The partners in the Israeli Tamar gas field report this morning that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Egyptian company Dolphinus Holdings for the export of up to 2.5 BCM of surplus natural gas from Israel to private Egyptian industrial customers, over a period of seven years. The gas will be transported via the Israel Natural Gas Lines system to Ashkelon, and from there to Egypt via the EMG (East Mediterranean Gas) pipeline.
Lower oil prices, reflected in falling petrol prices at the pump, have been a boon for Western consumers. Are they also a potent US weapon against Russia and Iran? That’s the conclusion drawn by New York Times columnist Thomas L Friedman, who says the US and Saudi Arabia, whether by accident or design, could be pumping Russia and Iran to brink of economic collapse. Despite turmoil in many of the world’s oil-producing countries – Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria – prices are hitting lows not seen in years, Friedman writes.
On Oct. 9, we said the outlook for the world’s petrocrats looked bad. It just got worse: Saudi Arabia has been hoping that producers of American shale oil will be forced to begin cutting back given the plunge of oil prices, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today that prices can fall a good deal more. A combination of factors is driving down prices: Demand from the world’s biggest oil consumer—China—is soft; according to the IEA. Chinese crude oil imports plummeted by 63% over the last five months
Greeks and Albanians are the oldest nations in Europe. But in modern history, these two neighbours have more problems than good neighbourly relations and mark a unique case of seven decades of ‘war’ between two Nato members. Greece mapped the Albanian territorial waters as two of 20 Greek energy zones. The Albanian territorial waters hold four billion barrels of oil and 1.5 billion cubic metres of gas reserves. These could create 20 billion euros revenue over the next 20 years.
“Russia’s border with China in this area is very small [a few tens of kilometers]. The conditions for laying a pipeline aren’t the best there due to the specifics of the terrain. For this reason, Mongolia and Kazakhstan may be considered a more fitting option for this route… Altai [pipeline]has not been agreed yet, so the route may change,” Energy Development Fund director Sergey Pikin said. Routing through Kazakhstan or Mongolia can help solve a number of technological problems and eliminate the environmental risks of supply.
The focus of international politics often tends to revolve around energy security within the context of a global scramble for resources to keep individual countries’ economic growth engines humming. In view of the possibilities of the Arctic as a future abundant natural resources supply base for various pivotal countries, especially in Asia, non-Arctic states such as South Korea, Japan, and China join actual Arctic nations in taking a more active part in contemplating Arctic development and theregion’s future.
Countries that share the Nile waters on Monday warned that the region could go to war unless a new treaty on the use of the Nile waters is drawn up. Nile Basin countries have increased pressure on Egypt to get back to the negotiating table for discussions on how the waters of the world’s longest river can be used. About 25 dams are either under construction or have been planned by riparian states along the Nile.
A sudden slump in the price of crude has exposed deep divisions within OPEC ahead of its final scheduled meeting of the year next month to decide on how much oil to pump. Some members, led by Iran, have called for immediate action to stem the drop in oil prices, while the Arab sheikhdoms of the Gulf have so far argued that it could be another three months before it becomes clear whether the group should cut production. Whatever they decide, oil remains the lifeblood of the global economic system due to its direct impact on inflation and input prices.
Russia appeared to expand its retaliation against Western sanctions on Thursday by cutting in half its natural gas flows to European Union member state Slovakia. Prime Minister Robert Fico told a news conference in Bratislava his country had been caught up in a “political war where gas is being used as a weapon.” After an emergency government session, Fico said the national gas company SSP had concluded a five year deal with Germany’s E.on to receive up to two million cubic meters of gas per day via Austria to compensate for the drop in Russian supplies.
In response to Iran’s strategic grip over oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz, a new export route for crude from the Persian Gulf is growing on the coast of the Arabian Sea, with the potential to transform global energy markets. Giant tankers now queue in lines stretching for miles to load oil or refuel at Fujairah after the government invested billions of dollars into building a giant oil pipeline across the rugged Hajar mountains.
Since Monday, the European Commission has been asking some European gas shippers via national regulators to fill in a form daily to check if nominations for natural gas are being met by physical flows from Russia, ICIS has learnt. Some worry exists among EU leaders of a disruption in the supply of Russian gas to Europe. There is a fear that the flow of Russian gas transiting through Ukraine could be disrupted, although there has been no sign of this so far since the flare up geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. There is also a worry Russia could disrupt supply in response to sanctions or other reasons, even if this is viewed as unlikely.
New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiadis recently announced that, should the current coalition government fall and SYRIZA rise to power, he will immediately withdraw all his money from the bank. At any other time, a statement of that sort would sound merely colorful. But given the fragile, fragmented nature of Greece’s banking system, Georgiadis’s words border on the incendiary. His threat also sounds uncannily similar to those old slogans the Greek right used to feed to their electorate: “If the Communists take power, they will take your homes.”
An acquisition that brings together leaders in the private security industry also leaves the combined company strapped for cash — but still stable, according to one rating agency. The deal announced in June united McLean-based Academi Holdings LLC with Triple Canopy in Reston and a few other global security companies, creating a company with estimated annual revenue of about $800 million, according to Moody’s Investors Service. But it also leaves liquidity dangerously tight, Moody’s says. C
Some 189 kilometres from the district centre in Chunya, on the edge of the East African Rift Valley, there lies one of the largest and highest grade rare earth deposits in the world. It consists of 17 elements on the periodic table, including 15 elements beginning with atomic number 57 (lanthanum) and extending through number 71 (lutetium), as well as two other elements having similar properties (yttrium and scandium). These are referred to as “rare” because although relatively abundant in total quantity, they appear in low concentrations in the earth’s crust and extraction and processing is both difficult and costly.
Islamic fighters led by ISIL have established an oil trading network within Syria which includes other opposition groups and the Assad regime, Turkish Anadolu Agency reports today quoting experts on Syria as saying. Having taken major oil fields in the north of Syria, ISIL is rumored to have created a local market in which they produce oil and sell it within the country to other opposition-held areas, as well as Assad regime, either directly or indirectly. ISIL militants have taken the Raqqa, Dair az Zor and al Omar oil fields in the north of Syria since last November.
The good news for Zimbabwe is that Russian investors have started a new $3 billion (R33bn) platinum mine about 50km north-west of Harare. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe turned the first sod yesterday. Peak production would be 800 000 ounces a year, which should help Zimbabwe produce 1 million ounces annually in five years time.Various potential Russian and Chinese speculators and potential investors have been prospecting the former Zimplats land for nearly a decade.
As much of Europe focuses on whether Scottish voters will choose to leave the U.K., a key aspect of the debate is the extent to which energy wealth would — or would not — sustain an independent country. Scotland will vote in a country-wide referendum Thursday either to stay part of the U.K. or reclaim its independence after 307 years. Most of the North Sea’s oil and gas reserves lie north and east of Scotland, and those resources have continued to fuel the Scottish people’s hopes of independence since their discovery in the 1960s.
Water management in Central Asia has long been a controversial issue. It is a region where major rivers cross international borders and water and energy production are closely intertwined. In 2012, a dispute over water resources risked provoking military conflict among the former Soviet republics, due to plans by Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to dam rivers for hydropower projects. Previous water sharing agreements, largely modeled on the Soviet-era arrangements, are not working. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have different priorities for water.
China began deploying 700 soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan to help guard the country’s embattled oil fields and protect Chinese workers and installations, a spokesman for the African nation’s president said Tuesday. The airlift of the Chinese infantry battalion to the South Sudanese states of Unity and Upper Nile, the site of the only operating oil fields still under control of the central government in Juba, was expected to take several days, spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said.
Following a conference titled “Mapping the Future of Energy,” which was held in Istanbul, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Turkey Bela Szombati commented on the energy cooperation between the EU and Turkey. Szombati said that the energy cooperation between the EU and Turkey is continuing and added, “While we are waiting for Chapter 15 on energy to be opened, we are striving to consolidate our relations with the meetings that we call a ‘positive agenda.’ We have held four meetings so far and they will continue.”
Since May 23, 2013, and the suspension of the Kimberley Process — the certification scheme for the origin of rough diamonds — the Central African Republic (CAR) has officially exported none of the many diamonds that lie in its rivers. It’s a massive loss of income for this bankrupted state. In 2012, even though most of the stones were already fraudulently exported, almost 372,000 carats were transported out of the country legally for a value equal to around 45 million euros.
C Raja Mohan, who is the head of strategic studies and distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, recently at a lecture in Dhaka had mooted the idea to form a trilateral group. On Tuesday at a roundtable on ‘blue economy’, the idea also came up from the private sector who believed Bangladesh should have a “strategic partnership alliance” with India and Myanmar to exploit sea resources. It gave hope of extracting “plenty of resources” beneath the Bay of Bengal that Bangladesh considers its “third neighbour”.
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have agreed in principle to start negotiations for Jordan to purchase natural gas from a field recently discovered off Gaza’s coast. In a statement to Anadolu news agency, the chairperson of the energy committee in the Jordanian parliament, Gamal Qumwa, explained that the preliminary agreement includes supplying Jordan with 150 cubic feet of natural gas from Gaza’s field. He pointed out that this quantity would cover 50 per cent of Jordan’s natural gas needs, which ranges from between 300 to 350 cubic feet per day.
After years of ignoring the frantic gold rush fouling the Amazon forests of southeastern Perú’s Madre de Dios region, the government has launched a no-mercy campaign to crush it.It has sent police and soldiers on dozens of helicopter raids, swooping down to blow up equipment and burn mining camps. It has cut fuel supplies to Madre de Dios in an attempt to choke off the miners’ generators, motorbikes and diesel engines, saying per capita fuel consumption in the region is 10 times the national average because their machinery runs round-the-clock.
Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline. The article quotes Turkish energy Minister Taner Yıldız as saying that Ankara would allow South Stream to reach Turkey under the Black Sea instead of Bulgaria, as originally planned. However, Russian sources are quoted as saying that the Turkish route is not Moscow’s preferred one, as it is longer, and because of the lost possibility of reaching Serbia and Hungary.
ISIS terrorists are currently in control of seven oil fields in Iraq and large amounts of the country’s wheat supplies.
Iraqi officials said on Wednesday that the militants were holding government silos in five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces, where the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) says 40 percent of the country’s wheat is grown. “Now is the worst time for food insecurity,” said Fadel al-Zubi, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative for Iraq.
China’s plans to return to the moon early 2020s. Filling one shuttle’s cargo bay with helium-3 could bring the equivalent energy of 1bn barrels of oil back to earth. The moon is rich in rare earths, titanium and could support mining with recent evidence of the existence of water, the big prize when excavating the moon is helium-3. Almost non-existent on earth, helium-3 is abundant and accessible on the moon and could be used in nuclear fusion, producing much more energy than fission reactions and with much less radioactive waste.
On one side are Tony Blair, a powerful consortium of energy interests, including BP, and the autocratic ruler of a former Soviet bloc country. On the other are the olive growers of Puglia and a comedian turned political maverick. News that Britain’s former prime minister is to advise the consortium behind the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the final leg of a 2,000-mile gas pipeline that will run from Azerbaijan across much of central eastern Europe, has sparked uproar among people living close to its ultimate destination in the heel of southern Italy.
For two weeks, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have been battling for control of the Shaar gas field, one of Syria’s largest, near the landmark city of Palmyra. On July 19, it was reported that the Sunni militant group had killed 270 regime fighters, taking control of the field in what was reportedly one of the conflict’s deadliest 48-hour periods to date. As ISIS steams further into Syria, analysts say a significant portion of its financial resources come from the crude oil it sells on the black market.
The world’s first compressed natural gas carrier will be built by China to fulfill an order from Pelayaran Bahtera Adhiguna, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s state-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara,according to ABS, the company selected to class the ship. The CNG ship was designed by China’s CIMC Ocean Engineering Design & Research Institute and will be built at China’s Qingdao Wuchuan Heavy Industry’s shipyard. The ship will be dual-classed with the Indonesian class society Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia.
“Is now the time to buy water?” enquired the email that showed up in my inbox earlier this week. Its authors weren’t worrying about my dehydration levels. Rather, they were urging me to think of water in quite a new way: as a commodity to invest in. Making money from water? Is this what Wall Street wants next? This summer, however, myriad business forces are combining to remind us that fresh water isn’t necessarily or automatically a free resource. It could all too easily end up becoming just another economic commodity.
A Marshall Islands-flagged tanker ‘United Kalavrvta’ carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is hours away from arriving at a U.S. port in Texas, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington’s long-standing concern over independent oil sales from the autonomous region. It would be at least the second time a U.S. company has taken delivery of oil that the Baghdad government says was smuggled from the country. Analysts have said that if there is a buyer for the oil, and no one stops the sale, it would represent a major step toward independence for Kurdistan.
Global conflicts are increasingly fuelled by the desire for oil and natural gas and the funds they generate. Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Ukraine, the East and South China Seas: wherever you look, the world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts. At first glance, these upheavals appear to be independent events, driven by their own unique and idiosyncratic circumstances. But look more closely, and they share several key characteristics, notably, a witch’s brew of ethnic, religious, and national antagonisms that has been stirred to the boiling point by a fixation on energy.
Militants from ISIS now control or threaten key facilities on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, generating fears that the Al-Qaeda splinter group could turn off the taps to the Shiite south of Iraq, sparking a massive humanitarian crisis.Last month’s ISIS-led offensive across Iraq saw it overrun cities and battle for oil refineries as the national army melted away, but it has also been waging a war for water, trying to wrest control over rivers, dams and desalination plants in a bid to solidify its territorial gains.
With the decision by Bulgaria to suspend construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, there is more pressure on Serbia, which is balancing its longstanding ties with Russia against its desire to join the European Union. “The Serbian situation is the most difficult because it ‘paid ‘ the entrance to the pipeline by giving to Gazprom low prices for NIS (Naftna Industrija Serbia – Oil Company of Serbia) and Banatski Dvor (and underground gas storage in Vojvodina),” Jelena Milic, director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies for Belgrade, told SETimes.
Mali has awarded four mining permits to Qatar Mining, the mines minister said, as the West African country seeks to boost exploration to offset ageing mines. The International Monetary Fund forecasts a steady decline in gold output in Mali, Africa’s third-largest gold producer, from 2015 as existing mines reach maturity. “Qatar Mining has opened its Mali entity. We will be granting them four mining concessions – greenfield projects – that they will develop in the next few years,” Mines Minister Boubou Cisse said in an email to Reuters.
Afghanistan could become an “energy corridor” in the next two years as the country could part-host a $17 billion pipeline project to transfer Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India, according to a senior Afghan official. The Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India – TAPI – natural gas pipeline project was first proposed in the early 1990s with the purpose of transporting natural gas from Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, ongoing security problems and a lack of upstream development opportunities have seen investors’ interest wane in recent years.
Ethiopia hopes to become an African lion. “We have finished with the syndrome of dependence,” says Zadig Abraha, deputy-head of Gerd coordination. “We want to recover our past glory,” he adds. Some neighbouring countries are less upbeat about the project. Citing two treaties, dating from 1929 and 1959, Egypt claims a historic right over the Nile. It fears that the dam will restrict the flow of water. The treaties, signed with the UK and Sudan, allocate two-thirds of the Nile’s water resources to Egypt.
Both Bai Hassan and Kirkuk Oil fields in Kirkuk province are now under Peshmerga control, with the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) having ceased control of one other oil field in the area, from where they smuggle oil to Hamreen Mountains according to a source from North Oil co. who asked to remain anonymous. “Both oil fields have been controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. These two oil fields are important and very beneficial for Kirkuk because it is the place from where oil is exported abroad,” said the source.
Russia will suggest setting up an energy association and a reserve fuel bank during the BRICS summit that takes place in Brazil July 15-16, Yury Uskakov, a Russian presidential aide, told reporters. “Russia intends to suggest several specific subjects for consideration, namely the formation of a BRICS energy association to ensure the energy security of BRICS members,” Ushakov said ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Brazil. “A reserve bank of fuel and BRICS energy policy institute would also be set up in the framework of this association,” he said.
We live in an energy-centric world where control over oil and gas resources (and their means of delivery) translates into geopolitical clout for some and economic vulnerability for others. Because so many countries are dependent on energy imports, nations with surpluses to export — including Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, and South Sudan — often exercise disproportionate influence on the world stage. What happens in these countries sometimes matters as much to the rest of us as to the people living in them, and so the risk of external involvement in their conflicts.
In an effort to reduce dependency on Russian natural gas and position itself as a key player amid rising European energy demands, Turkey recently agreed to increase its energy co-operation with Turkmenistan. After a meeting last month in Ankara between President Abdullah Gul and his Turkmen counterpart Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Gul told reporters that Turkey is determined to deliver Turkmen gas to European markets. Turkmenistan is the world’s fourth-largest natural gas producing country, with 32 trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves.
Members of the Venezuelan army allegedly crossed over to Guyana and assaulted a group of illegal local miners operating by the Yarakita River, near the border between the countries. According to Stabroek News the civilians attacked, which are part of an illicit gold mining and smuggling network, failed to pay the soldiers a periodical fee in exchange for them turning a blind eye to illegal mining on Venezuelan territory.
Militants have reportedly taken control of Iraq’s primary oil refinery in Baiji, north of Baghdad, after 10 days of fierce battles over the station in Salah al-Din province which supplies a third of Iraq’s refined oil. The ongoing battle for the site had already led to rationing of petrol in Iraq and street protests, reports the BBC. According to a spokesperson for the militants, control of the complex will now be handed over to local tribespeople. However, news of the refinery’s capture late on Monday has been slow to trickle out in official media outlets.
There are already companies working on how 3D printing could help build infrastructure on the moon, as well as missions which are beginning to map its surface ahead of bids to drill for its resources. “We do not have decades to come up with answers to these important questions about exploring the moon,” he said. “A fleet of international missions has already started to prospect and map the distribution of mineral resources, and water-ice.”
Afghanistan is keen on opening the Chabahar port in Iran for transit to India, bypassing Pakistan. The Chabahar port in Iran is likely to significantly boost the trade volume between India and Afghanistan by providing a shorter route for transporting goods between the two countries. Besides, the port will help India obtain a direct access to Central Asia and facilitate import of minerals from Afghanistan.
Refinery workers, eyewitnesses and an Iraqi army officer reported the seizure of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery by Sunni extremists after army helicopter gunships failed to repel their attack. But other Iraqi officials, including the commander of the garrison defending the refinery in Baiji, asserted that fighting was still going on inside the huge grounds of the facility, which had been shut down by the violence.
Oil and gas resources in the Arctic are an important resource to guarantee China’s sustained economic growth and the country should actively look at developing it, state media on Wednesday cited a Chinese military think-tank as saying. The Defence Policy Research Centre of the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army singled out the Arctic as one of the chapters of an annual strategic assessment.
The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland. A key policy that also ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, will be the creation of the southern corridor running from the Caspian region and into Italy. The more interesting keyword is the “Mediterranean gas hub” which the EU would like to develop in the south of Europe together with North African and Eastern Mediterranean partners.
Libya is still able to supply its 120,000-bpd Zawiya refinery without drawing on oil from two offshore fields, an oil ministry official said. On Wednesday, a spokesman for state-owned National Oil Corp (NOC) said Libya might have to use oil from offshore fields Al Jurf and Bouri to feed the refinery which supplies western Libya with fuel products.
The offshore oil is one of the last export sources for a government struggling with a wave of protests at oilfields and ports that began last summer.
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has ordered a suspension of all activities related to the South Stream gas pipeline project until Bulgaria reaches agreement with the EU on it. Oresharski, as cited by Darik radio, announced the step in a Sunday interview after a meeting with three US senators visiting Bulgaria – John McCain, Chris Murphy, and Ron Johnson. The participants in the meeting discussed Bulgaria-US relations in the spheres of economy and defense, as well as energy independence and the current situation in Ukraine.
Brazil’s efforts to become one of the world’s major oil producers have attracted businesses such as U.S. drilling giants Halliburton and Baker Hughes, gained it partnerships with oil companies from India and China, lured immigrants from idyllic Norway and drawn investment dollars from American pension funds in Florida, South Carolina and California. But the prospects for success have darkened in the seven years since Brazil first identified massive oil deposits in deep water off its coast.
More than 10 million of Yemen’s some 25 million inhabitants are either severely food insecure — meaning they require food assistance because they cannot find enough food for themselves — or teetering on the edge, the World Food Program said. The country has one of the world’s highest levels of malnutrition among children, with nearly half of all kids under the age of five — a full two million of them — stunted, WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters.
Water Wars: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water, cutting off the water supply to Syria and Iraq
The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water. Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. The repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.
Afghanistan’s first ever domestic refined oil will be introduced in the market. According to Head of Afghanistan’s oil and gas companies Azrakhsh Hafizi, over 5,000 tons of oil obtained from Amu Darya basin were sent to Kam International Oil for refinery. He added about 2,500 tons of refined oil would be supplied in the market. Petroleum companies have invested about USD 3bn and 750mn in the oil and gas sector of Afghanistan. The Afghan government intends to establish a large oil reserve at a cost of USD 1.3mn.
The European Commission has published a revised and extended list of Critical Raw Materials, based on threatened supply coupled with economic importance. The 2014 list includes 13 of the 14 materials identified in the previous list of 2011, with only tantalum moving out of the list due to a lower supply risk. Six new materials appear on the list: borates, chromium, coking coal, magnesite, phosphate rock and silicon metal bringing the number up to 20 raw materials which are now considered critical by the European Commission.
Russia’s strategy of buying up oil refineries in Europe could compromise the bloc’s energy security, EU officials said in a draft report prepared for the region’s leaders. Europe’s refining sector has been weakened by a combination of high oil prices, slack demand and poor profit margins, prompting many companies to sell off refining units, which Russia has been buying. Russia’s Lukoil, for instance, owns refining operations in Italy, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Romania. Gazprom through its oil arm Gazprom Neft also owns refineries.
“It is simply natural that the state intends to take over the property on Svalbard that has been put up for sale”, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries says in a press release. The 217 square kilometers large plot is one of two privately owned properties on the Arctic archipelago. It has its own mountain and is estimated to hold over 20 million tons of coal. Several experts has warned Norway against selling the property on Svalbard to China, claiming that the bid is more connected to international high politics and the possibility to get a foothold in the Arctic.
A week after coming up with espionage claims towards Russian Gazprom that it has been transferring sensitive information about Iran’s joint Azer oil field to Iraq, some Iranian media outlets recently claimed that the Chinese CNPC handed over the secret data about Iran’s other oil field – Azadegan, to Iraq. Those are the rumors that Iran’s Foreign Ministry has refused to reject completely, saying that the case is under investigation.
The Czech Republic opposes a Polish proposal to create a single body to buy gas for the European Union but could support private groups voluntarily joining up for purchases, according to a position document approved by the government on Wednesday. Central European countries are vulnerable to any interruption in supplies because they take most of their natural gas from Russia, mainly via Ukraine. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called for the EU to create an energy union.
Russian and Chinese officials are due to strike a deal on Tuesday allowing China to receive Russian gas worth USD 400 B over the next 30 years, a Russian daily reports. Citing sources from the energy company Gazprom, Russia’s Izvestiya argues that the forthcoming agreement envisages that 38 bcm of gas a year be supplied to China. The three-decade span of the contract means the quantity might reach 1140 bcm.
China is stockpiling oil for its strategic petroleum reserve at a record pace, intervening on a scale large enough to send a powerful pulse through the world crude market. The move comes as tensions mount in the South China Sea, and the West prepares possible oil sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Eastern Ukraine. Analysts believe China is quietly building up buffers against a possible spike in oil prices or disruptions in supply.
Today in Mexico, Latin America’s second largest economy, 10.5 million people — 9.1 percent of its 118 million people — have no direct access to drinking water, according to government figures. President Enrique Pena Nieto said recently that 35 million Mexicans have limited access in terms of quantity and quality. He said resolving this basic problem was a “national priority.” There is only one small river, and 73% of the city’s water comes from underground.
Pakistan’s natural resources, particularly reserves of gas and oil, are dwindling by 2-3 percent every day which is an alarming development, though the incumbent government has increased its focus on indigenous exploration and production of resources. This has been disclosed by OGDCL Managing Director Riaz Khan here on Wednesday in a meeting of the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on petroleum and natural resources.
Russia, Iran and Qatar declared that they were going to form an OPEC-style gas cartel. Gazprom’s chairman, Alexey Miller, announced the formation of a “Big Gas Troika.” You can probably guess that they didn’t exactly test that name with focus groups. Big Gas Troika sounds like some oppressive Soviet pact — and really, that was the vision for it: a world-dominating bully that could intimidate the West using its control of the majority of global natural gas as a weapon.
Mongolia and North Korea are two countries on the sub-Arctic’s periphery that could play a role in connecting the Arctic region to the economic powerhouses of East Asia, albeit decades down the line. The two peripheral countries are closer to the Arctic than China, Japan, and South Korea. These three countries are observers in the Arctic Council, but North Korea and Mongolia are not, though the latter has supposedly applied for observer status. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Rajin “has big potential as a port for landlocked east Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.”
MIT has received a major gift from alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78 aimed at ensuring the world’s food and water supply for the 21st century. The gift establishes the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS), named in honor of Mohammed’s late father, to spearhead research that will help humankind adapt to a rapidly changing planet and combat worldwide water and food-supply scarcity.
NATO experts have visited Ukraine, in order to advise the government on improving the safety of nuclear power plants, gas pipelines and other critical infrastructure amid growing violence and fears of conflict with Russia, officials said. Ukrainian Ambassador to NATO, Ihor Dolhov, said that NATO civilian experts had visited Ukraine last month, to assess critical infrastructure such as nuclear plants, pumping stations for gas pipelines and hydro-electric plants.
Asia’s growing dependence on Middle Eastern oil has amplified the risks it faces if the Strait of Hormuz is suddenly shut, making it more vulnerable to such a disruption than other regions, UK think-tank Chatham House said on Wednesday. Asia is more at risk than Europe and the United States to a cut in Middle Eastern supplies as it buys 75 percent of the region’s oil exports, said Chatham House energy security expert John Mitchell in a report – Asia’s Oil Supply: Risks and Pragmatic Remedies.
Italy could increase gas imports from Algeria, Libya and the Netherlands to counter any disruption of supplies from Russia, Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti said on Monday as G7 energy ministers gathered in Rome. “We are capable of rapidly increasing imports from the supplier countries … Libya, Algeria and the Netherlands,” De Vincenti told Reuters. Italy, which generates more than 40% of its electricity from gas.
WHILE officials in Brussels call for Europe to reduce its dependency on Russian natural gas and negotiate with Moscow as a bloc, Austria was quietly bypassing the European Commission to cut its own bilateral deal on building a pipeline. The deal on the South Stream pipeline, which will be built under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to central Europe, shows the European Union’s difficulty in creating a unified energy policy on Moscow during the Ukraine crisis.
China is thought to be among those interested in buying Austre Adventfjord, a 217-square kilometre area of Norway’s Svalbard Islands, in the Arctic Ocean. A large area of the Svalbard Islands in the Artic has been put up for sale and is expected to attract investors from around the world – including the Chinese government. Austre Adventfjord, a 217-square kilometre area of Norway’s Svalbard Islands, is one of only two privately-owned plots of land in the Arctic archipelago, halfway between the North Pole and Norway.
A stable supply of water is critical for regional stability. South Asia is a region of multiple crises where water is connected to many of its challenges, its development, security and economic growth. The region occupies about five per cent of the world’s land mass and has about four per cent of its annual renewable water resources, flowing through several basins. Almost 90 per cent of water is consumed by the agricultural sector.
The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe’s mainland, according to reports. The Corridor envisages that a pipeline system called TANAP-TAP should be built from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz deposits to Georgia and Turkey and further to Greece, Albania and Italy.
About 6 B cubic meters of gas could be thus pumped into Turkey every year, while Europe could receive up to 10 B cubic meters.
Turkey has a good chance to become an energy hub if it keeps the historical achievements it made in the last decade, Martin Raiser, country director for Turkey of the World Bank. Turkey is in a strategic geographical location “between major markets in Europe and major supply sources in further east,” said Raiser. He said this geostrategic advantage increases Turkey’s chances to become a global energy hub, adding that Turkey’s geopolitical context require resolving some of the political issues around energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and Iraq.
In addition to being a major market for energy supplies, Turkey’s role as an energy transit hub is increasingly important. Turkey is a key part of oil and natural gas supplies movement from Russia, the Caspian region, and the Middle East to Europe. The country has been a major transit point for seaborne-traded oil and is becoming more important for pipeline-traded oil and natural gas. Growing volumes of Russian and Caspian oil are being sent by tanker via the Turkish Straits to Western markets.
Much to the chagrin of the United States, China has the innate ability to negotiate major energy deals in the midst of conflict. PetroChina’s state-run parent company, China National Petroleum, or CNPC, was the first oil company to secure a contract in the Iraqi oil fields following the fall of Saddam Hussein, and today both it and CNOOC are two of the most active oil comapnies there. With Russia and the West at a standstill over the recent events in Ukraine, it appears that CNPC is about to seal another energy coup.
“Egypt plans to take actions to escalate the situation against Ethiopia,” said a western diplomat in Cairo, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But the exact implications of these actions [are] still unclear.” Egypt’s main concern is water security, as the country faces a future of increasing scarcity. Nearly all of Egypt’s water comes from the Nile, and its population of 83 million is growing at nearly two percent annually.
Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East. The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.
U.S. producers have signed contracts to supply Asian LNG buyers, including GAIL India Ltd., Korea Gas Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Co., at prices that undercut what Qatar is being paid. Canada, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania also plan new LNG export plants, according to Bloomberg Industries data. “The global LNG market is going to loosen, and that has a big impact for the Qataris,” says Trevor Sikorski, a gas, coal and carbon analyst at consulting firm Energy Aspects Ltd. in London.
The project involves building a wall running perpendicular from the coast and then branching off into a T, extending around 20 miles and studded with turbines that would channel and concentrate the power of tidal water. Beijing provided $3.3 million for feasibility studies that are under way in China. Construction is at least a decade away, though initial findings suggest that shallow waters on the Chinese, Korean and European coasts could be suitable.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Saturday the European Union should form an energy union to bolster its energy security and lessen its dependence on key gas supplier Russia whose annexation of Crimea has caused a tense stand-off with the West. Russia, which provides around one third of the EU’s oil and gas, sent shockwaves through the international community with its military intervention and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula two weeks ago.
Maybe God has a soft spot for pirates. That would explain the Strait of Malacca, a natural paradise for seafaring bandits. Imagine an aquatic highway flowing between two marshy coasts. One shoreline belongs to Malaysia, the other to Indonesia. Each offers a maze of jungly hideaways: inlets and coves that favor pirates’ stealth vessels over slow, hulking ships. It’s a narrow route running 550 miles, roughly the distance between Miami and Jamaica.
The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has earned 12 billion dollars from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline since 2005 when oil from Baku was first pumped, Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yildiz said on Monday.
During his speech in the Turkish province of Adana, Yildiz underlined the importance of BTC pipeline for the region and stated that TPAO has 6.5 percent of the shares in the BTC crude oil pipeline.
Libyan troops fought with rebels occupying oil ports on Saturday after fighters attacked an army base where military reinforcements were preparing for an offensive to break the blockade, local residents said. The central government in Tripoli gave Jathran a two-week deadline on March 12 to end a blockade of three oil ports or face a military assault.
Last Sunday, US forces stormed a tanker that had made it as far as the eastern Mediterranean after loading crude at one of three ports Jahtran’s men have occupied.
Relations between Egypt and Ethiopia have soured since Ethiopia began construction on the 4.2 billion dollar Grand Renaissance Dam in 2011. Egypt fears the new dam, slated to begin operation in 2017, will reduce the downstream flow of the Nile, which 85 million Egyptians rely on for almost all of their water needs. Officials in the Ministry of Irrigation claim Egypt will lose 20 to 30 percent of its share of Nile water and nearly a third of the electricity generated by its Aswan High Dam
The Siberian land mass is officially 52,000 square kilometres bigger after an enclave in the Sea of Okhotsk was recognised as part of Russia’s continental shelf. The decision comes from the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The treasure trove includes hydrocarbon resources exceeding one billion tonnes, believes Donskoy.
As political violence in Venezuela rolls on, Cubans say they are hearing reports that Havana is making energy or military preparations for a possible disruption of its tight alliance with the South American nation. Cuba’s stagnant economy depends overwhelmingly on Venezuelan subsidies estimated at well over $6 billion a year — even more than the former Soviet Union once provided to the Caribbean island.
There is a tongue-in-cheek saying in America — attributed to Mark Twain, who lived through the early phase of the California water wars — that “whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” Sanaa in Yemen risks becoming the first capital city to run out of water. If Bangladesh bears the main impact of China’s damming of River Brahmaputra, the resulting exodus of thirsty refugees will compound India’s security challenges.
Australia has committed to purchasing the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, its prime minister said on Thursday, continuing a trend amongst Asia-Pacific nations to protect commercial maritime interests amid rising regional tensions. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that Australia will acquire an undisclosed number of the surveillance aircraft once they become available. The U.S. Navy is still testing the Triton and has plans to buy 68, with the first due in service in 2017.
Its location on the Han River helped give Danjiangkou the seeming good fortune to be chosen as a keystone in China’s solution to a worsening water crisis. Starting next year, about 9.5 billion cubic meters (335.5 billion cubic feet) of water from the Danjiangkou Reservoir will travel from here to over 100 cities—including Beijing—in northern China, where water is scarcer than in the south. Signs in the town proclaim it to be the “fount head” of the central route of the South-North Water Diversion Project (SNWDP).
India is contemplating energy pipelines from the Gulf again — this time running under the sea, rather than traversing Pakistan. With international sanctions on Iran fading as a result of a nuclear agreement, an energy pipeline may be the most positive regional consequence. The new plan proposes to transport oil and natural gas through deep sea pipelines via Oman in a process where Iran, and even Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan energy can feed the pipeline for an ever-growing Indian market. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s foreign minister, raised the possibility with Salman Khurshid during their meeting on Friday.
“Military officials in Zimbabwe said details of the airbase plan were sketchy and mostly classified due to the veil of secrecy around President Robert Mugabe’s relationship with China’s Red Army. A sizeable number of Chinese troops are reported to have their boots on the ground in the Marange diamond fields, which have since been cordoned off as a high level security zone,” said the publication. It added that a senior Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) officer based in Harare confirmed that there were rumours of the impending establishment of the airstrip as a “follow up to a military treaty signed between China and Zimbabwe in July 2005”.
Recent news Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were planning to sell off their raw uranium supplies has put a spotlight on Russian nuclear deals that went relatively unnoticed in the West. An investment strategist observed recent Russian nuclear deals including a pact with Sri Lanka are part of a greater geopolitical game to lockup the market for nuclear fuel, which may increase global uranium prices. Marin Katusa, Chief Investment Strategist at Casey Research says Russian nuclear pacts with Sri Lanka, Hungary, Belarus and the Middle East go beyond nuclear fuel sales.
The military build-up in the Arctic is underway. In 2014 Russia will create a new military structure, which will be called the Northern Fleet – United Strategic Command (NF-USC). General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces informed that the mission of the new unit would be the protection of Russian national interests in the Arctic. The active work in this direction started last year, after President Putin’s televised appeal to the Minister of Defense “to pay special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic.”
Russian energy giant Gazprom provided a record share of 29.9% of gas supplies to the European and Turkish markets in 2013. Gazprom broke a record set in 2011 of 150 billion cubic meters of gas, or a share of 27%, according to reports of Interfax, as cited by dnevnik.bg. The data is provided in a prospectus published due to a new Eurobond issue by Gazprom. The document cites an official evaluation of Gazprom of the European gas market in 2013, which amounted to 451 bcm, of which Gazprom supplied 161.5 bcm.
Offshore exploration areas patrolled by the IAF are located within the Israeli Economical Exclusion Zone (EEZ) spanning up to 200 miles from the israeli coastline and adjacent to the Cypriot EEZ. Aircraft patrolling these areas could benefit from a landing base in Cyprus in case of emergency, or when required to maintain persistent surveillance over remote areas. Israel is operating on maritime patrol missions the Sea-Scan maritime patrol aircraft, S-365 Dolphin helicopters helicopters and Heron-I unmanned aerial vehicles.
A host of Ethiopian army commanders have voiced their readiness to protect the country’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project, currently at the heart of a major row with Cairo due to Egyptian fears the dam could threaten its traditional share of Nile water. State-run television reported that military commanders had visited the project site, during which they had voiced their readiness to “pay the price” to protect the dam, which they described as a “national project.” According to state television, the visit – the first by military commanders to the site – came as part of activities marking Ethiopia’s Army Day.
Syria’s new 25-year energy deal with Russia, a key ally of embattled President Bashar Assad, could open the way for Moscow’s eventual move into the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean. The Dec. 25 agreement gives Russia’s state-controlled Soyuzneftegas exclusive exploration, development and production rights over 850 square miles of Syria’s Exclusive Economic Zone in an area known as Block 2 roughly between the coastal cities of Banias and Tartous. The deal gives the Russians, one of the world’s leading energy producers, their first real foothold in the Levant Basin, considered to be rich in natural gas.
Western militaries may lose access to critical materials needed for weapons and other systems, because of the growing demand for new technologies, questionable supply lines and production in unfriendly or dangerous countries, NATO documents show. “Key strategic materials are those that are crucial in the manufacture of sophisticated military hardware or components such as airframes, gas turbines, rocket motors, munitions, armor and electronics,” according to a newly released NATO request for information. “These materials are becoming increasingly scarce.”