31 Mayıs 2013 Cuma

Anglo-Turkish company discovers new oil in KRG

Hurriyet Daily News

Genel Energy, Anglo-Turkish oil and gas independent, has announced that it has discovered new commercial oil reserves in northern Iraq.

In a written statement yesterday, Genel Energy confirmed the existence of a commercial oil discovery in the Ber Bahr 1 exploration well in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG).

“The Ber Bahr well adds a further commercial oil discovery to Genel’s already significant KRI resource base,” the statement said. The company plans to begin a phased development of the field in the second half of this year. Genel Energy holds a 40 percent working interest in Ber Bahr. Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd holds a 40 percent working interest and the KRG holds the remaining 20 percent interest.

Genel Energy now operates in seven sites in the KRG, including Chia Surkh, Dohuk, Miran, Bina Bawi, Taq Taq, and Kewa Chirmila. However, there is a long-running dispute between the central government in Baghdad and the autonomous KRG over how to develop the country’s resources.

Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/anglo-turkish-company-discovers-new-oil-in-krg.aspx?pageID=238&nID=47921&NewsCatID=348

Turkey to begin negotiations on gas supplies from Turkmenistan


A framework agreement on cooperation for the supply of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey can be called an illustrative result of the talks between the presidents of Turkmenistan and Turkey, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Abdullah Gul, who is on a state visit to Ashgabat.

Ankara periodically expresses its interest in the delivery of Caspian energy to Europe through Turkey, and the issue has been on the agenda since the mid nineties.

It is necessary to lay a 300-km pipeline under the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan for the delivery of Turkmen resources to Europe. From there, the fuel reaches Turkey, which shares borders with Europe. The Trans-Caspian project could become a part of several large-scale projects such as Nabucco, AGRI and TANAP in which Ankara takes an active part.

The Trans-Caspian project at this stage is considered by experts as the most optimal way to deliver Turkmen gas to Europe.

Official Ashgabat believes that the consent of the parties, territories of which are covered by the project (Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan), is sufficient for laying the pipe under the Caspian Sea.

Baku has expressed readiness to provide its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for its implementation, as reported by the representatives of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).

Source:  http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/2156037.html

Turkish Parliament opens way to oil market liberalization

Hurriyet Daily News

A petroleum market draft code has passed into law in General Assembly of the Parliament despite the opposition’s outcry over the measures which diminishes the role of state-owned TPAO in the market.

The Turkish Parliament’s General Assembly has approved a draft code on the petroleum market that comprises regulations to boost the dynamism in the sector by easing the circumstances for private actors and to end rentiers in the sector.

The new law, which is designed to regulate oil exploration and production operations in compliance with the country’s energy policies has passed into law late on May 29.

The government says the new regulations would liberalize the sector significantly.

But opposing groups say that it would leave the state-run Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) in a weaker position.

During the discussion of the draft in Parliament, one of the main opposition Republican People’s Party deputies attacked the draft, blaming the government for “not thinking to make exploration and production more efficient and rather seeking ways to please foreign capital.”

29 Mayıs 2013 Çarşamba

Sudan and Turkey to cooperate in energy

Hurriyet Daily News

Sudan and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding in the areas of mining, power generation and hydrocarbons, during Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız’s visit to the African country.

Yıldız said May 26 that they would encourage private sector players active in the energy sector – particularly in wind, solar and hydroelectric power – to invest in Sudan.

“We’d like to benefit from Turkey’s experience in industry, mining and transportation,” said Kemal Abdullatif, the Sudanese minister of mining. Also, Sudanese Electricity and Water Resources Minister Tabita Butros Shokia said they could cooperate with Turkey in wind, solar and nuclear energy.

Turkey and Sudan are set to cooperate in mining, hydrocarbons and electricity generation, particularly renewable energy, in accordance with the deals signed by Yıldız, Abdullatif and Shokia, following negotiations between technical delegations.

Yıldız said Turkey would assist with Sudan’s master power generation plan if help was requested. The minister also had talks about possible investment by the Turkish private sector to build a hydroelectric power station on the coast of the Nile river.

Turkey may buy ‘2 mln tons of Yemen LNG’

European energy exchanges compete for Turkish growth


European energy exchanges ICE Endex and EEX are competing for a slice of Turkey's booming power market as the country prepares to open its first electricity exchange, executives from the companies said on Tuesday.

Turkey, with $60 billion of annual energy imports, is liberalising its energy market and plans to open an electricity exchange by October to increase liquidity and become a leading trading hub between Europe and the east.

Expected growth in Turkey's energy demand is second only to China, making the country a favourite investment market among European energy companies hit by stalling growth in their core markets.

"We're looking at Turkey with interest as a new business opportunity," said Wouter de Klein, commercial director at ICE Endex, on the sidelines of the EMART Turkey energy conference.

"We would be interested in participating in further developing the energy trading markets in Turkey and to work together with the relevant Turkish authorities in doing so."

ICE Endex is a new European power and gas trading platform launched by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) this year to increase its presence in Europe's mature energy markets.

Germany-based rival EEX has already signed an agreement with Turkey's transmission system operator TEIAS to cooperate on the creation of Turkey's energy exchange.

Russian gas pipeline could doom Europe's Nabucco plan


* Europe, U.S. support for Nabucco weakened
* Azeri consortium expected to pick winner in June
* Gas due to flow to European Union from 2019

Europe's grand plan for a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea that would make its eastern states less reliant on Russia may have been fatally undermined by Russia's even bigger project.

As Azerbaijan nears a decision on which pipeline to choose for its future exports, the Nabucco plan that was long the European Union favourite could lose out to the more modest Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece to southern Italy.

In a complex equation based on politics as much as economics, TAP is in the ascendancy over the Nabucco pipeline to Austria in the face of Russia's $39 billion South Stream plan.

"The question is: 'Is Nabucco viable if South Stream is built?'" said Andrew Neff, Moscow-based principal energy analyst with research firm IHS.

The decision between TAP and Nabucco is expected in June from partners in the Shah Deniz consortium, led by gas field operator BP and Azeri state energy company Socar.

The European Union won't have a direct say in the choice, but its recent switch to "project neutrality" from support for Nabucco could make a big difference. It now says it would be happy with either pipeline or even both.

"There has been a dramatic shift," TAP's External Affairs Director Michael Hoffmann told Reuters.

Nabucco spokesman Christian Dolezal, however, said his project retained strong political support.

27 Mayıs 2013 Pazartesi

Turkey offers pipelines to Cyprus, Israel, Iraq

Hurriyet Daily News

Israeli and Greek Cypriot officials and representatives of Turkish Cyprus all agree on the reality that natural gas produced in the eastern Mediterranean will get its utmost feasibility by a pipeline passing through Turkey, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız tells the Daily News

Energy-hungry Turkey has offered to cooperate with its oil and gas-rich southern neighbors for the exploration and transportation of their hydrocarbon products to world markets via Turkey. It has particularly called out to Israel and Cyprus, which recently had problems over the legality of the licenses issued for petroleum exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. 
“Israeli officials, local officials in Greek Cyprus and representatives of the TRNC [Turkish Republic of the Northern Cyprus], they have all agreed on one reality: The natural gas to be produced from this region will get its utmost feasibility by a pipeline that will pass through Turkey. All relevant figures prove this idea,” Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told the Hürriyet Daily News in a comprehensive interview outlining the Turkish government’s energy policies regarding oil and gas reserves of its southern neighbors.

Yıldız held substantial meetings with acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman and U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy for energy issues Carlos Pascual last week in Washington. The meetings were crucially important as the two allies found themselves on opposite sides on a number of issues related to Baghdad-Ankara tension over the latter’s growing interest in making deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government and to the Turkey-Cyprus quarrel over the Greek Cypriot government’s ambitious moves for oil exploration in the disputed areas of the Mediterranean.

26 Mayıs 2013 Pazar

Azerbaijan crucial for Greece to escape economic crisis

Today's Zaman    Lamiya Adılgızı

Greece’s growing interest in the energy resources of Azerbaijan, an oil-booming country on the shores of the Caspian Sea, is down to the belief Azerbaijan’s natural gas could rescue the country from the economic crisis it has been going through if Azerbaijan agrees to export its natural gas through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project (TAP), rather than its competitor Nabucco West.
Both pipelines fully depend on the same source of gas, Shah Deniz II gas field in Azerbaijan, and will start at the western coast of Turkey and convey the Azeri gas transported via the Turkey-Azerbaijan initiated Trans-Anatolia Pipeline (TANAP) across Turkey to EU markets.

“Greece considers TAP as a good opportunity to recover from its economic crisis and become a strategic energy terminal in the region. In order to materialize its ambition, Athens will try hard to persuade Baku to export TANAP gas through TAP, rather than the Nabucco-West option,” Emre İşeri, energy and security analyst at the İstanbul-based Kadir Has University, said in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras paid a visit to Azerbaijan this week on his way back from China, a month after Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos made a trip to the capital city of Baku for official talks on enhancing cooperation with Baku. The visit by Samaras has attracted a great deal of attention as it is the second high-ranking trip by Greece in a month.

Being received by Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev in Baku on May 20, both leaders had an opportunity to discuss boosting political, economic and cultural ties. The leaders’ tete-a-tete meeting, which reportedly mainly focused on important opportunities to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially in the field of energy, was described by Samara’s as “positive” while briefing Greek President Karolos Papoulias on May 21.

23 Mayıs 2013 Perşembe

Kurdish crude sales to rise as exports reach second Turkish port

Reuters          Julia Payne and Peg Mackey

* Taq Taq crude exports to reach about 60,000 bpd by end June
* Kurdistan to start deliveries to second terminal in Turkey
* Crude in steady stream to Northern Europe

Iraqi Kurdistan's crude oil sales to world markets, deemed illegal by Baghdad, are set to rise by nearly 50 percent next month as trucks start deliveries to a second export terminal in Turkey, industry sources in the region said on Wednesday.

Crude exports from the Taq Taq oilfield in the autonomous northern region to Turkey's Mersin port started at a trickle in early January and have risen to just over 40,000 barrels per day (bpd).

They are expected to hit around 60,000 bpd by the end of June as trucks unload at the neighbouring Dortyol terminal in southern Turkey.

Oil lies at the heart of a feud between the central government and Kurdistan. Baghdad says it alone has the right to control exports and sign deals, while the Kurds say their right to do so is enshrined in Iraq's federal constitution.

In retaliation, Iraq's State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) sent letters warning customers not to touch any oil that had not been marketed by SOMO and the ministry intends to sue producers, namely Anglo-Turkish firm Genel Energy.

Turkey eyes oil, gas deals with Iraqi Kurdistan


Turkey is looking to sign commercial contracts this year with Russian and U.S. companies operating in northern Iraq for joint oil and gas exploration, Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan last week discussed U.S. concerns about Turkey's deepening energy ties with Iraqi Kurdistan during meetings in Washington with President Barack Obama.

Minutes before his departure for Washington, Erdogan announced that a Turkish company already had a contract in place with U.S. energy company Exxon Mobil but declined to provide details until after the visit.
Yildiz, who was in Erdogan's delegation, said the discussions with Obama and his team were very positive and fruitful.

"We are likely to be involved with Russian and American companies in northern Iraq for different projects like oil and gas exploration. And this year, state-owned and private companies could sign commercial contracts with northern Iraq," he said in an interview.

He declined to name companies.

Exxon was the first to sign up for exploration deals with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Others including Chevron, Total and Russia's Gazprom Neft have followed.

20 Mayıs 2013 Pazartesi

Nabucco West and TAP: Going head to head

Amanda Paul     Today's Zaman

At the end of June, the long-awaited decision regarding which pipeline will be selected to transport natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field across Turkey to the EU market will be made.
This decision will be followed by the final investment decision in late 2013. Production is expected to begin in 2018 at some 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year: 10 bcm for Europe and 6 bcm for Turkey.

Last year the field of runners was narrowed to two: Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The available gas is only enough to fill one of them. Both projects not only have economic but also political implications.

Officials from both Nabucco West and TAP are currently engaged in major lobbying campaigns to promote their respective projects to the Shah Deniz partners, the Azerbaijani government and the developers of the proposed TANAP pipeline across Turkey that would feed into their projects. While the Shah Deniz II Consortium will present their opinion to Azerbaijan over which pipe should be chosen, Azerbaijan is not obliged to follow this advice.

Nabucco West has always been labeled a geostrategic project. It would ship gas from Turkey’s western border via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary and into the Baumgarten hub in Austria and into Central and Eastern Europe where it is badly needed with many of the countries heavily, or in some cases fully dependent, on Russian gas.

SOCAR Turkey signs Star refinery construction agreement


Today, Socar Turkey Company, a subsidiary of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) signed an agreement with the consortium that is going to build the Star refinery in Turkey worth $4 billion, Petkim petrochemical complex for which the refinery is planned to be constructed told Trend.

From the Socar Turkey side the agreement was signed by the Petkim chairman Vagif Aliyev.

The consortium which won the tender for the construction of the Star refinery consists of the following companies: Spanish Tecnicas Reunidas, Italian Saipem, South Korean GS Engineering & Construction and Japan's Itochu.

As Yavuz noted previously, Star refinery's processing capacity will equal 10 million tons of oil and capable of processing such oil grades as Azeri Light, Kirkuk and Urals. Annual production at the refinery will equal 1.6 million tons of naphtha which will reduce Petkim's dependence on imports of this type of oil product to zero, he said.

According to Yavuz, along with naphtha, the Star refinery will also produce 5.9 million tons of diesel fuel with ultra-low sulphur, 500 tons of aviation fuel, 630,000 tons of petroleum coke, 240,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas, 415,000 tons of mixed xylenes, 75,000 tons of olefin liquefied petroleum gas and 145,000 tons of sulphur.

Turkey-Kurdish oil deal reflects end of post-Ottoman order

David Gardner      Financial Times

Confirmation last week that Turkey plans to buy into the oil and gas wealth of the self-governing Kurdish region of northern Iraq has led to warnings – most stridently from the US – that Ankara is gambling with the break-up of Iraq. Indeed. But there is more at stake than that. Drop a rock in any pool in this febrile region – now hyperconnected in all the wrong ways – and the ripples will reach every shore.

In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and the national authorities in Baghdad are nowhere near a pact for sharing the country’s potentially huge oil revenues, much less a working model of federal power-sharing – with the Baghdad government of Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia Islamist aligned with Iran, invariably favouring sect and faction above state and nation.

But the future of Iraq is now just part of a discussion about the possible break-up of bits of the Middle East, given new urgency by the disintegration of Syria under the pulverising effect of two years of civil war.

That conflict has prised loose the Kurdish region of northeast Syria, galvanising Turkey into making peace with its own Kurds and drawing Iraqi and Syrian Kurds into an economically dynamic Turkosphere.

That this debate is only just starting suggests just how problematic it is – and how immense its possible consequences. What is in play is the state system that succeeded the Ottoman Empire almost a century ago in Syria and Mesopotamia.

16 Mayıs 2013 Perşembe

S&P Report: As Turkish Economic Growth Bounces Back, The Central Bank Faces A Familiar Quandary

Standard & Poor's

S&P EMEA Chief  Economist Jean-Michel Six says Turkish economy is on a sustained path to recovery.

The Turkish economy saw the wind knocked out of its billowing sails in 2012, but it is making something of a
comeback in 2013. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects the real economy to expand by about 4% this year--nearly double the rate of growth of 2012, but well below what we believe were unsustainably high growth rates in 2010-2011. Trends in global trade should provide a boost to Turkey's economy, given the way the country's export market shares have evolved over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, private consumption and fixed investment are likely to bounce back this year and next, after some retrenchment in 2012.

Against this positive backdrop, continued expansionary monetary policies in the G7 and especially in Japan, could present renewed challenges for the Turkish central bank: namely, strong capital inflows into the country could spark a surge in asset prices, as they have done in the past. What's more, amid stronger domestic demand, the country's current account deficit is likely to widen this year and inflation could overshoot the central bank's target. In suc circumstances, we believe the central bank could well be forced to maintain a difficult balancing act between the demand for growth and monetary stability.

· The Turkish economy appears to be on a sustained path to recovery, owing to strong growth in its main export
markets outside of Europe, improved prospects for consumer demand, and solid investment growth.
· This recovery, however, could amplify existing external and inflatonary risks, and we forecast that Turkey's
current account deficit will widen this year to about 7% of GDP.
· However, in a complex global financial environment, we believe the central bank will not raise its policy rate
earlier than the start of 2014.

For Download the full report please click here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_--THmzd4TsSlBDYy1raXRzQ3M/edit?usp=sharing

14 Mayıs 2013 Salı

Turkey agrees energy deal with Kurdish north Iraq

Daniel Dombey        Financial Times

Turkey has defied both Washington and Baghdad by agreeing an energy deal with the north of Iraq that the US warns could further fracture the Middle Eastern state, but which Ankara sees as central to its own future.

Several Turkish officials confirm Ankara struck a secretive framework agreement earlier this year with the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government of Northern Iraq for Turkish state energy companies to take stakes in the region’s oil and gasfields. They add the deal is still so sensitive that it is unlikely to be acknowledged publicly until after a visit by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington this week, a trip that takes place against a backdrop of increased tension in Iraq itself.

The agreement, together with Turkey’s political opening towards its own Kurdish population, is set to bolster Ankara’s influence in the energy-rich north of Iraq and could help it generate sufficient energy supplies to meet its ambitious growth targets. Mr Erdogan has previously described the deal as a “win win”.

Kurdish officials welcome closer relations. “Let’s be honest: Turkey is our door to the world,” said one, pointing to the KRG’s problematic ties with other neighbours. “Look at the [strained] situation with Iran, Syria, the rest of Iraq . . . Turkey is a big power in the region and, if it follows good policies like at the moment, why not be an ally?”

But the central Iraqi government in Baghdad says that without its permission the energy agreement violates the Iraqi constitution. A direct pipeline link to Turkey under the deal would give the KRG, which already has its own military force, much greater economic independence than before. At present, the only export pipelines available to the region are federally controlled and the KRG has halted exports through them because of a budget dispute with Baghdad.

Energy rush to Central Anatolia


Central Anatolian district of Karapınar is set to be Turkey’s energy hub with solar and coal power projects in the pipeline, which will account for 8 percent of country’s energy need as they go online.

Energy producers are rushing to the Central Anatolian district of Karapınar in an effort to cash in on Turkey’s second largest coal reserves, as well as sunny fields that present ample opportunity for solar power.

Some 57 companies – most of them foreign consortiums – have already started queries on the 60 million-meter-square area that has designated as a special energy area by the government, Karapınar Mayor Mehmet Mugayıtoğlu recently told Anatolia news agency.

The district in Konya, which was once a source of migrants in the 1960s, is forging a future as an energy production hub of Turkey.

The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry announced in January that it had discovered 1.8 billion tons of lignite reserves in the province, enough to fuel a thermal power station generating 5,000 megawatts of electricity for 30 to 40 years.

Mugayıtoğlu said the studies to establish a power plant there were continuing.

“A coal power plant producing 4.8 million megawatts will be established under the build-operate model,” he said.

9 Mayıs 2013 Perşembe

A lost decade for European natural gas?


Once-certain growth in demand withered away, but there are reasons to expect a resurgence

Like an athlete striving to re-attain past glories, European gas companies, along with their suppliers, look at domestic consumption and wonder, “When will it return to the record level of 2010?”

European OECD member countries consumed 567 billion cubic metres (bcm) that year, an 8% gain that more than wiped out the 6% drop in 2009 caused by the economic crisis.

But, as the IEA warned in the Medium-Term Oil and Gas Market Report 2011, that dramatic increase was an illusion, with half of the gain driven by a particularly cold winter. The milder 2011, along with anaemic economic growth and higher gas prices, indeed saw a 8% decline in demand. Neither the economic nor the pricing environment improved in 2012, and demand is estimated to have declined by 2%, getting close to the 500 bcm mark. Seasonally-adjusted gas consumption has actually lost ten years of gains, and a few countries, such as the United Kingdom, are back to levels unseen since 1995.

Only five years ago, most scenarios assumed that European gas demand would be well above 600 bcm in 2015 and around 700 bcm by 2030, driven by the power sector. Gas-fired plants were to benefit from their lower CO2 emissions compared with coal and their complementarity with renewables. Only scenarios featuring a strong increase of nuclear, renewable energy or both, plus drastic improvements in energy efficiency, were expected to dampen or reverse this growth track, and even then only in the long term (post-2020).

7 Mayıs 2013 Salı

Turkmenistan urges acceleration of TAPI construction


Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed the need to intensify work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) transnational gas pipeline, Turkmen television said today.

According to the report, the issue was discussed at a government meeting," the statement said. "A report on the operations of equipping "Galkynysh" gas field in Mary region with the necessary facilities was also voiced. It is the future key raw material source for a number of alternative projects.

"Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed the need to intensify work on the practical realization of the TAPI project," a statement said.

According to the Turkmen leader, the formation of a multi-variant system of transporting the energy resources to the world market is a key aspect of Ashgabat's energy policy.

The basic document for the promotion of the TAPI project is the Ashgabat interstate agreement of the state parties on the commencement of the practical implementation of the TAPI project signed in late 2010.

In May 2012, the Turkmen government entered into an agreement for the sale of natural gas with India's GAIL Ltd. A memorandum of understanding was signed with Afghanistan.

The design capacity of TAPI is 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The estimated length is 1,735 kilometres. It is expected that the pipeline will extend from the largest gas field in Turkmenistan 'Galkhynysh' through the Afghan cities of Herat and Kandahar to the Fazilka settlement on the Pakistani-Indian border.

Source:  http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/2148032.html

Iran's non-oil exports to reach $59 billion


Iran's non-oil exports will reach $59 billion in the current calendar year, which ends March 20, 2014, the Deputy Director of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Kioumars Fathollah Kermanshahi said on Monday.
The announced figure is based on the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan, the IRNA News Agency quoted Kermanshahi as saying.

He went on to note that technical and engineering services will account for $18 billion of the mentioned amount.

According to the director of Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Hamid Safdel, Iran's total non-oil exports stood at $50 billion in the previous year.

Iran had non-oil trade with 196 countries in the mentioned period.

The country's balance of trade with 97 countries such the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Switzerland, turkey, and China was negative in previous year, the ISNA News Agency reported on March 6.

Tehran's balance was also positive with 99 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan.

Source: http://en.trend.az/capital/business/2148098.html

Russia's Energy Bully Takes a Fall

Alexandros Petersen       Foreign Policy

Just a few years ago, Gazprom had Europe eating out of its hand. But now, the energy giant -- and Putin's power base -- looks set for hard times.

After years as Eurasia's energy bully, Russia's state-controlled natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, is getting a taste of its own medicine. Even as Gazprom seeks to build the tallest skyscraper in Europe as its new headquarters in St. Petersburg, pressure from Russia's neighbors led to a 15 percent decline in the company's profits last year, eating into the state budget. Moscow's single-minded focus on gas exports in an effort to become, in the words of President Vladimir Putin, an "energy superpower" has crippled its ability to adapt to profound changes in the global energy landscape -- from the shale gas revolution in North America to the dynamism of new market players such as Azerbaijan. Having spent the last decade making enemies in Central Europe and Central Asia, Gazprom and Russian decision-makers are now reaping what they have sown. 

Policymakers in European capitals could be forgiven for a little schadenfreude right now. Building on the legacy of Soviet gas exports to the Eastern Bloc and parts of Western Europe, Putin and his cohorts in the Kremlin have, for years, used Gazprom as a cudgel in Moscow's relations with European Union member states. Over the past decade, well over a third of EU gas imports have come from Russia, with a number of Eastern European states almost completely dependent on Gazprom. Bulgaria, for example, receives more than 95 percent of the natural gas it consumes from the company. Millions of European consumers shivered through the winters of 2006, 2008, and 2009 when Gazprom cut off supplies in order to squeeze middlemen in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova who had had the temerity to buck Moscow's policies.

Russian Rosatom seeking partnership for nuke plant in Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News

Russian Rosatom is reported to establish a partnership with France-based EDF and to give it a share in the nuclear plant to be built in Mersin-Akkuyu as well as others. “We own for the moment 100 percent of the 4.800 megawatts we are building in Turkey and we are ready to substantially cut (our holding),” Rosatom Deputy Chairman Nikolai Spasskyi according to the French daily Les Echos.

Rosatom appears to agree partnership deals with French power group EDF and is proposing it take stakes in nuclear power stations Rosatom is building in Kaliningrad and Turkey, Les Echos reported on Monday.

EDF and Russia’s state-owned nuclear company laid the basis for closer ties with an agreement in 2010 for co-operation in fields such as research and development and possible joint projects.

“EDF is one of the biggest world players in this sector and we are proposing interesting projects,” the paper quoted Rosatom Deputy Chairman Nikolai Spassky telling it on the margins of a meeting on nuclear energy hosted by the OECD. EDF declined comment.

Spassky said the Russian company was also interested in developing partnerships with French nuclear group Areva, which is one of the partners of the Japanese-French consortium which would build the second nucelar plant of Turkey, and was ready for “concrete industrial co-operation” with it as well as with EDF, the paper reported.

Source:  http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russian-rosatom-seeking-partnership-for-nuke-plant-in-turkey-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=46374&NewsCatID=348

Obama backs rise in US gas exports

Richard McGregor and Ed Crooks       Financial Times

The Obama administration has signalled support for more plants to export liquefied natural gas, as the US embraces its surging energy production as a key new element of its national security policy.

Barack Obama said at the weekend the US was likely to be a net gas exporter by 2020, the strongest sign yet that the president is swinging his support behind higher energy sales overseas.

The Department of Energy is studying applications for new liquefied natural gas terminals, with approval of one in Texas likely within months. It would be only the second such approval granted for sales to countries without trade agreements with the US, such as Japan, the world’s largest importer of LNG.

The decision over new export terminals coincides with a White House rethink of energy policy, aimed to give it an elevated place in US diplomacy.

“I’ve got to make an executive decision broadly about whether or not we export liquefied natural gas at all,” Mr Obama said during a trip to Costa Rica. “But I can assure you that once I make that decision, then factoring in how we can use that to facilitate lower costs in the hemisphere and in Central America will be on my agenda.”

The North American shale revolution over the last decade has unlocked large reserves of gas that were not previously accessible at commercially attractive rates.

Turkey: The new energy hub of the Mediterranean ?

The Middle East Magazine

Israel's apparent rapprochement with Turkey following US President Barack Obama’s visit in March is being watched for its impact on several vital political fronts affecting the region, ranging from the intensifying conflict in Syria and fears about Iran’s nuclear ambitions to the possibility of a dramatic breakthrough in efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. 

But one of its most immediate effects may be to heighten Turkey’s role as the undisputed hub for the transport of oil and gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe and possibly on to Asia as well. Such a development could help to transform the economic prospects of highly indebted countries such as Jordan, Cyprus, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Israel and Turkey, and bring with it dramatic new incentives for regional co-operation rather than conflict.
Equally important is the fact that Turkey is also embarking on a major programme to invest in renewable energy sources, including solar and hydropower, that could transform its energy exports in the future, to the benefit of consumers in Europe as well as at home. That, together with the fact that, at least in the medium-term, its gas exports to Europe, particularly to its southern and eastern countries, could help to reduce their reliance on both oil and coal – that are far more polluting than gas – could spell a brighter future for the younger generations in Europe, as well as in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s surprise phone call to Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan on 22 March – in the wake of Obama’s visit – to apologise for the military action Israel took in boarding the Gaza flotilla ship Mavi Marmara in international waters three years ago, leaving nine Turkish citizens dead, is expected to be followed by other concrete moves to restore relations between Tel Aviv and Ankara. As well as compensation for the families of the victims, these are expected to include the exchange of ambassadors and the resumption of talks on exporting Israeli gas to Turkey, which, despite its key role in the transport of oil and gas, lacks its own hydrocarbon resources.

4 Mayıs 2013 Cumartesi

Japan to share experiences with Turkey in nuclear energy


Japanese PM Abe said they would share their experiences in the nuclear energy field with Turkey

 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe touched on Japan's cooperation works with Turkey in the field of nuclear energy and has said on Friday, "We believe, it is Japan's responsibility to share our experience and lessons learnt from the severe accidents by contribute enhancing nuclear safety."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is currently visiting Turkey to hold formal talks held a press meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Turkish capital Ankara and assessed his Middle East trip.

Abe reminded that his visit to the region was planned to hold talks in Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

He said, the purpose of this trip to the Middle East was to step beyond conditional resources of energy centric relations, such as crude oil transactions and broad range of economic cooperation as well as political security and cultural ties.

Abe added, "In this framework, I stated while visiting Saudi Arabia that I intend to strengthen Japan's relationship with Middle East in a major way to as comprehensive partnership for stability and prosperity. The greatest feature of my visit is that I have the company by the biggest and strongest delegation of more than hundred leaders representing Japanese business including, agriculture and medicine. These businesspeople have successfully marketed the compelling strength of Japan's business and economy indeed it marks the start of full scale economic diplomacy."

Turkey, Japan sign $22 bln deal for Sinop nuclear plant


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, signed a $22 bln deal on Turkey’s second nuclear plant project on May 3 in the Black Sea province of Sinop, ending months of speculation about the winning bidder for the plant.

“This is a very important deal. With this second nuclear plant, we have also taken the first step toward a third one, which is a lot to us,” Erdoğan told reporters after a signing ceremony with Abe. Erdoğan also emphasized Japan’s safety know-how and experience against earthquakes.

Underlining the significance of the agreement as Japan’s first nuclear deal since the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Abe said safety would be the top priority for the project.

“We believe Japan will transfer its experiences and the lessons it learned from serious accidents to nuclear studies and will contribute to ensuring nuclear safety at the top level,” he said.

The consortium will also be responsible for the ground studies of Turkey’s third nuclear plant, which is slated to be built in a still-undetermined location.

The first unit of the nuclear plant is set to be active by 2023, while the last unit will come online by 2028. “We have 10 years now to make the nuclear plant active. I believe we can shorten this period together,” Erdoğan said.

1 Mayıs 2013 Çarşamba

Gulf economies seen growing, albeit slow, despite cheaper oil


Economic growth in Gulf Arab economies is expected to slow through next year but should still be healthy as investment in the private sector offsets an expected drop in oil prices, a Reuters poll showed yesterday.

Analysts say that for the next couple of years the Gulf will not enjoy oil prices of around $110-115 that have boosted economic growth since early 2011. Brent crude oil slumped by more than $22 to below $100 a barrel in the two months through mid-April and has since recovered only slightly.

“For most members of Opec, they will not be able to increase production. They may even have to cut it, so they will lose revenue because of that,” said Giyas Gokkent, chief economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
“From a demand perspective, Chinese growth seems to be slowing down because of what’s happening in the eurozone. When you put all of those things together, forecasts for oil prices are for at least the next two years in a slight downtrend.”

The poll of 19 analysts forecast that economic growth in Saudi Arabia, for example, would ease to 4.1% in 2013 and 4.0% in 2014. That would be a substantial slowdown from 6.8% last year, but still count as strong growth by international standards thanks to expansion of the private sector and increased government spending.

Other members of the GCC — the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain - are expected to see broadly similar growth over the next two years, according to the poll.

Global LNG output to reach 360mn tonnes by ’20: Total

Pratap John               Gulf Times

Over the next 10 years, natural gas will play an increasingly important role in meeting the world’s energy needs. LNG, whose many advantages include flexibility and ease of transport, will be instrumental in this “coming of age,” particularly in meeting Asian and European demand

Global LNG output is expected to reach 360mn tonnes and account for 13% of global gas supply by 2020, energy major Total has said in a report.

In 2010, LNG amounted to 9% of global gas consumption with production of nearly 220mn tonnes.

Over the next 10 years, natural gas will play an increasingly important role in meeting the world’s energy needs. LNG, whose many advantages include flexibility and ease of transport, will be instrumental in this “coming of age”, particularly in meeting Asian and European demand.

With demand rising at an average 3% a year for more than 30 years, natural gas has posted more dynamic gains than any other fossil fuel.

Total views the growing role of natural gas as one of the fundamentals of the future energy trends.