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2014-04-10 18:47:00



WSJ.  As the European Union hosted talks Tuesday on the threat of disruptions to natural-gas supplies amid Russia-Ukraine tensions, OAO Gazprom executives were in Brussels trying to press ahead with their own pipeline project.

Russia's state-run energy giant wants to build a €16 billion ($22 billion) pipeline to send natural gas from Russia, across the Black Sea, and into Italy. The route avoids Ukraine, through which about half of Europe-bound Russian gas flows.

But in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea, that pipeline, called South Stream, has become another political flash point between East and West. And a handful of large European companies, all partners with Gazprom in the offshore section of the project, are walking a fine line between the two sides.

The talks held Tuesday by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger focused on growing concerns in Brussels about a potential disruption of natural-gas supplies to Ukraine itself. Those were attended by Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuri Prodan and industry representatives, a European Commission official said.

Meanwhile, the fate of South Stream is in limbo. Mr. Oettinger froze high-level political talks between the EU and Russia related to final approval of South Stream last month.

Talks between Gazprom and EU bureaucrats on Tuesday involved only technical issues. Absent were executives from Gazprom's partners—Italy's Eni SpA, Germany's Wintershall Holding GmbH and Electricité de France SA.

Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Eni, which holds a 20% stake in the project, told an Italian parliamentary committee last month that the future of South Stream was "somewhat murky."

Wintershall, the gas and oil subsidiary of Germany's BASF, last month criticized Mr. Oettinger's decision to freeze high-level talks.

"If anything, the approval procedures should be accelerated, not delayed," Wintershall Chief Executive Rainer Seele said then. Eni and Wintershall said Tuesday they had no further comment. Representatives of EDF declined to comment.

Despite the uncertainty, Gazprom, which holds a 50% stake in the project, is pressing ahead with construction. The group is laying pipes in Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia. The pipeline could be operational by 2015.

"We cannot fully avoid transit risks without building South Stream. This is why we are moving so confidently towards starting the project in 2015," Gazprom Director General Alexander Medvedev told investors in London last month. Gazprom representatives declined to comment for this article.

The project would cement Russia's position as Europe's dominant supplier of natural gas. It already meets 30% of Europe's annual needs.

By skirting Ukraine, South Stream could better insulate Europe from thesort ofsupply disruptions that have flared in past disputes between Moscow and Kiev.

The standoff between Western capitals and Moscow over Crimea has also renewed calls among many politicians to intensify efforts to wean Europe off Russian gas altogether.

The EU is pursuing another project to bring gas from offshore Azerbaijan to markets in Europe via Turkey and Greece, and into Italy. But that pipeline won't be operational until 2019.

Without South Stream, Europe may struggle to source enough natural gas to meet demand, said Jonathan Stern, a fellow at the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies, a U.K.-based think tank.

Egypt's natural-gas exports are dwindling and Libyan supplies are unpredictable. Algeria, Europe's third-largest supplier after Russia and Norway, is sending more to Asia, Mr. Stern said.

Meanwhile, substantial imports of cheap shale gas from the U.S. could still be years away given infrastructure and political obstacles.

"The EU has to make some decisions," said Mr. Stern. "If they don't want Russian gas, then we'll have a lot of very different problems to contend with which we don't have the answers to."



2018, May, 23, 10:21:00


WNN - "We met today to confirm the continuing commitment of the European Commission and the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran towards the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and in particular its Annex III which addresses civil nuclear cooperation," Cañete and Ali Akhbar Salehi, president of the AEOI, said in a joint statement on 19 May. "We believe that the continuing implementation of the JCPOA, which was unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, is crucial for the development and progress of the region as well as the global peace and security."

2018, May, 23, 10:15:00


BLOOMBERG - Natural gas will probably emerge as the main fossil fuel “winner” as it balances renewables in power generation and is used as a substitute for oil in petrochemicals. Long-term gas demand is set to increase by 15 percent, or by 750 billion cubic meters, compared to business as usual,

2018, May, 23, 10:10:00


WNN - The United States, Canada, and Japan are launching the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy (NICE) Future Initiative. This global effort will make sure nuclear has a seat at the table during discussions about innovation and advanced clean energy systems of the future.

2018, May, 23, 10:05:00


AOG - The agreement between ADNOC and ISPRL, which was initiated in January 2017 during a visit to India by a high-ranking UAE delegation, led by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, covers the storage of 5.86 million barrels of ADNOC crude oil in underground facilities, at the Karnataka facility. The first shipment, of approximately two million barrels of crude oil, will be followed by further shipments after India’s annual monsoon season.

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