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UPI Energy Watch

By ANDREA R. MIHAILESCU, UPI Energy Correspondent   |   Nov. 8, 2007 at 2:06 PM
Taiwan freezes oil price hikes

Taiwan's Executive Yuan (Cabinet) decided Monday to impose a cap on oil product price increases under the existing floating pricing system to limit cumulative oil product price increases to 12 percent at the current level of 15 percent beginning in December.

The move will effectively freeze prices for the time being, the China Post reported.

But Cabinet spokesman Shieh Jhy-wei dismissed reports that the gas and diesel prices freeze will last for five months before the presidential election in next March.

Shieh, chief of the Government Information Office, announced the oil price freeze following a meeting of a special price stabilization task force under the Cabinet, led by Vice Premier Chiou I-jen.

Shieh's announcement came after President Chen Shui-bian voiced his support for a proposed lowering of the cap earlier in the day, while taking a tour of a local temple in Taoyuan County.

According to Chen, lowering the price adjustment range would allow the government to have greater flexibility to curb or even freeze rising oil product prices on the market.

He also said that gas and diesel prices should only go down in the future, helping to assuage public anticipation and worries that oil prices would continue to surge.


Kazakhstan eyes Syrian oil, gas

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has expressed an interest in developing oil and gas deposits in Syria.

Nazarbayev said at the opening of a Kazakh-Syria business forum on Tuesday that Astana was interested in developing oil and gas deposits in Syria. He said Kazakh companies are ready to invest in the development of Syrian subsoil resources and provide assistance in geological prospecting, Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

Nazarbayev said at the same time that Kazakhstan was planning to increase its own production of crude oil to 130 million tons annually by 2015. Of that amount, 100 million tons will be exported. The annual output of natural gas will go up to 80 billion cubic meters.

Nazarbayev believes that investment in the Syrian tourist industry, particularly in tourist compounds and hotels on the Mediterranean, is very promising.

Kazakh Industry and Trade Minister Galym Orazbakov said Kazakhstan intended to build a five-star hotel named after Sultan Beybars in Damascus. Beybars was a military commander who excelled in fighting with the crusaders and Mongols in the 13th century.


Ivory Coast focuses on oil, gas sector

Although the Ivory Coast is far from being a major oil producer, the country is focusing its attention on its oil and gas sector as domestic demand grows and oil prices continue to remain high.

The country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy said its average oil production is approximately 50,000 barrels per day, according to Le Matin d’Abidjan.

The Ivory Coast has four oil blocks under production. Block Cl-11, operated by the DEVON Co., produces 2,381 barrels and 46 million cubic feet of natural gas on the average per day.

Block Cl-27, operated by FOXTROT Co., produces 404 barrels and 70 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The Cl-26 block exploited by CNR produces 26,872 barrels and 26 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The Cl-40 block, still under CNR, produces 18,161 barrels of crude oil and 10 million cubic feet of gas per day.

What accrued to the Ivory Coast between 2000 and 2006 are 1.2 million barrels of crude oil and 20 million cubic feet of natural gas per year.

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Closing oil prices, Nov. 8, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $94.67

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $98.08

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(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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