Tag Archives: Baltic Sea

Merkel Makes Case for European Unity in Baltic Campaign Stop

By Vince S.

Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to keep Europe whole as she presses the euro area to become as competitive as Germany, honing her campaign message at a seaside rally in her home district two months before federal elections. Addressing a sun-drenched rally of her Christian Democratic Union in the Baltic Sea resort town of Zingst […]

The post Merkel Makes Case for European Unity in Baltic Campaign Stop appeared first on Endtime Ministries | End Of The Age | Irvin Baxter.

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Source: Endtime Ministries

Putin explores Baltic Sea shipwreck

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday dived to the bottom of the Baltic Sea aboard a submersible to explore the wreck of a ship that sank in 1869.

State television pictures showed Putin climbing aboard the Sea Explorer 5 underwater research vessel for the half-hour dive to the wreck of a frigate that sank in the Gulf of Finland.

“It is lying on its right side,” Putin said in televised reports afterwards, saying the vessel was well-preserved.

“Indeed, it’s in perfect state, the name of the ship can be clearly read.

“It’s not scary, it’s very interesting,” he added, referring to the experience.

Television broadcast green-tinted footage showing the Russian strongman carefully inspecting the shipwreck from inside the submersible.

He said he was not at the controls himself, noting he was not skilled enough. “You have to have lots of experience to operate this machine,” he was quoted as saying.

The Oleg was discovered by Russian divers in 2003 and is now being studied by scientists.

It lies at a depth of 60 metres (200 feet) between the islands of Gogland and Sommers.

The 60-year-old sports-mad president, who returned to the Kremlin for a third term last year, prides himself on keeping in peak physical condition and has raised eyebrows with a series of media-friendly stunts in recent years.

A self-professed thrill-seeker, Putin in 2009 dived to the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia aboard a mini-submarine.

In 2011, he announced that he had discovered two ancient urns while scuba diving in the Black Sea in 2011, but last year the Kremlin admitted the stunt was staged.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Auxillium to Increase Focus on Polish Shale Gas

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Auxillium to Increase Focus on Polish Shale Gas

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– AUXILLIUM ENERGY INC. (“AUXILLIUM” or the “Company”), (OTCQB: AXLM) is pleased to announce that it is accelerating its efforts in the exploration of potential opportunities in the Baltic Sea area of Northern Poland.

The Company’s management identified Poland as an excellent prospect for oil and gas exploration based on EIA data that indicates Poland may contain the largest estimated shale gas reserves in Europe. Poland contains approximately 777 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of shale gas, with an estimated 67 trillion cubic feet that is technically recoverable. In particular, most of the shale gas is in the Baltic Sea area in the region of the Lublin Basin and in the Podlasie region.

The potential of Poland has not gone unnoticed with the Polish government having granted 111 shale gas exploration concessions covering 29% of Poland to date. The shale gas boom in Poland has attracted oil majors and independents such as PGNiG, Marathon Oil, Talisman Energy, Chevron, etc.

“The Company’s increased effort in Poland is shaping up to be a fantastic opportunity for both Auxillium and its shareholders,” said Mr. Warmond Fang, the company’s CEO. “I believe that Poland has great potential to be the next major shale gas play if you look at what is happening in Europe. With bans on hydraulic fracturing in France, Bulgaria, and resource rich regions in Spain, Poland has a near monopoly of this valuable resource. It is an exciting time for Auxillium as we take steps to strategically position ourselves as a potential player in the evolving Polish shale gas industry.”

About Auxillium Energy Inc.

Auxillium Energy Inc., is a US based oil and gas exploration company that focuses on exploration and development of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons. Through its wholly owned subsidiary Auxillium Alaska Inc., the company has two strategic oil and gas leases covering 9,600 acres in the North Slope Foothills of Alaska.

Disclaimer:

Legal Notice Regarding Forward Looking Statements:

The information presented herein contains certain statements that may be deemed “forward looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, goals, assumptions

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/11/auxillium-to-increase-focus-on-polish-shale-gas/

Stone ships show signs of maritime network in Baltic Sea region 3,000 years ago

In the middle of the Bronze Age, around 1000 BC, the amount of metal objects increased dramatically in the Baltic Sea region. Around the same time, a new type of stone monument, arranged in the form of ships, started to appear along the coasts. New research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden shows that the stone ships were built by maritime groups. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Phys.org

Finland brewery to make beer inspired by bottles found in shipwreck

Local authorities on the Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea say a local brewer will begin producing a beer inspired by bottles found in a 19th century shipwreck three years ago.

Five bottles of beer, along with 168 bottles of champagne, were pulled from a submerged schooner that experts believe sank in the 1840s.

Aland authorities say Finnish scientists studied the beer and devised a formula for a recreation that the local Stallhagen brewery will produce.

Stallhagen CEO Jan Wennstrom said in a statement Thursday that he hopes the vintage beer will help the company reach new markets.

Production of the “shipwreck beer” is expected to start in mid-2014.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Protesters decry Lithuania's shale gas plans

Several hundred Lithuanians were protesting in the capital against the government‘s plan to proceed with shale gas exploration.

The demonstrations in Vilnius were fueled by a recent decision to issue an exploration license to U.S. oil company Chevron in western Lithuania.

Protesters on Tuesday banged drums and held signs reading “Chevron, go away!” and “No American capitalists on Lithuanian soil.” Critics say exploring for shale gas creates a significant environmental risk in the heavily forested areas close to the Baltic Sea.

But supporters argue shale gas represents a rare opportunity to decrease energy dependency on Russia, which currently supplies all of the country’s gas.

Lithuania could have 50 billion – 60 billion cubic meters of shale gas reserves, or about 20 years’ worth of gas at current rates of consumption.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Czechs open new pipeline importing Russian gas

The Czech Republic has opened a pipeline that provides an alternate route for Russian gas imports and will help supply other parts of the EU.

Prime Minister Petr Necas opened the 10 billion koruna ($519 million) Gazelle project Monday.

The 166-kilometer (103-mile) pipeline is connected to Nord Stream, a pipeline that crosses the Baltic Sea and brings natural gas from Russia’s Siberia. It was built by the pipeline operator Net4GaS.

Through the Czech Republic, the gas will flow on to southern Germany and France.

EU nations have been seeking new ways to secure gas supplies since Russian shipments transported through Ukrainian pipelines were cut off in January 2009 due to a dispute between the two countries.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Gazprom's EU partners anxious for price cuts

Russian energy giant Gazprom is spending billions to expand its already massive footprint in Europe. But it will have to tread carefully at a time when global natural gas supplies are surging and prices are falling, giving European utilities and businesses more leverage in negotiating supply contracts.

At a lavish ceremony in December to mark the start of construction of a new pipeline to Europe, Gazprom put on a show of its industrial might to match the project’s €1 billion ($20.92 billion) price tag. On the Black Sea coast, 600 miles south of Moscow, the company built a eight massive steel-framed marquees to house Russia‘s President Vladimir Putin, Gazprom’s executives and various European partners — all for a two-hour ceremony in which two short sections of the new South Stream pipeline were welded together.

In spite of all the public praise heaped on Gazprom at the event, there was recognition behind the scenes that the company is losing some of the clout it holds over Europe. While the region will remain heavily dependent on natural gas piped from Russia for decades to come, its ability to demand better prices is improving. That’s because Gazprom is facing competitive pressures around the globe as gas production grows in the U.S., Australia, the Middle East and Africa. In other words, it needs Europe more than ever before.

Born out of the Soviet gas ministry in the rush of Russian privatizations in the late 1980s and ’90s, Gazprom is effectively the country’s gas industry, accounting for about 80 percent of the country’s natural gas output. The company, which posted some $5 billion in net profit in the second quarter of 2012, holds a monopoly on Russia‘s gas export market and has first choice of which fields to operate. Gazprom exported some 238 billion cubic meters of natural gas around the world last year.

The vast majority of those exports arrive in Europe. The company supplies a quarter of the 27-country European Union’s gas needs, some 124 billion cubic meters, according to Eurostat, the EU‘s official data service. Europe still tethers itself to Gazprom because, at the moment, it is almost impossible to find enough gas from other sources to replace the sheer amount the company exports.

The South Stream pipeline — jointly funded by Gazprom, Italy‘s Eni, France’s EdF and Germany’s Wintershall — was conceived in 2007. South Stream is due to start operating in 2015 and will bring up to 63 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year to the Balkans, Austria and Italy.

However, the market for natural gas has changed dramatically since South Stream was first thought of. Natural gas reserves and export facilities are springing up around the world. European energy groups have already started importing gas from Qatar and will have more and more suppliers to choose from as more facilities come online.

Over the past few years, Gazprom has been locked in disputes with its European clients over its pricing policies. The big European energy companies — such as Germany’s E.ON, France’s GdF Suez or Poland’s PGNiG — are unhappy with what they believe are rigid contract terms: High tariffs linked to oil prices and the take-or-pay clause which leaves energy firms locked with the volumes they may not need.

In 2012, Gazprom exported gas to Europe at an average price of $381 per 1,000 cubic meters — or $10.88 per 1,000 cubic feet. That is higher than the two most important European benchmarks for gas prices, the U.K. and Amsterdam, which had average prices for gas of $9.47 per 1,000 cubic feet and $9.42 per 1,000 cubic feet respectively, according to Platts, a global energy information provider.

In the first half of 2012, Gazprom has paid some 133 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) in “retroactive discounts” to settle these contract disputes with its clients, according to its earnings report. And the Europeans are hungry for more.

Paolo Scaroni, chief executive of Italy‘s Eni which owns 20 percent in South Stream, said his company would not need as much gas from Gazprom this year as it is bound to buy under the take-or-pay obligations because of weak market conditions.

Eni managed to get a lower price from Gazprom last year, and Scaroni told the AP that he does not see “any reasons why they should not be changing the prices in the future and adapt them to market conditions.”

“Russian gas should be extremely cheap to produce, so it’s going to be competitive with any gas in the world,” he said.

One of the biggest long-term threats to Gazprom comes from the U.S., where the country’s natural gas industry has grown rapidly thanks to recently perfected drilling techniques known as “fracking” — that have allowed drillers to extract from underground shale deposits.

U.S. natural gas production rose to a record 1.78 billion cubic meters (63 billion cubic feet) per day on average in 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s up 24 percent since 2007, when drillers were first beginning to tap enormous reserves of gas trapped in shale formations under several U.S. states. The U.S., once thought to be in need of additional natural gas imports, is now expected to become an exporter within a few years.

That’s a big turnaround from five years ago when Gazprom was working on supplying liquefied natural gas to the U.S. market. The International Energy Agency expects U.S. gas production to rise to overtake Russia in 2017.

“The shale gas boom in North America and the U.S. in particular has a double-sided impact for Gazprom,” said Andrew Neff, a senior energy analyst at IHS Energy. Not only does the company lose a customer, it also has to find somewhere to sell the gas it had set aside the U.S.

On top of this, Neff warns that “North American LNG exports could potentially compete with Russian gas.”

Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline is being built to secure Russia‘s gas supply to Europe following a series of clashes with Ukraine, to whom Gazprom currently pays about $2 billion a year in transit fees. In 2006, Russia cut off its supplies to the Ukraine after the two countries clashed over the price of gas and the transit fees. Russia kept shipping gas to the EU through Ukraine. However, to cope with a spell of severe cold weather, Ukrainians siphoned off some of that supply. European customers started reporting a drop-off in supplies as a result.

The dispute escalated in the winter of 2009 when Gazprom again cut off supplies to Ukraine after talks over a new gas contract failed. Again, Europe started experiencing a fall in supplies. In spite of Ukraine denying this time that it had siphoned off Russian gas, tens of millions of Europeans were left without gas for three weeks in the depths of winter.

Going through the Balkans, Austria and Italy, South Stream will avoid Ukraine, which will still get its supplies from the existing pipeline but won’t get the extra transit fees.

However, analysts are concerned that Gazprom could be overreaching with its pipelines. On top of the South Stream project, the company in October opened Nord Stream, a new pipeline under the Baltic Sea, directly linking Germany with Siberia’s vast natural gas reserves with the capacity of 55 billion cubic meters. The construction of South Stream and expansion of Nord Stream will mean Gazprom’s capacity will exceed expected demand by between 50 billion to 100 billion cubic meters, according to analyst estimates.

Alexei Kokin, an oil and gas analyst at Moscow-based UralSib investment bank, is skeptical of the reasoning behind the South Stream, adding that for Gazprom and the other investors, the project “is pretty much a waste” of capital expenditure.

“The timing of South Stream looks bad for Gazprom,” said Andrew Neff, a senior energy analyst at IHS Energy.

Gazprom officials, however, defend the Balkans-bound pipeline despite its estimated cost of €16 billion ($20.6 billion).

“If that wasn’t profitable for our partners, we would not go ahead with this project,” Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller said in December.

Miller explained that Gazprom would be saving a lot of money by not having to pay the $2 billion in transit fees to Ukraine: “With South Stream, we will be paying these transit fees to ourselves,” he said jokingly.

As well as battling to maintain its clout in Europe, Gazprom is also fighting on the political front in the region. European officials have warned Gazprom that it would have to allow third-party gas producers to use South Stream to comply with European laws that ban suppliers from owning transit facilities such as pipelines. Gazprom and its European partners in the project are lobbying for South Stream to be exempted from the law.

The company is also facing an EU probe to determine whether it violated competition rules by linking gas prices with prices for oil.

Putin strongly criticized the EU energy regulations as he sat down for talks with European leaders in Brussels last December. “It creates confusion and undermines confidence in our mutual work,” he said.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News