Azeribaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said his country should not repeat the same mistakes of other oil and gas producing countries by making the Azeri economy dependent on oil revenues. Aliyev said on Feb. 11 before a conference: "The oil industry is fundamental for Azerbaijan, and it will be so for years. Yet that does not mean that we must be waiting for petrodollars and thinking about their distribution." Aliyev emphasized that oil revenue is designed to assist Azerbaijan in improving pressing social problems and implementing large investment projects, adding, "The economy must be multifaceted." Aliyev called for manufacturing all consumer goods domestically and that the government would double preferential loans to small and medium businesses to over $40 million for 2005. The poverty rate in Azerbaijan is somewhere around 40 percent. Aliyev also stressed: "This problem cannot be resolved today or tomorrow, but we must be working on its solution." The government expects to implement a strategic policy on job creation.
According to a Russia's Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Ryazanov, the company intends to create an international consortium to supply the U.S. market with liquefied natural gas for 2005. Ryazanov noted that the company could miss out on the opportunity to supply North America if the Barents Sea LNG project was further delayed. Ryazanov said: "We need to hurry. If the consortium isn't finalized by midyear, then we won't make it." Gazprom has already signed memoranda with ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Norwegia's Norsk Hydro and Statoil as well as others for the LNG production project from the Shtokman field, which is located 373 miles from Russia's northwest coast in the South Barents Sea Basin and has a capacity of 4.19 trillion cubic yards of gas reserves.
Mexico's Pemex announced on Feb. 13 that the refining of petroleum and natural gas derivatives increased 2 percent in 2004. A company report stated: "On average, Pemex processed 1.58 million barrels per day of petroleum products at its National Refinery System (SNR) and gas-processing centers, a volume that represented a 2 percent increase over the amount reported in the previous year. As a result of better use of installed capacity in the SNR last year, Pemex increased production of gasolines, diesel and other derivatives to meet demand in the domestic market. The six refineries in the country produced average volume per day of 467,000 barrels of gasolines, 5 percent more than the production achieved in the previous year."
According to Ukrainian Economics Minister Serhiy Teryokhin, the country is looking to revise the country's natural gas import contract with Turkmenistan. Teryokhin emphasized that the Ukrainian government had not authorized Naftohaz Ukrayiny CEO Yuriy Boyko to sign an agreement with Turkmenistan, which in turn argues that the document signed between Boyko and Turkmenistan is legitimate. Boyko meanwhile said that the company did not need authorization from the Ukrainian government to sign such an agreement; Boyko stressed that Ukraine would not renege the new agreement after it was signed between him and the government of Turkmenistan.
More than 200 oil companies representing 35 countries will attend the second African oil seminar hosted by Algeria on Feb. 16-17. The forum will allow for an exchange of ideas while also giving oil-producing countries in Africa an opportunity to publicize products and services. Algerian Energy and Mining Minister Chakib Khelil noted that there is a need to establish a regional company that is equip in dealing with environmental disasters on shores and the need to develop the human resources, which are the biggest obstacle facing the development of African oil companies.
Closing oil prices, Feb. 15, 3 p.m. London
Brent crude oil: $45.21
West Texas intermediate crude oil: $47.65