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Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2010

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested to Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou that his country could soon be importing natural gas by undersea pipeline from Israel. Netanyahu was referring to the newly discovered gas fields in the Mediterranean off Israel, where Noble Energy Inc. and its partners said a 3D seismic survey on the Leviathan structure found a reservoir that could contain an estimated 453 bcm of gas. Noble's activities in the East Mediterranean attracted the attention of other governments in the region, with offshore licensing rounds now expected in Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria by early 2012. Cyprus also expects to launch an offshore license round, its second, in the first half of 2011. The country's first round attracted little interest from international oil companies, which were concerned over the risks of acquiring acreage that was subject to Turkish territorial claims.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2010

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which has been absent from Indonesia for many years, is now considering new investments in the country's upstream and downstream sectors. Inpex, currently the sole operator of the Abadi gas field in the Masela block in eastern Indonesia, plans to build an LNG train with capacity of 4.5 million tons/year and to start LNG production from 2016. Asia is a key for the future growth of Shell's downstream market. Shell is among eight candidates shortlisted by Pertamina to develop the Natuna D-Alpha block, which has an estimated 46 tcf of gas, making it Asia's largest gas reserve. Last April, the Indonesian government said it expected to find more oil and gas reserves as a result of a memorandum of understanding signed by Shell agreeing to return historical exploration documents to the country.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2010

Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board has approved Royal Dutch Shell PLC and PetroChina's $3.45 billion joint bid for Arrow Energy Ltd. The companies will own equal share of the gas produced by the LNG plant and Shell said it was likely to sell its gas to China. PetroChina Chairman Jiarig Jiemin said the expertise gained from the Arrow deal would help PetroChina develop China's coalbed methane reserves, which may be as much as 38 trillion cu m. The agreement for Shell means that China is opening the great wall to its upstream industry and down-stream markets. The new joint venture will be an important growth asset for Shell, and help meet growing demand for cleaner energy in Australia and international markets. Shell and CNPC would appraise and potentially develop tight gas reservoirs on Jinqiu Block in central Sichuan Province under the 30-year contract.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2011

The International Energy Agency, revising upward earlier estimates, expects production capacity of OPEC members to reach 38.1 million bpd by 2016. Crude oil expansion plans in the medium term are moving apace, with capacity now forecast to increase by 2.33 million bpd to 38.1 million bpd by 2016. Iraq accounts for 80% of the increased capacity, followed by the UAE and Angola. Capacity growth is 200,000 bpd higher than its previous forecast for the 2010-2016 period. Delays to Iranian projects will partly offset the upward revisions to Iraq, where the agency believes oil production capacity is forecast to increase by 1.87 million bpd, to 4.36 million bpd on average by 2016. Aside from Iraq, the only other countries set to contribute significant growth are the UAE, Angola, and Nigeria, which combined will add a further net 1.3 million bpd by 2016. OPEC's effective spare capacity stands at 3.16 million bpd compared with 3.58 million bpd in October 2011.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2011

Royal Dutch Shell PLC will pull out of Syria following the EU's imposition of tougher sanctions against the regime of the country's President Bashar Al-Assad. Shell will cease its activities in Syria in compliance with sanctions. The company's main priority is the safety of its employees. More than 4000 people have been killed, including 307 children, in Al-Assad's crackdown on unrest since March 2011. More than 14,000 people are believed to be held in detention. In 2010, Shell's share of production stood at 20,000 boe/day. The sanctions target Syria's energy, financial, banking, and trade sectors and include the listing of additional individuals and entities that are involved in the violence or directly supporting the regime. The EU measures include bans on exporting gas and oil industry equipment to Syria, trading Syrian government bonds, and selling software that could be used to monitor internet and telephone communications. Under the additional sanctions, EU ministers agreed to refrain from providing concessional loans to Syria.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2011

On 12/14/2011, OPEC members agreed to maintain current production at 30 million bpd. OPEC noted that downside risks facing the global economy continue to include the sovereign debt crisis in the Euro-zone, persistently high unemployment in the advanced economies, and inflation risk in the emerging economies. It also noted that planned austerity measures, not only in the Euro-zone but also in other economies of the OECD member countries, are likely to contribute to lower economic growth in the coming year. Although world oil demand is forecast to increase slightly during 2012, OPEC expects the rise to be partially offset by a projected increase in non-OPEC supply. Thus, ministers decided to maintain the group's current production level, including production from Libya, with member countries taking individual measures, including voluntary downward adjustments of output, to ensure market balance and reasonable price levels.


Watkins E.,Oil Diplomacy
Oil and Gas Journal | Year: 2011

Eni SPA Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni believes tighter sanction on Iran could cost the Italian firm as much as $2 billion in crude oil owed to it by National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC). Scaroni is concerned about the payments of crude that NIOC is making to Eni for the latter's previous activities, e.g., billions of dollars worth of contract work undertaken by Eni during 2001-2009. However, Scaroni also expressed the belief that the payment in kind would be exempt from any sanctions regimes at the moment. Scaroni's view differs from other analysts who feel that EU sanctions on Iran's oil exports will hurt European refiners that rely on the country's crude, particularly Greece, Italy, and Spain.

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