UPI Energy Watch

By ANDREA R. MIHAILESCU, UPI Energy Correspondent

Poland not to join Nord Stream pipeline

Poland declined to join the Nord Stream gas pipeline project and plans to offer Russia an alternative and a more economically beneficial project for building a gas pipeline to Europe, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk was cited as saying by Interfax.


"Poland cannot block this project, but it will certainly not take part in it. It is too expensive," Tusk said.

"Of course, Russia will make its decision without this opinion taken into account. But there is a question that the investors should ask themselves: Why build a gas pipeline twice, and some even think three times, as expensive? It looks like everybody is going to lose something on this," he said.

"I don't think the meeting in Moscow would lead to the settlement of this issue. But, before spending a lot of money, could it make sense to talk about the optimization of gas transportation to the West? It probably makes sense to compare the parties' benefits and losses in the case of Nord Stream and in the case of the Amber project (a gas pipeline that, according to Poland's proposal, should run from Russia to Europe through Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland)," he said.


"I can guarantee that Poland, with its interests taken into account, can be and will be a very good and responsible partner in possible future projects," Tusk said.

The Polish premier said he might suggest during his talks in Moscow that a tripartite meeting with Germany be held to discuss energy projects in general and Nord Stream in particular.

KazTransGas raises transit fee for Gazprom

KazTransGas, the gas pipeline subsidiary of Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company KazMunaiGas, increased the fee it charges for transiting Central Asian and Russia gas across Kazakhstan for Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom.

Under an agreement between Intergas Central Asia (which is part of KazTransGas) and Gazprom, the transit fee is now $1.4 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas per 100 kilometers beginning Jan. 1.

The fee was $1.1 between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2007, the company said in a news release.

"The new fee became effective on January 1, 2008, and it will not change throughout the 2008 calendar year," the release said.

Projected Russian gas transits across Kazakhstan for 2008 will amount to more than 47 billion cubic meters, and Central Asian gas transits will amount to more than 54 billion cubic meters, KazTransGas said.


Russian and Central Asian gas is transited via the Soyuz, Orenburg-Novopskov, SATS, Bukhara-Ural, Makat-North Caucasus and Okarem-Beineu trunk gas pipelines.

Lithuania seeks to extend nuke plant life

Lithuania wants to extend the service life of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said in a traditional interview to the national radio on Tuesday.

"The European Commission is responsible for the energy security of all European Union's members after last year's approval of the energy action plan," Kirkilas said.

He said Lithuania could end up depending on its neighbors after the shut down of its only Ignalina nuclear power plant, and would need to purchase gas or electricity from Russia, he said.

The main task is to reach consensus with the European Commission on the timeframe of the Ignalina NPP service life, Kirkilas said.

Lithuania still pledges to shut down the plant, but only asks to extend its service life for the particular period of time, in which it has nothing to substitute it with, he said.

He noted that several countries, including Poland and Latvia, support Lithuania's plans.

Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland plan to build jointly a new nuclear power plant by 2015. The new plant will be constructed instead of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which the European Union considers unsafe and which will be shut down in 2009 at Brussels' demand.



Closing oil prices, Feb. 6, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $87.70

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $88.54


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