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Asia Pulse: BRIEFING – ASIA ENERGY – FEB 12, 2007: SHELL EYGYPT ANNOUNCES GAS, OIL FINDS

An executive briefing on energy for Feb 12, 2007, prepared by Asia Pulse (http://www.asiapulse.com), the real-time, Asia-based wire with exclusive news, commercial intelligence and business opportunities.

AUSTRALIA’S EXPLORER URANIUM TO RAISE FUNDS FOR EXPLORATION

PERTH – Explorer Uranium Equities Ltd (ASX:UEQ) is looking to raise $A23 million ($US17.82 million) to fund exploration campaigns across its broad portfolio of Australian projects.

Uranium Equities said it had firm verbal commitments to place 46 million shares at 50 cents each with a range of Australian and international investors.

BANGLADESH URGED TO INVEST US$7.7 BLN IN ENERGY TO 2025

DHAKA – Bangladesh will need to invest US$7.7 billion in the next 18 years to 2025 for the exploration of natural gas to meet its growing demand, and maintain its forecast 7 per cent growth.

This was revealed in an exclusive report presented recently in the Advisory Council’s meeting, a highly placed source said.

THAILAND’S PTTEP BEGINS GAS PRODUCTION AT OMAN FIELD

OMAN – Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) Saturday began producing natural gas and condensate from the Shams field in Oman, becoming the first Thai company to produce petroleum in the oil-rich Middle East country.

Shams field is part of Oman’s tract 44 project located in the Suneinah desert, about 300 kilometres west of the Omani capital of Muscat.

PAKISTANI GAS PIPELINE BOMBED: REPORT

DUBAI – A main gas pipeline in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province was damaged by an unidentified group on Saturday, according to television reports.

An explosion disrupted the gas supply to the provincial capital Quetta and adjoining areas, the reports said.

GAS REFINERY TO BE BUILT IN IRAN’S ILAM PROVINCE

DUBAI – A gas refinery project is to be launched at Mehran border city in Iran’s western province of Ilam, A Majlis deputy said.

Construction work on the gas refinery will begin at the earliest in view of the region’s enormous oil and gas potential and consultations that have already been held with officials of the Iranian Oil Ministry, said Fereydoun Hemati, an MP from Ilam province.

INDONESIA POWER PUTS OFF IPO PLAN OVER PLN DEBT

JAKARTA – A plan by Indonesia Power (IP), a subsidiary of state-owned electricity company PLN, to launch an initial public offer (IPO), has to be postponed over Rp15 trillion (US$1.66 billion) worth of debt that PLN owes.

IP President Abimanyu Suyoso said the company had finished studying the IPO plan and the study favored the plan.

INDONESIA SET TO INCREASE CPO EXPORTS TO CHINA

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s crude palm oil (CPO) and derivative exports to China are forecast to jump 20 per cent to 2.2 million tons this year, boosted by growing demand.

Last year the country exported an estimated 1.8 million tons of CPO and derivatives to China, chairman of the association of palm oil companies (Gapki) Derom Bangun said.

PAKISTAN GOVT APPROVES ISSUE OF LOI FOR 7 HYDROPOWER PROJECTS

ISLAMABAD – The Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB), in its meeting held here on Thursday, has approved issuance of Letters of Interest (LoI) to seven hydropower projects with a cumulative capacity of 1620 MW.

These projects include 197 MW Kalam-Asrit Hydropower Project, and 209 MW Asrit-Kedam Hydropower Project to be located in district Swat, NWFP, 548 MW Kaigah Hydropower Project to be located in district Kohistan, NWFP, 240 MW Karot Hydropower Project at district Kotli, AJK, 65 MW Sehra Hydropower Project at District Poonch AJK, 222 MW Azad Pattan Hydropower Project at Sudhnoti, AJK, 139 MW Chakothi Hattian Hydropower Project at Muzaffarabad, AJK.

PETRO VIETNAM SIGNS CONTRACT FOR EXPLOITING NEW OIL BLOCK

HANOI – The Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam) on Feb. 11 signed a Product Sharing Contract (PSC) for oil exploration and exploitation at block 15-1/05 offshore the southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

The PSC was inked between PetroVietnam and a joint venture between the PetroVietnam Exploration and Production Company (PVEP) and the SK company of the Republic of Korea (RoK).

S. KOREAN REGULATOR TO CRACK DOWN ON RESOURCES SECTOR

SEOUL – South Korea’s corporate watchdog plans to keep close tabs on business irregularities in the raw materials sector this year, the agency’s chief said Monday.

“We plan to focus on correcting price rigging in the raw materials sector, which is deeply linked to people’s everyday lives and corporate competitiveness,” Kwon Oh-seung, chairman of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), said at a a press briefing on his agency’s goals for the year.

WOODSIDE TO BUY EXPLORATION BLOCK OFF KOREAN COAST

MELBOURNE – Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) will buy half of a deep-water, frontier exploration block off the coast of the Republic of Korea, after signing a deal with its government and Korea National Oil Corporation.

The block covers about 13,000 square kilometres with water depths ranging from 300 to 2,000 metres and Woodside will jointly operate the exploration phase with Korea National Oil.

AUSTRALIA’S TASMAN RESOURCES TO SPINOFF SA, WA URANIUM ASSETS

SYDNEY – Tasman Resources (ASX:TAS) is spinning off its uranium assets in South Australia and Western Australia into a new company, Fission Energy.

Fission, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tasman, is the subject of a $A4 million ($US3.1 million) initial public offering (IPO) through the issue of 20 million shares at 20 Australian cents each, with the capacity to raise $A2 million in oversubscriptions.

INDONESIA AIMS TO DRILL 200 OIL EXPLORATION WELLS BY 2009

JAKARTA – The government has set a target for the country to drill 200 oil exploration wells from 2007 to 2009 in a bid to increase its crude oil production by 30 per cent to 1.3 million barrels a day in two years.

A report issued by the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Body (BP Migas) said the 200 wells are expected to increase the country’s oil reserves by 3.8 billion barrels and gas reserve by 17 trillion cubic feet.

SHUTDOWN OF N. KOREA’S NUCLEAR REACTOR NOT A DISPUTE: U.S. ENVOY

BEIJING – The top U.S. nuclear envoy said Saturday that his country aims to shut down, not freeze, North Korea’s only operational nuclear reactor and that the issue is not a problem in ongoing six-party talks on ending the communist country’s nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Christopher Hill said Washington and Pyongyang have an understanding that a nuclear deal in this week’s session, if reached, should call for a complete “shutdown” of the North’s key nuclear facilities, instead of a freeze.

OIL SET TO TRADE ABOVE US$55 IN NEXT FIVE YEARS: ANALYST

DUBAI – Oil prices are not expected to dip below US$55 in the next five years, a senior oil analyst predicts.

London-based Calyon Corporate and Investment Bank global head of energy market and research Mike Wittner said that the geopolitical situation, high demand, limited production capacity and other factors all support a high oil price.

UAE AND THAILAND DISCUSS OIL MARKETS

ABU DHABI – The UAE and Thailand have agreed to co-operate in efforts to stabilise international oil markets.

In a meeting held here, UAE Minister of Energy Dhaen Al Hamili and his Thai counterpart Piyasawat Ammaranan renewed the commitment of their respective countries to stabilise international oil markets.

SIEMENS WINS US$163 MLN CONTRACT FOR SUBSTATION IN ABU DHABI

DUBAI – Siemens has signed an AED600 million (US$163 million) turnkey contract with TRANSCO (Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company) to build a 400kV high voltage substation on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

The contract was signed by David Copestake, managing director, TRANSCO and Peter Fuchs, chief executive officer, Siemens LLC. Also attending the signing ceremony was Her Excellency Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor and Her Highness Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi, UAE’s Minister for Economy.

BAHRAIN’S BAPCO TO SINK 700 NEW WELLS IN 15 YEARS

MANAMA – Bapco is to sink 700 new wells in 15 years to dramatically improve yield from already-discovered oil reserves. This will more than double the number of operational wells in the Bahrain Field and massively increase production, it was announced Saturday.

Of 800 wells now, only 650 are functional. Bapco’s new board has just approved the drilling of 63 new wells this year and next, which is expected to increase oil production by 1,000 barrels per day. Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, who is also the chairman of the Bapco board committee, chaired the board meeting.

SHELL EYGYPT ANNOUNCES GAS, OIL FINDS

DUBAI – Shell Egypt has announced four discoveries of oil and natural gas in the company’s concessions in the Western Desert of Egypt during the year 2006.

A statement issued by the company said the first discovery was in the Abu Gharadig basin in the BED 1 Development lease in April 2006. The discovery “was subsequently tested at a rate of approximately 25 million standard cubic feet of gas and 2,050 barrels of oil and condensates per day,” the statement said.

INDIAN GOVT HAS NO PLAN TO HIKE PETROL PRICES: MINISTER

BHUBANESHWAR – The Indian government has no immediate proposal to hike the prices of petroleum products, Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Murli Deora said on Saturday.

“Where is the question (of raising prices)? There is no such proposal now,” Deora told reporters after addressing a gathering in Bhubaneshwar, a city in the eastern state of Orissa.

SIX-PARTY TALKS ON N KOREAN N-PROGRAM ENTER FINAL DAY

BEIJING – Six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program sputtered Monday after the communist country demanded enormous amounts of energy aid other concerned parties said were unacceptable but they scheduled a final day of negotiations.

Apparently frustrated by a lack of progress, host China proposed that Monday be made the final day of negotiations in this round of talks which began on Thursday, Christopher Hill, the chief U.S. nuclear envoy told reporters late Sunday night.

INDIA’S ONGC, GAZPROM TO COOPERATE IN OIL, GAS EXPLORATION

NEW DELHI – Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) (BSE:500312) has signed an agreement with Russia’s state-run Gazprom to jointly explore oil and gas fields in India, Russia and other countries.

India’s flagship oil and gas explorer, ONGC and Gazprom have agreed to expand mutual co-operation in the hydrocarbon and power sector and a protocol document was signed on February 8, by ONGC Videsh Ltd managing director R S Butola and Gazprom deputy chairman A I Medvedev in Goa, an ONGC statement said.

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