Here is what is going on in the natural gas industry around the world:
Confirming the receipt of the bill, Ukraine’s gas monopoly Naftogaz’s spokeswoman Elena Yurieva told Ukrainian news agency, UNIAN that her company had met all its financial obligations to Gazprom and paid for 24.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas it used last year.
“We paid on time for all the natural gas delivered to us by Gazprom,” Yurieva said.
The Russian claim for undelivered gas exceeds an earlier estimate of up to $5.7 billion indicated by some experts in November.
The gas supply contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom includes a ”take-or-pay” clause under which Ukraine is supposed to pay for at least 33.3 bcm of gas.
Russia insists that Ukraine pay for all the gas it agreed to buy, whether it accepts the full volume or not and the contracted volume for 2012 was already fixed and cannot be changed within six months of the contracted delivery date.
Iran is cutting off oil and natural gas exports to European countries
until further notice, a spokesman for the Iranian Oil Ministry said.
Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad Rahbar said Tehran decided to impose
pre-emptive sanctions against European countries because of EU sanctions placed on Iran related to Tehran’s nuclear program.
Exports of crude oil, (natural) gas liquids and gas condensate to the European countries, which have taken hostile stances on Iran, will be halted until further notice, he was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying.
The European Union in January 2012 placed an embargo on oil from Iran in response to concerns about the country’s nuclear work. The spokesman, however, said there were contracts in place with various international shippers for oil and gas exports.
He declined to specify which European countries, if any, were working with Tehran. The spokesman said the government had asked its consumers not to re-export any oil to the European Union, however.
In mid-January, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said one way to escape sanctions pressure was to stop depending on oil revenue in the country’s budget.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, in its monthly report for January, stated that Iran was among member states that saw oil production declines.
Tanzanian leaders are struggling to calm the troubled southern region of Mtwara after protests over a billion-dollar gas project turned deadly at the weekend, claiming eight lives.
Some 44 people have been arrested in connection with the violence that has also saw the houses of senior politicians from the region burnt.
Prime minister Mizengo Penda, Home Affairs minister John Nchimbi and police chief Saidi Mwema were all in the restive region over the weekend in a bid to restore calm.
Mtwara residents have been protesting a government decision to construct a pipeline to pump natural gas to Dar es Salaam, the country’s commercial city to produce power for the country, seeking assurances that the $1.225 billion project would benefit the region.
Some have argued that power from the gas should be produced in Mtwara first before being distributed countrywide as this would create more jobs and opportunities for the region.
The government holds that Dar es Salaam already has the infrastructure to upload the electricity produced onto the national grid.
The planned 532km-long pipeline, expected to complete by 2015, is projected to pump gas to produce 2,780 Megawatts of electricity to alleviate the east African country’s chronic power problems.
It is a joint project between a Chinese company and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).
In the wake of the recent Al-Qaida attack on an Algerian natural gas facility and the subsequent hostage situation, security at such facilities will be increased, but most international oil and gas companies will continue their operations in the African country.
Militants stormed the Tigantourine natural gas facility near In Amenas two weeks ago in eastern Algeria. Dozens of people were killed when Algerian military forces retook the facility.
“The oil companies operating internationally are well accustomed to these risks and problems,” Manouchehr Takin, senior petroleum upstream analyst with the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) in London, told New Europe on 24 January.
Takin noted that the dramatic hostage siege earlier this month in Algeria has prompted some “knee-jerk reaction” by all companies, prompting them to review the situation and consider safer areas.
The natural gas project is a joint venture between BP, Norway’s biggest energy explorer, Statoil, and state oil and natural gas company Sonatrach.
Statoil could accelerate a shift toward US shale investments and Brazil after the attack in Algeria. But Statoil probably won’t withdraw from Algeria or other countries in the region based on the In Amenas attack. “We neither will nor can let terrorism dictate our strategy or our choices,” CEO Helge Lund told a press conference in Stavanger on 21 January. “We have a responsibility to run our business and support daily operations.”