|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|TRANSNEFT AND OIL COMPANIES|
The launch of the 4th phase of the Baltic Pipeline System (BPS) in March this year was neither pompous nor rich of retired government members of red ribbons. However, the event marked the vital point in the modern history of Russian oil exports. Putting the 4th stage of the project into operation means expansion of crude shipments in Primorsk direction to 840,000 b/d (42 mn tpa) and cements the overall strategy of the company, which stipulates shifting the accents of Russian oil exports to the North West Europe (NWE) region.
Solid potential and the Bright outlook
Today oil and gas industry represents strategic element of Kazakhstan economy and becomes increasingly important as hydrocarbons production grows steadily every year. In 2002 the country produced 944,000 b/d (47.2mn t) of crude, in 2003 output production crossed 1mn b/d threshold and reached 1.024mn b/d, in 2004 it's expected at 1.12mn b/d. Experts estimate that by 2010 the country will produce some 1.84mn b/d, reaching a hefty 3mn b/d by 2015. The country's geographic location (Kazakhstan's principal crude deposits sit right in the middle of Eurasian continent), makes the issue of crude transportation highly important for the country.
|RUSSIA'S TANKER FLEET: GOOD REASONS FOR GROWTH|
The high cost of oil tankers freight remains a significant drawback for Russian oil exporters, as last winter has shown
On occasions, oil exporters shipping their crude via Primorsk terminal over December-March period, had to pay triple if not quadruple price, be it relative to summer period prices or to other directions' freight charges.
Naftogaz Ukrainy hopes to build the first LNG production facility in Europe
Ukraine's oil and gas monopoly Naftogaz Ukrainy announced in March its plans to build a 6bcm-a-year LNG production facility in one of the country's Black Sea ports. Upon the completion of the project, which has already received approval of the Ukrainian government, the company could well become the first European LNG producer and one of the largest suppliers of the product to the Western European market.
The confrontation of the Georgian and Ajarian leaders was recurrently surfacing from the depth of regional diplomacy, but did not gain the momentum. Saakashvili, incumbent President of Georgia, promised in his election campaign in the end of the last year to restore the control over unruly autonomies — now the time has come, as they say, «to put the money where the mouth is». The intention to launch off with Ajaria seemed quite obvious as far as economy reasoning goes: Batumi, the capital of the breakaway autonomy, is the largest trade port of Georgia, while the city's oil terminal is the most technologically advanced installation of the kind in the region.
|EUROPIAN FUTURE OF POLISH AUTOGAZ|
Nineties of the last century will be remembered in Poland, at least by some, as the years of explosive growth of liquefied gas market, which quickly became of strategic importance for FSU trading companies, first of all, for Russian oil exporters. By far the largest share of the market belongs to automotive gas fuel, or propane-butane. Polish producers presently provide less than a third of needed volumes while the number of gas-fuelled vehicles and gas dispenser-enabled stations is on constant rise.
Seemingly there is nothing special in the fact that Lukoil-Volganefteproduct gradually gets hold of the whole of regional oil products market. However, certain practices employed by the company have little in common with fair competition even on the first glance.
|FROM TENDERS TO AUCTION SALES,|
Proposes to move the new head of the ministry of natural resources (MPR)
Yuri Trutnev, the new head of ministry of natural resources of Russia (MPR), made a number of important statements on his first press conference as incumbent minister. The former Governor of Perm region presented his «man about the house» managerial style regarding many controversial issues found within the walls of the MPR.
|ATYRAU: THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL|
Over 2003 oil companies working in Kazakhstan produced 52mn t or 1.04mn b/d of crude, while output at the country's refineries was only 7.14mn t of oil products. This amount was produced using less than half of the country's total refining capacity, which currently is 19mn tpa (380,000 b/d). Kazakh output this year is expected to be around 55–57mn t (1.1–1.14mn b/d). But there are no plans to expand refining capacity of the country. Earning billions of dollars on exporting crude, Kazakhstan has found itself unable to either modernise its oil refining sector or to reach a breaking point for quality in providing for its domestic oil products market. The project to modernise the Atyrau refinery, which today is being implemented with the participation of a strategic partner from Japan, promises to significantly change the situation for the better.