revista presei pe energie 23 noiembrie – part II

2010/11/23

RIA Novosti: Poland may admit third parties to Russia’s Europe-bound gas pipe – Kommersant

Polish state-owned Gaz-System, the new operator of the Polish stretch of Russia’s Yamal-Europe gas pipeline plans to admit third parties access to the pipeline as soon as the second quarter of 2011, contrary to Russian gas giant Gazprom’s interests, Kommersant business daily reported on Monday.

In early November, Russia and Poland ended a four-year energy dispute, signing a new gas supply and transit agreement, under which Russia will increase deliveries to 11 bcm in 2012-2022 from 9.7 bcm in 2010. The transit agreement runs until 2019 as in the previous contract, but the parties agreed that extension of delivery and transit contracts was possible.

The new agreement says that EuRoPol Gaz, a Russian-Polish joint venture operating the Polish sector of the Yamal-Europe pipeline, will pass technical operation of the pipeline’s Polish stretch to Gaz-System, while Gazprom and PGNiG will not be able to attract new participants in EuRoPol Gaz.

Kommersant quoted Gaz-System CEO Jan Chadam as saying the company was ready to offer free capacity in the Yamal-Europe pipeline to third parties. “Our plans depend on many factors, in particular, the pipeline should have free capacity. Now it is time for negotiations and we will be able to speak more specifically on the issue in six months,” Chadam told the paper.

Kommersant said Poland intended to implement the European Union’s third energy package, which required the provision of access for third parties to gas transportation facilities and a split between sales and transportation businesses. As soon as Gaz-System assumed the rights to operate the Yamal-Europe pipeline, it announced plans to prepare several rules for non-discriminatory access to the pipeline as required by the EU Energy Commission. The rules would specify the guidelines for access to the pipeline, the methods for using free capacity and regulating fees for the operator’s services.

Gazprom has not commented officially, but a source in the company told the paper that Gazprom was surprised by Gaz-System’s position. The source told Kommersant the Yamal-Europe pipeline definitely would not have spare capacity in 2011.

“There is a technical agreement, which pre-determines the load capacity, and as a result, the availability of spare facilities,” East European Gas Analysis head Mikhail Korchemkin told the paper, adding that the access of third parties was practically impossible at present but in the future the pipeline might transit gas from Latvia, for example. This could happen if a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is built in any of the Baltic states, Korchemkin told Kommersant.

BrokerCreditService analyst Maxim Shein said that spare facilities could become available much earlier after the construction of an underwater gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, Nord Stream. The first line of Nord Stream is planned to be built in late 2011, the second at the end of 2012.

RIA Novosti: South Stream may compete with Nabucco ‘in long term’ – EU commissioner

European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger admitted on Monday that Russia’s South Stream gas pipeline is a potential competitor to the EU-backed Nabucco project.

“South Stream is likely to compete with Nabucco in the long term,” Oettinger told journalists in Brussels, during a conference marking the 10th anniversary of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.

The European Commission is seeking to diversify energy supplies to Europe, he said, adding that gas imports are expected to increase in the next few years.

The South Stream project, in which Russia, Bulgaria and Greece are partners, stipulates the construction of a 300-kilometer pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis on the Greek Aegean Sea coast. The pipeline is promoted by the Russian authorities as a rival to the Nabucco project.

Russia’s gas giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said earlier in the month that the pipeline may be put into operation in August 2015.

RIA Novosti: TNK-BP to double gas ouput by 2020

Russian-British TNK-BP intends to double gas production to 30 billion cubic meters by 2020, Alastair Ferguson, TNK-BP’s head of gas business development, said on Monday.

Associated gas will account for about a half of the company’s gas production, he said.

The company plans to invest $1.8 billion before 2014 in associated gas utilization to reach an 85 percent associated gas utilization level by the end of the year and to meet state requirements of 95 percent utilization by 2012, he said.

Last year Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a reduction in air pollution from associated gas flaring to five percent of associated gas production.

Ferguson also said that the 30 bcm gas production target was a conservative forecast, which did not take into account other eventual projects, including gas production from unconventional sources in Ukraine, the company’s Vietnamese projects as well as the development of TNK-BP’s Rospan gas unit, which produces gas in Russia’s northern Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region.

RIA Novosti: Operating cost of Sakhalin-1 oil, gas project to be approved soon

The cost estimate of the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project off Russia’s Pacific coast will be approved in the near future, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Monday.

“The decision may be taken in the near future. (The cost sheet) will be approved in the next few days,” Shmatko said.

Russia’s Audit Chamber said in October that the Sakhalin-I project operator, Exxon Neftegas Limited, a Russian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, could be replaced, after it increased the estimate for the project’s expenses until 2055 by 120 percent to $95.3 billion and cut production figures.

The Energy Ministry said that it would examine the Audit Chamber’s papers but the issue of replacing the project operator was not on the agenda.

Sakhalin-I, operated under a production sharing agreement, holds potential reserves of 307 million tons of oil and 485 billion cubic meters of gas.

Exxon Neftegas Limited holds a 30 percent stake in the project, Russia’s state-controlled Rosneft 20 percent, India’s ONGC 20 percent and Japan’s Sodeco 30 percent.

ITAR TASS: South Stream, Nabucco may compete – EU Commissioner

The South Stream and Nabucco gas pipelines may compete, European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger said at a conference devoted to the 10th anniversary of the Russia-EU Energy Dialogue.

Ten years ago, on October 30, 2000, the Russia-EU Energy Dialogue was launched at the sixth Russia-EU summit in Paris. Founded upon the mutual interdependency in the field of energy, for ten years the objective of this dialogue has been to strengthen the Russia-EU relations, increase confidence and transparency, as well as to “provide reliability, security and predictability of energy relations of the free market in the long term”. The Energy Dialogue is essential to continue to reinforce mutual confidence and to set the base for a strong and stable legal framework for bilateral energy relations. The Dialogue is also a fundamental tool to further strengthen the Russia-EU relationship.

The South Stream project 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.

The South Stream pipeline project was announced on June 23, 2007, when the Chief Executive Officer of Italian energy company Eni Paolo Scaroni and the Vice-Chairman of Russian Gazprom Alexander Medvedev signed in Rome a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for construction of South Stream.

On November 22, 2007, Gazprom and Eni signed in Moscow an agreement about establishing a joint project company for the commissioning of the marketing and technical feasibility studies of the project. The joint venture South Stream AG, equally owned by Gazprom and Eni, was registered on 18 January 2008 in Switzerland.

The preliminary agreement between Russia and Bulgaria on Bulgaria’s participation in the project was signed on 18 January 2008. It was agreed to set up an equally owned company to build and operate the Bulgarian section of the pipeline. The agreement was ratified by Bulgarian Parliament on July 25, 2008. The first agreement between Russia and Serbia was signed even before announcement of the South Stream project. On 20 December 2006, Gazprom and Serbian state-owned gas company Srbijagas agreed to conduct a study on building a gas pipeline running from Bulgaria to Serbia. On January 25, 2008, Russia and Serbia signed an agreement to route a northern pipe of South Stream through Serbia and to create a joint company to build the Serbian section of the pipeline and large gas storage facility near Banatski Dvor in Serbia. On the same day, Russia and Hungary agreed to set up an equally owned joint company to build and operate the Hungarian section of the pipeline.On April 29, 2008, Russia and Greece signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in construction and operation of the Greek section of South Stream.

On May 15, 2009, in Sochi, in presence Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the gas companies of Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece signed an agreement on construction of the South Stream pipeline. On August 6, 2009, the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance of Berlusconi signed a protocol routing the pipeline through the Turkish territorial waters.

The Russian onshore section will run from the Pochinki compressor station to the Beregovaya compressor station at Dzhubga. The 900-kilometre (560 mi) long offshore section will run from the Beregovaya compressor station on the Black Sea coast to Bulgaria’s city of Varna. Because of the Russian-Ukrainian gas disputes, the pipeline is routed through Turkey’s waters to avoid the exclusive economic zone of Ukraine.

ITAR TASS: Russia, EU to discuss common energy space formation

The participants in a jubilee conference, which will open here Monday on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Russia-EU energy dialogue, will discuss the formation of a common energy space. Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko and EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger will participate in the forum, the press service of the Russian Energy Ministry told Itar-Tass.

“The participants in the conference will discuss the formation of a common energy space and the prospects for the development of European and Russian energy markets for decades to come,” the press service reported. “The conference is also to consider the hydrocarbons transit and the early warning procedure,” the press service said. “The forum will also highlight the legal basis in Russia-EU energy cooperation,” he added.

Shmatko will also attend a session of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council on Energy in Brussels.

Ahead of the Brussels conference State Duma Vice-Speaker and President of the Russian Gas Society Valery Yazev told Itar-Tass about the issues, which Russia will raise at the forum. Specifically, Yazev intends to discuss the third EU energy package, which will enter into force in the spring of 2011. The package sets the rules for the competition on the EU energy market, including the compulsory equal access of energy companies to the transport energy infrastructure, as well as the compulsory separation of the structures engaged in the energy supplies from the power generation companies.

These provisions “will make the investors less motivated to create a transport energy structure, including for our Gazprom,” Yazev stated. He believes that the investments, which the Russian gas giant had already made, “lose their interest, and it is not interesting any longer to create new gas distribution networks and buy the assets in Europe.”

In reply to a question how Russia could protect the country’s energy sector from the undesirable consequences of the third European energy package coming into effect, the State Duma vice-speaker noted that “the basic provisions of the package in the domestic legislations of the EU states are being implemented.” “At this stage some changes can be made,” he believes. “Alongside, we have formed two working groups to minimize the negative consequences the law enforcement practice after the third energy package enters into force. One working group is between the EU and Russia, the second one between the Russian Gas Society and Eurogas,” the lawmaker recalled. “We will continue the discussions in this format,” the State Duma vice-speaker added.

“We realize that the law is the law and it is approved, but (a mutually acceptable) solution should be found,” Yazev noted. “Our position is that the third energy package should be put into practice starting from the gas hubs, where Russian gas supplies are made. We delivered the gas to Baumgarten (the gas distribution stations and gas storage facilities in Austria) and then do what you want,” he pointed out. “There are some variants in this issue,” Yazev underlined.

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