Category Archives: gas

Russia to claim the North Pole

We have seen it on the news:

and in Russia Today

or the BBC or the humorist Craig Ferguson on CBS and even the catalan TV3 did a great report about it.

Since it’s fundation Russia has been looking for a warm water port mainly for strategic but also for comercial reasons, but they couldn’t get it (not on the mediterranean, nor the Black Sea, nor the Pacific -Japan Sea-). So if the Russian empire couldn’t reach the warm water… now the warm water is reaching Russian ports.

From the rosurces point of view, the North Pole is melting down and it’s sea bed is rich (they even say 25% of worlds oil) so Russia is already claiming it.

From the comercial point of view it is interesting to note that the fastest route from Japan to UK is going to be through the North Pole (10 days shorter), so creating a new and ever faster Silk Road? And also underscoring the strategic comercial situation of Singapur or the Malacca Strait? Only a bit… probably.


Oil and Gas in Central Asia

The Foreign Policy Blog on Central Asia has a post on Peak Oil in Central Asia. Well, I don’t think that the Peak Oil theory is very well understood in that post, but there is interesting data:

According to the BP report and RFE/RL, the years of production that Kazakhstan has at present levels of extraction is 76.5 years; Azerbaijan, 29.3 years; Turkmenistan, 9.2 years; and Russia, 22.3 years. (…) Ideally, states use that “oil revenue window” to develop a varied economy using oil income as a jumpstart for a new economic engine.

I like the concept “oil revenue window”, and then the post continues refering to the resources trap and dutch disease theories (but don’t mention them) that the Foreign Policy magazine have reviewed not very long ago (see Petropolitics). From my point of view, improving governance is the best way to solve all the problems and challenges of the “oil revenue windows”, but to do that in only 10 years in Turkmenistan looks impossible so this country is going to miss the oil revenue window for sure. But we should not forget that Turkmenistan is much richer in gas than oil, so fso according to Planete Energies, could spend 30 more years on its “gas revenue winidow”, a much better perspective.

In a broader picture, tha Asian Develpment Bank just published an Energy Strategy working paper with some interesting conclusions:

According to the International Energy Agency,
primary energy demand in the developing Asia will grow from 2.9 billion tons of oil equivalent
(btoe) in 2004 to 5.8 btoe in 2030. This growth is not sustainable if most of this energy will have
to be met by fossil fuels.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in the future, electrification level or
access will rise over the projection period, but the total number of people remaining without
electricity will fall only slightly, from 1.6 billion in 2002 to just under 1.4 billion in 2030. Most of
the net decrease in the number of people without electricity will occur only after 2015. The levels of the electricity-deprived will fall in Asia, but will continue to increase in Africa.


El gasoducto Nabucco es el más ambicioso de la UE, tanto que incluso tiene su propia pagina web, y finalmente parece que se ha aprobado su construcción, que terminarà en 2011. Sin embargo la sagrada trinidad que configuran Rusia-Putin-Gazprom no va a poner las cosas faciles.

Una de las principales características de este proyecto de 3.300 kilometros es que conectarà el gas de Asia Central con Europa, pero sin pasar por territorio ruso.

Como explica IHT:

Conceived in 2002 as the bloc’s first attempt at forging a common energy security policy, the gas pipeline is designed to start at Turkey’s borders with Georgia and Iran, later merging. It will then cross Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary and end in Austria. Gas will be fed into the pipeline from Iran and Iraq, depending on the political situation, and from the new Caspian gas reserves from Azerbaijan and eventually Kazakhstan.

When the EU’s energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, announced last June the establishment of the consortium, Gazprom was already prepared. Kazakhstan agreed to sell its entire export and transit capacity to Gazprom over the next five years. In a 25-year deal with Turkmenistan, Russia will obtain all of its export surplus gas. If production is increased, Gazprom will also purchase those additional quantities. Gazprom has booked much of Uzbekistan’s transit pipeline network until 2010, preventing outsiders from sending gas through it. A report by the Center for Eastern Studies in Warsaw concluded that Gazprom’s long-term objective was to control the gas reserves, the transport routes to Europe and the gas exports from Central Asia to Europe.

Otras fuentes analizan el poco impacto del proyecto:

According to predictions by the European Commission, which financed a pipeline feasability study, between 10 and 15 percent of the EU’s gas supply will come from the Caspian Sea region by 2025. (…) According to him, Nabucco will not compete with the South European Gas Pipeline project which Russian gas giant Gazprom and Hungarian energy group Mol have agreed to develop jointly.”Nabucco will cover only 10 percent of the EU’s future gas needs and we will use all the supply possibilities on offer,” Bartenstein said

o en BBC:

“The EU will need an additional 200 to 300 billion cubic meters per year in 25 years, so we have enough demand for at least seven Nabuccos,” Mr Piebalgs said.

Descongestionando el Bósfaro "in a Russian way"

Se ha confirmado la notícia, la aprovación del oleoducto entre Rusia, Bulgaria y Grecia ya es un hecho. La alternativa al saturado estrecho del Bósfaro irá de Burgas (Bulgaria) a Alexandropolis, costará unos 950 millones de euros y tendrá capacidad para 700.000 barriles de crudo diarios.

El petroleo del Caucaso y el Caspio (via Rusia) cruzará el Mar Negro hacia el puerto de Burgas y de allí por el oledoucto de 175 millas hasta la costa griega mediterranea. El oleoducto será de propiedad rusa (51%) pero el número de compañías implicadas es multinacional:

A multinational group of companies has lined up to cooperate in the latest project, including the U.S. company ChevronTexaco; the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP; Rosneft and Sibneft of Russia; Bulgargaz and Terminal Universel Bourgas from Bulgaria; and Hellenic Petroleum, Promitheas Gas and Petrola of Greece.

Para Rusia es un gran exito estratégico, un acceso (aunque sea solamente energético) al Mediterráneo y a un puerto de agua caliente que lleva buscando desde siempre (Guerra de Criema), y abre la puerta a poder suministrar petróleo a países como Italia (Gazprom y ENI estan a punto de firmar suministros de gas).

Pero esto no ha hecho ninguna gracia a Turquía, que tenía la propuesta Samsun-Ceyhan para descongestionar el Bósfaro y ya ha anunciado la cancelación del Second Blue Stream, la duplicación del gasoducto ruso que pasa por Turquía y que podia servir para llevar gas a Israel, Italia, etc. Por su parte, parece que Grecia habría buscado la forma de no depender del Bósforo (malas relaciones con Turquia) para sus suministros energéticos.

EEUU y la UE han dado su bendición al proyecto, pero a nadie se le escapa que esto significa incrementar la dependencia energética de Rusia, precisamente cuando la UE quiere diversificar sus fuentes de suministro. (Journal of Turkish Weekly)

US officials want Greece to prioritize natural gas from Azerbaijan in a network being built from Central Asia to Greece through Turkey that is due to continue on to Italy after 2011. A meeting of officials from Azerbaijan planned to take place yesterday in Athens was postponed on the eve of the Putin visit.

Greece hopes the project will help turn it into a regional energy hub, especially after a Turkish-Greek-Italian pipeline pumping natural gas from the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to energy-hungry Europe will start operating by early next year. “This will benefit all three countries, and it puts Greece and Bulgaria on the world energy map,” Karamanlis said. “It will also help international markets with improved access to oil at a time when energy is a fundamental global concern.”