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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CNPC presses for gas supply talks with Russia

IRKUTSK, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - CNPC has proposed speeding up talks with Russia on natural gas supplies, a senior official at China's national oil and gas company said at an East Siberian economic forum on Tuesday. "We propose speeding up Chinese-Russian commercial talks on natural gas cooperation," CNPC international relations director Zhang Xin told the Baikal forum. Gazprom and CNPC signed a protocol on Russian natural gas supplies to China in 2006. According to the Russian energy giant, feasibility studies for possible supply routes are currently being conducted, and a decision has been made to start discussing investment. Commercial talks have also started. Zhang said CNPC had also proposed signing an intergovernmental agreement to boost the construction of a 67-km (41 miles) leg to China of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline. Under an agreement signed between CNPC and Russia's Transneft, the oil pipeline operator, the construction of the branch will be funded by China. The Chinese official said China had taken an active part in the construction of the first leg of the ESPO pipeline in Russia, and carried out engineering operations along a 150-km (93 miles) stretch of it. The ESPO pipeline is slated to pump up to 1.6 million barrels of crude per day from Siberia to Russia's Far East and then onto China and the Asia-Pacific region. The pipeline's first leg, estimated at $11 billion, was expected to be commissioned in December 2008. However, Transneft said in February that the commissioning of the project would be delayed from late 2008 to late 2009.

Tuesday, 09 September, 2008

Trutnev may step in over Kovykta row

09 September, 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Russia's Natural Resources Ministry will intervene if BP's venture TNK-BP fails to close a deal to hand control of the Kovykta gas field, in Siberia, to Russia's Gazprom by the end of the year, Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said. TNK-BP agreed to sell control in the giant deposit to gas export monopoly Gazprom last year but completion of the deal was delayed by the protracted conflict between the UK supermajor and its Russia-connected partners in TNK-BP. "If the situation is not solved in the near future, we will have to interfere in this story again," Trutnev told Reuters on the sidelines of the Baikal Economic Forum in Siberian town of Irkutsk. "Before the end of the year either the licence holder or we have to make a decision," he added. TNK-BP, Gazprom and BP are involved in talks over the creation of a joint venture on the basis of Kovykta. Gazprom agreed to buy control last summer after the Natural Resources Ministry accused TNK-BP of breaching licence agreements and threatened to withdraw the licence. TNK-BP has said it could not produce the 9 billion cubic metres of gas per year from the field as required by the licence. Gazprom's deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev said in an interview at the Reuters Russia Investment Summit on Monday that his company hoped to complete the talks over Kovykta by the end of the year.

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