Estonia, Lithuania hold energy-security talks
Ilves said the import of electricity from third countries poses a major threat to the European Union's internal market and energy security.
"The only solution to the problem of supply reliability lies in trustful cooperation among member states to create new energy links and ensure independence of unstable energy suppliers," he said.
Ilves also stressed the importance of energy issues in the Baltic Sea strategy.
They agreed that Europe's neighborhood policy has justified itself thus far and it should be developed further.
Ilves underlined the need of an individual approach to each partner country.
"The more successful countries capable of faster reforms also should be allowed to move ahead faster. This is essential in order to preserve the integrity of the neighborhood policy," he said.
Speaking about the Ignalina nuclear power plant, the Lithuanian president said an agreement on the establishment of a national energy investor has just been signed. Adamkus affirmed that the new nuclear power plant project would be implemented without delays.
Armenia to refine Iranian oil
Armenia's oil refinery construction project with Russia and Iran will cost approximately $2 billion, Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan told Arminfo news agency Thursday.
He said that this is the total amount of investments that are needed for the construction of the oil refinery and required infrastructures.
He said that preliminary feasibility study of the project is already prepared, according to which the processing capacity of the refinery will make 7.5 million tons of crude oil annually.
He added all the other specifications of the refinery would proceed from the plant's capacity. Movsisyan said the extent of the countries' (Armenia, Russia, Iran) participation in the project has not been decided yet.
The Iranian deputy minister of energy is expected to visit Armenia this month and the two sides plan to discuss the schedule of further works during the visit.
Previous reports said the refinery would carry out advanced refining of oil from Iran and produce refined oils, predominantly petrol and diesel fuel. It would sell about 1 million tons of oil products in Armenia, and the rest will be sold abroad.
Japanese banks to increase efforts to attract Middle East oil money
Japanese banks are increasing their efforts to attract Middle East oil money, Jiji reported.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., a core unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., established a representative office in the Qatari capital of Doha in April.
Mizuho Corporate Bank, the wholesale banking unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., plans to set up an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ intends to boost its operations in the Middle East by utilizing its overseas network, including European offices.
According to SMBC, there is strong demand for project financing related to resource businesses in Qatar, as the country is rushing to build industrial infrastructure on the back of increases in liquefied natural gas and crude oil production.
Given that an increasing number of Japanese companies are moving into Qatar, an official at SMBC said the bank expects calls for financing to increase.
Mizuho Corporate Bank plans to establish an office in Saudi Arabia as early as the end of this year after the bank receives approval from Saudi authorities.
Saudi Arabia is considering setting up a sovereign wealth fund worth $6 billion, according to news reports there.
Amid a series of capital injections into European and U.S. financial institutions by sovereign wealth funds established by Middle East countries, Mizuho Corporate intends to expand its Middle East operations through a foothold in Saudi Arabia.
Mizuho is considering providing financial services including securities broking.
Closing oil prices, May 2, 3 p.m. London
Brent crude oil: $111.19
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $112.93