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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nabucco and South Stream - who's to win?, june, 2010

  1. Italy's Edison promotes cheaper version of Nabucco
  2. Competition heats up over EU southern gas corridor
  3. Nabucco pipeline 'needs patience and public support'
  4. Turkey brokers key gas supply deals for Nabucco
  5. EU 'southern gas corridor' getting crowded

Quote of the day: Lol, in the end Gazprom will buy us all. I mean seriously, they are so rich. I wonder who's worst Gazprom or China.
Fun of the day: Ukraine wishes South Stream ‘peaceful death’ - ROFL! :)

Italy's Edison promotes cheaper version of Nabucco

27 April 2010
Italian energy company Edison is lobbying the European Commission for more support in upgrading existing infrastructure and building interconnectors from the Caspian to Italy, its representatives said on 26 April. This would allow the Nabucco gas pipeline to take over at a later stage, they claimed.
The Edison-favoured ITGI project (Interconnection Turkey-Greece-Italy) is more competitive in terms of cost and could constitute the "first phase" of the Nabucco project, Elio Ruggeri, head of gas infrastructure at Edison, told journalists in Brussels.
There has been an "over-focus" on Nabucco, claimed the company's representative.
However, gas supplies to Europe from Azerbaijan, who is rich in petrol but has relatively small gas reserves, would remain modest and could total two bcm/y, he said.Azerbaijani volumes are sufficient to underpin the development of a medium-sized EU pipeline such as ITGI, he said, highlighting the project's "financial merit" and "political benefit".
Other efforts would include:
  • Upgrades of the Turkish grid and the interconnection Turkey-Greece (operational since 2007);
  • Realisation of the interconnection Greece-Italy (IGI), consisting of a 600km pipeline through Greek territory and a 200km offshore pipeline under the Ionian Sea (the 'Poseidon' pipeline);
  • Realisation of interconnection Greece-Bulgaria (IGB; also known as Stara Zagora-Komotini, partly financed by EU funds).
When operational, ITGI would stretch from Azerbaijan across Georgia (the existing Baku-Tbilisi-Erzerum pipeline) and Turkey into Greece and from there into Italy, across the Ionian Sea. The branch from Komotini to Stara Zagora would make sure that Bulgaria has a reliable alternative source of gas from 2013. Russian gas could also be imported through the existing Blue Stream pipeline across the Black Sea, from Beregovaya (Russia) to Durusu (Turkey).
ITGI already benefits from a hundred-million-euro grant allocated to Poseidon and 45 million euro allocated to the interconnection Greece-Bulgaria. Compared to Nabucco, ITGI is "cheaper and a more mature" project, its representatives claimed If Nabucco were built without enough gas supplies and worked at half its capacity or less, the cost of such gas would be very high for the consumer, they said. source
My comment: I like how they want to build pipes without gas to flow in them. That's so very smart. Not that I mind the interconnections, because they agree with the idea of common European gas infrastructure. So that's good. However, in Bulgaria there is currently a great pressure to stop most of the gas corridors and even though our government is unpredictable, it's still a risky move to invest so much money in something without a clear future. And again, the problem of the missing source remains. We can make as much pipes as we want, but without gas, they are worthless and useless.

Competition heats up over EU southern gas corridor

27 April 2010
Austria joined the Gazprom-sponsored South Stream gas pipeline project on 24 April, marking the beginning of a new phase of competition between the pipeline and its rival Nabucco, which is designed to bring gas to Europe from sources other than Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who presided over the deal in Austria, said supplies of Russian gas to Austria would increase by two billion cubic metres a year after South Stream's launch.
Austria, which gets 60% of its gas from Russia, became the seventh country to sign on to the 900-kilometere South Stream pipeline, following Croatia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece and Slovenia.
Putin took the opportunity to mock ongoing preparations for the rival, EU-sponsored Nabucco project, the Russian press reports.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said he did not see a conflict between Nabucco and South Stream, adding that Austria, which also supports Nabucco, was interested in different ways of diversifying its gas supply.
Meanwhile on Friday (23 April), the day before the Vienna ceremony, the Nabucco consortium launched a tendering process for items needed to start building the pipeline.Nabucco Gas Pipeline International launched the pre-qualification process as the starting phase of a 3.5 billion euro procurement process for items such as pipes and valves, the company announced in a written statement.
The route corridor was recently selected for the first phase of the project. Meanwhile work to secure right of way and permissions for environmental and social assessments, as well as construction permits in Nabucco countries, is currently in progress, the consortium further announced. The first gas is expected to flow by the end of 2014. sourceMy comment:"a tendering process for items needed to start building the pipeline" ROFL! I mean this sounds really funny. I know, I know, this is a normal phase of any project, it's just that written this way it sounds ridiculous. Anyway, it seems that South Stream gets a lot of inertia as more and more countries are joining it. I'm not sure this is a good thing, because the more monkeys on the branch, the more likely that it will break, but I'm sure Russia knows what they're doing. And after all, the more countries on the pipe, the less likely that the gas will stop. That is if Russia is not VERY pissed. Which hopefully won't happen.

Nabucco pipeline 'needs patience and public support'

07 May 2010
Although the EU's proposed Nabucco gas pipeline is suffering from a lack of finance, demand and suppliers and could be delayed further, the EU and its member states should still back the project politically and financially, argues a European policy think-tank.
In a new policy brief, Centre for European Reform (CER) deputy director Katinka Barysch argues that despite the problems and postponements, the project ''still makes sense'' and should remain the flagship of the EU's energy policy.
Yet the paper, published on 5 May, also warns that the EU must recognise that its power to secure gas supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq is fairly limited.
Currently, the only readily available gas field for Nabucco is Shah Deniz in Azerbaijan and a bilateral dispute between Baku and Ankara over gas prices is holding up progress on the second stage of the pipeline.Turkmenistan – which exports most of its gas to Russia – is keen to get connected to the Nabucco pipeline, yet contractual and transit issues cast doubts on its readiness to sign up, Barysch states.
Iraq is another potential supplier for the project, but a number of obstacles exist – particularly how to share the revenues between Baghdad and the gas-rich Kurdish region in the north.
My comment: Yeah, show your support for Nabucco immediately. Sorry, but such statements are really begging for mockery. This is a business project after all - it's either good and gets investors and moves on, or it's not good and it's abandoned. It doesn't need public support and love!

Turkey brokers key gas supply deals for Nabucco

10 June 2010
Azerbaijan and Turkey yesterday (7 June) signed a deal to ship 11 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year to Turkey. Shipments would start in 2017 and some of the gas may be pumped into the EU's planned Nabucco pipeline. Meanwhile, Northern Iraq declared in Turkey that it stands ready to provide gas supplies "to make Nabucco work".
The agreement covers gas supplies from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz 1 and Shah Deniz 2 developments in the south-west Caspian Sea.
Turkey currently buys about 6.6 billion cubic metres of Azeri gas per year but does not always use it in full.
The Nabucco consortium hailed the agreement. Russia is also interested in buying Azeri gas. Gazprom officials say it costs less to provide Russia's southern regions with gas from Azerbaijan than it does to provide it from Western Siberia.
Meanwhile, Russia signed a deal in Athens on 7 June to found a joint company for building a section of Gazprom's planned South Stream gas pipeline on Greek territory.The new company, called South Stream Greece S.A., will be headquartered in Athens, with each side holding an equal 50% stake in the joint venture.
Russia had already secured intergovernmental agreements to build South Stream with Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece and Croatia. source
My comment: Hm, I wonder what means that Russia has secured agreement to build in Bulgaria, when last week our prime-minister said he's stopping the project. Of course, 2 days later he said the work on the project will continue, but still, I wouldn't count on his word for none of the two statements :) But then, I'm sure he already knows what he'll do, he just won't tell us. 
Anyway, it's interesting how Turkey signs a deal with Azerbaijan for so much gas, when Nabucco is still just a fiction. I wonder if they have the capacity to take all that gas.  Maybe they do, I don't know. But still, it looks weird.

EU 'southern gas corridor' getting crowded

25 May 2010
A gas pipeline project – the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) linking Greece to Italy – came under the spotlight yesterday (20 May), fuelling competition in a key section of the EU's so-called 'southern gas corridor', where two more planned pipelines are bidding for the same markets.
Describing their planned pipeline as "the missing link" in the region, three major gas companies signed a consortium deal to build what they said was "the most promising project for moving gas to South Eastern Europe" from the Caucasus region.
German gas giant E.On Ruhrgas joined Norway's Statoil and EGL of Switzerland, in what they described as a strategic move to realise the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline Project (TAP).
The TAP pipeline, 520km in length, will begin in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, crossing Albania before running across the bottom of the Adriatic Sea for 115km to Brindisi in Italy.
The pipeline's planned capacity is 10 billion cubic metres (bcm) and it should become operational by 2016-2017, consortium spokespeople told EurActiv.
The project appears to be a direct competitor to both the ITGI (Interconnection Turkey-Greece-Italy) project, which is sponsored by Italian energy company Edison (EurActiv 27/04/10), and the Poseidon offshore pipeline, which is planned to run from Greece (south of Corfu) to Italy (south of Brindisi). Poseidon has a planned capacity of 9 bcm and is expected to be operational in 2015. source
My comment: It's getting more and more interesting. Because there's no way to fill both pipes I think. Then where the hell do they plan to take the gas from? Probably South Stream, but I wonder how they'll all join. Very very interesting!

EU's Central Asia policy 'confused', says expert - By pushing for the Nabucco pipeline, the European Union has signalled its obsession with reducing its dependence on Russian gas. But replacing it with gas from Turkmenistan, an authoritarian country where the EU exerts even less influence, would not improve the situation, a Central Asia expert told EurActiv. - Read that interview, it's very enlightening. The guy is perfectly right about changing one bad guy for another.
Gazprom’s push for Ukraine merger meets resistance - Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom, which is seeking a merger with Ukraine's state energy firm, yesterday (13 May) rejected Kiev's idea of inviting firms from the European Union to join potential talks. In the meantime, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rejected the Gazprom takeover. - Lol, in the end Gazprom will buy us all. I mean seriously, they are so rich. I wonder who's worst Gazprom or China.
Russia in pipeline war with Bulgaria - Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas monopoly, is ready to exclude Bulgaria from its planned South Stream pipeline, apparently in retaliation to Sofia's decision to scrap an oil pipeline designed to circumvent the Bosphorus strait, the Russian daily Kommersant writes today (17 June). - Serious stuff. I sincerely hope that our dear prime-minister knows what he's doing, cuz this doesn't sound like fun. AT ALL!
European patent applications fall - The number of European patent applications filed last year fell for the first time in 20 years, according to new figures released by the European Patent Office (EPO). - Because they invest less and less in R&D???
EU must put single market 'back on stage', says Monti (14 May 2010) - The EU's 20-year-old single market is at a critical juncture and needs to be fully completed to further boost Europe's crisis-battered European productivity and competitiveness, reveals a report presented yesterday (10 May) by former Italian Commissioner Mario Monti, who was tasked with coming up with a comprehensive new strategy. - I very much respect Mario Monti, so I recommend that intervew.

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