14 Ağustos 2014 Perşembe

Turkey urges US to lift obstacles on KRG oil sales

The Financial Times     By Daniel Dombey in Ankara and Anjli Raval in London

Turkey has called on the US to lift obstacles to the sale of oil by Iraq’s cash-strapped Kurds to help with their battle against the jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The call, by a senior Turkish official, comes while the US carries out air strikes against Isis in support of the Kurdistan Regional Government, even as officials in Washington discourage international purchases of Kurdish oil for fear such a trade could further fragment the Iraqi state.

“This is urgent: Isis is now selling its oil, but the Kurds are not allowed to sell their oil,” the Turkish official told the Financial Times, referring to oilfields captured by the jihadist group in eastern Syria and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

He claimed Isis was selling cut-price oil to the Syrian government – there are also allegations of widespread oil smuggling from the jihadist-controlled region, notably to Turkey itself – and compared those sales with the legal obstacles faced by KRG exports.

This week, Axeon, a US-based refiner said it would not proceed with a Kurdish buy because it was “controversial” – the latest in a series of rebuffs for tankers circling the globe with shipments of Kurdish oil.

With few buyers for its oil, one Kurdish official said the KRG was now working with Ankara on increasing storage capacity at the port of Ceyhan and elsewhere in Turkey, where the oil is piped before being loaded on to tankers, and was also looking at storing offshore.

8 Ağustos 2014 Cuma

How Guns And Oil Net ISIS $1 Million A Day

Fortune   Vivienne Walt  

Why extremist group ISIS is the world’s most frightening “startup.”

Every startup needs financing and a market to succeed. So, too, for the Islamist extremist group ISIS—or simply the Islamic State, as it calls itself—whose fighters stormed across the Syrian border into Iraq in June and seized the country’s second-biggest city, Mosul, before moving on to the outskirts of Baghdad. Now ISIS, an outgrowth of the U.S. military’s deadly Sunni foes in Iraq a decade ago, is the tycoon of the jihadi world. Having taken over oilfields in war-torn northeastern Syria last year and reportedly earned tens of millions selling antiquities, it landed a giant infusion of cash by seizing about $425 million from a Mosul bank.
But ISIS’s real upside lies in exploiting one precious commodity: oil. The group nabbed three more fields in Iraq, tapping into pipelines and looting oil storage facilities in its new territory. Then it filled trucks and sold crude for the cut-rate price of $26 a barrel to Iraqi traders, who resold it to Kurdish smugglers at a 100% markup. ISIS quickly developed its smugglers’ network—to which it now sells about 100 truckfuls of oil daily for around $9,000 each—netting nearly $1 million a day, according to truckers and officials who detailed the bonanza to the industry newsletter Iraq Oil Report. Not bad for a group with just about 10,000 fighters. Said one Kurdish intelligence officer: “This is a very profitable business.”

8 Nisan 2014 Salı

Gazprom Neft CEO Says Company Could Look East If Sanctions Hit


Gazprom Neft , the oil arm of Russia's Gazprom, has not been hurt by Western sanctions over Russia's annexation of Crimea but will move away from dollars in its contracts, and redirect oil flows to Asia, if needed.

The company is the first in Russia's oil sector to say it could potentially move away from dollar-based contracts in response to Western sanctions and marks the planning going on in Russian industry to anticipate possible further measures.

But CEO Alexander Dyukov said Western banks were unlikely to stop cooperating with Gazprom Neft and that Western oil majors did not want geopolitical tension to affect their partnerships.

He told reporters the company would step up contacts with Asian lenders and raise money in Russia if borrowing costs rose further in reaction to the sanctions, visa bans and asset freezes which the West imposed on allies of President Vladimir Putin.

"As for sanctions, they have not affected the company's business in any way," Dyukov told reporters at a regularly scheduled briefing in Russia's second city of St. Petersburg, where Gazprom Neft is based.

He suggested Western companies did not want broader sanctions imposed on Russia, but Gazprom Neft would reduce its reliance on the dollar if the West shuts its doors.

26 Mart 2014 Çarşamba

Asian Buyers Say Prices, Demand To Trump Politics As Lure For U.S. LNG


Asian natural gas buyers are counting on higher prices and growing demand to lure most North American gas shipments their way, even as U.S. lawmakers consider speeding up export approvals to cut Europe's dependence on Russia for the fuel.

Russia's seizure of Crimea from Ukraine has revived European worries about energy supply security. EU leaders are eager to end decades of reliance on Russian gas, and later on Wednesday will press the United States for clear commitments on a new source of supply.

U.S. lawmakers are already weighing changes to energy policy that would allow natural gas exports to any country that belongs to the World Trade Organization, and a key senator said on Tuesday that U.S. shale gas should be used to counter Russian influence in Europe.

Asian buyers, who have been counting on the fresh supply source to meet rising demand, said that Europe's option of increasing imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at the expense of Russian piped gas is a long-term, costly solution that may never happen.

"That is not going to happen overnight. You have to build up receiving terminals, which will take millions in investments and five or maybe ten years," chairman of Taiwan's CPC, Sheng-Chung Lin told Reuters at a gas conference in South Korea.

"Unless European countries show such determination, it won't happen," Lin said.

UK To Start Buying Gas From Russia Despite Threats Of Sanctions Over Crimea

The Huffington Post UK 

Britain is set to start buying gas directly from Russia this year despite EU politicians threatening to bring in further sanctions against Moscow amid tensions over the crisis in Ukraine.

Centrica, the UK's largest energy firm that owns British Gas, will start importing Russian gas directly from this October in a deal signed back in 2012, Reuters reported.

Centrica's plan is still on track, despite diplomatic tensions over Ukraine pushing EU politicians to consider energy sources that make them less reliant on Russia.

David Cameron recently warned that sanctions could hit Russian oligarchs like Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and tensions have seen Russian spending at UK shops plummet.

UK domestic gas production is falling by around 7% annually. The UK has so far not imported gas directly from Russia, as Russian supplies come to Britain through Germany and other European pipelines.

In 2012, Britain produced nearly half of the 91 billion cubic meters of gas it used domestically, with 29% coming from Norway, around 7% from the Netherlands, 3% from Belgium and nearly 15% from Qatar.

Tory politicians have been bullish about how the UK could cope if further sanctions are brought against Moscow. 

Conservative MP Brooks Newmark, a member of parliament’s influential Treasury Select Committee, told HuffPostUK: "We can economically hurt Putin and his cronies as well, we can put a huge amount of economic pressure on them. They have enormous business interests in the UK and bank accounts here, too."

"Russia recognises that they are no longer one of the great global powers anymore so the only way they can reassert themselves domestically is by going into countries like Georgia and Ukraine."

Russia's state-run energy giant Gazprom sells between 11 billion and 12 billion cubic metres of gas to the UK, which fulfills around 15% of the country's total need, as well as providing around a third of Europe's demand for gas.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/25/uk-gas-russia-ukraine_n_5026247.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

25 Mart 2014 Salı

East Mediterranean Eyes EU And Global LNG Markets For Gas Sales


Europe's efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian energy supplies and booming demand for shipped gas are pushing ahead the development of the East Mediterranean's gas reserves, which have so far been marred by the region's instability.

Israel and Cyprus are both well placed to help diversify Europe's Russian-dominated market by pipeline, while sending liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to the world's best paying customers in Asia and Latin America.

Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region has shaken political relations between Russia and the European Union, and Brussels is stepping up efforts to find new suppliers.

"With recent events in Europe... and the aspiration of different countries to diversify their gas supply, that puts another spotlight on our massive resources and transforms our story into a global one," said Gideon Tadmor, CEO of Avner Oil , a leading explorer in the region, at a conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

Almost one trillion cubic metres of recoverable natural gas has already been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin, enough to supply Europe with gas for over two years and worth between $370-$740 billion in current European or Asian market terms respectively.

Israel, which has so far found over 80 percent of all the gas, has said it would allow 40 percent of its reserves to be exported, while Cyprus will sell almost all of its gas abroad.

U.S. Lawmakers To Weigh Speeding Up LNG Exports To Help Europe, Ukraine


U.S. lawmakers will hear testimony on Tuesday from those who favor loosening restrictions on liquefied natural gas exports so that abundant American supplies could help reduce Ukraine and Europe's dependence on Russian gas.

European worries about the security of energy supplies have grown since Russian forces seized control of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine this month. Moscow has in years past cut gas supplies amid regional disputes.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy must give permission to export natural gas to all but a handful of countries with free trade agreements with the United States.

Opponents of unlimited gas exports have argued that shipping too much natural gas abroad could cause U.S. prices to rise, hampering the economy's ability to recover from the recent recession.

Hearings before the House and Senate energy committees come on the heels of the Energy Department's sixth approval of LNG exports from a U.S. plant in the past 10 months.

Turkey ‘earns $12 billion’ from Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline


The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has earned $12 billion from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline since 2005, when oil from Baku was first pumped, Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız has said.

During his speech in the southern province of Adana, Yıldız underlined the importance of the BTC pipeline for the region and trade volume created for the country.

He stated the TPAO has 6.5 percent of the shares in the BTC crude oil pipeline. British Petroleum (BP) and State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) hold the majority of the shares in the BTC pipeline, with 30 percent and 20 percent respectively. 

The pipeline has transported more than 1.8 billion barrels of crude oil to date.

Nearly 3 percent of the world’s oil trade is flowing along the BTC and Kirkuk-Yumurtalık crude oil pipelines through Turkey. The BTC pipeline has been transporting Azeri oil from the Caspian Sea to the Ceyhan Port of Turkey through the Georgian capital of Tblisi. The oil is then exported to European markets via the Mediterranean Sea.

24 Mart 2014 Pazartesi

Turkey on the frontline of Iraq's Kurdish oil row


A move by Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government to export 100,000 barrels of oil per day through Turkey is a tactical move brought about by U.S. pressure which could change after April 30 elections in Iraq, experts have told Anadolu Agency.

Baghdad has been opposed to the export of stored Kurdish oil from Turkey's south-eastern port of Ceyhan on the accusation that it violates Iraq’s constitution as it would bypass the country’s national oil company, SOMO.

Currently, 1.5 million barrels of oil are sitting in Ceyhan -- which has a total of storage capacity of 2.5 million -- and are awaiting Baghdad's approval to be exported. 

The KRG has been embroiled in a long-running row with the central government in Iraq over a proposed 17 percent share from oil revenues. The dispute has lead to political boycotts by Kurdish MPs over Iraq’s draft budget with the KRG refusing to withdraw demands, claiming it could never receive its fair share of oil wealth. 

Talks between Irbil and Baghdad have so far failed to find a solution. 

However, in a sudden move, following a phone call on Thursday between KRG President Masoud Barzani and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Kurdish authorities revealed that they would accept the export of 100,000 barrels of oil per day through SOMO from April 1 as a "gesture of goodwill" while negotiations for a permanent deal with Baghdad continued. 

Now Turkish, Kurdish and American experts have given AA their analysis on the dispute’s likely outcome.

Ali Semin, from the Istanbul-based think-tank BILGESAM, said the decision was a result of intensified mediation last week by Biden and U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Stephen Beecroft.  

10 bids for Leviathan export tender to Turkey

Globes     Amiram Barkat

Bidders include Zorlu Group and a joint bid by Turcas Petrol AS and German electricity utility RWE.

More than ten bids were submitted in the tender by the partners in Leviathan for the export of natural gas to Turkey. The bids for the purchase of natural gas ranged from 7 billion cubic meters (BCM) a year to 10 BCM, amounts that could generate $22-31 billion revenue, assuming a 15-year gas supply contract at $6 per million British Thermal Units (mmBTU), the price of natural gas in Israel's domestic market.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that the bidders in the tender include Zorlu Group, which has stakes in independent power producers in Israel, and a joint bid by Turcas Petrol AS and German electricity utility RWE AG.
Noble Energy Inc. owns 39.66% of Leviathan, Delek Group Ltd. units Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling LP each own 22.67% and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP owns 15%.

In January, "Globes" reported that the partners in Leviathan had invited several dozen Turkish companies to bid in a gas supply contract from the gas field. The deal would include laying a pipeline to Turkey from Leviathan's proposed floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) ship, which deliver gas to Israeli and regional customers. The price in the bids is the purchase price of the gas from the FPSO. In addition to this price, the bids will be evaluated on the basis of their commercial terms, including the take or pay condition and the capacity of the gas purchased.

Some of the bidders are willing to build the pipeline themselves, while others prefer working in partnership with the Leviathan partners. After reviewing the bids in the coming weeks, the partners will hold separate negotiations with the finalists for signing a gas purchase contract.

20 Mart 2014 Perşembe

Europe to find it difficult to wean itself off Russian gas


Europe will have trouble weaning itself off Russian natural gas, analysts say, as its faces declining production at home and Asian competition for supplies.

Even before the current flare up of tensions with Russia over its de facto occupation and possible annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, Europe has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies.

The diversification effort has been bearing fruit: imports of Russian natural gas fell from 45.1 percent of the EU's total to 31.9 percent over a decade to 2012, according to data from the EU's statistics agency, Eurostat.

"Europe has reduced somewhat its dependence on Russian gas, even if Gazprom remains a key actor in Europe," said Pascale Jean, a natural gas specialist at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

However the Russian gas giant Gazprom has made no secret it aims to claw back its market share, having built a new pipeline to Germany and a second one under construction to southern Europe.

The share of Russian gas in European imports climbed last year, and its share in total consumption has remained relatively stable over the past decade at just under a quarter.

However, EU production which currently covers a third of consumption, is expected to fall by up to 20 percent by 2020 and up to 30 percent by 2030.

Gazprom Proposes Oil And Gas Development In Crimea


Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom has proposed to develop Crimea's oil and gas sector, an official of the Ukrainian region which has applied to join Russia was quoted by RIA news agency as saying on Tuesday.

"Of course, Gazprom was the first to approach us (with a proposal)," said Rustam Temirgaliev, Crimea's first deputy prime minister.

He was asked if the Ukrainian region, which declared its independence and applied to join Russia following a weekend referendum, had received proposals from Russian companies to develop its oil and gas industry.

A Gazprom spokesman declined comments.

Last week, Temirgaliev said that the local authorities may sell the energy firm Chornomornaftohaz to a Russian company "such as Gazprom" once the region takes control the firm, which is now part of a Ukrainian state energy company.

A Moscow-backed referendum in Crimea on Sunday showed overwhelming support for joining the Russian Federation.

European leaders seek ways to curb dependence on Russian gas


European leaders will seek ways to cut their multi-billion-dollar dependence on Russian gas at talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, while stopping short of severing energy ties with Moscow for now.

Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region has revived doubts about whether the European Union should continue to rely on Russia for nearly a third of its gas, providing Gazprom with an average of $5 billion per month in revenue. Some 40 percent of that gas is shipped via Ukraine.

EU powerhouse Germany is among those with particularly close energy links to Russia and has echoed comments from Gazprom, Russia's top natural gas producer, that Russia has been a reliable supplier for decades.

Russian supplies of gas to the EU were disrupted in 2006 and 2009, but only because of knock-on effects when Moscow cut off Ukraine for not paying its bills. Although those incidents resulted in EU attempts to diversify its energy sources, contracts to the bloc have always been honoured.

EU officials said the current Ukraine crisis, however, had convinced many in Europe that Russia was no longer reliable and the political will to end its supply dominance had never been greater.

"Everyone recognises a major change of pace is needed on the part of the European Union," one EU official said on condition of anonymity.

"At the back of people's minds, there will always be the doubt that if the relationship goes sour, Russia has that weapon and it's not something it should have," another official said, referring to Russia's option of severing supplies.

5 Mart 2014 Çarşamba

Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline ‘to create15,000 jobs across Turkey’


The Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the gas pipeline project that will carry Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe through Turkey, will create 15,000 jobs in 20 provinces in Turkey, the energy minister has said.

Speaking to reporters on Feb. 28, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said the TANAP was slated to be carried into effect as of 2018 and would create employment in the cities it will pass through and for the domestic steel pipe makers that will take part in the project.

Yıldız said the total amount of investment planned to be poured into the pipeline is around $45 billion, nearly $30 billion of which will be injected into construction at production sites over a four-year construction period, expected to be started in 2015.

Local steel pipe makers, who have been struggling with tough trade conditions abroad, have pinned their hopes on the project.

The Turkish part of the pipeline will require approximately 1,800 km and approximately 2 million tons of steel pipes. Six of the 18 steel pipe suppliers involved in the project are from Turkey.

The TANAP is planned to carry 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world’s largest gas fields.

“We have two hats in the TANAP pipeline: A carrier and a consumer,” Yıldız said.

The energy-hungry Turkey will receive six bcm of natural gas, while 10 bcm, equal to about 1.5 percent of Europe’s total consumption, will flow to Europe.

Iraq Oil Exports Hit 25-Year High In February


Iraq exported 2.8 million barrels of oil per day in February, a top minister said Saturday, a sharp month-on-month gain and the highest such figure in at least a quarter-century.

Production, meanwhile, reached 3.5 million bpd, the deputy prime minister for energy affairs, Hussein al-Shahristani, told reporters in the southern port city of Basra as he inaugurated a refinery.

"Production in February was 3.5 million barrels per day, and we exported 2.8 million barrels per day," he said.

The export figure was the highest since then dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, triggering a crippling embargo and international sanctions that massively restricted Iraq's energy industry.

In 2012, when average daily exports reached 2.5 million barrels per day, the oil ministry said it was the highest such figure since 1989.

Shahristani said February output would have been significantly higher if not for energy disputes with the country's three-province autonomous Kurdish region.

Most of Iraq's crude is exported via its southern terminals near Basra, but a significant portion goes through a northern pipeline that is periodically bombed by militants.

23 Şubat 2014 Pazar

Iran names conditions of reduction of gas prices for Turkey

Trend       Elmira Tariverdiyeva, Tamkin Jafarov 

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh named conditions for reducing gas prices for Turkey, Iran's ISNA news agency reported on Feb.22.
"We are willing to lower the gas price supplied to Turkey, upon condition that it will increase the volume of imported gas from Iran," Zanganeh said, adding that the share of gas in Turkey`s market is important for Iran.
Earlier, Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz said that natural gas prices, offered by Iran, does not satisfy Turkey.
Currently Turkey and Iran are in talks on gas prices, but no agreement has been reached between the parties yet, according to the minister.
In March 2012, Ankara appealed to International arbitration over the issue price of Iranian gas price.
The agreement on supplies of 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Turkey on an annual basis was signed with Iran in 1996.
The prices are not officially disclosed, but according to Turkish media outlets, Turkey buys Iranian gas for $490 per thousand cubic meters.
In 2012 Turkey imported 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas from Iran, according to BP statistics.
Earlier Yildiz said that, in 2013 Turkey imported gas from Iran worth $4.5 billion.

Jordan, Iraq preparing to tender $18b oil pipeline

The Jordan Times

Work to construct a $18 billion oil pipeline from Iraq’s Basra to Jordan’s port city of Aqaba may start soon, as officials from both coutries are meeting with international firms interested in the mega-project, an official said Saturday.

Jordan and Iraq are speeding up their measures and efforts to construct the pipeline, a senior official at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) told The Jordan Times.

The official, who preferred to remain unnamed,  said that Jordanian and Iraqi officials held meetings last week in Aqaba with several international companies that showed interest in carrying out the scheme, adding that work on the project is set to begin soon.

Once completed –– the pipeline is projected to export 2.25 million barrels of oil per day through the Kingdom. It would generate between $2 billion and $3 billion a year in revenues for the Kingdom, according to estimates of Iraqi and Jordanian officials.

The source said that Jordanian and Iraqi officials had agreed to prepare copies of the tenders from the Iraqi side.

12 Şubat 2014 Çarşamba

Turkey to consume less gas in 2014


Turkey’s total domestic gas consumption for 2014 is estimated to be 46.5 billion cubic meters, a decrease of 0.5 billion cubic meters compared to last year, according to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK).

Turkey consumed 45.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2012 and 47 billion cubic meters in 2013.
Turkey’s energy import bill decreased by 7 percent in 2012, falling to $55.9 billion from $60.1 billion the previous year.

Russia has become Turkey’s largest natural gas supplier, importing more than half of its annual 45.2 billion cubic meters from Russia’s energy giant Gazprom.

Gazprom sold 162.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Europe last year, out of which 26.6 billion cubic meters, 16 percent, was sold to Turkey.     

Turkey’s gas trading hub dream realistic: Oxford Study


Turkey’s vision of becoming a gas trading hub is realistic given its diversity of supply but it would need to speed up market reform and invest more in gas infrastructure, an Oxford University study said on Feb. 10.

Turkey has long wanted to have a major power and gas market, capitalizing on growing domestic demand for gas and its proximity to cheap natural gas resources.

It has few natural resources of its own, but is at the centre of nearly all gas pipelines that would link Central Asia to Europe, defining the regional market for decades to come.

Turkey’s rise to prominence in energy markets would also add to its growing influence as a major economic and political player between Central Asia, the Middle East and the European Union, to which Ankara aspires to be a member.

According to state pipeline company BOTAS, Turkish natural gas demand is forecast to grow to 81 billion cubic meters (bcm) a year by 2030 from the current 47 bcm/yr.

It could potentially trade up to 100 bcm of gas a year when large-scale investments in gas infrastructure have taken place, such as new liquefied natural (LNG) gas and storage facilities, said the paper by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

11 Şubat 2014 Salı

Cyprus to open fresh peace talks

Financial Times     Andreas Hadjipapas, Dan Dombey, Kerin Hope

The leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus are set to announce a fresh initiative to reunify the Mediterranean island following months of quiet diplomacy by the US aimed at achieving a broader reconciliation involving Israel, Turkey and Cyprus.
Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, and Dervis Eroglou, his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, will on Tuesday make a joint commitment to resuming negotiations “in a results-oriented manner” hoping to wrap up a peace settlement as soon as possible, according to the text of a joint declaration leaked to Cypriot media at the weekend.

The US intervention ended a five-month stalemate, typical of previous efforts to reinvigorate UN sponsored peace talks, over details of turning the ethnically divided island into a federation. This would be formed of two constituent states in which Greek and Turkish Cypriots would continue to run their own domestic affairs.

“The two sides will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed. They commit to avoiding blame games or other negative comments on the negotiations,” the statement said.

Relations between the two communities have been sour since 2004 when the Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan plan – named after the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan – in a referendum. Mr Anastasiades was the only Greek Cypriot leader to back the plan. The result meant that the smaller Turkish Cypriot community living on the north of the island was blocked from EU membership, even though it backed reunification in a separate vote.

With the two biggest Greek Cypriot political parties backing the new initiative, there was optimism in Nicosia that an end to the island’s 40-year division could be within reach.

Recent discoveries of large offshore gas deposits between Cyprus and Israel that could be channelled to European markets by a pipeline through Turkey have fuelled hopes of a settlement.

Azerbaijan offers Iraq access to Europe gas pipelines


Azerbaijan has offered Iraq access to the "Southern Gas Corridor" connecting the Caspian Sea to the European Union to help Baghdad sell natural gas to Europe, Baku's foreign minister said Monday.

Elmar Mammadyarov told journalists in the Iraqi capital that officials in Baghdad had already expressed interest in joining the massive project, which is supported by the United States and aims to reduce Europe's dependence on gas from Russia.

"It's a huge project ... and it's open if Iraq is also interested to deliver their own natural gas," Mammadyarov said at a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

"The project is there, so if any other countries ... want to join the Southern Gas Corridor, including Iraq, who already expressed some interest for this project, we are ready to start negotiations." Gas pumped from the immense new Shah Deniz II field will travel across Azerbaijan and Georgia and across Turkey through a new Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, which is set to be a key part of the Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and the EU.

Russia, meanwhile, backs a new pipeline under construction known as South Stream that aims to transport 63 billion cubic metres under the Black Sea to Europe.

24 Ocak 2014 Cuma

Russia seeks opportunities for Israel, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon and Gazza offshore gas fields on Mediterranean


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in Moscow on a four-day visit seeking to secure a $1 billion deal with Russia to develop a natural gas field off the Gaza Strip.

The move would expand what appears to be a determined Russian push into the energy-rich Eastern Mediterranean, Russian media reports indicated.

Russia signed a 25-year agreement with Syria's embattled regime Dec. 25 that gives Russia's state-controlled Soyuzneftegaz exclusive exploration, development and production rights over 850 square miles of Syrian waters, Moscow's first real foothold in the booming Levant Basin.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported in 2010 that the basin, which covers Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus and the Gaza Strip, contains at least 123 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
The Syrian deal gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a way into a region whose resources have barely been tapped and is becoming a strategic energy source that will transform regional economies and open up new supplies of natural gas to Europe.

Moscow also is maneuvering to get a stake in the gas bonanza in Israel.

The Jewish state began production at its Tamar field off Haifa, with reserves of 8 trillion cubic feet, March 30 and the much bigger Leviathan field is scheduled to go onstream in 2017.