Analysis: Oil and Gas Pipeline Watch

By BEN LANDO, UPI Energy Editor  |  Jan. 7, 2008 at 5:58 PM
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Iran, Pakistan to sign "peace pipeline" Jan. 25

Iran's ambassador to Pakistan said Jan. 25 is the date the two sides will sign the so-called peace pipeline, a multibillion-dollar project to send Iranian natural gas to Pakistan.

Mashallah Shakeri said Sunday the "gas pipeline project is one of the most important economic projects in the region," Pakistan's Daily Times reports.

The official name of the project is the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline, but India has backed out in recent months because of a dispute over transit fees with Pakistan.

The IPI pipeline "will bring extensive benefits for the three countries," Shakeri added.

Iran holds the world's second-largest gas reserves after Russia. But the project is considered a security risk because of the geopolitical upheaval in some of the areas it is to run, from Iran through Pakistan to India. India, as well, is believed to be pressured by the United States as part of the latter's rift with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Iraq exports to Turkey to gain in '08, pipeline status unclear

There are mixed reports on Iraq's resumption of oil exports to Turkey, which were shut last week because of full storage tanks, not security impediments.

The Iraq State Oil Marketing Organization predicts 400,000 barrels per day of exports starting this month, as Iraq starts setting prices for its Kirkuk oil with more consistent exports through the pipeline to Ceyhan, Turkey.

Last week's export shutdown was "due to the fact that Ceyhan's oil reservoirs are totally full with Iraqi crude oil," a source from the North Oil Co. told the Voices of Iraq news agency.

The source added Iraqi exports through the twin pipelines north was between 150,000 and 200,000 bpd, below the 300,000 that others have estimated.

Iraq Directory, however, reports the pipeline has restarted at about 72,000 bpd, after the storage tanks capped at 6.8 million barrels.

Regardless, the stoppage appears to be more like growing pains than typical of past disruptions. The pipelines from Kirkuk to Baiji as well as to Ceyhan have been mostly offline since 2003 because of insurgent attacks.

Repairs and a new security plan instituted about six months ago appear to be working, with total oil production up from an average of 2 million bpd to about 2.4 million, largely due to increased northern activity.

The Middle East Economic Survey reports a "security unit" guarding the line was fired and a new pipeline from Kirkuk to al-Fatah started.

SOMO also has begun setting prices for oil sales in the Ceyhan port, MEES reports: European buyers will pay $3.75 below the Brent price and U.S. customers $6.00 below the West Texas Intermediate price, for January. There are also discounts for those who load the oil between Jan. 1 and 17.

Shell, BP, Total, Tupras of Turkey, Cepsa of Spain and Repsol-YPF have signed on as term buyers of Kirkuk oil.

Meanwhile, SOMO plans to award a tender, or tenders, for 6 million barrels.

Ecopetrol, Petro Rubiales to build heavy oil pipeline in Colombia

Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol and the Vancouver-based Petro Rubiales Energy Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to pipe heavy oil from the Rubiales and Piriri fields in Meta, Colombia.

The 143-mile pipeline is expected to cost $300 million and be operational by the end of 2009, Canada's London Free Press reports.

Ecopetrol would have a 65-percent stake in the pipeline project, with 35 percent for Petro Rubiales, according to a company release. The 24-inch line would have a 170,000 barrels per day capacity to start and could expand to 260,000 bpd.

It would connect to the Monterrey Station in Casanare, Colombia, and then to the rest of the pipeline network.

The pipeline would also be available to send production from future discoveries into the state's network.

Pradip-Haldia pipeline online in four weeks

The 217-mile pipeline of India's largest refiner, Indian Oil Corp., will be sending crude from Paradip to Haldia within three to four weeks.

IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria affirmed the start date Saturday in Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, the capital of the state of West Bengal, the Press Trust of India reports.

The $299 million project will cut transportation costs as ships off the coast of Paradip, in Orissa state, load crude heading to the West Bengal city of Haldia.



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