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Analysis: Oil and Gas Pipeline Watch

By BEN LANDO, UPI Energy Editor   |   March 18, 2008 at 11:39 AM   |   Comments

Iranian gas needed for Nabucco debatable

A top EU official says Nabucco needs Iran's gas, according Russian and Iranian media, while a top U.S. official is adamantly opposed.

Russian news agency Itar-Tass and Iran's Fars News Agency and Press TV report Javier Solana, the EU's top foreign policy official, said gas from Iran is necessary for the pipeline project to be filled.

Nabucco is a priority for Europe in its attempt to diversify its growing consumption from its dependence on Russia. The 2,000-plus mile pipeline is planned to send 31 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkey to Austria by 2012 or 2013.

"Absolutely not a single molecule of Iranian gas is necessary" for Nabucco said Matthew Bryza, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. He said there's enough gas in Azerbaijan, let alone prospects from Egypt, Iraq and the Caspian Sea region, to fill it.

"We support Nabucco and will continue to support Nabucco to No. 1, help Europe diversify and No. 2," Bryza said, "not as a way to move Iranian gas."


TransCanada answers questions on Alaska gas pipeline

Tony Palmer, vice president for Alaska for TransCanada, the only firm to qualify for incentives in the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act application process, attempted to assure jittery members of the Legislature.

Alaska has long tried to develop its natural gas resources and send them to market, with less success than its long-producing but depleting oil reserves.

Under recently elected Gov. Sarah Palin, TransCanada qualified for a state license and $500 million, pending state Legislature approval, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The process has been criticized as not friendly enough to the oil companies that would produce the gas, thus lacking certainty the pipeline would be filled.

Palmer said TransCanada would fast-track an "open season" in which suppliers commit certain levels of gas. Those that do so in the first open season would be allowed ownership in the pipeline. He said the company would own a gas treatment plant where the pipeline starts, though he prefers third party ownership. He touted a 2.3-percent fuel ratio for TransCanada's plan for the 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada's North Slope to the lower 48 states.

Palmer also assured there would be a penalty to the company if there were cost overruns.


Israel announces Ashkelon pipeline leak after rocket threat ends

A leak in the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline was being repaired over the weekend though Israeli and company officials, fearing a massive fire from rocket attacks, released details Sunday after it was fixed.

"We were notified of a leak and were told it was being taken care of by the appropriate authorities," an Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Co. security officer told YNetnews.com. The company was informed Thursday.

The leaked gas was colorless, odorless and extremely flammable and the extent of the leak wasn't known.

"Since this area has seen its share of rockets, it was actually quite worrying," the security officer said.

A statement released by the Ashkelon municipality said it "warned of such incidents in the past, when the EAPC asked to increase the volume pumped in through area. … This is exactly why we were so adamantly against it."


Keystone pipeline gets OK from Washington

TransCanada Corp. is now allowed to send more than 500 million barrels per day of oil from Alberta across the U.S.-Canada border after the U.S. State Department gave it a "presidential permit."

Hal Kvisle, the company's chief, said it was "a significant regulatory approval required to proceed with construction of the Keystone pipeline, which will move a growing supply of Canadian crude oil to key U.S. markets," the Calgary Herald reports.

The pipeline would enable Canadian oil sands to flow to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Canadian labor groups oppose cross-border pipelines, saying it leaves less fuel for domestic use and reduces the incentive to invest in needed technology to produce the more expensive sands oil.

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(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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