a key gas exporter to Europe –for a price reduction in its long-term contracts.

“There are no such negotiations taking place at the moment, neither with E.ON nor with any other European customers,” a Gazprom spokesman said.

The Russian gas producer’s long-term gas supply contracts with European customers are linked to the price of oil, but that pricing formula has attracted increasing criticism since crude peaked at over $140 a barrel in 2008.

Additionally, due to inflow of liquefied natural gas and increased production of shale gas in the U.S. , Gazprom’s prices under the long-term contracts far exceed spot market prices, prompting importers to ask for contractual changes.

“We are continuously talking to all our suppliers on adaptation of supply conditions to the current market situation,” said E.ON Ruhrgas, a unit of E.ON AG (EOAN.XE), without elaborating.

Gazprom agreed in February to partially drop the oil-price link of gas-delivery contracts to some European customers and temporarily incorporate a spot price component in the contracts.

The move signaled a major shift for the Russian gas producer, as it tries to defend its share of the European market.

Some say Gazprom will eventually have to make further price reductions and possibly drop the link to the oil price entirely.

“We believe that Gazprom will ultimately have to give price breaks to all its customers that have or will have an alternative supplier, such as Germany, Italy, France, Turkey and the Netherlands,” said Troika Dialog’s Oleg Maximov.

Gazprom’s exports to Europe fell 12% last year amid an economic slowdown and transit issues with Ukraine

businessneweurope.eu: A new gas bubble inflates over emerging Europe

The economies and citizens of emerging Europe can rest easy. As autumn approaches, another winter gas war between Russia and Ukraine is not looming over the region. For the first time in years, the outlook for energy supplies looks stable. And new drilling in countries such as Poland could even end the domination of Russia over the region’s energy supplies.

Credit for much of this goes to the advent of new technology in the gas industry and the lingering hold of the recession, which has wiped billions of cubic metres (cm) from demand. It’s a combination that has created a global glut of gas, led by the opening of unconventional reserves in the US and that country’s effective disappearance from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import market.

The domino effect has spread across the Atlantic and into Europe, leaving an abundance of cheap LNG on the market, and demolishing notions that Russia’s pipelines would forever dominate the energy supplies – and the politics – of the continent. Along with cargoes of LNG, new expertise is also flooding into the European energy market.

Across Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), oil and gas firms have arrived to apply the same techniques that triggered the US shale-gas bonanza – horizontal drilling to tap wide subterranean gas reservoirs and hydraulic fracturing to bust open low-permeability rocks – to exploit promising gas-rich deposits. Hungary, Austria and Bulgaria have already attracted prospectors, but the most promising country is Poland.

In mid-August, the US oil services firm Halliburton carried out a hydraulic fracture on behalf of Poland’s state company PGNiG at the Markowola-1 exploratory well, located near Kozienice in Lublin province. The results haven’t been released, but the involvement of PGNiG, long Gazprom’s partner as an importer of Russian gas, is telling. Meanwhile, a host of smaller firms drilling Polish shale have been joined by heavyweights such as ConocoPhillips and Chevron, two of the largest gas producers in the US. Another shale-gas expert from North America, Canada’s Talisman Energy, says its drilling programme in Poland, which begins next year, could bring production on stream by 2013. The reserves in its Gdansk W, Braniewo and Szczawno licences could amount to 1.5 trillion cubic feet, more even than the company holds in the Marcellus shale in the US northeast, now the world’s second largest gasfield. Polish shale is expensive now, and analysts say major production is unlikely within a decade. But if drilling results arriving in coming months are positive, this will change quickly, as it did in the US.

Most analysts say Poland’s unconventional reserves could be around 3 trillion cm. Greg Pytel from Poland’s Sobieski Institute reckons they could be far larger – at around 10 trillion cm, 10 times greater than the estimate in BP’s statistical annual – and sufficient to meet not only Polish domestic demand (13.7bn cm in 2009), but support an export industry too. He speculates that the endgame for ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Marathon and other large firms drilling shale in CEE isn’t the domestic Polish market, but the European one. Polish gas, he believes, could eventually be exported to the lucrative markets of Western Europe.

That’s highly speculative, but that such ideas are now gaining currency shows just how much flux has been introduced into the European gas-supply picture, thanks to the shale gas revolution and the depression in demand.

Above all, new infrastructure to import gas from Russia, such as the proposed second tranche of the Nord Stream pipeline through the Baltic Sea and the South Stream link into Central Europe, has become much less pressing.

Foot off the gas

European gas demand fell by around 6.4% in 2009, according to Eurogas, an industry body. But this masks far greater declines in CEE. There, consumption slumped, with Bulgaria (-21.8%), Estonia (-15.1%), Hungary (-13.7%) Lithuania (-16%), Latvia (-9.9%), Romania (-14.8%), Slovakia (-10.5%) all recording huge drops, between them wiping some 6bn cm a year (cm/y) from demand. Forecasts for 2010 suggest that a recovery will be weak. IHS Global Insight, a consultancy, reckons that the rush to tie up new supplies in recent years now means that the EU is over-contracted for gas to the tune of 110bn cm this year (compared with demand of 413bn cm in 2009). In 2012, the figure will still be 70bn cm/y. And that doesn’t include any assumptions about Poland or any other consumer developing its own domestic supplies.

For Gazprom, the Russian gas export monopoly that just two years ago was forecasting a tripling of gas prices in Europe and its own ascent to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, this shift in the fundamentals has been disastrous. As demand slumped in Europe, so did the company’s sales – and its market share, which came under threat from LNG and new supplies out of Norway. The company’s aggressive stance also disappeared: as spot-gas prices have fallen sharply in the past year, Gazprom’s gas looked too pricey for its customers, so it reformulated them, injecting elements of the spot price to satisfy customers. At the same time, its boss Alexei Miller has warned buyers that such arrangements will still apply when the spot price rises. More bullish than most analysts, it also expects strong growth in its sales to Europe, rising from 160.8bn cm/y in 2010 to 170.9bn cm/y in 2012.

Nonetheless, its appetite for another reputation-damaging spat with Ukraine has also disappeared. The new relations between Naftogaz, the state Ukrainian firm, and Gazprom were consolidated in April, when the two countries agreed a deal to give Ukraine a 30% discount on the gas it imports in exchange for a 25-year extension to Russia’s lease of the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol. The agreement confirmed two things – the intrinsic link between Russian energy policy and its diplomatic strategy in the “near abroad”; and that the gas war era is over.

Pipe dreams

Beyond the relief this offers to consumers in CEE, the Ukraine deal has even bigger strategic consequences for the region. The Ukraine transit problem was behind Gazprom’s strategy to diversify its import routes into Europe – and the EU’s desire to broaden its range of suppliers. Yet, points out Naftogaz, Ukraine’s gas transit system has 80bn cm/y of spare capacity, more than the combined capacity that would be added by the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline (31bn cm/y) and the proposed second Nord Stream link (27.5bn cm/y). Add to that the European Commission directives to increase energy efficiencies and renewable energy, says Edward Christie, a Vienna-based energy economist, and the need for pricey new pipelines becomes even less compelling. If these measures take hold, EU gas import needs in the next decade could be a third lower than previously forecast.

Of the infrastructure most put at risk by this combination of a global gas glut, potential new domestic supplies, Ukraine’s re-emergence as a viable transit state, and EU measures that could yet dampen long-term gas demand, Nabucco stands out.

Nabucco’s six shareholders, led by Austria’s OMV, continue to talk up the pipeline’s prospects, saying construction will start next year and first gas will flow in 2014. Yet the problem of finding adequate gas supplies in the upstream to justify the €7.9bn investment continues to undermine it. A new round of sanctions levied against Iran by the EU and US has exacerbated Nabucco’s dilemma, because that country was to have been a supplier. Iraqi gas remains possible, and small volumes of Azerbaijani gas will also feed into the first phase of Nabucco. But the main hope for Nabucco has been to draw in exports from Central Asia. In July, Turkmenistan, that region’s biggest potential exporter, opened its upstream for the first time to Western companies. Yet other forces now in play mean Turkmenistan’s gas – even if US firms help develop it – will flow either to China or to Russia.

Indeed, for all Gazprom’s troubles in the past two years, it has secured a new strategic hold over Central Asian gas exports, on which it depends for onward supplies to Ukraine and Europe. Its decision last year to revamp the pricing structure for gas it buys in Central Asia (abolishing the cost-plus system and installing a netback regime) has wiped out the competitive price advantage that European importers could have offered to Turkmenistan. Gazprom must now pay more for Turkmenistan’s gas, but in doing so it has dissuaded Turkmenistan from pursuing more complex export arrangements, such as building a trans-Caspian pipeline to link up with Nabucco in Turkey.

That leaves Nord Stream’s second phase and South Stream. Gazprom’s decision to postpone development of its giant Shtokman field in the Barents Sea may yet affect Nord Stream’s progress with the second half of its project (the first line is already being built). That field was to have supplied phased two. The consortium building it are adamant that the line will go ahead.

Meanwhile, despite South Stream’s estimated €24bn price tag, it has garnered support from countries in CEE aware that 63bn cm/y of new supplies would bring them yet more abundance. And, suggests Jonathan Stern, a Gazprom expert at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, South Stream was no bluff by Russia to bring Ukraine into line. “Russia’s game is chess, not poker.” The project will still proceed, he says, even if Gazprom has scaled back its forecast for exports to the West.

That leaves CEE’s gas supply outlook in a far healthier state than anyone expected during the height of the EU’s rhetorical wars with Gazprom. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, will still depend on Russia for all of their gas imports (unless domestic production takes off there, too). But the dash for gas is now over. Eurogas says that while demand will recover in the coming years, growth could be 20% lower than expected before. A new era of abundant cheap gas supplies has arrived in CEE.

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