European Commission attacks gas cartel
Following news that Russia, Iran and Qatar were forming a joint commission on natural gas, European Commission officials voiced their opposition to the creation of what possibly could become a cartel.
Leaders in the commission voiced concern that the new natural gas group would become the OPEC of gas and end up in control of world prices, the European Voice reported.
The plan between Russia, Iran and Qatar would lead to restricted competition, said Ferran Tarradellas, European Commission spokesman for energy.
The commission responded after Alexei Miller, head of Russian energy giant Gazprom, met in Tehran with leaders from Iran and Qatar.
Combined, the three countries control about 60 percent of the world's natural gas supplies, and Russia is a major supplier to the European Union.
According to European Voice, Russia provides 37 percent of natural gas imports to European member states. Tarradellas said there is concern among European leaders that if Russia begins working with Iran, which is pushing for price fixing, Europe's gas supply could be in trouble.
PetroChina increases investments.
Despite the global financial crisis, the Chinese oil and gas company said it is not facing severe losses and will continue to grow its production and exploration.
PetroChina Ltd.'s oil and gas business investments will be increased from 60 percent to 70 percent in 2009, said PetroChina Chairman Jiang Jiemin.
PetroChina will be able to invest so its projects last at least another six to eight years, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. Jiang said PetroChina's investment in 2009 will focus on finding more new oil and gas resources.
The firm is also looking at the possibility of buying other energy companies more seriously impacted by the economic downturn. Acquiring the assets of other energy companies would help PetroChina meet its goal of finding new resources. PetroChina only recently announced it has plans to invest in oil and gas in Uzbekistan.
The company's investment plan already has been approved by PetroChina's shareholders, Jiang said.
Jiang told Xinhua that PetroChina's profits from when oil prices were at record highs are holding despite the current slide. Fluctuating oil prices do threaten success; however, Jiang said the company would say the ideal price right now for oil is around $80 per barrel.
StatoilHydro announces another oil find
The find, located in the Visund field in the North Sea, marks another find for the Norwegian oil company, which has made more than 20 new oil and gas discoveries this year.
The well confirmed oil in mid-Jurassic rock in the Pan segment of the Pan/Pandora prospect, StatoilHydro said in a statement.
StatoilHydro is the operator of the field. Other interest holders include Norway's Petoro with nearly 17 percent, ConocoPhillips with 13 percent and Total with 11 percent.
"The area south of Visund has a considerable remaining resource potential," said Vice President for Exploration May-Liss Hauknes. "The oil and gas discovery in Pan is therefore important for further exploration and development of this area."
The North Sea has been a significant oil and gas exploration site over the last year or so as stakeholders from each of the countries that border the sea have invested in drilling there and have made some significant finds.
Closing oil prices, Oct. 22, 3 p.m., London
Brent Crude oil: $69.43
West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $73.62