revista presei pe energie 26 octombrie – part III


Novinite: Ukraine Wants Joint Gas Company with Russia, EU

Ukraine has offered the establishment of a three-way joint company with Russiaand the EU to guarantee the trade of natural gas supplies.

The aim of the new company will be to guarantee that risks that arose in the past will be avoided, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Monday, as cited by Ukrainian media.

The new design proposed by the Ukrainian government is supposed to help avoid a situation such as the gas war between Russia and Ukraine in January 2009, which left Europe without Russian natural gas for three weeks in the middle of the winter.

Azarov argued that the best interest of RussiaUkraine, and the EU – a supplier, a transit country, and a buyer – is provide guarantees among one another for years to come.

In his words, the three parties will hold a meeting to discuss this idea on November 22, 2010, in Brussels, the same day of the EUUkraine summit.

Novinite: German Company to Join Scramble for South Stream Stakes

A senior Gazprom official has declared that a German company will become a shareholder of the South Stream gas transit pipeline together with the Rusisan energy giant, Italy’s Eni, and France’s EDF.

“I have no doubts that a German company will become a shareholder,” the head of Gazprom’s foreign projects department, Stanislav Tsygankov, said Monday as cited by RIA Novosti.

Italian company Eni’s CEO Paolo Scaroni recently said he believed German company Wintershall may be interested in taking a stake in the South Stream project.

Under agreements reached earlier this year, French utility EDF is expected to take between a 10% and 20% stake in South Stream from Eni’s stake by the end of the year.

As early as April 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the French company EDF will also become a partner in the South Stream project.

On Monday Tsygankov hinted that Gazprom would be unwilling to reduce its stake in South Stream below 50%.

He declined to name the German company with which Gazprom has been holding talks for South Stream. “It is one of our partners,” he said, declining to elaborate. “We are not yet saying that we are to offer our stake.”

Gazprom and Eni hold 50% each in the marine section of South Stream; according to Tsygankov, however, the accession of EDF and a potential German partner will lead to a reduction of Eni’s stake, while Gazprom will keep its 50%.

“We have an understanding that this will be a European project with no

[other] dominant participants but Gazprom. I think this will be a decent option for Eni. I think they are not ready to be a leader [in the project],” he said.

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.

At their meeting on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Berlusconi and Putin welcomed the idea of having German companies join in as shareholders. There is no indication as to how the joining of RWE or some other German company would re-apportion the stakes.

The ownership of the Russian-Bulgarian joint company to build and manage the Bulgarian South Stream section will be split 50-50%.

Novinite: Siemens Likely Strategic Investor in Bulgaria’s Belene NPP

German company Siemens is most likely the new strategic investor in Bulgaria’sBelene nuclear power plant, sources said.

Bulgaria’s PM Borisov on Monday, following Parliament Chair Tsacheva on Sunday, revealed that the government has found a German company that is interested in investing in the Belene NPP.

Neither Tsacheva, nor Borisov, however, revealed the name of the company that is to become the strategic investor in Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant.

They did make it clear, however, that Borisov had talks with the German company in question during his last week’s visit to Munich, the capital of the Free State ofBavaria.

A source close to the Bulgarian government wishing to remain anonymous said thatSiemens is most likely going to invest in the Belene NPP.

At present, Siemens is one of the subcontractors of Russian companyAtomstroyexport, which has been chosen to build the Belene plant.

The headquarters of Siemens in Berlin advised to address SiemensBulgaria on whether the information can be confirmed or refuted; the respective department of Siemens Bulgaria could not be reached in the late afternoon on Monday.

Last week the CEO of Bulgaria’s National Electric Company NEK Krasimir Parvanov said there was a possibility that German energy company RWE could re-consider its decision to withdraw from the Belene project.

In December 2008, RWE was originally selected as a minority shareholder to provide EUR 2 B for the construction of Belene (in exchange for a 49% stake). However, it pulled out in the fall of 2009.

The Bulgarian government is expected to reveal this or next week who the strategic investor in Belene will be. New oil deposits discovered in western Turkmenistan

Discovering oil deposits on the field Barsakelmes allows specialists to talk about its high prospects, the state concern Turkmenneft said.

“The thickness of the discovered lower layer will provide an opportunity for further growth in liquid hydrocarbons. At present, the research operations are being conducted to examine the parameters of the layer and opportunities for production,” a statement said.
Providing new oil fields with the necessary facilities is one of the priorities of the activity of the state concern. It exploits about 30 fields now. They include more than 600 oil, oil and gas deposits located on the different stages of development.

Such fields as Chekishler, Garadurun, South Kamishlidja, Nebitlije and others are among the newly commissioned and provided with the necessary facilities. The state concern conducts operations on the growth of new hydrocarbon reserves in Turkmenistan in accordance with the approved exploration program.

In this regard, exploration operations are carried out in deep-lying layers on previously developed fields in the western Turkmenistan, along with work on assessing hydrocarbon potential of the new fields. Russia Talks TAPI with Turkmenistan; Postpones Prikaspiisky

During his visit to Ashgabat October 21-22, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the possibility of Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas monopoly, becoming involved in the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, Russian and international wire services reported.

Kommersant, the Russian business daily, has more details. President Medvedev brought with him Vice Premier Igor Sechin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko. The Kremlin is so eager to get involved in TAPI that as Sechin told Kommersant, Gazprom is prepared to take part in any capacity — “as a contractor, as a designing company, and as a full-fledged participant of the consortium.” Sechin says Gazprom is willing to invest its own money in the risky project, which would involve laying pipe across Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Not a single investor has displayed such boldness,” comments Kommersant.

Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has energetically and enthusiastically promoted TAPI in recent months, bringing the TAPI ministers together at meetings in Ashgabat in anticipation of a December meeting of heads of state to finalize an agreement. The parties announced that they were prepared to bid out the job of building the pipeline to a “global energy giant”— which was not specified, although analysts were oriented toward expecting a Western energy company.

Russia’s interest in TAPI could be motivated by reluctance to see Turkmenistan bypass Moscow-dominated energy corridors to sell gas to the West, says Kommersant. Russia is said to have lost interest in the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline, which earlier Gazprom had promised to help build, The Hindu reported. Russia’s greater support now of international economic sanctions against Iran account for this.

President Berdymukhamedov’s reason for inviting President Medvedev to Ashgabat was to discuss two issues, says Kommersant. First, there is the question of Gazprom’s meager orders for gas, which this year are down to 10-11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. Due to the mutual recriminations following an explosion on a Turkmen gas pipeline last April, as well as the downturn in global demand, Russia reduced its deliveries from a one-time high of more than 50 bcm, and scrapped planned purchases of 80-90 bcm.

Under a new agreement signed after President Medvedev’s visit to Ashgabat last December, Gazprom could buy as much as 30 bcm — but hasn’t. The price has dropped, too. Sechin told the Turkmen leader that Gazprom would not be increasing its orders because of reduced demand from the European Union. Citing an unnamed source who participated in the negotiations, Kommersant said this came as an unpleasant suprise to President Berdymukhamedov. The exact amounts will now be haggled over by Gazprom CEO Aleksei or his deputy Valery Golubov, who were not in the delegation last week and whose relations with the autocratic Turkmen leader are said by Kommersant to have been “ruined” — and may require Sechin’s involvement again.

Second, both sides apparently agreed to freeze the long-stalled Prikaspiisky pipeline due to the drop in Europe’s demand as they believe consumption will rise slowly again in the next 3-4 years again, but only by small amounts, Sechin told Kommersant. Even so, Russia and Turkmenistan do not plan to drop the project completely — they only hope to tie it to actual market conditions, added Sechin.

By signalling a firm intention not to increase gas purchases and indefinitely postponing the Prikaspiisky pipeline, Moscow will likely drive Ashgabat into seeking more cooperation with Europe, says Kommersant. According to unidentified Turkmen diplomats interviewed by Kommersant, President Berdymukhamedov’s desire to becoming involved in Nabucco is “growing stronger day by day”. Sechin scoffs at this notion. “The current situation in the gas market in Europe enables us to say that there are no prospects for Nabucco. I say this without sarcasm,” Kommersant quoted Sechin as commenting.

Richard Morningstar, U.S. special envoy for Eurasian energy, said at a recent appearance at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute in Washington, DC that he believes it “unlikely” that Turkmenistan will supply gas to Nabucco, EurasiaNet reported. He said President Berdymukhamedov has made progress in getting the four countries together on TAPI, but that unless an international oil company would be allowed to develop Turkmenistan’s gas fields, it would be hard to find a supporter for the risky project.

President Berdymukhamedov’s own attitude toward the prospect of Gazprom participating in TAPI isn’t evident from the Turkmen state media. All the State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH) had to say about the meeting with the Russian leader was that it took place in “an atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust, and a business-like, constructive tone” and that Russia is a “strategic partner” of Turkmenistan, with US $1.86 billion in trade for the first eight months of 2010. Turkmenistan is making steps toward diversifying its exports to Russia, TDH noted, particularly by working with Russia’s regions of Tatarstan and Astrakhan and the city of St. Petersburg.

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