Moscow, Russia
Moscow, Russia

Open Joint Stock Company Gazprom is the largest extractor of natural gas in the world and one of the world's largest companies. Its name is a contraction of the Russian words Gazovaya Promyshlennost . Its headquarters are in Moscow. Gazprom was created in 1989 when the Soviet Ministry of Gas Industry converted to a corporation, retaining all its assets. The company was later partly privatised, although the Russian government currently holds a majority stake. In 2011, the company produced about 513.2 billion cubic metres of natural gas, amounting to more than 17% of worldwide gas production. In addition, Gazprom produced about 32.3 million tons of crude oil and nearly 12.1 million tons of gas condensate. Gazprom's activities accounted for 8% of Russia's gross domestic product in 2011.Gazprom's major production fields are located around the Gulf of Ob in Western Siberia, and the Yamal Peninsula is expected to become the company's main gas producing region in the future. Gazprom possesses the largest gas transport system in the world, with approximately 158,200 kilometres of gas trunk lines. Major new pipeline projects include Nord Stream and South Stream. The company has a number of subsidiaries in various industrial sectors, including finance, media and aviation, as well as majority stakes in various companies. Wikipedia.


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News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

BEIJING--(BUSINESS WIRE)--cippe 2017 (the 17th China International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology and Equipment Exhibition) will be held on March 20-22, 2017 at New China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. With an exhibition area of 100,000m2, the event will gather around 2,000 exhibitors from 65 countries and regions, including 50 Fortune Global 500 companies and 18 international pavilions, to display the latest cutting-edge petrochemical and equipment technologies and products. cippe is an approved member of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) and enjoys the support of China’s Ministry of Commerce. This year as the petroleum industry is setting to revive, cippe will present a more professional, valuable and wonderful event for the industry players. In 2017, apart from the existing Oil Exploration & Development, Offshore Oil & Gas, Offshore Engineering, Oil & Gas Pipeline, Shale Gas, Natural Gas and Explosion-proof Equipment zones, the event will add professional exhibition zones for more market segments, including Valves, Fire Control, Oilfield & Land Conservation, in a bid to build a more precise and professional matching platform for buyers. So far, companies that have confirmed to attend include Caterpillar, NOV, Schlumberger, GE, Honeywell, DOW Chemical, Rockwell, Transneft, Rosneft, Akzo, API, 3M, E+H, MTU, Hempel, CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC, CSSC, CSIC, CASC, Jereh, Kerui, RG Petro-Machinery, Sany Heavy Industry, Northern Heavy Industries Group, CITIC Pacific, HBP, Jerrywon, LandOcean Energy, Anton Oilfield, Shanghai Shenkai, Tiehu Petromachinery, Tidfore, CNOOC, DS Group and Warom Technology. Building professional forums to help insiders look into the future cippe 2017 will continue to hold the 9th International Petroleum Summit highlighting low-cost development, which will analyze industry prospects and policies to come up with feasible practices and technologies. Multiple other technology seminars and symposiums will be held concurrently. During cippe 2017, the organizer Zhenwei Expo will partner with Xi'an Shiyou University and Shanxi Petroleum Society to hold the 2017 International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology Conference, covering the full industry chain including offshore petroleum exploration, drilling and producing engineering, oil & gas storage and transportation, etc. Besides, cippe will launch the Middle East session by cooperating with Petroleum Association of Middle East (PAME) and Business Gateways International. LLC., (BGI) of Oman. While BGI Oman will introduce in details about its Joint Supplier Registration System (JSRS) to facilitate Chinese petroleum companies to enter Omanis market, PAME will elaborate on the opportunities, challenges and strategies in the Middle Eastern market. cippe 2017 will attract over 100 buyer and visitor delegations comprised of government institutions, industry associations and companies. Rosneft, Gazprom, Transneft, Saudi Aramco, Statoil, NIOC, INOC, Qatargas, Saudi Aramco, Emirates National Oil, Petronas, KNPC, PDVSA, EVOLEN, PAME, DNV, and other industry associations from the Netherlands, India and France.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.europawire.eu

KASSEL, 13-Feb-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — From the Moskva to the Neva estuary: Wintershall is moving its Russian branch office, which currently has around 90 employees, from Moscow to St. Petersburg in August 2017. “Relocating Wintershall’s Russian branch office to St. Petersburg represents another step towards strengthening our cooperation with Gazprom. Our partnership is shaped by trust and stability. We therefore share the firm conviction that our presence in the same city will enable us to perform the tasks arising from our joint activities even more efficiently,” Thilo Wieland, Member of the Wintershall Board of Executive Directors, underlined. Gazprom has already moved its company headquarters to the northernmost metropolis in the world. Winterhall has been cooperating with Gazprom for more than 25 years. During this time a series of projects of strategic significance have been implemented, including the delivery of Russian natural gas directly to Europe. Furthermore, Wintershall was the first German company to participate directly in the joint production of natural gas in Siberia. The joint ventures OAO Severneftegazprom and ZAO Achimgaz alone produced 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2016 and have thus become pillars of the European natural gas supply. Russian-German partners Wintershall and Gazprom are currently preparing the development of Blocks 4 and 5 of the Achimov formation in the Urengoy natural gas field. Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 85 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. Wintershall employs about 2.000 staff worldwide from 50 nations and is now Germany’s largest, internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. and LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, Feb. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In 2016, BASF achieved the growth and earnings goals it set for itself. The chemicals business grew successfully and profitability improved further. As expected, earnings in Oil & Gas did not match the previous year’s level. “As the year progressed, we were able to increase BASF’s growth. Our sales volumes rose from quarter to quarter. Particularly in Asia, we continually increased our sales volumes in the chemicals business. This shows that the high investments we made in research and development and new production capacity in recent years are paying off,” said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, at the Annual Press Conference in Ludwigshafen. In the fourth quarter of 2016, sales increased by 7% to €14.8 billion compared with the same quarter of 2015, mainly due to higher volumes. For BASF Group, as well as the chemicals business, which comprises the Chemicals, Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments, volumes rose by 6%. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items was €1.2 billion, €157 million higher than in the prior-year quarter. Considerably higher earnings in Chemicals, Functional Materials & Solutions and Oil & Gas more than compensated for lower earnings in Agricultural Solutions and Other. For the full year 2016, sales decreased by 18% to €57.6 billion. This was mainly due to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business as part of the asset swap with Gazprom at the end of September 2015. This business had contributed €10.1 billion to sales in 2015. In total, portfolio effects lowered sales by 15%. In addition, lower raw material prices led to a drop in sales prices (minus 4%). The company was able to continually raise sales volumes over the course of the year. Compared with the previous year, volumes increased by 2%, and in the chemicals business, by 4%. Currency effects slightly dampened sales (minus 1%). At €6.3 billion, EBIT before special items was €430 million below the prior-year level. This was largely a consequence of a decline of about €850 million in the Oil & Gas segment, mainly resulting from falling prices and the divestiture of the natural gas trading and storage business. The activities transferred to Gazprom had contributed around €260 million to EBIT before special items in 2015. In the Agricultural Solutions segment, EBIT before special items matched the previous year’s level. The chemicals business increased earnings considerably thanks to sharply improved contributions from the Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments. At €4.1 billion, net income exceeded the previous year’s level of €4.0 billion. Earnings per share increased from €4.34 to €4.42. In a volatile market environment, BASF’s share price developed very positively, closing out the year at €88.31, around 25% higher than at the end of the previous year. With dividends reinvested, the performance of BASF shares rose by 30%, considerably outperforming the DAX 30 (+7%), the DJ EURO STOXX 50 (+4%) and the MSCI World Chemicals (+11%). “We are continuing our dividend policy and at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting we will propose to raise the dividend again, by €0.10 to €3.00,” said Bock. BASF shares thus once again offer a high dividend yield of 3.4% based on the closing share price at the end of 2016. Sales at companies headquartered in North America were down by 6% compared with 2015 in both euro and local currency terms, amounting to €14,682 million. This was largely due to decreased sales prices brought about by lower raw material prices, especially in the Chemicals segment. Sales volumes remained stable overall. Rising volumes in the Functional Materials & Solutions segment were able to offset the lower volumes in the Chemicals and Performance Products segments. EBIT fell 14% to €1,113 compared with the previous year. Significantly increased contributions from the Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments were only partially able to compensate for the sales and margin-related earnings decline in the Chemicals segment. “In this region, we continue to focus on innovation, attractive market segments and cross-business initiatives in order to grow profitably,” said Wayne T. Smith, Chairman and CEO, BASF Corporation. “At the same time, we are enhancing our operational excellence through continuous improvement. Investments in new production facilities form the basis for future growth.” The company is building a new ammonia plant in Freeport, Texas, with Yara; expanding production capacities for its dicamba and dimethenamid-P herbicides in Beaumont, Texas; and modifying the plant in Pasadena, Texas, to produce Palatinol® DOTP plasticizer so it can meet growing demand in North America. In addition, production capacity of MDI at the Geismar, Louisiana, Verbund site will gradually be expanded. Bock: “We are cautiously optimistic for 2017. We want to grow further, with all segments contributing to this growth. More importantly: We want to increase our earnings again, also in the oil and gas business. The global economy will presumably grow about as fast as in 2016. In light of significant political uncertainty, volatility will remain high.” A considerable slowdown in growth in the European Union is expected. For the United States, a slight upturn in growth is anticipated. Growth in China is likely to continue to slow further. And it is expected that the recession in Brazil and Russia will end. For its outlook, BASF assumes the following economic conditions for 2017 (previous year figures in parentheses): In 2017, BASF Group sales are expected to grow considerably. This will be supported by slightly higher sales in the Performance Products segment and by considerable increases in the remaining segments as well as in Other. Bock: “We want to slightly raise EBIT before special items compared with 2016. We anticipate considerably higher contributions from the Oil & Gas segment. In the Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions and Agricultural Solutions segments, we assume EBIT before special items will be slightly higher, while the contribution from the Chemicals segment will match the prior-year level.” In light of the major political and economic uncertainties, BASF will continue its strict discipline with respect to expenditures and costs. The strategic excellence program, DrivE, contributes to this aim. Starting at the end of 2018, the company expects this program to contribute around €1 billion in earnings each year compared with the baseline 2015. The earnings contribution amounted to €350 million in 2016. After a phase of high investments, BASF scaled these back in 2016 by more than €1 billion as previously announced. The company invested a total of €3.9 billion in capital expenditures (excluding additions to property, plant and equipment resulting from acquisitions, capitalized exploration, restoration obligations and IT investments). “In the coming years, we plan to invest at a comparable level. We are now filling the existing capacity in our new plants and thus building on the volume momentum seen last year,” said Bock. Development of the segments in the 4th quarter and full year 2016 In the Chemicals segment, fourth-quarter sales increased by 12% to €3.6 billion, driven by higher volumes and prices. EBIT before special items rose by €386 million to €635 million. This was mainly due to higher margins, especially in isocyanates and cracker products. For the full year, sales decreased by 8% to €13.5 billion. This was attributable to lower prices as a result of a decline in raw material prices, especially in the Petrochemicals division. Higher volumes could not compensate for this. EBIT before special items fell by €92 million to €2.1 billion, mainly because of higher fixed costs from new production plant startups. Lower margins in the Petrochemicals and Intermediates divisions also dampened EBIT before special items. Higher margins for isocyanates in the Monomers division helped slow the decline. In the Performance Products segment, sales in the fourth quarter declined by 1% to €3.6 billion. EBIT before special items rose slightly to €231 million supported by improved margins. At €15.0 billion, full-year sales were 4% below the level of the previous year. This was primarily attributable to falling sales prices and the divestitures completed in 2015. EBIT before special items increased by €379 million to €1.7 billion. This was mostly due to significantly reduced fixed costs thanks to restructuring measures and strict fixed cost management, in addition to improved margins. In the Functional Materials & Solutions segment, fourth-quarter sales grew by 10% to €5.0 billion driven by higher volumes. EBIT before special items increased by €69 million to €458 million due to volumes growth, a favorable product mix and continued cost discipline. Sales for the full year increased by 1% to €18.7 billion. By increasing volumes in all divisions, lower prices and mildly negative currency effects could be more than compensated for. The volumes growth was mainly attributable to higher demand for products for the automotive industry. Business with the construction industry saw sales volumes at a high level overall. EBIT before special items rose by €297 million to €1.9 billion compared with 2015. All divisions contributed to this considerable earnings increase, particularly the Performance Materials division. In the Agricultural Solutions segment, sales in the fourth quarter rose by 10% to €1.3 billion thanks to higher volumes. EBIT before special items decreased by €65 million to €79 million due to higher fixed costs, partly resulting from new or expanded production facilities, for example for the herbicide dicamba. For the full year, sales fell by 4% to €5.6 billion as a result of lower sales volumes and negative currency effects. The challenging market environment for crop protection products particularly dampened demand for insecticides in South America and for fungicides in Europe. Prices matched the level of 2015. Strict cost management enabled fixed costs to be reduced in the Agricultural Solutions segment. Thanks to this development, EBIT before special items matched the previous year’s level at €1.1 billion despite the sales decline. In the Oil & Gas segment, fourth-quarter sales increased by 26% to €922 million due to higher volumes and prices. EBIT before special items grew by €36 million to €163 million. Sales for the full year decreased by 79% to €2.8 billion year-on-year. Owing to the asset swap with Gazprom completed at the end of September 2015, contributions from the natural gas trading and storage business and from Wintershall Noordzee B.V. ceased as of the fourth quarter of 2015. These activities had contributed €10.1 billion to sales in 2015. In the continuing oil and gas business, volumes grew by 15% compared with 2015, while price and currency effects amounted to minus 15%. EBIT before special items declined by €849 million to €517 million in 2016. This was primarily the result of falling oil and gas prices, in addition to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business to Gazprom. The activities transferred to Gazprom had contributed around €260 million to EBIT before special items in 2015. Sales in Other decreased by 22% to €518 million in the fourth quarter. EBIT before special items declined to minus €386 million, down from minus €114 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Full-year sales fell by 28% to €2.0 billion compared with 2015. Lower prices and volumes in the raw materials trading business were primarily responsible, along with the expiration of supply contracts in connection with the disposal of BASF’s share in the Ellba Eastern Private Ltd. joint operation in Singapore at the end of 2014. EBIT before special items in Other declined by €162 million to minus €1.1 billion. This was largely attributable to valuation effects for the long-term incentive program. Positive currency effects helped slow the decline. At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com. On February 24, 2017, you can obtain further information from the internet at the following addresses: This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current estimates and projections of BASF management and currently available information. Future statements are not guarantees of the future developments and results outlined therein. These are dependent on a number of factors; they involve various risks and uncertainties; and they are based on assumptions that may not prove to be accurate. BASF does not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained in this release.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. and LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, Feb. 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In 2016, BASF achieved the growth and earnings goals it set for itself. The chemicals business grew successfully and profitability improved further. As expected, earnings in Oil & Gas did not match the previous year’s level. “As the year progressed, we were able to increase BASF’s growth. Our sales volumes rose from quarter to quarter. Particularly in Asia, we continually increased our sales volumes in the chemicals business. This shows that the high investments we made in research and development and new production capacity in recent years are paying off,” said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, at the Annual Press Conference in Ludwigshafen. In the fourth quarter of 2016, sales increased by 7% to €14.8 billion compared with the same quarter of 2015, mainly due to higher volumes. For BASF Group, as well as the chemicals business, which comprises the Chemicals, Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments, volumes rose by 6%. Income from operations (EBIT) before special items was €1.2 billion, €157 million higher than in the prior-year quarter. Considerably higher earnings in Chemicals, Functional Materials & Solutions and Oil & Gas more than compensated for lower earnings in Agricultural Solutions and Other. For the full year 2016, sales decreased by 18% to €57.6 billion. This was mainly due to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business as part of the asset swap with Gazprom at the end of September 2015. This business had contributed €10.1 billion to sales in 2015. In total, portfolio effects lowered sales by 15%. In addition, lower raw material prices led to a drop in sales prices (minus 4%). The company was able to continually raise sales volumes over the course of the year. Compared with the previous year, volumes increased by 2%, and in the chemicals business, by 4%. Currency effects slightly dampened sales (minus 1%). At €6.3 billion, EBIT before special items was €430 million below the prior-year level. This was largely a consequence of a decline of about €850 million in the Oil & Gas segment, mainly resulting from falling prices and the divestiture of the natural gas trading and storage business. The activities transferred to Gazprom had contributed around €260 million to EBIT before special items in 2015. In the Agricultural Solutions segment, EBIT before special items matched the previous year’s level. The chemicals business increased earnings considerably thanks to sharply improved contributions from the Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments. At €4.1 billion, net income exceeded the previous year’s level of €4.0 billion. Earnings per share increased from €4.34 to €4.42. In a volatile market environment, BASF’s share price developed very positively, closing out the year at €88.31, around 25% higher than at the end of the previous year. With dividends reinvested, the performance of BASF shares rose by 30%, considerably outperforming the DAX 30 (+7%), the DJ EURO STOXX 50 (+4%) and the MSCI World Chemicals (+11%). “We are continuing our dividend policy and at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting we will propose to raise the dividend again, by €0.10 to €3.00,” said Bock. BASF shares thus once again offer a high dividend yield of 3.4% based on the closing share price at the end of 2016. Sales at companies headquartered in North America were down by 6% compared with 2015 in both euro and local currency terms, amounting to €14,682 million. This was largely due to decreased sales prices brought about by lower raw material prices, especially in the Chemicals segment. Sales volumes remained stable overall. Rising volumes in the Functional Materials & Solutions segment were able to offset the lower volumes in the Chemicals and Performance Products segments. EBIT fell 14% to €1,113 compared with the previous year. Significantly increased contributions from the Performance Products and Functional Materials & Solutions segments were only partially able to compensate for the sales and margin-related earnings decline in the Chemicals segment. “In this region, we continue to focus on innovation, attractive market segments and cross-business initiatives in order to grow profitably,” said Wayne T. Smith, Chairman and CEO, BASF Corporation. “At the same time, we are enhancing our operational excellence through continuous improvement. Investments in new production facilities form the basis for future growth.” The company is building a new ammonia plant in Freeport, Texas, with Yara; expanding production capacities for its dicamba and dimethenamid-P herbicides in Beaumont, Texas; and modifying the plant in Pasadena, Texas, to produce Palatinol® DOTP plasticizer so it can meet growing demand in North America. In addition, production capacity of MDI at the Geismar, Louisiana, Verbund site will gradually be expanded. Bock: “We are cautiously optimistic for 2017. We want to grow further, with all segments contributing to this growth. More importantly: We want to increase our earnings again, also in the oil and gas business. The global economy will presumably grow about as fast as in 2016. In light of significant political uncertainty, volatility will remain high.” A considerable slowdown in growth in the European Union is expected. For the United States, a slight upturn in growth is anticipated. Growth in China is likely to continue to slow further. And it is expected that the recession in Brazil and Russia will end. For its outlook, BASF assumes the following economic conditions for 2017 (previous year figures in parentheses): In 2017, BASF Group sales are expected to grow considerably. This will be supported by slightly higher sales in the Performance Products segment and by considerable increases in the remaining segments as well as in Other. Bock: “We want to slightly raise EBIT before special items compared with 2016. We anticipate considerably higher contributions from the Oil & Gas segment. In the Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions and Agricultural Solutions segments, we assume EBIT before special items will be slightly higher, while the contribution from the Chemicals segment will match the prior-year level.” In light of the major political and economic uncertainties, BASF will continue its strict discipline with respect to expenditures and costs. The strategic excellence program, DrivE, contributes to this aim. Starting at the end of 2018, the company expects this program to contribute around €1 billion in earnings each year compared with the baseline 2015. The earnings contribution amounted to €350 million in 2016. After a phase of high investments, BASF scaled these back in 2016 by more than €1 billion as previously announced. The company invested a total of €3.9 billion in capital expenditures (excluding additions to property, plant and equipment resulting from acquisitions, capitalized exploration, restoration obligations and IT investments). “In the coming years, we plan to invest at a comparable level. We are now filling the existing capacity in our new plants and thus building on the volume momentum seen last year,” said Bock. Development of the segments in the 4th quarter and full year 2016 In the Chemicals segment, fourth-quarter sales increased by 12% to €3.6 billion, driven by higher volumes and prices. EBIT before special items rose by €386 million to €635 million. This was mainly due to higher margins, especially in isocyanates and cracker products. For the full year, sales decreased by 8% to €13.5 billion. This was attributable to lower prices as a result of a decline in raw material prices, especially in the Petrochemicals division. Higher volumes could not compensate for this. EBIT before special items fell by €92 million to €2.1 billion, mainly because of higher fixed costs from new production plant startups. Lower margins in the Petrochemicals and Intermediates divisions also dampened EBIT before special items. Higher margins for isocyanates in the Monomers division helped slow the decline. In the Performance Products segment, sales in the fourth quarter declined by 1% to €3.6 billion. EBIT before special items rose slightly to €231 million supported by improved margins. At €15.0 billion, full-year sales were 4% below the level of the previous year. This was primarily attributable to falling sales prices and the divestitures completed in 2015. EBIT before special items increased by €379 million to €1.7 billion. This was mostly due to significantly reduced fixed costs thanks to restructuring measures and strict fixed cost management, in addition to improved margins. In the Functional Materials & Solutions segment, fourth-quarter sales grew by 10% to €5.0 billion driven by higher volumes. EBIT before special items increased by €69 million to €458 million due to volumes growth, a favorable product mix and continued cost discipline. Sales for the full year increased by 1% to €18.7 billion. By increasing volumes in all divisions, lower prices and mildly negative currency effects could be more than compensated for. The volumes growth was mainly attributable to higher demand for products for the automotive industry. Business with the construction industry saw sales volumes at a high level overall. EBIT before special items rose by €297 million to €1.9 billion compared with 2015. All divisions contributed to this considerable earnings increase, particularly the Performance Materials division. In the Agricultural Solutions segment, sales in the fourth quarter rose by 10% to €1.3 billion thanks to higher volumes. EBIT before special items decreased by €65 million to €79 million due to higher fixed costs, partly resulting from new or expanded production facilities, for example for the herbicide dicamba. For the full year, sales fell by 4% to €5.6 billion as a result of lower sales volumes and negative currency effects. The challenging market environment for crop protection products particularly dampened demand for insecticides in South America and for fungicides in Europe. Prices matched the level of 2015. Strict cost management enabled fixed costs to be reduced in the Agricultural Solutions segment. Thanks to this development, EBIT before special items matched the previous year’s level at €1.1 billion despite the sales decline. In the Oil & Gas segment, fourth-quarter sales increased by 26% to €922 million due to higher volumes and prices. EBIT before special items grew by €36 million to €163 million. Sales for the full year decreased by 79% to €2.8 billion year-on-year. Owing to the asset swap with Gazprom completed at the end of September 2015, contributions from the natural gas trading and storage business and from Wintershall Noordzee B.V. ceased as of the fourth quarter of 2015. These activities had contributed €10.1 billion to sales in 2015. In the continuing oil and gas business, volumes grew by 15% compared with 2015, while price and currency effects amounted to minus 15%. EBIT before special items declined by €849 million to €517 million in 2016. This was primarily the result of falling oil and gas prices, in addition to the divestiture of the gas trading and storage business to Gazprom. The activities transferred to Gazprom had contributed around €260 million to EBIT before special items in 2015. Sales in Other decreased by 22% to €518 million in the fourth quarter. EBIT before special items declined to minus €386 million, down from minus €114 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Full-year sales fell by 28% to €2.0 billion compared with 2015. Lower prices and volumes in the raw materials trading business were primarily responsible, along with the expiration of supply contracts in connection with the disposal of BASF’s share in the Ellba Eastern Private Ltd. joint operation in Singapore at the end of 2014. EBIT before special items in Other declined by €162 million to minus €1.1 billion. This was largely attributable to valuation effects for the long-term incentive program. Positive currency effects helped slow the decline. At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com. On February 24, 2017, you can obtain further information from the internet at the following addresses: This release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current estimates and projections of BASF management and currently available information. Future statements are not guarantees of the future developments and results outlined therein. These are dependent on a number of factors; they involve various risks and uncertainties; and they are based on assumptions that may not prove to be accurate. BASF does not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained in this release.


President Donald Trump‘s newly sworn-in Secretary of State, recently retired ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, turned heads when he expressed support for an aggressive military stance against China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea during his Senate committee hearing and in response to questions from Democratic Party Committee members. Tillerson’s views on China and the South China Sea territory appear even more concerning against the backdrop of recently aired comments made by Trump’s increasingly powerful chief strategist, Steve Bannon, that the two nations were headed toward war in the next five to 10 years, as reported by the Independent (UK). However, what Tillerson did not reveal in his answers is that Exxon, as well as Russian state-owned companies Gazprom and Rosneft, have been angling to tap into the South China Sea’s offshore oil and gas bounty. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops,” Tillerson said at his hearing, speaking of the man-made islands China’s military has created in the South China Sea and uses as a military base. “And second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed.” Tillerson, who came under fire during his hearing for maintaining close business ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was asked for further clarification on what he thinks the U.S. posture toward China should be in one of dozens of questions sent to him by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). In responding, Tillerson spelled out the bellicose stance he believes the U.S. should take toward China, a country Trump has often said should be handled with a metaphorical iron fist. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary and Communications Director, echoed this in a recent press briefing, stating that, “The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there.” “It’s a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we’re going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country,” said Spicer. While President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a rather hawkish U.S. foreign policy stance toward China known as the Pacific “pivot,” these developments under the new administration appear to take tensions with China to a new level. The Chinese government sees the Trump White House and Tillerson’s recent statements, if carried out, as an act of “war” toward the country, which Beijing says would not be allowed to stand unchallenged. A DeSmog investigation shows that “our interests” (to quote Spicer) overlap suspiciously often with those of ExxonMobil, Gazprom, and Rosneft. Exxon’s offshore oil and gas ties in the region circle the South China Sea from Vietnam and the Philippines to Indonesia and Malaysia. Gazprom also maintains business ties with Vietnam. While most western oil majors have veered away from tapping into this oil and gas, Exxon has not shied away. “Unlike other Western oil majors, which have usually taken a wait-and-see approach when drilling in the disputed waters, ExxonMobil appeared unfazed by the political uncertainty in the region and maintained extensive business links with almost every Southeast Asian country,” wrote the South China Morning Post. A leaked 2006 U.S. State Department cable published by Wikileaks shows that “China began to warn oil majors against conducting oil exploration activities in the disputed South China Sea in 2006, the year Tillerson became ExxonMobil’s chairman and chief executive,” the Morning Post further detailed. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data from 2013, the South China Sea contains 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. As Lee Fang and I recently revealed for The Intercept, while Tillerson served as CEO of Exxon, the U.S. Department of State directly intervened on the company’s behalf to help the company win favorable financial terms to tap into that offshore oil and gas in countries which own offshore oil and gas in the South China Sea in both Vietnam and Indonesia. On January 12, the New York Times became the first news outlet to dig into Exxon’s bounty of South China Sea offshore oil and gas and how it could possibly relate to Tillerson’s hardline views on the disputed territory there. “What is also not clear is the extent to which Mr. Tillerson’s tough stance on the South China Sea springs from his extensive experience in the region during his time as chief executive of Exxon Mobil, when his company became embroiled in bitter territorial disputes over the extensive oil and gas reserves beneath the seafloor,” wrote the Times. “During his tenure, the company forged close ties to the Vietnamese government, signing an agreement in 2009 with a state-owned firm to drill for oil and gas in two areas in the South China Sea.” That agreement was completed with a “quiet signing given sensitivities with China,” according to a State Department cable published by Wikileaks. ExxonMobil Vietnam’s then-President Russ Berkoben told the State Department that “although EM is uncertain of China’s reaction, it is ready if China reacts,” according to the cable. The deal made Exxon the largest offshore acreage holder in Vietnam, with 14 million acres to explore and tap into. In 2008, the South China Morning Post reported that Exxon had “been approached by Chinese envoys and told to pull out of preliminary oil deals with Vietnam.” Vietnam stood its ground, telling China that Exxon and other companies had a right to drill in its territorial sea under its laws. Three years later in 2011, Exxon said it had “encountered hydrocarbons” in the area during its exploratory drilling in a company statement. China reacted with fury, moving its own state-owned oil platform, belonging to China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CONOC), to the same area in 2014. U.S. Secretary of State at the time John Kerry called CONOC‘s move “aggressive” and “provocative,” with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling Kerry to “speak and act cautiously” on the issue. On January 13, PetroVietnam and Exxon announced a $10 billion deal to build a natural gas power plant in the country, set to be sourced with the gas Exxon will tap from the South China Sea via the Ca Voi Xanh offshore field. Exxon will also ship the gas to Vietnam via one of its underwater pipelines. PetroVietnam also has a joint venture with the Russian state-owned company Gazprom; it goes by the name VietGazprom. Together, they operate five offshore blocks in the South China Sea. Gazprom began negotiations to buy a 49 percent stake in Vietnam’s sole oil refinery, the Dung Quat refinery, in April 2015 but walked away from the potential deal in January 2016. Rosneft, the Russian state-owned company which maintains close business ties with Exxon, also has skin in the game for offshore drilling in Vietnam through its subsidiary Rosneft Vietnam. The project is Rosneft’s first international offshore project. “The implementation of projects in Vietnam is one of the priority [sic] of Rosneft’s international strategy,” said Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, a close ally of Putin, of the project in a March 2016 press release. “The development of offshore fields in one of the most dynamically growing Asia-Pacific region country is a remarkable example of high-tech cooperation with our partners … We appreciate not only the current progress of joint projects implementation in Vietnam, but also the future prospects for their development.” Rosneft and PetroVietnam signed a joint cooperation agreement in May 2016, which includes but is not limited to offshore drilling, that will further bolster the ties between Rosneft and Vietnam in the South China Sea. “The agreement provides for the expansion of cooperation between the parties in Russia, Vietnam and third countries in the area of hydrocarbon exploration and production (including offshore), processing, commerce and logistics, as well as staff training,” reads a Rosneft press release. “The parties agreed to consider potential options for joint projects and define the basic terms of cooperation as well as establish a working group for each of the areas of cooperation.” Rosneft also co-owns the underwater Nam Con Son Pipeline on a 32.7 percent basis through its subsidiary Rosneft Vietnam Pipelines, which is also owned on a 51 percent basis by PetroVietnam. Exxon is a co-owner of the production sharing agreement between Indonesian state-owned company Pertamina and Thailand state-owned company PTT Public Company Limited, the three of which produce offshore gas from the East Natuna field. In recent months, as with Vietnam, tensions have ratcheted up between Indonesia and China over the disputed territory in the South China Sea. Exxon previously had a stake in offshore wells in the Philippines in the South China Sea, which it sold in 2011 to Mitra Energy (now Jadestone Energy). Exxon decided to sell off the wells after it failed to produce commercial-scale levels of oil and gas. “ExxonMobil drilled the four wells to test a new exploration play concept,” Exxon said in a statement in 2011. “While it encountered gas in three of the four wells drilled, non-commercial quantities of gas were found and ExxonMobil will withdraw from [the project] and resign as the operator.” In 2014, Exxon expressed interest in the Philippines’ offshore reserves up for offer once again, according to an official statement made by the Philippines Department of Energy (DOE). But that bid did not go anywhere, with the DOE suspending all oil and gas exploration in the area due to the territorial dispute with China. In 1997 Exxon signed a production sharing agreement with Malaysian state-owned company PETRONAS. Six years later, the two companies began their first major drilling project in the South China Sea at the Bintang natural gas field. A decade later in March 2013, Exxon began production in Malaysia’s South China Sea-based Telok offshore gas basin, a project it co-owns on a 50-50 basis with PETRONAS. Exxon began phase two of Telok with PETRONAS in 2014, with the two projects together making up 15 percent of the country’s oil production and half its natural gas output. That same year, Exxon signed another $2.6 billion 50-50 ownership stake deal with PETRONAS for an enhanced oil recovery project in the South China Sea. “Exxon’s Malaysian subsidiary operates 34 platforms in 12 fields and has an interest in another 10 platforms in five fields in the South China Sea,” reported the Houston Chronicle, putting the enhanced oil recovery project deal into context. “Those fields supply about 20 percent of Malaysia’s crude oil output and condensate and 50 percent of Peninsular Malaysia’s natural gas needs.” Today, Tillerson has sold all of his Exxon stock, which normally would have been deferred to him over a period of time post-retirement. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) recently said he worries Tillerson will see the world through “oil-coated glasses,” given Exxon’s multicontinental reach to every continent on the planet besides Antarctica. But as the South China Sea shows, even if not dealing directly with oil and gas reserves, “black gold” can still loom large when considering geopolitical and foreign policy negotiations. Some believe Tillerson, from that vantage point, is a fatally flawed choice. “The proportion of Tillerson’s job that would have the appearance of conflict is just enormous,” David Arkush, managing director for Public Citizen’s climate program, recently told Bloomberg. “If someone has to recuse himself from that many matters, he has no business being in that role.”


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

The EU is trying to improve its energy security by building more infrastructure to facilitate gas imports, but the concentration of its gas suppliers keeps increasing, write Stefan Bößner and Douglas Fraser of the Stockholm Environment Institute. According to Bößner and Fraser, it makes more sense to shift the focus of EU energy policy to creating a low-carbon energy system. That will not only help Europe meet its climate targets, but also improve security of supply. Two years ago, the European Commission launched its Energy Union initiative with much fanfare. Consisting of five dimensions – energy security, energy efficiency, the internal energy market, climate action and research and development – the idea of having a much more collaborative approach to European energy and climate policies seemed to make sense. 28 Member States would have more clout when negotiating with external energy suppliers, and energy freely traded across borders in a truly integrated European market would make the allocation of resources economically efficient and would bring cheap energy to European consumers. Alas, national interests and diverging views have made this endeavour much easier in theory than in practice. For example, while some Member States, particularly in the East, depend entirely on Russian gas to fuel their economies and thus see the Energy Union as a way to enhance energy security (often to the detriment of more stringent climate policies), others emphasise that the energy transition under the framework should create a low-carbon economy. This divergence of views and priorities has led to some significant shortcomings, particularly when it comes to energy infrastructure and energy security issues. True, the EU has made some progress in updating their energy transport networks, such as building more LNG terminals and making gas pipelines bi-directional, but this has come at a cost and serves as an illustrative example of what happens when Member States pursue individual instead of collaborative energy policies. For instance, the EU has the capacity to source almost 50% of its gas consumption via LNG terminals, but those terminals are heavily underused while more terminals are expected to be constructed regardless of tepid EU gas demand. Germany’s initiative to increase the capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline has infuriated Member States like Poland. Likewise, the Southern Gas Corridor has been riddled with difficulties for years both abroad and at home. What is more, all those diversification policies and natural gas investments have not helped the EU to diversify its energy sources significantly nor have they led to a more competitive fossil fuel energy market. As the Second Report on the state of the Energy Union, released on 1 February, shows, the concentration of gas suppliers has increased, meaning that fewer companies now provide gas to European consumers than before (see page 38). Moreover, reliance on external suppliers of mainly fossil fuels has also increased, as has the share of Russian gas imported into the EU, despite diversification away from Russian gas being one of the major rationales behind the Energy Union. And in the end, one might wonder whether countries like Azerbaijan or Turkey, pivotal to the EU’s diversification strategy for supply and transit, would offer a more frictionless energy relationship than the current one with Moscow. Certainly diversification of energy supply is a necessary objective, particularly in Eastern Europe, where over-reliance on Russia causes geopolitical unease since Russia has cut off pipeline flows through Ukraine on multiple occasions. Also, it is of great importance to finally achieve a truly common and flexible internal energy market to further renewable energy uptake. However, building ever more fossil fuel infrastructure to facilitate the consumption of even more oil and gas can’t be the solution, especially not if the EU also wants to meet its climate ambitions and stay with the leaders on climate change – an imperative that has become all the more pronounced following the election of Donald Trump as US president. Is there another way, then, in which the EU could meet the different objectives of the Energy Union? What the EU could do instead is to refocus its Energy Union initiative from prioritising supply security through new fossil fuel infrastructure to delivering a truly sustainable energy system. Here is where a lot of the EU’s strength lies – and such an approach could also serve to enhance diversification and security of supply. The EU has already reduced its emissions by 24.4% compared to 1990 while at the same time increasing its share of renewable electricity in gross consumption from 14.4% in 2004 to an impressive 27.5% in 2014. At the same time, the EU consumes less and less energy per economic output and seems to have decoupled economic growth from emissions, while overall remaining competitive compared to other OECD countries. Moreover, the EU remains an innovator in the area of low-carbon solutions, holding about 40% of global high value patents in the climate mitigation sector. Finally, already in 2014, the European renewables industry employed more people than the coal industry even compared to optimistic estimates, while in Germany, revenues from the renewables industry surpass those from the coal industry. But while these are commendable achievements, the EU can benefit from reinforcing its climate and energy policies instead of resting on its laurels. The Paris Agreement, which demands keeping global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, should form the start of a comprehensive transformation of our energy systems. And although the EU has taken important first steps in this direction, the road ahead is littered with challenges. Even though renewable infrastructure is expanding, there are signs of waning national support and fluctuating investment levels. Moreover, notwithstanding untapped potential, energy efficiency policies remain difficult to implement on a national level according to experts. And without reducing the European power sector’s dependence on coal, the EU’s emissions will remain higher than demanded by the Paris Agreement. In other sectors like transport, responsible for 31% of the EU’s energy consumption, progress has been slow and insufficient, while China is increasingly positioning itself as a research and development champion in the area of renewable and low-carbon technologies, thus challenging the EU’s position as a low-carbon innovator. Stepping up the game and building on past achievements can only be beneficial for the EU. Besides the economic and environmental gains, furthering the transition towards a low-carbon economy based on a renewable energy system has the additional value of increasing Europe’s energy security. Each kWh produced from wind, solar or biomass decreases the amount of fossil fuels imported from elsewhere and, ultimately, the cheapest fuel is the one not consumed at all. There are still of course significant challenges to the transformation of any energy system. Most importantly, shortcomings on the internal energy market should be addressed, such as better market design to provide greater flexibility. But the EU has the legal and technical experience of dealing with those issues internally, while its influence on external partners to play by European rules is less assured as the rocky relationship with Gazprom illustrates. Shifting from a fossil fuel-intensive to a low-carbon energy system is a major challenge. But progress is urgently needed and might come easier and at a lower cost if the EU builds on its past achievements and strengths, rather than desperately looking for more fossil fuels beyond its borders. Stefan Bößner is a research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford office. He works mainly on EU climate and energy policies and global energy transitions. Douglas Fraser is a graduate from the University of York with a BSc in Environmental Geography, and an intern with the Stockholm Environment Institute, Oxford office.


News Article | February 23, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Dmytro Firtash, one of Ukraine's richest men, was arrested in Austria moments after a Vienna court ruled he could be extradited to the US on corruption charges (AFP Photo/SAMUEL KUBANI) Vienna (AFP) - Austria arrested one of Ukraine's richest men, a fresh twist for the one-time ally of ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych. Gas magnate Dmytro Firtash was taken into custody over alleged links to organised crime in Spain, moments after a Vienna court ruled he could be extradited to the US on corruption charges. Firtash, 51, made money through connections with Russian gas giant Gazprom, and was at one time linked to a former campaign aide of US President Donald Trump. He is wanted in the US over charges that he and five others paid $18.5 million in bribes to officials in India to secure titanium mining licences in 2006. The United States argues it has jursidiction because the conspiracy involved using US financial institutions, travel to and from the US, and use of US-based communications -- computers, telephones, and the internet. Firtash was arrested in Vienna in March 2014, but released on a record Austrian bail of 125 million euros ($130 million). He has denied all charges and maintained he was the victim of a smear campaign. His legal team argued that he was caught up in a larger battle over the future of Ukraine, where the government has been engaged in bloody fighting with Russian-backed separatists in the east since 2014. Authorities in Barcelona issued a European arrest warrant in November 2016, with media reports saying Firtash was accused of belonging to a criminal organisation which had laundered 10 million euros ($10.5 million) in Spain. But when the warrant was issued, the tycoon was already under house arrest in Austria over the US allegations. A lower court in Vienna sided with the tycoon in April 2015 and rejected the US request. But the appeals court said Tuesday the US had provided "sufficient" proof that Firtash "may have committed the crimes he is accused of". The prosecutor's office refused to comment on the Spanish case or how Firtash's arrest would affect the extradition ruling. Austria's Justice Minister Wolfgang Brandstetter told broadcaster ORF the extradition would not be implemented until a court had reviewed the Spanish case. Firtash owns Group DF, a business empire involved in energy, chemicals, media, banking and property in Ukraine and other countries including Germany, Italy and Austria. He made his fortune importing gas to Ukraine from Russia and Central Asia via his group Rosukrenergo, since disbanded, in collaboration with Russian gas giant Gazprom. Having backed the 2010 election campaign of Yanukovych, Firtash was able to expand his business interests, acquiring chemicals and fertiliser factories as well as TV channel Inter. The Russian-backed Yanukovych was ousted in protests in February 2014, and Firtash's arrest in Austria came soon afterwards, although officials deny any link. Observers say US authorities want to detain Firtash because he holds information on close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "The case against Firtash in the United States will not be limited only to the bribery allegations in India," said Ukrainian MP Sergiy Leshchenko, a former journalist who has investigated Firtash's case. "He is very valuable not only as a defendant but as witness too." Although Tuesday's ruling cannot be appealed, the final extradition decision lies with the justice minister. Firtash's lawyer slammed Tuesday's extradition ruling, saying "appropriate steps" would be taken to overturn it. "Mr Firtash categorically rejects all allegations and maintains that this all relates to US political persecution," said Dieter Bohmdorfer in a statement. "We remain confident that Mr. Firtash’s innocence will be proven."


News Article | March 6, 2014
Site: www.theguardian.com

Russia's armed intervention in the Crimea undoubtedly illustrates President Putin's ruthless determination to get his way in Ukraine. But less attention has been paid to the role of the United States in interfering in Ukrainian politics and civil society. Both powers are motivated by the desire to ensure that a geostrategically pivotal country with respect to control of critical energy pipeline routes remains in their own sphere of influence. Much has been made of the reported leak of the recording of an alleged private telephone conversation between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt. While the focus has been on Nuland's rude language, which has already elicited US apologies, the more important context of this language concerns the US role in liaising with Ukrainian opposition parties with a view, it seems, to manipulate the orientation of the Ukrainian government in accordance with US interests. Rather than leaving the future of Ukrainian politics "up to the Ukrainian people" as claimed in official announcements, the conversation suggests active US government interference to favour certain opposition leaders: Nuland: Good. I don't think [opposition leader] Klitsch should go into the government. I don't think it's necessary, I don't think it's a good idea. Pyatt: Yeah. I guess... in terms of him not going into the government, just let him stay out and do his political homework and stuff. I'm just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is going to be Tyahnybok [Oleh Tyahnybok, the other opposition leader] and his guys and I'm sure that's part of what [President Viktor] Yanukovych is calculating on all this. Nuland: [Breaks in] I think Yats is the guy who's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He's the... what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnybok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitsch going in... he's going to be at that level working for Yatseniuk, it's just not going to work. Nuland: OK. He's [Jeff Feltman, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] now gotten both [UN official Robert] Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU. Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we've got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. But US efforts to turn the political tide in Ukraine away from Russian influence began much earlier. In 2004, the Bush administration had given $65 million to provide 'democracy training' to opposition leaders and political activists aligned with them, including paying to bring opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko to meet US leaders and help underwrite exit polls indicating he won disputed elections. This programme has accelerated under Obama. In a speech at the National Press Club in Washington DC last December as Ukraine's Maidan Square clashes escalated, Nuland confirmed that the US had invested in total "over $5 billion" to "ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine" - she specifically congratulated the "Euromaidan" movement. So it would be naive to assume that this magnitude of US support to organisations politically aligned with the Ukrainian opposition played no role in fostering the pro-Euro-Atlantic movement that has ultimately culminated in Russian-backed President Yanukovych's departure. Indeed, at her 2013 speech, Nuland added: What direction might that be? A glimpse of an answer was provided over a decade ago by Professor R. Craig Nation, Director of Russian and Eurasian Studies at the US Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, in a NATO publication: A more recent US State Department-sponsored report notes that "Ukraine's strategic location between the main energy producers (Russia and the Caspian Sea area) and consumers in the Eurasian region, its large transit network, and its available underground gas storage capacities", make the country "a potentially crucial player in European energy transit" - a position that will "grow as Western European demands for Russian and Caspian gas and oil continue to increase." Ukraine's overwhelming dependence on Russian energy imports, however, has had "negative implications for US strategy in the region," in particular the strategy of: But Russia's Gazprom, controlling almost a fifth of the world's gas reserves, supplies more than half of Ukraine's, and about 30% of Europe's gas annually. Just one month before Nuland's speech at the National Press Club, Ukraine signed a $10 billion shale gas deal with US energy giant Chevron "that the ex-Soviet nation hopes could end its energy dependence on Russia by 2020." The agreement would allow "Chevron to explore the Olesky deposit in western Ukraine that Kiev estimates can hold 2.98 trillion cubic meters of gas." Similar deals had been struck already with Shell and ExxonMobil. The move coincided with Ukraine's efforts to "cement closer relations with the European Union at Russia's expense", through a prospective trade deal that would be a step closer to Ukraine's ambitions to achieve EU integration. But Yanukovych's decision to abandon the EU agreement in favour of Putin's sudden offer of a 30% cheaper gas bill and a $15 billion aid package provoked the protests. To be sure, the violent rioting was triggered by frustration with Yanukovych's rejection of the EU deal, along with rocketing energy, food and other consumer bills, linked to Ukraine's domestic gas woes and abject dependence on Russia. Police brutality to suppress what began as peaceful demonstrations was the last straw. But while Russia's imperial aggression is clearly a central factor, the US effort to rollback Russia's sphere of influence in Ukraine by other means in pursuit of its own geopolitical and strategic interests raises awkward questions. As the pipeline map demonstrates, US oil and gas majors like Chevron and Exxon are increasingly encroaching on Gazprom's regional monopoly, undermining Russia's energy hegemony over Europe. Ukraine is caught hapless in the midst of this accelerating struggle to dominate Eurasia's energy corridors in the last decades of the age of fossil fuels. For those who are pondering whether we face the prospect of a New Cold War, a better question might be - did the Cold War ever really end? Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter @nafeezahmed


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.ogj.com

PJSC Gazprom Neft earned 200.1 billion rubles in net profits in 2016—a 82.5% increase over 2015. Oil-equivalent production increased 8.2% to 86.2 million tonnes. Factors attributing to this boost in earnings include production increases at Novoportovskoye and Prirazlomnoye fields and the commissioning of the East Messoyakhskoye field in September 2016.

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