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UPI Energy Watch

By ANDREA MIHAILESCU   |   Oct. 4, 2007 at 1:22 PM   |   Comments

Poland to join IEA

Poland will join the International Energy Agency and acquire access to crude oil reserves of member states in case of a petroleum crisis, according to the daily newspaper The Wall Street Journal Polska.

"The most important advantage of being a member of the energy agency is the mutual access (of member states) to petrol and crude oil reserves," Rafal Miland, deputy director of the Crude Oil and Natural Gas Department at the Economy Ministry, told the newspaper.

"Up till now we have only been able to use the reserves owned by Polish petrol companies," Miland said. "Now if we ask, we can receive oil from Germany or the Czech Republic for example."

The 26-member IEA monitors the global petroleum market and allows member states to use each others' crude oil reserves at market prices in case of emergency. Currently its reserves stand at approximately 3.5 billion barrels.

The energy agency requires member states to have crude oil and petrol reserves of some 5.8 million tons.

Poland recently changed its legislation so that it will gradually increase its reserves until 2009.

"State reserves currently equal 86 days of petrol usage," Miland told The Wall Street Journal Polska. "After fulfilling the IEA's requirements it will be the equivalent to a 90 day usage." Poland received an invitation to join the IEA on Wednesday and is expected to join the agency at the beginning of 2008.


Gazprom gas output drops

Russian gas giant Gazprom reduced natural gas output by nearly 6.5 billion cubic meters this year, Denis Fyodorov, the chief of Gazpromenergo, an affiliate of Gazprom working on thermoelectric power investment projects, said Wednesday.

"Gazprom had to cut production this year by 6-6.5 billion cubic meters, as there was lower demand," he said.

The Gazprom official said an unusually warm winter and very warm summer caused domestic demand for gas to decline.

As he addressed the conference called Effective Gas Utilization Week one week ago, Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Valery Golubev and the chief of the Gas Transportation Department, Bogdan Bodzulyak, said Gazprom's natural gas production this year would total 551 billion cubic meters due to the warm weather leading to a reduction in gas export to Western Europe.

Fyodorov told reporters: “We were forced to reduce production because consumers fail to take all gas on offer, even with allowances for the temperature factor."


Russian-Ukrainian gas spat won’t affect Hungary

Hungary has enough storage facilities to meet demand for several weeks should the ongoing dispute between Russia and Ukraine escalate, Hungarian Economy Minister Janos Koka said Wednesday.

"The five commercial gas storage facilities in Hungary, with a total 3.6 billion cubic meters capacity, will be 100 percent filled by the weekend, while there are further strategic reserves and imports from Western Europe that secure gas supplies," Koka told reporters.

Hungary now has 300 million tons of strategic gas reserves available, while German-owned gas trading company E.ON Foldgaz Trade has also taken on a commitment to import 1.1 billion cubic meters of gas from Western sources if necessary. Hungary's daily gas consumption on an average winter day is around 60 million to 65 million cubic meters.

"With these sources, we are able to secure gas supplies for days, even weeks, even if not a drop of gas is imported from the east," said Koka.

Koka met with representatives of companies active on the Hungarian gas market, following the gas dispute that erupted between Ukraine and Russia on Tuesday. Russian gas company Gazprom claimed that Ukraine owes $1.3 billion in unpaid gas deliveries and threatened to cut further deliveries until the debt is paid.

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Closing oil prices, Oct. 4, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $77.06

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $79.44

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(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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