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Energy news
Bulletine Energy 

2017 July 21 ( Friday )  15:02:45
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SOCAR studies Bulgarian supply options

Baku/21.07.17/Turan: Bulgarian gas transmission system operator Bulgartransgaz and Azerbaijan"s state-run SOCAR signed an MOU July 18 to look into shipping natural gas to Bulgaria and transporting it on to other southeastern European countries. This is reported by Natural Gas World.

According to SOCAR sources, the company"s Balkan subsidiary will study options for supplying additional amount of gas to Bulgaria beyond the existing contract for 1bn m³/yr of gas from the Shah Deniz II development from 2020.

The memorandum was signed by SOCAR Balkan head Murad Heydarov and Bulgartransgaz CEO Georgi Gegov in presence of energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova and Azerbaijan"s ambassador to Bulgaria, Nargiz Gurbanova.

"SOCAR is ready to examine the technical and commercial capacity of the existing transmission system, operated by Bulgartransgaz, including its future extensions, such as by building the Balkan gas hub for the transit of additional volumes of gas through the Southern Gas Corridor across Bulgaria to other European markets," Bulgaria"s energy ministry said in a statement.

The additional gas volumes for it may be allocated from the new upstream projects in Azerbaijan. Earlier Bulgaria's deputy energy minister Zhecho Stankov said that Bulgaria considers exporting additional about 3bn m³/yr from Azerbaijan.

Bulgaria, which gets over 95% of its gas from Russia's Gazprom, plans to build a gas hub at the Black Sea port of Varna and attract both Azeri and Russian gas.

"Main priority in the energy sector for the government is to ensure energy security, as well as diversification of supply sources and routes for natural gas. For its implementation we rely to a great extent on our co-operation with Azerbaijan," said Petkova. -12B-

TANAP gas pipeline is ready for almost 80%

Baku/21.07.17/Turan: The construction of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) has been completed by 77.3 percent, said Rovnag Abdullayev, president of Azerbaijan"s state oil company SOCAR, in an interview with the Anadolu Agency.

According to him, TANAP is an important project for Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe in terms of ensuring the energy security.

Abdullayev noted that TANAP"s construction continues at an accelerated pace.

The first batch of natural gas will be delivered via TANAP to Turkey in the first half of 2018, said SOCAR president.

TANAP project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz field to the western borders of Turkey. The gas will be delivered to Turkey in 2018 and after completion of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline's construction the gas will be delivered to Europe in early 2020.

The length of TANAP is 1,850 kilometers with an initial capacity of 16 billion cubic meters of gas. Around six billion cubic meters of this gas is meant to be delivered to Turkey, with the remaining volume to be supplied to Europe. -0-

Gazprom laying Turkstream "secretly" press

Baku/21.07.17/Turan: Russian gas giant Gazprom has started laying the second thread of the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline, Vedomosti business daily reported July 19, quoting a counteragent of Gazprom"s contractor and a government official, although Gazprom said it is still building the first thread.

Sources told the business daily that about 20-25 km of the second pipeline have been laid on the bottom of the Black Sea. Kommersant said that pipe laying ship Audacia of Allseas company is laying the pipeline. Web site says that the ship is close to the Mali Utrish village and is moving at a speed of 0.10-0.15 knots on the route of the first thread of the Turkish Stream, which corresponds to the speed of laying a pipe.

Allseas data show that Audacia"s carrying capacity amounts to 14,000 metric tons of pipes. Kommersant said that ships Highland Navigator and Baccara are replenishing the Audacia"s pipe stocks. showed the two ships made two voyages from the Russian port of Anapa to the Audacia early this week. Bulgarian cargo truck Eudoxia with a load of pipes also arrived at Anapa, the business daily said.

An Allseas representative told Kommersant that the company has constructed 100 km of the pipeline and did not specify whether construction of the second thread was launched. A Gazprom representative said that Audacia is carrying out technical works, but did not elaborate. Gazprom said in a statement that the company is focused on constructing the first thread.

The pipeline will consist of two branches with a capacity of 15.75bn m³/yr each. One of them, to be finished in 2018, is to supply gas to Turkey, another one is to transit gas to the European countries through Turkey and is to be finished in 2019. Allseas is laying the first thread, using the world's biggest such vessel, Pioneering Spirit. Its website describes the Audacia as a vessel, optimised for the execution of small- to large-diameter pipeline projects of any length in all water depths.

According to Russian gas analyst Tatiana Mitrova of the Skolkovo business school, one explanation could be that Gazprom is making the most of the time it has before tough US sanctions are imposed on Russian gas export projects - something that the EU is trying to resist. She told Vedomosti that Russia did not have the technology necessary for deepwater pipelaying such as TurkStream. -0-

Siemens stops cooperation with Russia

Baku/21.07.17/Turan: German company Siemens has published an official statement in which it declares about the termination of cooperation with Russian companies, in particular, with the "Interavtomatika" company.

"Siemens received reliable information that, despite all previous efforts, all four gas turbines that were delivered in the summer of 2016 for the project in Taman, South Russia, have since been locally modified and illegally moved to the Crimea on the basis of clear Contractual agreements. This development is a gross violation of delivery contracts, trust and EU legislation, " said in the statement.

In connection with such actions, Siemens takes four decisive steps:

- Siemens will lose its smaller stake in the Russian company "Interavtomatika".

- Siemens initiates the process of termination of the license agreement with Russian companies.

- Siemens stops supplying power generating equipment to Russia under existing contracts.

- Siemens withdraws its representatives from the supervisory board of Interautomatica for the period of official investigation.

In early July 2017, Russia brought two turbines of the German company Siemens to the territory of the annexed Crimea for the construction of a new thermal power plant.

Representatives of Siemens said that the company did not deliver turbines to the territory of Crimea, but will not help in their installation and operation.

According to experts, the delivery of Siemens turbines to the Crimea is under the EU sanctions regime for durability.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin called the situation with Russia's import of Siemens turbines into the annexed Crimea "bitter lesson" for business. -0-

US fines Exxon $2mn for Sechin contacts under Tillerson

Baku/21.07.17/Turan: ExxonMobil has been fined $2mn by the US Treasury Department for violations of sanctions against Russia; the US supermajor has said it will appeal.

The case highlights a delicate area, as the charges concern events in 2014 when ExxonMobil was run by Rex Tillerson, who is now the US Secretary of State in Donald Trump"s administration.

Exxon and Rosneft in 2012 formed a joint venture to develop offshore oil and gas reserves in the Arctic's Kara Sea and in the Black Sea.

The Treasury"s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) said July 20 that, between on or about May 14, 2014 and on or about May 23, 2014, ExxonMobil violated paragraph 589.201 of the Ukraine-Related Sanctions Regulations when the presidents of its US subsidiaries dealt in services of an individual whose property and interests in property were blocked, namely, by signing eight legal documents related to oil and gas projects in Russia with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin who is on Ofac"s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.

Sechin was Russian deputy prime minister from 2008 to 2012, when the current president Vladimir Putin was prime minister, and the two remain close.

The regulations were introduced in the wake of Russia"s 2014 annexation of Crimea and its continuing occupation of parts of eastern Ukraine. Ofac said it "determined that ExxonMobil did not voluntarily self-disclose the violations to Ofac, and that the violations constitute an egregious case."

ExxonMobil countered July 20 that it has launched a legal challenge to Ofac's finding, saying the company "followed authoritative and specific guidance from the Obama administration that Ofac retroactively changed a year later."

ExxonMobil said that a filing it has submitted July 20 to a US District Court in Dallas, Texas, said that Ofac"s action is "fundamentally unfair and constitutes a denial of due process under the Constitution and violates the Administrative Procedure Act because market participants, including ExxonMobil, did not have notice of the interpretation Ofac now seeks to retroactively enforce."

The supermajor says that a Treasury official said in May 2014, by way of example, that BP"s US CEO was permitted to participate in Rosneft board meetings with Sechin so long as the activity related to Rosneft"s business and not Sechin"s personal business.

"ExxonMobil followed the clear guidance from the White House and Treasury Dept when its representatives signed documents involving ongoing oil and gas activities in Russia with Rosneft - a non-blocked entity - that were countersigned on behalf of Rosneft by Sechin in his official capacity. At the time of the signing, those activities themselves were not under any direct sanction by the US government," said the company"s July 20 statement.

There were no official comments from Tillerson's office July 20 other than his official national day greetings to the peoples of Colombia and Belgium.

Exxon and Rosneft began drilling in the Kara Sea in 2014 but suspended drilling in 2015. The US Treasury Dept in April 2017 refused to give waivers to US companies including Exxon to resume activities in Russia covered by the 2014 sanctions. -0-