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UPI Energy Watch

April 22, 2008 at 7:10 PM   |   Comments

Iran warns Shell over commitment to gas project

Iran has warned Shell it must commit itself to developing its $10 billion gas field project by June or risk the project being handed over to a rival, the Guardian reported.

Shell delayed making a final decision because of rising costs, and the entry into the project could put the company in political conflict with Washington at a time of mounting tension over Tehran's uranium enrichment program.

Shell's British competitor, BP, said three years ago it would not pursue business in Iran, claiming it was politically "not a flyer."

According to the Guardian, Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari has been losing patience with Shell -- and Total of France -- over deals to develop phases 11 and 13 of the huge South Pars field, and this week he issued an ultimatum.

"The deadline we have given to Total and Shell is June and it is the last chance we are giving them," Nozari said, adding Tehran "will definitely make the final decision" after the deadline.


Scottish government rejects wind farm project

Scottish ministers rejected a $991 million plan to build one of Europe's largest onshore wind farms in the Outer Hebrides.

The ministers said the project would devastate globally significant wetlands.

Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather said Monday the 181-turbine project, which would have dominated the moors of northern Lewis, would have had "significant adverse impacts" on rare and endangered birds living on the wetlands, a breach of European habitats legislation.

The decision to turn down the proposals from Amec and British Energy was greeted with delight by local opponents and environment groups, and dismay by the developers. Nearly 11,000 islanders had objected to the scheme, which had been supported by the Western Isles council and the island's main community trust.


Italy's ENI eyes Iraq oil sector

ENI is preparing to enter the oil sector of Iraq, Corriere della Sera reported.

"Now, there is an opportunity to stipulate contracts within a new legal framework," Paolo Scaroni, ENI's chief executive officer, told the newspaper Sunday.

In Baghdad, the laws governing the oil sector in the post-Saddam Hussein era have not yet been completed, but, reportedly, this is not far away, and Italy is warming up at the starting blocks.

Three- or four-year contracts with Baghdad are believed to be within reach in the coming months. In particular, ENI is aiming at involvement in the engineering side of the sector, but this would be a first step, not the final goal.

Boosting ties is the main subject of the talks Scaroni plans to have with Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, who has been invited to attend the International Energy Forum in Rome. This will be the 11th session of a conference set up in 1991 to allow energy producers and consumers to hold talks.

This conference, which was opened Monday by Economic Development Minister Pierluigi Bersani and ends on Tuesday, is being attended by delegates from 74 countries, 14 international organizations and 30 companies operating in the sector.

They are all interested -- albeit from different perspectives -- in understanding how best to deal with the situation following the price of oil reaching $117 per barrel in recent days.

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Closing oil prices, Apr. 22, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $114.75

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $117.86

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(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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