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April 11th, 2006:

RIA Novosti (Russia): Russian energy minister discusses gas projects with Mitsubishi

Russian energy minister discusses gas projects with Mitsubishi

19:23 11/ 04/ 2006
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MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's industry and energy minister has discussed natural gas and electric power projects with representatives of Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, the ministry's press service said Tuesday.

Mitsubishi representatives said they were interested in the development of oil and gas fields in Russia and LNG supplies to North America.

Viktor Khristenko said the corporation's experience and potential would be of great value to projects.

“One of the current projects is Sakhalin II, which includes the construction of Russia's first and the world's largest plant for the production of liquefied natural gas,” the press service said. read more

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RussiaProfile.Org: Russia Looks to Meet India’s Growing Energy Needs

April 11, 2006
Passage to India
By Shaun Walker
Russia Profile

Russia Looks to Meet India’s Growing Energy Needs

The topics of volatile energy markets and the Sino-Indian economic boom often overlap. As these two new regional powers emerge, they will develop greater demands for energy to fuel their expanding economies, pushing up the price of oil further and putting more strain on the markets. For Russia, however, with its vast energy reserves, higher demands for oil and gas do not present the same worry as they do for Western Europe and the United States. Still, for a country anxious about its bleak demographic outlook, the growing populations of India and China, who together make up one-third of the world’s population, have to be a cause for concern.

Russian Ambassador to India Vyacheslav Trubnikov seemed to be unfazed by the burgeoning populace of India and China, and their unrelenting procession towards superpower status. Instead, he emphasizes the idea that Sino-Indian demands for energy are in fact a positive factor for Russia. “Yes, both India and China have tremendous human resources, rich histories and unique cultures, and they are both developing very fast in the most advanced spheres of industry,” said the ambassador. “But they lack energy resources, so both countries remain dependent on the rest of the world.”

To this end, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told journalists after meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov in New Delhi on March 17 that India hopes to receive one million barrels of oil a day from Russia by 2010. “The necessary infrastructure for this is already in place,” the Indian prime minister said.

When it comes to gas, the partnership is already in full swing, with Indian energy giant ONGC owning a $2.7 billion 20 percent stake in the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development project, as well as expressing great interest in the proposed Sakhalin-2 and Sakhalin-3 sites. “India is prepared to take all the gas from the Sakhalin-1 site – probably in liquefied from, and probably on the basis of a swap agreement, to make it economically viable for three countries – for example by involving Japan,” said Ambassador Trubnikov. “We have very good experience with India here – when Iraq sold oil to India at our expense, and we sold our oil to the West at Iraq’s expense. We had a similar deal with Venezuela and Cuba during Soviet times. These swap deals are very efficient and this is an option to deal with the gas in Sakhalin.”

Another giant project that could come to fruition during the next decade is the long-discussed Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. “This pipeline is tremendously important for India, though I think we are still some years away from its realization yet,” said Jyotsna Bakshi, a specialist on Russo-Indian relations at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.

Although the three countries still have many issues to sort out before the pipeline becomes a reality, one major obstacle was removed recently when long-held U.S. objections to the pipeline were tentatively dropped during U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to South Asia in March. “Unlike some other global powers that have been trying to pursue a policy of dictating to India and Pakistan with which of their neighbors they may or may not establish long-term relations in the oil and gas sector, Russia has always supported the pipeline project,” said Trubnikov. He refused to see the potential pipeline as a threat to Russian interests: “The pace of development in this region is so high that it will easily absorb any amount of hydrocarbons supplied to it, so we in no way see the gas pipeline hampering any future plans to deliver Russian crude oil or liquefied natural gas to India. Moreover the unique experience of Russian companies in pipeline construction with the Blue Stream project means that we are very interested in cooperating on this venture.” Gazprom representatives traveled with Fradkov to Delhi in March to begin discussions on construction of the pipeline, which is expected to cost around $7 billion.

For all the attempts to increase oil and gas imports, India is clearly aware of the dangers of fully relying on imports to fuel its economy. “At the moment we have to import 70 percent of our energy, and so it’s not a good strategy to remain reliant on hydrocarbons,” Bakshi said. “For successive Indian leaders, the nuclear issue has been hugely important to the strategy of Indian national development.”

Russia is currently at work on the construction of the nuclear plant at Kudankulum in India’s southern Tamil Nadu region, which will feature two reactors of 1000 megawatts each, and will be commissioned in 2008. Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) was in India on April 6 to inspect the plant and hold talks with Indian officials. He became the first Rosatom head to visit the site of India’s nuclear plant, and promised that the Russian specialists aimed to have the plant up and running as soon as possible.

There are 24 Russian specialists working at the plant, and 70 percent of the equipment will be imported from Russia. The station has created 8,000 jobs for local residents. Kiriyenko spoke with local schoolchildren and explained to them that the plant would help boost the local economy. He also reinforced the importance of the Russo-Indian partnership, and took a swipe at unnamed Western countries, saying that Russia and India had a robust and friendly mutual relationship, and “unlike some countries, we actually reinforce it with action.”

Currently, Russia is unable to increase cooperation with India due to the informal requirements of its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and NSG members are not supposed to supply nuclear fuel to non-member states. As it is, the Russian supply of uranium to the Indian reactor irritated other NSG countries. But after visits to New Delhi by the French and U.S. presidents recently, all signs indicate that this could change.

“Russia fully supports the recent U.S. steps, and wants India to be treated differently from other non-signatories to the NPT, because it sees India as a reliable country,” said Vladimir Orlov, director of the PIR Center, a Moscow-based think tank dealing with nuclear issues. “I think that if France, Russia and the United States are agreed that there should be a new approach to India from the NSG, this is something the other members will find very hard to ignore.”

Likewise, Trubnikov welcomed the U.S. initiatives, suggesting that they were more likely to prompt further co-operation with Russia than squeeze the Russians out of the market. “We are not worried about other countries entering the market for civilian nuclear energy in India, because the market is huge,” said the ambassador. Moreover, Russia is in a prime position to win new contracts “The role of nuclear energy in India is going to significantly increase in the near future,” Sudhinder Thakur, the executive director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India told RIA Novosti. “The fact that Russian companies are already working in India clearly gives them an advantage over companies from other countries,” he said.

Trubnikov expressed hopes that other countries will follow Russia’s lead in recognizing the uniqueness of India’s situation. “Russia has long been trying to convince its partners that the status quo with regard to India should be changed,” the ambassador said. “India has asserted itself as a country with an impressive democratic setup, a good non-proliferation track record, and strong export control over nuclear technology.”

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment. Nigeria: Court Orders Shell to Stop Gas Flaring by April 2007

Nigeria: Court Orders Shell to Stop Gas Flaring by April 2007


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Friends of the Earth (London)

April 11, 2006
Posted to the web April 11, 2006


The Nigerian High Court decided today that oil giant Shell must stop flaring gas in the Iwherekan community in Delta State by April 2007, in a welcome victory for the mostly poor people affected by the damaging and wasteful practice of flaring in the oil-rich Niger delta.

Shell's managing director in Nigeria and the Nigerian Minister for Petroleum have to appear in person before the judge in open court on May 31 in Benin City with detailed plans for putting gas flares out by April 2007. read more

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment. Mr Justice Finnegan, Royal Dutch Shell & the "Rossport Five”

By Alfred Donovan

On Friday 7th April the “Rossport 5” were back in court before the President of the Irish High Court, Mr Justice Finnegan.

The “Rossport Five” – brothers Philip and Vincent McGrath, Willie Corduff, Michael O Seighin and Brendan Philbin became national heroes in Ireland after being jailed for contempt of court in June 2005 at the behest of Shell, which obtained compulsory purchase orders for land in relation to the laying of the Corrib gas pipeline.

This was the first time in Irish history that such an order was granted to a private company. It was intended that the five landowners/protestors would remain in jail until they undertook not to interfere with construction of the pipeline. read more

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Gas Costs Expected to Be High This Summer

Gas Costs Expected to Be High This Summer

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 11, 2006

Filed at 2:58 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — Summer driving will be expensive, with gasoline costs likely to stay high after jumping nearly 20 cents over the past two weeks.

The cost of gasoline averages $2.68 nationwide for a gallon of regular. Some analysts say motorists may pay $3 a gallon this summer if there are unusual disruptions in supply.

The Energy Department was to release its summer outlook for motor fuel prices at a news conference Tuesday.

Prices at the pump have been climbing since February when the cost of regular grade gasoline averaged $2.25 a gallon. The average price of $2.68 a gallon last week is 40 cents a gallon higher than a year ago. read more

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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Oil Surges Through $69 on Iran, Nigeria Concerns

Oil Surges Through $69 on Iran, Nigeria Concerns

By REUTERS Published: April 11, 2006

Filed at 1:27 a.m. ET

Skip to next paragraph Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Oil surged through $69 on Tuesday, with London Brent crude hitting record-highs, on increased tensions between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear aims and Nigerian supply disruptions.

U.S. May crude (CLc1) traded up 37 cents at $69.11 a barrel by 0523 GMT, an 11-week high, adding to Monday's 2 percent rally to take prices in sight of August's $70.85 record.

Brent crude (LCOc1) traded up 31 cents to $69.06 a barrel, an all-time record for the contract. read more

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Lloyds List: Sixth round of NELP attracts serious interest from nearly 70 companies

Lloyds List; Apr 11, 2006

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THE sixth round of India's New Exploration and Licensing Policy for oil and gas exploration has attracted considerable interest from both domestic and foreign companies, writes Shirish Nadkarni, Mumbai . read more

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Financial Times: Oil nears $69 as Iran tensions mount

Oil nears $69 as Iran tensions mountBy Chris Flood and Peter Garnham

Published: April 10 2006 11:15 | Last updated: April 10 2006 18:32

Oil prices shot back towards record levels on Monday amid growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear ambitions after weekend press reports claimed that the US government was studying military options for action. 


An article in the New Yorker magazine said US officials were considering the possibility of using nuclear bombs against Iran’s suspected underground nuclear facilities.


Barclays Capital said that although the Bush administration insisted that it was seeking a diplomatic solution to its dispute with Iran, its statement fell short of an outright denial, leaving market fears free to grow.


“Geo-political tensions look capable of bringing about further tests of the $70 a barrel region in the weeks ahead,” said Kevin Norrish, an oil analyst at Barclays Capital. In New York, Nymex West Texas Intermediate rose $1.35 to settle at $68.74 a barrel. IPE Brent for May hit an all-time peak of $68.90, up $1.61, before closing at $68.75, up $1.46.


Crude prices were also supported by aggressive rhetoric from militants in Nigeria who have threatened to kill workers who have returned to oil platforms that were shut by earlier attacks. About 0.5m barrels a day of Nigerian output has been lost because of attacks by militants.


Royal Dutch Shell, operator of about 90 per cent of the lost Nigerian output, said it aimed to restart production in Nigeria soon but the company has declined to return staff to the region until the violence abates.


The increase in global tensions in the oil market helped propel gold higher, with bullion rising to a fresh 25-year high of $598.10 a troy ounce before easing to $592.60/$593.40 by mid-afternoon in New York.


Traders said it appeared to be only a matter of time before gold breached the $600 a troy ounce level.


“Although the outlook remains positive, gold could pause in consolidation below $600, gathering sufficient momentum to break psychological resistance and resuming its inexorable march towards $625,” said analysts at Standard Bank.


Continued speculation about the imminent launch of an exchange traded fund helped push silver to $12.50 a troy ounce, its highest level since August 1983. The metal eased back to settle at $12.38/$12.41 by late afternoon in New York.


Dealers reported that a fresh wave of buying by funds had pushed base metals prices higher. Copper moved to within a whisker of $6,000 a tonne, rising $215 to a record high of $5,940 a tonne after a further fall in LME inventories, which have fallen to critically low levels globally. Zinc jumped $104 to another record of $2,915 a tonne. Aluminium rose $58 to $2,598 a tonne.



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BLOOMBERG: Shell LNG Project May Get EBRD Environmental Approval by May

Shell LNG Project May Get EBRD Environmental Approval by May

April 11 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc's $20 billion Russian natural-gas venture may win environmental approval for European Union-backed loans by May, helping to advance financing from other lenders, bankers said.

Public hearings by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development probably won't delay a positive environmental assessment for loans to the Sakahlin-2 project, Mark King, the EBRD's head of environmental policy, said yesterday at a meeting in Sapporo, Japan. Approval may precede any Russian government decision to accept a doubling of the project's development costs.

Ecologists oppose the project, citing concern about oil spills and disruptions to marine life and indigenous communities. The EBRD will decide later this year whether to grant Sakhalin-2 more than $100 million, a move the bank says will influence larger loans totaling about $6 billion from government and private-sector lenders in Japan, the U.S. and Europe.

“We aim to conclude the process by the end of May,'' Andrey Ryjenko, a senior banker at the EBRD said in an interview in Sapporo. “After that, it's up to the management to decide whether they want some issues analyzed further or take it to the board for a decision.''

Public Hearings

The EBRD invited public reaction to the project over four months ending April 21, and had hearings in London, Moscow, Sakhalin Island and Japan. The EBRD may lend as much as $200 million, Alistair Clark, the head of the bank's environment department, said at a March 14 hearing in Moscow.

Any failure by the EBRD to approve loans for the project's operator Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. may prompt other lenders such as the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and the U.S. Export-Import Bank to withhold loans.

Shell has a 55 percent stake in Sakhalin Energy, Mitsui & Co. 25 percent and Mitsubishi Corp. 20 percent. Sakhalin-2 is expected to supply oil and liquefied natural gas to Asian countries including Japan and Korea as well as to North America.

“The EBRD plays a lead role in a group of potential public lenders'' including JBIC and the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the London-based bank said on its Web site in February. “It is likely that other public lenders and private banks would determine the suitability of investing in Sakhalin-2 based on the EBRD's opinion.''

G8 Summit

Lenders want to agree the loans before a summit meeting of the Group of Eight in St. Petersburg in July, Project Finance International magazine said in its April 5 issue. Commercial banks such as BNP Paribas SA and units of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are expected to provide a 16-year, $1.6 billion loan without guarantees from state lenders and insurers, the report said.

The Russian government has not yet approved Sakhalin Energy using oil and gas deposits to pay back additional costs for developing Sakhalin-2. Shell announced a doubling in costs last July. Loan agreements would probably come before the Russian government has made a decision on how it will treat the increase, the EBRD's Ryjenko said. The bank is also studying the environmental impact of expanding the project, he said.

“There might be a mismatch in terms of timing when the government approves finally the cost and the lenders have to make the decision and they have put in systems to deal with that,'' he said. “We would encourage Sakhalin-2 to engage with the other operators and provide the most economic solution and that would be chosen as the best way forward by the Russian government as well.''

Sea of Okhotsk

Sakhalin Energy is developing offshore oil and gas fields in the Sea of Okhotsk northeast of the island and building two LNG production plants with a combined annual output of 9.6 million tons of LNG. There is space for at least one more plant at the site. Oil and gas pipelines run from the northeast of the island down to the liquefaction plants and export terminal on the coast facing Japan's main northern island of Hokkaido.

Ecologists say the pipeline network being built by Sakhalin Energy could kill off the world's last 100 western gray whales by disturbing feeding grounds in the Sea of Okhotsk, near the venture's rigs. On land, they say the pipeline's river crossings could damage salmon spawning grounds and the livelihoods of indigenous people. Sakhalin Energy has agreed to move the underwater links further from the whales' feeding grounds.

“There is nothing that has arisen during consultation meetings to date that would require any extension of our due diligence process,'' the EBRD's King said. “We are comfortable with the process. There are still a number of issues which are open to discussion and finalization with the company but these do not require us to extend the consultation period.''

To contact the reporter on this story:
Hector Forster in Tokyo at  [email protected].

Last Updated: April 10, 2006 23:05 EDT

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.