Is A Russian-Iranian Energy Pact In The Making?

21 Mar 2017   Iran, Russia

In the lead-up to President Rouhani’s visit to Moscow, expected to take place in late March , a plethora of news regarding joint Russo-Iranian energy projects has been circulating on the Internet. A three-year long negotiation process regarding a 100,000 barrels-per-day swap contract is believed to be agreed upon, premised on Iran providing Russia (most likely, Rosneft) oil from Kharg Island or other hubs in the Persian Gulf in return for cash and Russian goods that Iran would “require”. Teheran also woos LUKOIL, currently Russia’s only major oil producer in the Caspian, to participate in swap deals bound for Iran’s Neka Port (in return for Iranian crude provided from Kharg Island or other Persian Gulf hubs), albeit on a much smaller scale at 4000 to 5000 barrels per day. To top it all up, numerous Russian oil companies have committed themselves to developing Iran’s hydrocarbon fields. The lifting of […]

Russia enlarges military footprint in Libya

21 Mar 2017   Libya, Russia

Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, a fiery commander in eastern Libya, has declared war against radical Islamists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but is controversial for perceived iron-fist tactics. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia TUNIS, March 20 (UPI) — Russia, 19 months after becoming a key player in the Syrian war, is increasing its military presence in Libya and is likely to back Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the tumultuous civil conflict. Haftar, a fiery commander in eastern Libya, has declared war against radical Islamists, including the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but is controversial for perceived iron-fist tactics. In September, Haftar gained control of main oil terminals in the country’s east but lost ground to Islamist forces early this month. While Haftar has received intelligence and security support from France, Britain and the United States, as well as backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, Western countries […]

Oil-rich Russia revises GDP growth estimate higher

21 Mar 2017   Russia

As crude oil prices recover from last year’s historic decline, the Russian finance minister said the outlook for gains in gross domestic product have improved. Russia last year was producing oil at or near post-Soviet highs. According to economists at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russian oil companies were winning out because a decline in the value of the ruble made it economic to produce more oil for more revenue. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the ruble was overvalued at the moment. Looking ahead, growth in gross domestic production should settle between 1.5 percent and 2 percent, an improvement from previous estimates. “On the whole we agree that the economy will be growing faster than initially expected,” he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as […]

Russia to cut oil output by 300,000 bpd by end-April: Energy Minister

18 Mar 2017   Russia

Russia will cut its oil output by 300,000 barrels per day by the end of April and will maintain production at that level until the global oil cuts deal expires at the end of June, Energy minister Alexander Novak said on Friday. Russia had cut output by 160,000 bpd by the middle of March, said Novak, a figure he said would reach 200,000 bpd by the end of the month. Asked if it was expedient to prolong the cuts deal that includes OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, Novak said: “It’s too early to talk about it in the middle of March, (the matter) should be discussed and a decision should be made at […]

Russia’s Lukoil backs OPEC production cut extension

17 Mar 2017   Russia

It’s reasonable to give serious consideration to extending a production agreement led by OPEC, the head of Russian oil company Lukoil said Thursday. Russia is contributing as a non-member state to an effort steered by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that aims to correct an oversupplied market through managed production declines. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak chaired a joint meeting with OPEC in December that called for voluntary managed declines from non-member states. The terms of the OPEC agreement, which went into force in January, extend for six months, with the option for an extension based on market conditions. Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov said he will look for clarity on the issue when the major producers meet again later this […]

Could Rosneft Take Control Of Citgo?

16 Mar 2017   Russia, USA, Venezuela

Rosneft could take control of 49.9 percent of Citgo – the troubled U.S. business of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, media are warning. PDVSA used the stake as collateral for a $1.5-billion loan provided by Rosneft last year, and the Russian company immediately filed a lien with the Delaware Department of State asserting its right to ownership in case PDVSA defaults on debt payments. Now, the possibility of a default has become more pronounced, spurring speculation about what might happen should this possibility turn into a certainty. The loan deal itself sparked protests in the U.S. energy industry, with ConocoPhillips and a Canadian miner, Crystallex, asking the federal court in Delaware to cancel the lien, even though the use of stock as collateral in loan agreements is standard practice. This time, however, there are geopolitical implications weighing in, and it’s these implications that will, in all likelihood, make the idea […]

Russia reacts to steep drop in oil prices

15 Mar 2017   Russia

The dramatic drop in crude oil prices is in large part because of “aggressive” output in the United States, but OPEC still factors in, a Russian minister said. Crude oil prices declined 5 percent Wednesday after a federal U.S. report revealed dramatic gains in crude oil storage and production levels. The U.S. shale oil boom that evolved over the last decade put negative pressure on crude oil prices, leading to an ultimate plunge below $30 per barrel last year. That compared with a period three years ago where oil above $100 per barrel was relatively common. Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin was quoted by Russia news agency TASS as saying the resiliency of U.S. shale to lower crude oil prices was putting a ceiling […]

Eon to cut 1,300 jobs and sell assets in bid to cut debt by €7bn

15 Mar 2017   Germany

Eon, the German utility, recorded a net loss of €16bn for 2016 — the largest in his history — and unveiled ambitious measures to reduce debt by €7bn through asset sales and cutting 1,300 jobs. The loss reflected impairments on Uniper, the new fossil fuel power company spun out of Eon last year, as well as payments Eon is having to make into a new state fund to cover the cost of disposing and storing Germany’s nuclear waste. But it said its balance sheet for 2016 will be the “last to reflect the burdens of the past”, leaving the company free to focus on its three core businesses — energy networks, customer solutions and renewables. “2016 was a transitional year,” said Johannes Teyssen, Eon’s chief executive. The impact on the company’s balance sheet from the Uniper spin-off and the nuclear deal with the government “marks a turning point and clears Eon’s way into the new energy world”, he said. Eon’s results come less than a month after its rival RWE unveiled a €5.7bn loss for 2016 — the largest in its 119-year history — and said it was scrapping its dividend for the second year in a row.

Russian oil major says U.S. shale growth imperils OPEC deal

14 Mar 2017   -, Russia, Shale Oil

A recovery in U.S. oil output may deter OPEC and non-OPEC producers from extending production cuts beyond June and might lead to a new price war, Russia’s top oil major said on Monday. U.S. shale oil production had been in retreat as oil prices tumbled from above $100 a barrel in 2014 to below $30 in 2015, making costly fracking processes less profitable. A deal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries with Russia and other producers to rein in output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months from Jan. 1 lifted prices but also encouraged U.S. firms to boost supplies. “It became evident that U.S. shale oil output has become and will remain a new global oil price regulator […]

As VW Pleads Guilty in U.S. Over Diesel Scandal, Trouble Looms in Europe

11 Mar 2017   Germany

Volkswagen took a big step toward resolving its legal problems in the United States when it pleaded guilty on Friday to its vast emissions deception. But in Europe, its troubles may be just beginning. Across the Continent, the German carmaker faces not only an expanding criminal investigation but also thousands of lawsuits from consumers demanding recourse.

Saudi Arabia, Russia Offer United Front on Oil Supply Cuts

Saudi Arabia and Russia, the architects of an oil production cut that has stabilized prices, presented a united front on compliance just as rising U.S. inventories have sparked doubts about the OPEC and non-OPEC deal. Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister, acknowledged that global crude inventories aren’t draining as quickly as he expected, opening the door for an extension of the production cuts into the second half of the year. The potential rollover is a subtle yet significant shift from just six weeks ago, when the minister said that an extension probably wouldn’t be needed. Al-Falih’s concern about the slow pace of stockpile reductions was echoed by Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the oil minister for the United Arab Emirates. Since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some of its rivals, including Russia, agreed to cut output in late 2016, oil prices have stabilized at around $50-$55 a barrel, up from $45-$50 a barrel before. Yet, prices are struggling to rise further as U.S. crude stocks increased to record levels.  With the market starting to believe the cuts were backfiring by reviving U.S. oil production, Al-Falih and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak called a news conference in Houston after a round of meetings to offer a united front, and insist the cuts will work.


Norway Buries Oil-Tax Incentives as Crude Crisis Fades

8 Mar 2017   Norway

Norway’s government won’t propose any tax incentives for oil companies to boost recovery at aging fields and marginal offshore discoveries before parliamentary elections later this year.  “There are no planned initiatives related to this,” Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Soviknes said in an interview in Trondheim on Tuesday. “My experience is that the market for the time being seeks stability first of all. It’s been a very demanding three-year period.”

The minister’s comments mark the first time the Conservative-led government rules out such measures, which it promised to consider when it took office in 2013. While stressing the need for stability in the oil industry’s framework conditions, including the tax system, officials from Prime Minister Erna Solberg to Finance Minister Siv Jensen have signaled minor changes could occur in line with the government’s political platform.

British North Sea oil and gas sector still facing headwinds

8 Mar 2017   -, United Kingdom

An industry trade group sees confidence returning to the British North Sea, but lingering challenges remain for oil and natural gas. File photo by Maryam Rahmanian/UPI. March 7 (UPI) — Though the region is showing signs of recovery, a British oil and gas trade group said new investments in offshore activity are slow to emerge. A report from the trade group Oil & Gas U.K. finds total British offshore production up 5 percent from 2015 to 1.73 billion barrels of oil equivalent. That trend should continue short-term with output reaching 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent by 2018. That follows a 15-year period of steady declines from British waters. Deirdre Michie, the chief executive for the trade group, said confidence is returning to the North Sea. Cash flow generated by exploration and production companies is expected to move into positive territory for the first time since 2013. “However, this […]

Iran vs Russia: The Next Natural Gas War

Not everybody attending the Iranian natural gas summit last week in Frankfurt was there for the same reason. While most were gauging the prospects for an opening of major natural gas reserves and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export prospects, others were there for quite different reasons. Take the three representatives from Russia’s gas giant Gazprom (OGZPY), for example. They weren’t there to scout new investment packages. On the contrary… They were there to see just how badly their company’s position was under siege. And it’s no wonder the Gazprom guys looked concerned. From what I saw at the summit, they have every reason to be. For energy investors, on the other hand, the news is very good… Gazprom is in Dire Straits Gazprom may still be the largest natural gas company on the face of the Earth, exporting more gas than anybody else and providing revenues that account for […]

France Plans Loans for Companies Wanting to Invest in Iran

7 Mar 2017   France, Iran

France is working on plans to issue direct loans to companies that want to invest in Iran, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said in a press conference in Tehran. “We are trying to help these companies,” Sapin told reporters at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Tehran at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Tayebnia. “They wil be able to apply for loans, but it’s not active yet. We are working on this.” French companies were among the first to return to Iran after sanctions were eased last year under Tehran’s nuclear deal with six world powers, but officials have said financing issues have hobbled some big infrastructure projects. France’s largest banks have been reluctant to do business with the oil-rich country because of remaining U.S. sanctions, and Iran lacks access to major international lenders. Sapin said he was “confident” that banking relations between France […]

French, Spanish companies set for more wind power off coast of France

7 Mar 2017   France, Spain, Wind

French and Spanish energy companies said Monday they were setting their sights on building up the wind energy potential off the coast of France. French energy company ENGIE counts an installed wind power capacity of more than 1,700 megawatts in France and is now teaming up with its Spanish counterpart, EDPR, on plans to install as much as 750 MW of wind power offshore. According to ENGIE, offshore France is one of the most attractive parts of the world for offshore wind and the two companies have already pre-qualified for further developments. “Already a leader in on-shore wind, we hope to […]

Norwegian transport sector tapped for fast-charging EV stations

A German utility company said it was launching a collaborative effort to develop ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles across Norway. German company E.ON said it was working through partnership with Denmark based e-mobility service provider CLEVER to develop networks for electric vehicles on main European motorways. The partnership said it was now teaming up with the Norwegian and Danish retail gas station chain YX Energi to build dozens of charging stations across Norway. “This network will also connect Norway with the rest of Scandinavia and Europe,” the German company explained in a statement . “The ultra-fast chargers will be installed from 2018 to 2020.” Norway leads Europe with deployment of electric vehicles, with about 100,000 on the road already. In terms […]

Oil Price, Sanctions Weigh on Russian Stocks, Moscow Unfazed

7 Mar 2017   Russia

When Donald Trump won the presidential vote last year there was an outcry from his opponents due to his alleged close ties with the Russian government. Many believed that Trump would be quick to remove U.S. economic sanctions against Russia, thus stimulating economic growth in the country and making it more daring territorially. This has not happened and is unlikely to happen, as is becoming increasingly obvious. The sanctions have remained, and so have low oil prices, pressuring Russia’s growth and stock market. These two factors are seen by some analysts as the drivers behind equity price trends in the country. According to CNBC, the Moscow Composite Index, or Micex, is down 8 percent in the past three months, underperforming the U.S. stock market by 15 percent, thanks to Trump’s vow to keep sanctions in place and, of course, the new lower normal for oil prices. Now, investors are […]

IHS CERAWeek: Russia to achieve 300,000 b/d in agreed cut by end April: minister

7 Mar 2017   Russia

Russia will achieve by late April the 300,000 b/d cut it agreed to in the coordinated supply cut agreement reached with OPEC and 11 non-OPEC countries last year, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak told reporters Monday at IHS CERAWeek. Novak said Russia is currently meeting 50% of its supply cut commitment and will likely have cut 200,000 b/d by the end of March. Related IHS CERAWeek story: IEA chief says global oil demand ‘not peaking’ Under the deal, OPEC in November agreed to cut 1.2 million b/d from its October levels while 11 non-OPEC countries led by Russia agreed to cut an additional 558,000 b/d. Novak said it remains unclear if the supply cut deal will be extended beyond June, a decision he said likely will not be made until shortly before the current deal is set to expire. Article continues below… Oilgram News brings you fast-breaking global petroleum […]

Russia Is Running on More Than Just the Black Stuff

7 Mar 2017   Russia

The world’s largest energy producer is out of its longest recession in two decades Russia has exited recession, with a little help from the boys in uniform, a major statistical revision – and the global oil price. And not just any recession, but its longest in two decades. So what happened? 1. Is the economy really out of the woods? Actually, the contraction ended a few quarters earlier than previously estimated, according to revised calculations by the Bank of Russia’s research and forecasting department. The Federal Statistics Office hasn’t released a quarterly growth figure since 2015, so that’s not an official, official number. The central bank had thought that quarterly growth turned positive only in the second half of last year. Now it seems Russia has been in the black since the first quarter of 2016. Part of the reason for that is a reclassification of military spending . […]

U.K. Oil, Gas Output Set for Longest Expansion in Two Decades

7 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

U.K. oil and gas production will continue to grow through 2018, putting it on course for the longest expansion in almost two decades, amid project startups and productivity gains, an industry lobby said. “Production has now been rising since 2015, bucking a 15-year trend of decline, and should continue to rise over the next two years,” Oil & Gas U.K. said in a statement on Tuesday. Output in the U.K. Continental Shelf rose to 1.73 million barrels of oil equivalent a day last year and will peak at between 1.8 million and 1.9 million barrels in 2018, the group said. New developments as well as productivity gains are behind the increase after output in the basin peaked about 15 years ago, the lobby said. The slump in oil prices has forced the industry to become leaner, with average operating costs falling by almost half to about $15.30 a barrel […]

Russia Committed to Oil Production Cut

7 Mar 2017   Russia

Russia’s energy minister said Monday the nation is gradually reducing its oil production in line with an agreement reached with OPEC late last year and should be fully compliant by the end of April. The country, which ranks among the world’s top oil producers, agreed to reduce its output by 300,000 barrels a day as part of a broad effort by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers to boost…

Norway extends permits for Norwegian and North Sea drilling

4 Mar 2017   Norway

Norway’s government pushed forward on expanding oil and gas exploration on the continental shelf Friday with new permits for the North and Norwegian Seas. The Petroleum Safety Authority said Friday it granted a permit to Aker BP to drill an exploration well in the Volund oil field in the North Sea. Volund is in service through a floating production platform and Aker BP aims to probe the potential for new hydrocarbons about 4 miles west of the infrastructure in place at Volund. In its fourth quarter report , Aker BP reported production from the Volund field was lower than the previous quarter by 16 percent. Elsewhere, the regional subsidiary of Spanish energy company Repsol was given permission by the PSA to drill an exploration […]

Russia expects oil and gas revenue to bounce back in March

4 Mar 2017   Russia

After a budget shortfall in February, Russia’s finance minister said the country expected to receive more than $1 billion in oil and natural gas revenue this month. The Russian government said Friday it expected a $1.5 billion windfall in March, after revenues from oil and gas fell short of forecasts for February. “The deviation of actual oil and gas revenue received by the end of February 2017… from estimates a month earlier was [minus] $365 million,” a ministry report states. Russia derives a sizable portion of its revenue from oil and natural gas and is a main energy supplier to European and Asian economies. One day after members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to […]

British oil and gas projects late and over budget, report says

4 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

Despite capital investments coming in at an all-time high, a British survey of oil and gas activity found few projects were delivered on time and under budget. The official British Oil & Gas Authority published its five-year review of oil and gas activity for the period ending in 2016. The review found less than 25 percent of oil and gas projects were delivered on time, with most running about 10 months behind schedule. OGA Operations Director Gunther Newcombe put a positive spin on the figures, noting investments came in at close to $50 billion over the last five years. “This brings considerable benefits in terms of financial contribution to the economy, supporting thousands of skilled jobs and safeguarding […]

Russian cuts to oil production stall in February

3 Mar 2017   Russia

Russia’s oil output stayed unchanged in February from the previous month, with cuts at just a third of the levels pledged by Moscow under a global deal to reduce production, Energy Ministry data showed on Thursday. The country’s oil and gas condensate output remained at 11.11 million barrels per day (bpd) [O/RUS1] last month, down 100,000 bpd from levels agreed as the starting point for the accord. OPEC and other large producers led by Russia agreed late last year to reduce their total oil output by almost 1.8 million bpd in the first half of 2017 to boost the price of crude, a key source of revenue. Of that, Russia pledged to cut 300,000 bpd, with 200,000 bpd of reductions […]

Russia’s Lukoil reports oil production declines for 2016

3 Mar 2017   Russia

Russian oil producer Lukoil said its oil production for 2016 was 8.6 percent lower than in 2015, but higher for the fourth quarter by about 2.5 percent. Excluding work in Iraq, Lukoil reported the full-year 2016 production of 674 million barrels was a 9 percent decline year-over-year. Fourth quarter production was reported at 162 million barrels, up 2.5 percent from the previous term. Lukoil in a statement said its production from the fourth quarter excluded volumes from the West Qurna-2 project in Iraq. Production there saw dramatic declines both in year-on-year figures and for the fourth quarter. “Oil production dynamics outside of Russia were influenced by the divestment of our share in Caspian Investment Resources Ltd. in Kazakhstan in 2015, as well as a decrease […]

Gazprom Says Europe’s Appetite for Gas Keeps Getting Bigger

Europe’s appetite for natural gas is leading to a growth “renaissance” as its stores of the fuel languish at the lowest levels since 2013, according to Gazprom PJSC. Europe’s appetite for natural gas will probably meet or even exceed last year’s growth as the region needs to replenish its lowest gas storage levels since 2013, according to Gazprom PJSC. A “conservative estimate” by the world’s biggest exporter is that Europe’s demand may increase by about 5 percent this year, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said Thursday in an interview in Hong Kong. The state-run company, which supplied record volumes to Europe last year and met more than a third of consumption, sees its 2017 shipments of “no less than in 2016,” he said. The European Union’s gas demand increased in 2015 after four years of declines. After the coldest January in seven years and plunging output at domestic […]

Italian energy company Eni recovers after spending cuts

2 Mar 2017   Italy

Italian energy company Eni said it managed to turn a corner after trimming investments last year to turn in its first quarterly profit in more than a year. “The 2016 results mark the successful conclusion of a radical transformation process,” CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement . “Over the past three years, Eni has restructured to withstand one of the most complex environments in the history of the oil industry, while strengthening its growth prospects and preserving a robust balance sheet.” Eni reported a net profit of $484 million during the fourth quarter, a year after taking an adjusted net loss of nearly $320 million. The company is coming off a string of successes. In February, […]

BP Says Peak Oil Demand May Occur Post-2050, Plans to Increase Production

2 Mar 2017   United Kingdom

In the wake of the expected growth trends set out by its energy outlook, BP plc revealed in its latest strategy update that it anticipates production to increase by an average of 5 percent per year from 2016 to 2021. BP Group production, which includes BP’s share of production from Rosneft, is expected to be around 4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2021, the energy major said in a Feb. 28 company statement. According to BP: six projects began production in 2016 seven projects are scheduled to come online in 2017 nine projects are expected to come on-stream between 2018 to 2021 The projects coming online in 2016 and 2017 are said to be on track to deliver 500,000 boepd in new production capacity by the end of this year. Production ramping up from new upstream projects is expected to deliver a material improvement in […]

Rig company Seadrill teeters on the brink

1 Mar 2017   Norway, Offshore

Rig company Seadrill Ltd., based in Norway, said it was looking at restructuring options after noting it didn’t expect improvements in lease rates this year. Energy companies are spending more on exploration and production as crude oil prices settle at around $55 per barrel. Oil prices last year dropped below $30 per barrel and some of the smaller service companies collapsed as a result of the corresponding drop in spending. Seadrill, which counts dozens of deepwater and ultra-deepwater drillships in its fleet, said it was struggling with mounting debt and may have trouble staying afloat. President and CEO Per Wullf said the level of bidding had increased for his company’s services and there was room for some optimism. “Improving dayrates […]

Putin’s Russia Seen Dominating European Energy for Two Decades

1 Mar 2017   Russia

Europe has wanted to wean itself from Russian natural gas ever since supplies from its eastern neighbor dropped during freezing weather in 2009. Almost a decade later, the region has never been more dependent. Gazprom PJSC, Russia’s state-run export monopoly, shipped a record amount of gas to the European Union last year and accounts for about 34 percent of the trading bloc’s use of the fuel. Russia will remain the biggest source of supply through 2035, Royal Dutch Shell Plc said last week , echoing comments by BP Plc in January. EU lawmakers have had their hearts set on diversifying supplies with liquefied natural gas delivered by tanker from the U.S., where production of the fuel skyrocketed last year. So far, those shipments have failed to materialize amid a lack of firm contracts and higher prices outside Europe. Overall, LNG shipments to the region, led by Qatar, were stagnant […]

Total in talks to buy Iranian LNG project: sources

28 Feb 2017   France, Iran

Total ( TOTF.PA ) is in talks to buy a multi-billion dollar stake in Iran’s partly-built liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, Iran LNG, seeking to unlock vast gas reserves. The French oil major — the first of its peers to strike deals in Iran after sanctions — seeks entry into Iran LNG at a discount to the pre-sanctions price in exchange for reviving the stalled project, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. A third source confirmed Total was in the running for a stake, alongside several other oil majors, but any deal was still some way off. Total declined to comment. Iran’s National Gas Export Co. (NIGEC), a central stakeholder in the project, did not respond to requests for comment by email and phone. “Iran […]

Exxon extends life of Norwegian gas field

28 Feb 2017   Norway

Consent was given to Exxon Mobil to extend the life of a natural gas field in the North Sea because of new production calculations, Norway’s government said. Exxon started production at the Sigyn natural gas field in the Norwegian waters of the North Sea in 2012 and estimated only a five-year lifespan for development. According to the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway, new calculations from the company show production can be sustained. “We have granted Exxon Mobil consent to extend the lifetime until Dec. 31, 2022,” the government agency said in a consent agreement . Norway is one of the top natural gas suppliers to the European economy, apart from Russia . Europe is working to wean itself off Russian natural gas by relying more […]

Russia sees U.S. oil production as a lid on oil prices

28 Feb 2017   Prices, Russia, Shale Oil

Gains in oil production from the United States should establish a ceiling over crude oil prices on the global market, the head of Russia’s Lukoil said Monday. Russia is coordinating with members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on a production arrangement aimed at pulling an over-supplied market for crude oil back to balance. After dropping below $30 per barrel in early 2016, oil prices since OPEC’s agreement surfaced in November have been steady above $50 per barrel. U.S. shale oil production gains helped saturate the markets and output from the Lower 48 states has proved more resilient than expected to crude oil prices that are still about half what they were three […]

Russia says in talks over Iranian oil purchases

27 Feb 2017   Iran, Russia

Russia has been in talks of buying oil from Iran, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, confirming earlier reports. At the sidelines of a economic forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Novak told reportes he expected the deal to be reached “within weeks.” The purchases will be carried out via Promsirieimport, a trading unit of Russia’s Energy Ministry, he said. Last week, Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that Iran will begin selling 100,000 bpd of to Russia within the next 15 days and receive payment half in cash and half in goods and services. (Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; writing Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Aleksandar Vasovic)

How Russia Is Using Oil Deals To Secure Its Influence In The Middle East

27 Feb 2017   Middle East, Russia

A string of oil deals between Russian oil companies and Arab petrostates have shifted the center of political gravity in the Middle East and North Africa towards Moscow – counteracting the effect of decades of American military and political involvement as U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan for the region remains unclear. The 2014 oil price drop hit the national economy hard, causing the price of the ruble to plummet and GDP growth to grind to a halt. This has pushed Moscow to look outward to project strength as a crippling recession proceeds on the domestic front. The Arab World has been Putin’s favorite arena to grow the Russian sphere of influence. Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s visit to Moscow last year brought the two countries closer together on tourism and counterterrorism issues. But the North African country’s lack of oil or gas resources did not leave room for further discussions […]

BASF Looks to Invest in Iran’s Recently Opened Energy Sector

24 Feb 2017   Germany, Iran

BASF SE is exploring options for tapping Iran’s recently opened energy market, making it the latest in a long line of German firms looking to expand into the Islamic Republic. Chief Executive Kurt Bock said Friday that the company—through its fully-owned oil and gas subsidiary Wintershall AG—is currently examining business opportunities in Iran after being courted by Iranian authorities. “We are trying to…

Is The Trump Administration About To Rescue The Russian Economy?

24 Feb 2017   Russia, USA

As oil prices continue their slow uphill climb and the global energy community reenters exploration mode, the Russian economy has much to gain from new American leadership that seems lenient on oil sector sanctions. On Tuesday, Representative Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania became the fourth Republican lawmaker to back a bill limiting newly inaugurated President Donald Trump’s ability to pull back sanctions against Russia. The legislation would require Trump to seek congressional approval before reducing or removing the punitive measures that are currently in place to punish Moscow for its support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s murderous regime, the forced annexation of Crimea and now also for organized cyberattacks against American institutions in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential elections. “ In order to modify these imposed sanctions, the President would need to certify to Congress that the government of Russia has stopped the activities that warranted […]

Iran to sign oil contract to sell Russia 100,000 bpd: state TV

22 Feb 2017   Iran, Russia

Iran announced on Tuesday it will begin selling 100,000 barrels of oil a day to Russia within the next 15 days and receive payment half in cash and half in goods and services, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh provided details about the deal after meeting Russian energy minister Alexander Novak in Tehran, ISNA said. “Of course we were ready to sign the contract tonight but our Russian counterpart was in a hurry and had to go to the airport,” Zanganeh said. He added that a number of Russian companies have already signed memorandums of understanding with Iranian companies. Zanganeh said that Russia will be cooperating with an OPEC decision last November to cut production levels and will be reducing its oil output by 300,000 bpd, according to ISNA. (Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Rosneft Expands in Middle East With Libya and Iraq Oil Deals

22 Feb 2017   Iraq, Libya, Russia

Rosneft PJSC , the state-run producer headed by a close adviser of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is expanding its footprint in the Middle East by striking new oil deals with Iraq’s Kurdish region and Libya. Russia’s largest oil producer agreed to buy crude from Libya’s National Oil Corp., the state-run NOC said Tuesday on its website, without specifying the amount. The deal also provides for Rosneft to invest in exploration and production in the North African country. The Russian company announced on the same day it will buy Kurdish oil until 2019 and will study exploration and production opportunities in Kurdish areas, it said in a statement. “These deals combine potentially good economics for Rosneft and good politics for the Kremlin,” Chris Weafer, a partner at Macro Advisory in Moscow, said Tuesday by e-mail. “Expect more deals from Rosneft in the Middle East and North Africa and across the […]

Rosneft signs landmark deal to buy KRG crude

22 Feb 2017   Iraq, Russia

In a sign that Kurdistan’s oil sector is shedding some of its legal and political risk, KRG crude will now supply the refineries of Russia’s largest oil company. A tanker loads crude at the Turkish port of Ceyhan, May 2015. (STAFF/Iraq Oil Report) Kurdistan has signed a three-year crude supply agreement with Russian state oil giant Rosneft, a milestone in the regional government’s efforts to establish an independent oil sector.”It is the first time the KRG has supplied crude directly to a major global oil refiner and reflects the growing confidence of the international oil market in KRG crude,” said a KRG official with knowledge of the deal.The contract is part of a broader cooperation agreement covering upstream, logistics, and … This content is for registered users. Please login to continue. If you are not a registered user, you may purchase a subscription or sign up for a free […]

Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s Top Crude Oil Producer

21 Feb 2017   Russia

Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude producer in December, when both countries started restricting supplies ahead of agreed cuts with other global producers to curb the worst glut in decades. Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels a day in December, down 29,000 barrels a day from November, while Saudi Arabia’s output declined to 10.46 million barrels a day from 10.72 million barrels a day in November, according to data published Monday on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative in Riyadh. That was the first time Russia beat Saudi Arabia since March. Saudi Arabia and fellow producers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided at the end of November to restrict supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day for six months starting Jan. 1, with Saudi Arabia instrumental in the plan. Non-member producers, including Russia, pledged additional curbs. Brent crude prices have climbed about 20 […]

Russia’s Rosneft starts drilling in Iraq

21 Feb 2017   Iraq, Russia

Russian oil producer Rosneft reported Monday it started new drilling operations in Iraq, alongside a Chinese contracting partner. Rosneft said it started a new exploration well, which according to state news agency Tass should be completed by July. The company is working in the area alongside a Chinese contractor, after taking over the operations in October. Rosneft is Russia’s largest oil producer. For the fourth quarter, the company said its net production was up 11.8 percent year-on-year for a new record high. As one of the largest oil producers outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia is contributing to efforts to balance a market that last year favored the supply side. According to statistics, Russian oil producer Lukoil, one of the country’s largest in terms of net […]

Norway Doubles Down On Arctic Oil

21 Feb 2017   Norway

While Canada and the U.S. ban Arctic drilling for oil and gas motivated by environmental concerns, and majors such as Shell pull out of their Arctic projects due to financial pressures, Norwegian energy companies are planning to increase drilling in the country’s Arctic shelf in the Barents Sea. It seems that the limited oil price increase that followed OPEC’s production cut deal has been enough for Statoil and Lundin to decide to allocate more funds to Arctic drilling, especially since the price rise has been accompanied by a major discovery for Lundin and a likely future major discovery for Statoil. Lundin announced earlier this month that it had struck a deposit holding between 35 and 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in its Filicudi prospect in the southern Barents Sea. According to the company, which is exploring the prospect in partnership with Aker BP and Dea, Filicudi may contain […]

A Push for Diesel Leaves London Gasping Amid Record Pollution

Every winter, as if on cue, the coughing begins. As soon as the weather turns cold, Tara Carey, an international aid worker living in London, ritually places cough syrup on her bedside table because she knows her sleep will be punctuated by hacking coughs. She also coughs at work. And she coughs while cycling to her office, on a road so toxic that for a brief period last month the air pollution there was greater than in infamously smoggy Beijing.

Vladimir Putin: Clear signs of Russian economic growth

18 Feb 2017   Russia

As oil prices stabilize in the wake of an OPEC-led production deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin said signs of economic strength are becoming clear. The president sat with his top economic advisors for the second time this year, saying there are clear signs of positive momentum. By his read , the 0.2 percent decline in gross domestic product last year was better than expected. “The trends are becoming more or less clear, and we have an overall understanding of the ongoing developments,” he said. “Overall, we are seeing positive economic momentum.” The International Monetary Fund said it expected a 0.6 percent contraction for Russia last year, but growth would return at 1.1 percent in 2017. After keeping its key lending rates unchanged […]

Tidal Lagoon Energy in Wales

17 Feb 2017   Tidal, United Kingdom

The report of an independent review of UK tidal lagoon energy was published on 12 January 2017 by a former UK energy Minister Charles Hendry. The report praises the proposed ‘pathfinder’ tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as a ‘no-regrets option’, and sets out a supportive case for developing the sector. The Hendry Review was commissioned in February 2016 by UK Government to assess the strategic case for tidal lagoon energy as a new industry in the UK. This followed a successful planning proposal by Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) to develop the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, as well as a subsequent programme for a ‘fleet’ of five larger projects, including three in Welsh waters (Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay). Despite the Swansea Bay project appearing in the 2015 UK Conservative Party manifesto and receiving development consent in June 2015, uncertainties around cost and subsidy subsequently prompted the […]

Decline of UK’s Rough storage site to raise gas import costs

17 Feb 2017   United Kingdom

The decline of Britain’s biggest gas storage site and the lack of new-build to replace it will increase dependency on imports over the next few years, boosting wholesale market volatility and consumer gas prices. Seasonal gas storage provides security and flexibility of supply. At times of low demand and therefore low gas prices in the summer, gas is injected into storage to be kept for when demand rises in the winter. Rough, the country’s only seasonal gas storage site, can usually meet around 10 percent of Britain’s peak daily gas demand but is currently capable only of handling 5 percent. At over 30 years old, the depleted gas field off England’s east coast has undergone prolonged outages over the past year due to problems with well pressure; six wells have permanently closed and […]

EU gets wake-up call as Gazprom eyes rival TAP pipeline

15 Feb 2017   Europe, Pipelines

A general view shows the headquarters of Gazprom in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2016. Gazprom’s bid to tap into a pipeline meant to wean Europe off Russian gas threatens to undermine a pillar of European energy policy and slow plans to develop rival deposits in the east Mediterranean. As the European Union struggles against the “iron embrace” of Russian pipelines, it has made opening a new Southern GasCorridor to carry gas from Azerbaijan by 2020 a priority. The 10 billion cubic meter (bcm)-capacity Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is the project’s end piece, joining up with the Trans Anatolian Pipeline at the Turkish border, then crossing Greece and Albania to reach Italy. Construction work on TAP gives EU officials the first non-Russian gas pipeline to supply Europe since Algeria’s Medgaz link nearly a decade ago, paving the way for diluting Gazprom’s large one-third share of Europe’s gas market. That at […]