UPI Energy Watch

By ANDREA R. MIHAILESCU, UPI Energy Correspondent  |  Jan. 25, 2008 at 8:39 PM
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Russia, Bulgaria to cooperate in energy security

Russia will strengthen its cooperation with European countries, specifically with Bulgaria, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told reporters.

Medvedev said Russia achieved excellent results after President Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Bulgaria.

He signed eight agreements, three of which actually being breakthroughs on the South Stream project, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline and the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant.

"All the projects immediately produce the political and economic effect and will link us for decades," Medvedev said. "So relations with Bulgaria must, certainly, improve," he holds.

He said: "As to foes, they don't matter; it is only that close economic contacts quite often cause jealousy and resentment of some states, which is strange, as we work not only for Russia and Bulgaria, but for energy security of Europe as a whole."

Gazprom to participate in Kyrgyzstan privatization

Gazprom plans to participate in the privatization of Kyrgyzstan's gas infrastructure, officials said.

Gazprom head Alexei Miller met with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov and Minister for Industry, Energy and Fuel Resources Saparbek Balakibekov in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the Russian company's participation in the privatization plan.

"The meeting focused on prospects for gas infrastructure privatization in Kyrgyzstan and the terms and forms of Gazprom's participation in these processes," Gazprom said in a statement.

The two sides discussed the development of Kyrgyzstan's oil and gas sector and prospects for Gazprom's participation in energy projects in the country.

Kyrgyzstan's prospected gas fields hold an estimated 6 billion cubic meters of natural gas, but their development is complicated by geological peculiarities and poor infrastructure. The country hopes to raise annual gas extraction from the current 30 million cubic meters to 40 million cubic meters by 2010.

Saudi Aramco increases security in Gulf operations

Saudi Aramco said it increased the security protection of its submerged areas of work in the Arabian Gulf, Al-Watan reported.

The company said it increased the number of boats protecting the submerged laboratories and factories in the Arabian Gulf to three.

The boats participate with the government authorities concerned in the region in protecting Aramco's submerged industrial installations, and monitoring the maritime movements around them in order to ensure the safety of these installations.

According to a report prepared by Aramco, the boats, which were manufactured in the beginning of 2007, are capable of a speed of 40 knots, and each boat has two 1,000-horsepower engines.

The operation of the maritime security boats is under the supervision of the department for industrial security of the submerged regions in Ra's Tannurah, which is operated by a crew consisting for the most part of Saudis.

The crew manages a group of large and fast boats that cover an area of daily operations of 2,239 square miles of the coast extending between Ra's Tannurah and al-Ju'ayman.

The crew also carries out exploratory flights and air surveillance using helicopters belonging to the aviation department of Saudi Aramco over Ra's Tannurah on a daily basis.


Closing oil prices, Jan. 25, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $90.44

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $90.29


(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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