[OIL PRICES] The oil cartel OPEC is right to warn that sharply falling oil prices will create a "price time-bomb for the future"

Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali al-Naimi and Abdalla El-Badri, secretary-general of OPEC, said low demand was "wreaking havoc" by halting investment in the sector. Oil prices in London fell near to $40 per barrel this week – down from a spike of $147 in July– prompting OPEC to cut supply by 2.2m barrels a day. Prices were closer to $35 in New York

If the low prices stop investment in exploration and production, there will be a shortage of oil in years to come, the producers said at a global summit in London.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for an end to oil trading volatility, acknowledging prices could jump sharply if investment faltered. However, energy minister Ed Miliband insisted that low oil prices were good for consumers and the world economy.

OPEC called on Western governments to cut fuel tax to help push prices back up to the "fair and reasonable" sum of $70 per barrel.

Inenco, the UK's largest energy analyst, agreed that slumping demand would ultimately cause prices to rocket.

Oil exploration and production projects in the Canada, USA, Mexico, Damman have recently been shelved because they have become uneconomical.

"The oil price would need to be in the range of $70-$80 a barrel to make these projects economically viable," said Inenco consultant Ian Parrett.

Sources close to BP said the oil company feared current lack of investment would create an undersupply in three to five years' time.

Barclays Capital said global spending on production will shrink 12pc to $400bn in 2009.
Source: Telegraph

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[SOUTH AMERICA] Petrobras Oil Hunter Estrella Fights to Keep Finds for Brazil

Guilherme Estrella found an undersea lake of oil that may transform Brazil’s economy forever. Now, the exploration chief for Petroleo Brasileiro SA is at the center of a debate over who will profit from it. At stake is how much of Brazil’s newfound riches will be controlled by the state and how much will end up in the pockets of Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other oil companies hungry for new sources of crude. Estrella wants to make Western oil companies little more than hired help for government-controlled Petrobras, as his company is known.

“Petrobras is our space program,” Estrella, a 66-year-old geologist and socialist, said in a Sept. 23 interview in Rio de Janeiro. “Within it, the company contains the Brazilian nationalist spirit.”

A $110 drop in the price of oil since July may make it tougher for Estrella to get his way. Economies around the world are foundering amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and it may cost $600 billion to develop Brazil’s deepwater oil deposits, which could be worth $3 trillion at current prices.

Estrella has a powerful ally in Brazil President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom he has known for more than a decade and whose 2002 election victory was partly driven by criticism of the country’s 1997 decision to end Petrobras’s oil monopoly.

Estrella left Petrobras in 1992 after refusing to enact government-mandated job cuts. He moved to the mountain town of Novo Friburgo near his native Rio de Janeiro and became head of the local chapter of the Workers’ Party.

‘Getulista’ Stepfather

Estrella’s stepfather was a “Getulista,” or supporter of nationalist leader Getulio Vargas. Vargas created Petrobras in 1953 with the cry “O Petroleo e Nosso,” which means, “the oil is ours.”

When Vargas committed suicide in 1954 amid calls by the military for his resignation, Estrella remembers his school principal telling students to go home because “something important has happened.” When he got there, he found his stepfather in tears.

Estrella, who got training as a geologist at the University of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and the University of Texas at Austin, was asked to return to Petrobras when Lula came to power in 2003. He was confident that he could do in Brazil what he had accomplished in Iraq in 1976, when he and his colleagues found the Manjoon field, the world’s 19th-largest.

“We have never accepted that our work would not succeed,” Estrella said. “We know that this is a great country.”

Oil Hunter
Few people have been involved in the discovery of more oil than Estrella, said Gerrard Demaison, a former Chevron Corp. geologist who is president of Capitola, California-based Petroscience2000.

“This guy’s work was prophetic and essential for finding the oil Brazil has today and making Petrobras what it is,” Demaison, 76, said in a telephone interview. “I would put him alongside the great petroleum geologists of the last century.”

Pumping the oil from Brazil’s so-called pre-salt deposits may prove harder than finding the reserves. Much of the crude is located more than 160 miles offshore in waters 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) deep and under a layer of salt. Over the next 20 years, it will cost $600 billion to extract the oil, according to Gustavo Gattass, an analyst at UBS AG in Rio de Janeiro.

That’s why it makes sense to sell more leases to big oil companies, said Delcido Amaral, Estrella’s predecessor at Petrobras and one of his critics.

Tupi Discovery
“If he’d stick to geology, he’d be fine, but I’m afraid his political ideas and those of his allies are going to damage the industry and put the country’s energy future at risk,” said Amaral, now a senator. “We need investment.”

The discovery of the Tupi prospect, which Petrobras said in November 2007 may hold 8 billion barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, was a sensation. Petrobras shares soared 40 percent from the Tupi announcement through May, and the company surpassed Microsoft Corp. and General Electric Co. to become the world’s fifth-largest company by market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Since May, oil prices collapsed and investors shifted money out of emerging-market stocks, dragging Petrobras down to No. 35 on the list, the Bloomberg data showed. Petrobras, the top performer among the world’s 10 biggest oil stocks in this year’s first five months, has had the biggest decline in the group since then, losing more than half of its market value.

Short of Cash
Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil, which had a $39 billion cash hoard as of Sept. 30, has fallen only 13 percent since the end of May. Petrobras, which plans capital spending of more than $22 billion a year, was forced to borrow from a state-owned bank last month because it was short of cash to pay taxes, according to the Energy Ministry.

Petrobras wasn’t alone in discoveries in the area around Tupi. Reading, England-based BG Group Plc, Galp Energia SGPS SA of Lisbon, Exxon Mobil, The Hague-based Shell and Hess Corp. of New York have leases nearby or stakes in Petrobras blocks.

An auction of more areas scheduled for the weeks after the Tupi announcement was called off. Since then, Brazilian leaders debated how to handle the development of the remaining two- thirds of the offshore reserves not yet leased.

Brazil has options other than its past approach of auctioning properties to the highest bidder, including production-sharing contracts that wouldn’t allow foreign companies to own the oil. Brazil also may create a new state oil company for the offshore prospects or increase its stake in Petrobras by giving fields to the company.

Making His Case
Estrella has made frequent visits in the past year to Brasilia, the nation’s capital, to consult with government officials discussing changes to oil rules and has made public comments on his preference for greater government control. He’s close to union officials who arranged protests against further sales of oil rights.

As a government committee’s review of oil-exploration rules dragged on, repeatedly missing deadlines to report conclusions, Estrella gained allies. Energy Minister Edison Lobao said there’s increasing support on the committee for reducing foreign access to Brazil’s hottest offshore oil prospects.

While promising to honor leases already sold to Exxon Mobil, Madrid-based Repsol YPF SA and other companies, Lobao said in a Nov. 13 interview that future exploration in the area around Tupi will likely be run by Brazil. Less promising areas will continue to be auctioned, he said.

“Foreign companies paid almost nothing for their concessions,” said Aloisio Mercadante, a Brazilian senator and an economic adviser to Lula. “Things have changed. There is less risk, and this country has every right to assert more control over its resources.”

Foreign Investment
Brazil needs foreign oil investment more than ever after the plunge in oil prices and tightening of credit markets, said Amaral, Estrella’s predecessor.

Marcio Mello, who with Estrella did a study on the geology of Brazil’s offshore oil regions, said he also sees the need for outside money.

“He’s a great geologist, one of the great oil hunters of all time, and he is an honest and decent man who pushes his people hard and has earned their respect,” said Mello, president of HRT Petroleum, a Rio de Janeiro consulting firm. “His political and economic ideas, on the other hand, are way out of date and not helpful.”
Source: Bloomberg|by Jeb Blount

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OCEANIA: BHP Billiton's about-face leaves Rio Tinto in a hole

There are good reasons for BHP pulling the deal. The commodity markets have soured dramatically, hitting both groups’ cash flow prospects and removing the deal’s main, if unspoken, attraction – driving up prices in a bull market. Moreover, the divestments the EU hinted at would have been difficult to implement at a reasonable price when buyers are like gold dust.

But the crux is financing. Rio is saddled with $38bn (£25bn) of debt from last year’s top-of-the-market acquisition of Alcan, a Canadian aluminium producer. BHP has $6bn of net debt. So an identical fall in the enterprise value of both companies would hit Rio’s equity disproportionately hard. After Rio’s shares fell 35pc and BHP’s rose 13pc, both companies’ enterprise values were 3.6 times next year’s forecast ebitda. That makes one Rio share worth 1.4 BHP shares – far below the 3.4 BHP was offering.

BHP may have decided it would rather not be heavily geared as the world pitches into recession. Rio, though, is in a jam. It faces refinancing obligations of $9bn next year, which it should be able to meet through cash flows and existing short-term facilities. But if commodity prices keep falling – aluminium has plunged a third in three months – it will look increasingly uncomfortable.

With the deal scrapped, both sides have questions to answer. But those fired at Rio chief executive Tom Albanese may be the tougher. Albanese was spared a drubbing for his $38bn splurge on Alcan by a subsequent spike in the aluminium price, and the distraction of a bid from BHP. He has now lost both shields. By leaving its biggest rival in such a tight spot, BHP may have pulled off a sort of victory after all.

Source: Telegraph|By John Foley
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[EUROASIA] Russian reactor builder to provide details on Turkish plant bid

Russian nuclear power plant builder Atomstroyexport will by mid-December meet Turkey's request for further information on the company's bid to build a power plant, a senior company official said on Friday.

Atomstroyexport, acting through a consortium with Russian power producer Inter RAO UES and Turkey's Ciner Group, is competing in a tender to build four nuclear reactors in Turkey.

"Turkey has requested additional information on the project that we proposed at the tender. They have asked for clarification of details, including on the reactor and the construction timeframe. We will answer the questions by December 15," the source told RIA Novosti.

The Turkish government was scheduled to declare the winner of the tender in October, but has yet to do so.

Atomstroyexport, established in 1998, has completed or is working on reactors in Iran, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, China and India.

Source: Russian News & Information Agency
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[RUSSIA] Gazprom Export extends gas contract with Slovakia until 2028

[RUSSIA] Gazprom Export extends gas contract with Slovakia until 2028
Gazprom Export, the export arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, has extended a contract to supply natural gas to Slovakia until 2028, Gazprom and Slovensky plynarensky priemysel a.s. (SPP) said in a joint press release.

Gazprom Export also signed a deal with Eustream (SPP's subsidiary transiting gas via Slovakia) to transport gas for the same period - until 2028.

Under the agreements, which kick in as of January 1, 2009, by 2028, SPP will buy about 130 billion cubic meters of gas while Eustream will transport approximately 1 trillion cubic meters.

In April 1997, Gazprom and SPP signed an array of agreements under which the Slovak gas company received a discount of $5 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas. In return, a Gazprom-Slovak joint venture was formed to transit Russian gas via Slovakia to the European Union.

In July 2002, the European Commission approved the purchase of a 49% stake in SPP by Gazprom, Ruhrgas and Gaz de France.
Source: Russian News & Infromation Agency

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BLOGGERS: Vacaciones y viaje a Madrid con DESTINIA

Te estas imaginando unas noches de invierno en la capital española Madrid? Esto puedes hacerlo realidad si planificas con tiempo tu viaje y conseguir los mejores precios en transporte, asimismo si no cuentas con alojamiento hay muchas opciones de hoteles en Madrid, puedes contar con el apoyo del portal DESTINIA quienes cuentan con un interfase amigable y fresco que nos facilitara encontrar distintas opciones con las características de calidad y precio al alcance de nuestro bolsillo. En DESTINIA se nos facilitaran opciones al usuario, que van desde la zona de ubicación del alojamiento, estrellas, precios, etc …

En el despliegue de sus ofertas podremos acceder a distintas enlaces de las opciones de alojamiento que nos redirigirán a paginas con un mayor detalle de información en donde podremos encontrar entre otras cosas fotografías y mapa de ubicación.

En esta ibérica ciudad, con una gran oferta de hospedaje se nos hace practico encontrar lo mejor para nosotros por medio de DESTINIA, ya que simplemente debemos de rellenar: tipo de habitación, personas, fecha de entrada y de salida, categoría, etc … y en un plis plaz tendremos una variedad de opciones a considerar, por mi parte debo añadir que he hecho distintas operaciones en DESTINIA de compra de billetes de avión o de escapadas en los puentes en mis operaciones de
vacaciones y viaje, tengo con ellos la tranquilidad de que los pagos por Internet son seguros y prácticos.

Análisis vía
BLOGGERS: Monster. Existe un trabajo perfecto para cada persona

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[SPAIN] Repsol Rises on Reports Lukoil Is in Talks to Buy a Stake

Repsol YPF SA advanced in Madrid trading on reports that OAO Lukoil is in talks to acquire a stake of just under 30 percent in Spain's largest oil company. Repsol gained as much as 2.2 percent and traded up 30 cents at 14.25 euros as of 9:13 a.m. local time. The stock outperformed the Dow Jones Europe Stoxx Oil & Gas Index, which fell 1.5 percent. Lukoil may purchase Sacyr's 20 percent stake in Repsol and an additional 9.9 percent of its shares on the open market, EFE reported yesterday, citing people it didn't identify. Lukoil would be required to make an offer for the whole company if it bought more than 30 percent, EFE said.

The overall stake would be worth 5.1 billion euros ($6.37 billion) if taken as a direct percent of the Spanish oil company's market value of 17 billion euros as of Nov. 19.

Sacyr, Spain's worst-performing stock this year, increased 3.9 percent to 6.75 euros in Madrid.

Dmitry Dolgov, a spokesman for Lukoil, Russia's biggest non-state oil producer, declined to comment. Nobody from Repsol was immediately available for comment.

Sacyr remains open to discussions on any of its assets, a Sacyr spokeswoman, who asked not to be identified in line with company policy, said today by telephone.

Repsol operates five refineries in Spain, three in Argentina and one in Peru. The energy company has holdings in another refinery in Argentina and two in Brazil, giving the company a total refining capacity of 1.23 million barrels a day, according to the Madrid-based company's Web site.

Italian Refinery
In June, Lukoil agreed to pay Italy's ERG SpA 1.35 billion euros for 49 percent in a new venture that will control the 320,000 barrel a day Isab refinery, storage tanks, and a 99- megawatt power plant in Priolo, Sicily. The Russian company also has refineries in Bulgaria and Romania.

OAO Gazprom, Russia's natural-gas exporter, said Nov. 14 that it's not interested in a 20 percent stake in Repsol. Spain's government is opposed to state-run foreign companies buying into its strategic industries, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said earlier the same day.

The Spanish government wouldn't stand in the way of a Lukoil bid for 29.9 percent of Repsol, Cinco Dias reported today. The administration would prefer Lukoil, rather than Total SA of France, purchase the stake, the Spanish newspaper said, without saying how it got the information.

Source: Bloomberg|By Gianluca Baratti and Stephen Bierman
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[OIL PRICES] Oil Falls Toward $50 a Barrel as Fuel Use Falls, Equities Slump !

Crude oil fell for a fifth day, approaching $50 a barrel, as the contracting world economy increases concerns that demand for fuels will slow.

U.S. fuel use during the past four weeks averaged 19.1 million barrels a day, down 7 percent from a year ago, an Energy Department report said yesterday. Equities declined with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropping for a fourth day while the Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday fell to the lowest since March 2003.

``The big picture remains one of weak demand, economic concerns and a falling market,'' said Antoine Halff, head of energy research at Newedge USA LLC in New York, in an interview with Bloomberg Television. ``U.S. demand has really been collapsing and dragging the OECD demand as well and we might end up with a contraction in global demand growth for the year.''

Crude oil for December delivery fell as much as 97 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $52.65 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $52.75 a barrel at 2:36 p.m. Singapore time. Yesterday, futures touched $52.79 a barrel, the lowest since Jan. 23, 2007.

Oil has dropped 64 percent since reaching a record $147.27 a barrel on July 11. Yesterday, December futures fell 77 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $53.62 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Jan. 22, 2007. The more active January futures contract was down 90 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $53.20 a barrel. December futures expire at the close of trading today.

``Everyone is looking at the demand and seeing it as a reason to sell,'' said Clarence Chu, a trader with options dealer Hudson Capital Energy in Singapore. ``People are looking at the Dow as an indication of how the economy is doing.''

Japan Exports Drop
In the latest evidence that the global recession is deepening, exports from Japan dropped at the fastest pace in almost seven years in October. Japan, the world's largest oil importer, fell into a recession last quarter.

Singapore will tomorrow confirm it entered a recession last quarter, joining Japan and Hong Kong. Gross domestic product in Asia's biggest oil-trading center declined at an annualized 6.3 percent pace from the second quarter, when it shrank 5.7 percent, according a Bloomberg survey.

Slipping oil and commodity prices caused the shares of explorers and producers to decline. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. fell 5 percent to A$32.25 in Sydney, its lowest price in three years. Cnooc Ltd. plunged 40 Hong Kong cents, or 7.2 percent, to HK$5.14.

U.S. Inventories
Oil prices also fell as U.S. crude inventories climbed because of declining demand for fuels. Crude-oil supplies rose 1.6 million barrels to 313.5 million barrels last week, the Energy Department said yesterday. Stockpiles were forecast to rise 1 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.

Gasoline inventories rose 539,000 barrels to 198.6 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 14, the report showed. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News were split over whether supplies of the motor fuel increased or declined.

U.S. fuel demand fell 5.2 percent in the first 10 months of this year, the biggest drop since 1981, the American Petroleum Institute said in a report yesterday.

Brent crude oil for January settlement fell as much as 97 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $50.75 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was at $50.80 a barrel at 2:44 p.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday declined 12 cents to $51.72 a barrel, the lowest settlement since Jan. 11, 2007.

Source: Bloomberg| By Christian Schmollinger

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BLLOGGERS: Zenni on Fox

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Source: ZenniOptical | By Staff Writer

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[UNITED KINGDOM] Petrol prices fall by record amount over last month

Average UK prices dipped from 106.4p a litre in mid-October to 94.86p a litre in mid-November. The 11.54p drop comfortably beat the previous record fall of 7.9p between mid-August and mid-September this year and is the biggest monthly fall the motoring group has calculated since it started records in the early 1990s.

The fall in petrol prices is one of the main reasons why inflation dropped so sharply in October. It is the latest evidence that tumbling commodity prices around the world are finally feeding through to lower costs for consumers, but experts warn that price falls are subdued because of the plunging value of the pound.

Oil is bought in dollars but sold in sterling, which means consumers have failed to fully benefit from the 65 per cent fall in the price of oil in the summer, down from a high of $147.

Petrolprices.com, the price comparison website, also points out that there are still 124 forecourts around the country that are charging more than £1 a litre for unleaded petrol.

The garages are mostly in Scotland, Cumbria and West Midlands.

And while prices have dropped substantially in the last month, they are still higher than a year ago for diesel drivers.

Diesel prices fell 8.86p a litre in the last month - dipping from an average of 117.68p a litre in mid-October to 108.82p in mid-November. This compares to an average price of 105p a litre a year ago.

The AA said the big reduction in the price of petrol at the pumps had cut the cost of a 50-litre tank refill by £5.77 and reduced the monthly petrol cost of a two-car family by £24.73.

AA president Edmund King said: "Tesco set the momentum of big price falls with their 3p drop midway through October. However, Asda and Morrisons remain the cheapest supermarkets to buy petrol - on average almost a penny cheaper than their two bigger rivals.

"However, the reality is that with the value of the pound against the dollar dropping more than 13 per cent in the past month, some fuel stations would be charging close to 90p a litre."

Source: The Telegraph|By Harry Wallop

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OIL PRICES: Oil falls again but decline in gasoline usage subsides

Oil prices continued to fall today as a government report showed that gasoline prices in October plunged further than they ever have and home heating oil, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas fell substantially.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery fell 56 cents to settle at $54.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But there were signs that plummeting gas prices have begun to bring American motorists back to the pump.

MasterCard SpendingPulse reported today that even though consumption of gas for the weekend ended Friday was down 2.8 percent from a year ago, it the smallest year-over-year decline in more than two months. Americans used nearly 1 million more barrels per day of gas for the week than they did the previous week.

“Demand destruction has definitely subsided significantly,” said Michael McNamara, a vice president at MasterCard SpendingPulse.

The Labor Department reported to day that wholesale energy prices dropped by 12.8 percent in October, the biggest one-month fall since 1986. All types of fuel declined, with gasoline falling by a record 24.9 percent, also the biggest drop since 1986.

Home heating oil prices fell 9.6 percent, natural gas intended for home uses fell by 5.9 percent, and liquefied petroleum gas dropped by 27.6 percent, the biggest decline in more than three decades. Analysts noted that this is the time of year when energy prices bottom out.

The first cold blast is a reminder that even if the economy is slow, we still have to heat our house,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Alaron Trading Corp.

Energy investors trade in technical ranges, however, and Flynn said if crude prices do fall below $50, oil could be in for another round of selling that could drop the price to $40 per barrel.

Outside of the Nymex trading pits, the remarkable decline in prices has played out at the corner gas station, with Texas, Minnesota and Colorado joining Ohio in the last week as states where average retail gasoline prices fell below $2, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Nationwide, retail gasoline prices in the U.S. fell for an 18th week since the July 4th holiday. Prices plummeted 15.2 cents, or 7.3 percent, to a national average of $2.072 a gallon, according to the IEA. Prices are down more than $1 from a year ago.

Prices at the pump fell nearly 2 cents overnight to $2.068 nationally, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express. Prices have fallen almost 90 cents in the past month.

U.S. gasoline consumption for the week ended Friday was 9.03 million barrels a day, compared with 8.76 million barrels a day for the week ended Oct. 10, according to the MasterCard Spending Pulse report.

With high prices no longer as big of a concern and with no hurricane activity, it is mostly the weak economy that is keeping demand lower, McNamara said.

MasterCard’s report is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.

Some market analysts believe that crude prices are steadying with more investors comfortable buying oil in the mid $50 range. Crude prices have fallen 63 percent since reaching a record $147.27 in mid-July.

Oil markets had little reaction to the seizure by pirates of a Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million in crude oil. The ship today was anchored within sight of impoverished Somali fishing villages. Never before have Somali pirates seized such a giant ship so far out to sea — and never a vessel so large.

The latest hijackings highlighted the vulnerability of even very large ships and the inability of naval forces to intervene once bandits are on board.

Many industry executives believe the fallout in the oil markets is likely to be short-lived.

The head of China’s biggest offshore energy producer said today he thinks oil prices are likely to return to a range of $70 to $80 per barrel, though he did not say when.

CNOOC chairman Fu Chengyu said a conference on Chinese business in Spain that the current price level is based on a panic, but would linger until confidence is restored in the market.

With ripples from the mortgage crisis still rippling across the glob, it is difficult to say when that may happen.

Another executive recently warned of a serious decline in demand in China.

China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s biggest oil company, has suffered a “fairly big impact,” its president, Jiang Jiemin, said in a speech Friday to employees, according to a transcript on the company’s Web site. Jiang gave no details.

“Especially since September, the impact is more obvious and prominent. Basically, it is reflected in such things as a sharp shrinking of consumer demand,” Jiang said, according to the transcript.

Many industry experts had looked to China and India to continue buying crude to fuel their booming economies, even if Western nations entered recession. There are growing indications that such emerging economies are still closely linked to the fortunes of Europe and the United States.

Even outside of Nymex, where the benchmark crude is West Texas intermediate, exporting nations both within OPEC and in places like Mexico and Russia are seeing massive declines in crude prices.

The U.S. is a major energy consumer and demand for gasoline and other fuels is plummeting fast.

In other Nymex trading, gasoline futures fell 3.78 cents to settle at $1.1368 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3.31 cents to settle at $1.7579 a gallon while natural gas for December delivery fell 1.7 cents to settle at $6.516 per 1,000 cubic feet. In London, December Brent crude fell 47 cents to settle at $51.84 on the ICE Futures exchange.

Source: Associated Press|By MARK WILLIAMS

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UNITED STATES: President Elect Barak Obama Is Key to Global Climate Agreement, Danish Official Says

Negotiators are ``on track'' to reach an international agreement next year on global warming, Denmark's chief climate negotiator said.

The key to success when delegates from more than 190 nations meet in Copenhagen in December 2009 will be U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's leadership, Thomas Becker said today at a conference in Washington. The U.S. is the only industrialized country to reject the Kyoto Protocol, an emissions-limiting accord that expires in 2012.

``The process in 2009 is of course very much dependent on the new U.S. administration deciding to show early leadership and ambition in the negotiations,'' said Becker, head of the international department of Denmark's environment ministry. ``I see no way of having a new climate-change agreement without that leadership from the new administration.''

Obama supports a domestic program to set mandatory limits on heat-trapping emissions and has promised to invest heavily in renewable energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide. Borrowing from programs in place in Europe and some U.S. states, climate change will be a priority when Obama takes office in January, his environment adviser said yesterday.

Becker rejected suggestions that the banking crisis will delay U.S. environmental measures that increase energy costs until the economy improves. U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat from New Mexico, said yesterday that action in Congress will not be ``driven by the international expectation about what we should do.''

``The financial crisis does not remove the need for energy independence and security from dangerous climate change,' Becker said. ``It's more clever to invest in national clean energy than to borrow money from China in order to pay for Middle Eastern oil.''

Source BLOOMBERG by Jim Efstathiou Jr.

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RUSSIA-ITALY: Berlusconi Blunder Steals the Show

Agreements on cooperation to revive Italy's nuclear sector and give LUKoil a foothold in the European refining sector topped a slew of deals signed Thursday, overseen by President Dmitry Medvedev and visiting Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

But Berlusconi, renowned for impolitic and controversial statements, grabbed the most attention with comments about Barack Obama, describing the U.S. president-elect as "young, attractive and even suntanned."

Medvedev touted the day's agreements at a joint news conference after the talks as examples of productive cooperation between the countries.

"Our companies, energy and otherwise, feel comfortable working with each other," Medvedev said.

He also thanked Italy for its "balanced" response to Russia's actions in its brief, but intense conflict with Georgia in August.

"We believe that a measured and comradely position helped resolve one of the most complex crises of the recent period," Medvedev said.

Berlusconi responded by saying that Italy's position was based on hard facts, a reaction he said he hoped that he would see from the rest of the world as well.

The nuclear energy deal will involve Russia helping with the joint construction of third and fourth-generation reactors, Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko said after the signing ceremony. Leading nuclear powers are still mastering fourth-generation reactor technology.

"Italy faces the task of returning to a leading position in the European nuclear power industry," Kiriyenko said.

He said that Thursday's accord foresees cooperation in Russia, Italy and third countries, adding that it was "a question of three to five years."

"Because Italy hasn't been developing its nuclear industry for a long time, some of the expertise has remained, some hasn't," Kiriyenko said.

Italy mothballed its nuclear program following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Berlusconi made the return of nuclear energy part of his election platform earlier this year.The 1.35 billion euro deal finalized Thursday between LUKoil and Italian refiner ERG, meanwhile, will bring the oil major into the European refining business, CEO Vagit Alekperov said. Other agreements involved car, tire, cement and electricity producers.

Italy's Pirelli signed an agreement with Russian Technologies to produce tires in the Volga town of Samara. Russian Technologies chief Sergei Chemezov estimated the investment in the venture at 350 million to 450 million euros.

Russian carmaker Sollers, formerly known as Severstal-Avto, and Fiat agreed to set up assembly of low-cost cars in Russia, Sollers head Vadim Shvetsov said at the Kremlin, declining to elaborate. Sollers has produced Fiat vehicles since 2006.

Italian aerospace and defense company Finmeccanica, meanwhile, signed a string of deals with Russian state-controlled companies, including an agreement to provide new technology for the Russian rail sector.

Berlusconi provided backing in his statements for Medvedev's calls for a new international financial architecture in view of the current global financial crisis. Russia has already submitted proposals to its partners, including Italy, for review before a Nov. 15 summit in Washington, Medvedev said.

The two leaders also said no barriers remained to the signing of a new partnership agreement between Russia and the European Union.

Berlusconi's comments about Obama came as part of praise for the president-elect as someone with whom the Kremlin could work.

"I don't see problems for Medvedev in establishing good relations with Obama, who is also handsome, young and even suntanned," said Berlusconi, himself sporting a tan.

Berlusconi later defended the comment as a great compliment and castigated the media for having the vice of "not having a sense of humor," Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Source: The Moscow Times By Anna Smolchenko

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BLOGGERS: Necesitas mantener sincronizados tus archivos, elige SYNCING.NET

Manuel Torres LaveagaNecesitas tener sincronizados todos tus documentos entre distintos sistemas de computo? Tu solución es SYNCING.NET, el cual es un software que permite sincronizar carpetas entre Windows y Outlook por medio de cualquier sistema PC, todo desde una forma automática y sin servidor, pudiendo crear, modificar o eliminar un archivo/carpeta/doc/etc y lo estarias haciendo en todos los sistemas de computo sincronizados.

Si eres un autónomo que depende mucho de mantenerte siempre sincronizados tus documentos, le podras encontrar mucha utilidad tal cual como lo emplean hoy día los grandes corporativos quienes cuentan con este elemento de competitividad que les genera mejoras en su productividad sin grandes inversiones en software y hardware y elevados costes de mantenimiento.

BLOGGERS: Necesitas mantener sincronizados tus archivos, elige SYNCING.NETHay 3 versiones diferentes del software: Edicion File Sharing (para fotos, música, videos y documentos), Home Edition ( sirve para sincronizar Outlook y compartir archivos) y Edicion Professional ( el ideal para un uso mas corporativo, pensado en PyME’s y profesionales que hacen uso intensivo del Outlook).

Estos es un programas merecen muy poca inversión, (y no un gasto) en referencia a las utilidades y ventajas que te proporcionara. Puedes tener acceso a unaversion DEMO, y probar sus funcionalidades durante 30 días.

Un post auspiciado via ZYNC

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BLOGGERS: SI eres Gammer, te recomiendo TRUCOTECA

Manuel Torres LaveagaSi eres un gammer, esta pagina te encantara debido a que tiene todo pues no se le escapa nada de lo que necesitamos saber sobre la actualidad en video juegos. La primera impresión es que es una pagina montada por gente como nosotros como aficionados y por tanto encontramos las cosas con toda facilidad. No le puede faltar por su puesto la zona de foros temáticos en los que se abordan distintos temas de las plataformas mas importantes del mercado como lo son la PlayStation 3, PSP, XBOX 360, etc ..

Noticias, Videos, Análisis, Guías .. Es un sitio genial, donde encontraremos además una sección de Juegos Online, ahí mismo también tendremos acceso algunos que son gratis y que podemos encontrar un entretenimiento extra. Date un tour, por TRUCOTECA y espero me puedas dar la razón en mi recomendación, ya que particularmente lo que mas me satisface es encontrar en interface amigable a la hora de poder categorizar y tener muy bien ordenada la cantidad de juegos de las diferentes consolas, y que la gente de TRUCOTECA lo consigue con éxito.
BLOGGERS: SI eres Gammer, te recomiendo TRUCOTECA
Asimismo se nos facilita encontrar todos esos trucos, claves, ayudas y trampas de los video juegos, y que tengamos necesidad de consultar. Además, la receptividad de la gente de TRUCOTECA esta siempre abierta a sus visitantes por lo que puedes hacerles llegar tus sugerencias, observaciones y hasta quejas vía su interface de contacto.

Un post auspiciado via ZYNC

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RUSSIA PRICES: Gas Prices to Rise Nearly 20 per 100, in 2009

The Federal Tariffs Service has cleared an almost 20 percent rise in domestic gas prices next year in another step to bring the currently state-capped prices up to market levels in a few years, the agency said Thursday.

Wholesale gas prices for industrial consumers will rise by 19.6 percent in 2009, said Denis Volkov, the head of the agency's oil and gas department. The tariffs for independent gas producers to pump the fuel along the pipeline system owned by Gazprom will increase by 19.5 percent, he added.

Prices will rise by 13 percent from Jan. 1, while tariffs rise by 12.5 percent. They will fully increase from July 1, Volkov said. Gas prices currently stand at 1,422 rubles ($52.84) per 1,000 cubic meters, while Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas, has said its export price for Europe will hit $500 in the fourth quarter of this year.

Source: The Moscow Times

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[ASIA] French oil major Total has announced its decision to partner ONGC Mittal Energy (OMEL)

French oil major Total has announced its decision to partner ONGC Mittal Energy (OMEL) by picking up stakes in two deepwater oil explorations blocks in Nigeria. While Total will acquire a 25.67% stake in deep offshore block OPL 285, the company will take another 14.5% slice in OPL 279. OMEL, a joint venture between ONGC and LN Mittal group, will remain the operator for the two blocks.

The Nigerian national oil company EMO Exploration and Production Ltd is also a partner for both the blocks. At present, OMEL holds 60% participating interest in OPL-279 while balance 40% interest is held by EMO. In the block OPL-285, OMEL holds a 90% stake and the rest is held by EMO. OMEL will divest a part of its holding in these two blocks in favour of Total. The Nigerian blocks were the first oil acerages to be acquired by OMEL.

“The necessary approvals have been obtained from the Nigerian authorities,” Total said in a statement on Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed. ET had first reported the deal on April 15, 2008.

An OMEL source, on conditions of anonymity, said, the deal is based on reciprocity. “Total would also offer equity stakes to OMEL in its oil & gas assets in other countries,” he said. Explaining the significance of the deal, the official said Total has the expertise in undertaking exploration and production (E&P) activities in that part of the world (Nigerian deepwaters). The tieup with Total would also help the consortium get scarce equipment such as drilling rigs, he added.

The two blocks have the potential of high oil and gas reserves. OPL 285, located near the Bonga field in 400-900 metres depth, covers an area of around 1,170 square kilometers. The other block, OPL 279, (1,125 square kilometres) is located near the Ehra and Bosi fields in water depths ranging from 800 to 1,800 meters.

“The production sharing contract (PSC) for both the blocks were signed on February 23, 2007 and OMEL intended to farm out a portion of participating interest to an international oil company,” the OMEL official said. Blocks were awarded to OMEL under a ‘mini bid round’ in 2006 where commitment to build infrastructure had been one of the pre-qualification criteria. The consortium had committed to build a refinery in Nigeria to bag the deal.

OMEL, a joint venture company incorporated in Cyprus, has two major partners — ONGC Videsh and Mittal Investments Sarl (MIS). OVL and MIS holds 49.98% and 48.02% shares of OMEL, respectively, while 2% is held by SBI Capital.

Source: India Economic Times

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[RUSSIA] Gazprom likely to save money on South Stream offshore leg

Romania may replace Bulgaria on the Gazprom-led South Stream gas pipeline project from Russia to Italy. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with heads of two Romanian companies, Transgaz and Romgaz, late last week. Some sources said the talks focused on Romania's plan to sign up to the project, replacing Bulgaria.

Gazprom's desire to alter the planned pipeline's route is evidence of serous problems arising in the implementation of the project.

Shortly after the Russian-Georgian conflict over South Ossetia, the EU decided to focus efforts on the Nabucco project, an alternative route to ship Caspian oil and gas to Europe bypassing Russia.
Under an earlier intergovernmental agreement, the pipeline was to cross the Black Sea on the way from Russia to Bulgaria. The 560 mile offshore section would have cost $10 billion.

Gazprom was planning to build two legs of the planned pipeline, with one leg going to southern Italy through the Adriatic Sea, while the other one would go to Austria via Serbia and Hungary.

Basic agreements were reached with Sofia, Budapest and Belgrade last year. But in each case there were some hitches that prevented the implementation of the agreements. Bulgaria insisted on ownership rights for its part of the pipeline, while Gazprom wanted it to be Russian property.

Gazprom had similar hitches with Serbia and Hungary. It is clear, however, that lack of compliance of the East European governments was not the key predicament. The problem is the EU's general weariness of dealing with Russia, Gazprom in particular.

European leaders unanimously agreed to diversify energy sources at the latest EU summit on September 1 which discussed the consequences of the South Ossetian-Georgian conflict. One of their first decisions was to focus on Nabucco, South Stream's rival project.

Both Romanian Transgaz and Bulgarian Bulgargaz are Nabucco shareholders. Therefore, the talks with Romania will probably be aimed at persuading Bucharest or Sofia to choose South Stream over Nabucco.

A source in the Energy Ministry confirmed that Gazprom was looking at a possibility of Bulgaria replaced with Romania, but did not elaborate. Romania was initially discussed as an alternative to Serbia. However, Russia and Serbia have recently removed all legal obstacles over the north leg of South Stream.
Still, analysts think rerouting South Stream to Romania will be economically efficient. "The way to Romania across the Black Sea is 60 miles shorter than to Bulgaria, which means the offshore pipeline will be 12% cheaper," said Mikhail Korchemkin, director of the East European Gas Analysis consultancy.

Source: Novosti

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[OIL PRODUCTION] El petróleo mexicano cierra sus puertas a la inversión privada con la actual reforma energética

El Senado mexicano debatirá la próxima semana los dictámenes del proyecto de reforma energética diseñado por la Comisión de Energía del Congreso, a partir de la propuesta presentada por el presidente Felipe Calderón. El texto fue redactado en bloque por el gubernamental Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) y el Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI, principal fuerza en los gobiernos regionales), con el Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) como atento espectador. Pero, finalmente, el PRI desestimaba una de las claves del plan: la creación de filiales de la estatal Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) para la refinación, transporte y distribución de hidrocarburos con participación de capital privado.

El debate energético se produce en un marco preelectoral, con la vista puesta en las legislativas de 2009. Así, los parlamentarios del PRD lograron de sus pares panistas la puesta en marcha de una nueva refinería con cargo al erario público. El Gobierno federal y los perredistas habrían tomado en cuenta las ventajas electorales que obtendría el PRI si acumulara todo el mérito de la reforma.

Las comisiones de Energía y de Hacienda también han dado el visto bueno a un nuevo régimen fiscal para Pemex, sexto mayor productor mundial de crudo. La iniciativa establece que la petrolera pagará menos impuestos en trabajos de exploración y extracción de crudo. Pemex financia una tercera parte del presupuesto nacional y es la primera fuente de divisas del país, aunque sus reservas están en manifiesto retroceso.

La idea de Calderón, ya bastante «descafeinada» respecto a sus intenciones previas a ocupar la Presidencia, se quedará «minúscula, microscópica» tras su paso por el Parlamento: «No cambia nada en términos generales el régimen que existe en la materia, no se genera competencia, no se abre ninguno de los sectores y se carga todo en una empresa monopolista que es pesada e ineficiente», denuncia Carlos Elizondo, profesor del Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.

Pese a que todo indica que la feble reforma le supondrá una victoria, el ex candidato del PRD a la Presidencia, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, quien se opone por principio a cualquier iniciativa del Ejecutivo, ha amenazado con una nueva toma de las tribunas del Senado: «No habrá vacilación ni titubeo. De ser necesario convocaré a la movilización a todo el pueblo de México».


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[EUROPE] UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says petrol prices 'must' fall as oil tumbles

Mr Gordon Brown hinted that unless retailers cut their prices in line with falling international oil prices, he will ask the Office of Fair Trading to look into their behaviour.
Firms including ASDA have this week cut their petrol price to below £1 a litre. The price of a barrel of oil has dropped by half from July's peak of $147. On Thursday, the oil price fell as low as $67.62. Mr Brown said that both he and British drivers now "expect" retailers to start cutting prices.

"I think the public know that when oil prices go up it is reflected very quickly in the petrol pump price," he said. "What we want to know is that when oil prices come down that is also reflected in the pump price."

He added: "You will see over the next few days people giving a great deal of attention to what the price is. The first thing we want to see is retailers following the lead that has been taken by some people.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking to reporters in Brussels, said that the Government will be closely monitoring petrol prices over the next few days.

He added: "You have also got to remember - and we have had a number of reports done on this by the Office for Fair Trading and others - that the petrol rpice is high in some parts of the country - £1.20 a litre in some areas.

"And that we will continue to look at as well. We have reports done on this before to look at what is happening in the market place.

"We will continue to examine these things but I believe that also must change."

Brendan McLoughlin of PetrolPrices.com welcomed falling prices, but warned that relief for motorists could be temporary.

He said: "Lower petrol prices are dependent on low oil prices, so if the banking crisis forces investors towards commodities we could see both the price of oil and petrol picking up again."

The remarks about petrol prices represent a change of tone from the Prime Minister.

At the second day of a European Union summit in Brussels, Mr Brown appeared to drop his recent focus on international financial reforms and talking at length about "the hard and difficult times" facing British families and companies.

The change reflects private concerns in No 10 that the Prime Minister's newfound image in some European capitals as the economic saviour of the world financial system risks leaving him looking disconnected from the concerns of voters at home.

Source: Telegraph|By James Kirkup

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[OIL PRICES] Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Crude Oil Declines After U.S. Financial-Rescue Plan Hits Snag

Crude oil fell, leading energy futures lower, after negotiations over the $700 billion financial bailout plan stalled, adding to concern that U.S. economic growth in the world's biggest energy-consuming country will falter. Oil prices dropped as much as 3.5 percent after House Republicans rejected the proposed rescue of the U.S. financial system, imperiling an agreement hours after an announcement that one was near. U.S. fuel demand over the past four weeks was down 5.3 percent from last year, a government report showed this week.

``The oil market is at the mercy of what is going on in Washington,'' said Gene McGillian, an analyst at TFS Energy LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. ``If there isn't an agreement, prices will drop further because the economy will slow further and demand destruction will continue.''

Crude oil for November delivery fell $1.13, or 1.1 percent, to settle at $106.89 a barrel at 2:42 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are down 27 percent from the record $147.27 a barrel reached on July 11. The contract is up 4 percent for the week.

Gasoline for October delivery declined 3.22 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $2.6651 a gallon in New York. Heating oil fell 3.09 cents, or 1 percent, to settle at $2.9949 a gallon.

Oil prices may decline next week, according to a survey of analysts by Bloomberg News. Fourteen of 29 analysts, or 48 percent, said prices will decrease through Oct. 3.

The U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the second quarter, slower than the previous estimate, as consumer spending and trade contributed less to growth, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The revised figures were down from an estimate of 3.3 percent last month.

GDP Forecasts
Economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley this week cut third-quarter Gross Domestic Product forecasts, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned the economy may falter without the $700 billion bank rescue. The U.S. was responsible for 24 percent of global oil consumption last year, according to BP Plc.

Alon USA Energy Inc. restarted the fluid catalytic cracking unit at its Big Spring, Texas, refinery so the plant can resume full processing capacity of 70,000 barrels a day. Total SA, Europe's third-largest oil company, said it restored power to its Port Arthur refinery in Texas after Hurricane Ike, and plans to restart the plant.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it will delay planned maintenance on U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Brent crude oil for November settlement declined $1.06, or 1 percent, to settle at $103.54 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OPEC Production
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries would cut oil production to keep crude oil from falling below $100 per barrel, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said today in a television interview on the ETV Telerama network.

Ecuador, the producer group's smallest member, has struggled to meet its daily output quota of 520,000 barrels in recent months.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members produce more than 40 percent of the world's oil.

Source: Bloomberg| by Mark Shenk

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BLOGGERS: Have you ever think in Donate Car?

Have you ever think in Donate Car? There are several non-profit organizations around The United Status of America that have taken the responsibility to help all those poor people by offering them food, shelter, medical care facilities, educational facilities and many more. If you have a car that you wanted to donate, you should visit this web site for your Car Donations. One of them is Angel Ministries (www.carangel.org), this people use the Car, Boat and House donations to help orphans and feed the hungry as well as create children's animations and anti-drug documentaries.

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Angel Ministrie

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[EUROASIA] Las Europas, Russia y la dependencia energetica

La República Checa, uno de los socios más díscolos del club europeo, presidirá la Unión Europea en el primer semestre de 2009. Su primer ministro, Mirek Topolanek, de 52 años, acaba de pasar por España para explicar sus prioridades: libre circulación de trabajadores, reequilibrio entre las políticas europeas hacia el Mediterráneo y la Europa central y del este, reforzar la cooperación euroatlántica, por supuesto no hay nada de que hablar con Cuba y sobre todo firmeza ante Rusia.

Que nadie espere tampoco mucho esfuerzo por parte de Praga para que se ratifique bajo su presidencia el Tratado de Lisboa. El documento todavía no ha sido aprobado en la República Checa. Para Topolanek, que advierte que no tolerará presiones de nadie, ése es un problema que debe resolver primero Irlanda.

El euroescepticismo checo combina el interés porque la UE funcione con cierto desprecio sobre cómo lo haga y los tratados que la estructuran. Es más una actitud de rebeldía contra la "corrección política" de Bruselas y su "debilidad" frente a Moscú, contra lo que The Economist ha llamado "la racionalización de la impotencia" frente a Rusia.

Durante la entrevista, realizada en el Instituto de Empresa, Topolanek, primer ministro desde hace dos años al frente de una coalición entre su partido, Demócratas Cívicos (derecha liberal), democristianos y verdes, adopta esa actitud. En total, 20 minutos de respuestas displicentes.

Pregunta. ¿Cuál será la posición de la presidencia checa respecto a los grandes temas que afronta la UE, como las relaciones con Washington y Moscú?

Respuesta. La relación euroatlántica es un ancla para la seguridad de Europa. Para nosotros es, históricamente, una relación sustancial. Cuando nos hemos podido apoyar en Estados Unidos, hemos sido libres. Sobre la dimensión oriental de la política europea, los países centroeuropeos y escandinavos queremos un equilibrio entre este aspecto y la política mediterránea. Queremos que se complementen. Lo que ocurre en Georgia y en Ucrania no es algo que deba preocupar sólo a los centroeuropeos, sino también a los españoles. En las fronteras del este y el sur de la Unión hay países que pueden llegar a formar parte de la UE, pero también hay muchos riesgos. Hay que discutir con ellos sobre inmigración, terrorismo, energía, economía, seguridad...

P. ¿Y qué relación debe tener la UE con Rusia?

R. Rusia aspira otra vez a jugar el papel de potencia, utilizando herramientas energéticas, económicas y militares. Cómo responder a esta actitud es una prueba para la comunidad internacional y para la UE. Por un lado, sabemos que las sanciones no solucionan nada y, por otro lado, hay peligro de contagio a Crimea y el Transdniéster. En el futuro, la dependencia energética de Rusia amenaza la libertad de los europeos. El 21 de agosto se cumplieron 40 años de la ocupación soviética de Checoslovaquia y los últimos soldados rusos se fueron el 30 de junio de 1991. Queremos mantener relaciones amistosas con Rusia, pero no queremos estar en su esfera de influencia. España se porta a veces como si este tema no fuera con ella, pero es un problema europeo.

P. ¿Cómo valora la respuesta europea a la invasión de Georgia?

R. Muy poco audaz, y bastante débil. Es lo que pasa cuando hay que conseguir que 27 países se pongan de acuerdo. En cosas así se percibe su debilidad, pero también su fuerza, porque es una respuesta unida.

P. ¿Qué debería hacerse respecto a la crisis en el Cáucaso?

R. La comunidad internacional debería presionar para que se vayan los soldados rusos de territorio georgiano. También deberían ponerse en marcha instrumentos para que, por ejemplo, todos los acuerdos que aprueben las autoridades de [las regiones secesionistas de] Abjazia y Osetia del Sur deban ser aprobados también por las autoridades de Georgia. Creemos que Georgia necesitará más fondos que los que la UE calcula para su reconstrucción. Si seguimos limitándonos sólo a mirar, vamos a perder las vías alternativas de suministro de gas y petróleo.

P. Ustedes apoyan la entrada de Ucrania y Georgia en la OTAN. ¿Hasta qué país debería llegar la ampliación de la Alianza?

R. La zona euroatlántica es un espacio de seguridad y libertad, y Rusia debería tener interés de que la ampliación llegara lo más cerca posible de su territorio. Fue un error que, en abril, la OTAN no otorgara a Georgia y Ucrania el estatuto de candidato oficial al ingreso. Este paso no garantizaba la integración, pero habría sido una señal clara para Rusia. Esa decisión anticipó la acción rusa en Osetia del Sur y Abjazia. En Ucrania, la desestabilización de la escena política se debe claramente a una influencia exterior. La incorporación a la OTAN será ahora mucho más difícil.

P. El Tribunal Constitucional checo está analizando el Tratado de la UE. ¿Qué pasa si lo rechaza?

R. Todo el mundo está interesado en la ratificación del tratado en la República Checa, pero es evidente que sin la aprobación de Irlanda no entrará en vigor. En nuestro país, el texto se encuentra en el Constitucional, y si dictamina que el tratado respeta las leyes checas, el proceso seguirá en el Parlamento. En el pasado Consejo Europeo ya dijimos que, si nos presionan, no podremos garantizar el resultado. Yo desearía que el tratado sea ratificado antes de que empiece nuestra presidencia europea.

P. El presidente checo, Václav Klaus, afirma que en Europa hay demasiados euroingenuos. ¿Está de acuerdo?

R. Si no tuviéramos a Václav Klaus en la Unión, tendríamos que inventarlo. El debate en la UE es políticamente tan correcto y tan plano que ya han desaparecido todas las opiniones diferentes.

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[IEA] International Energy Agency, warns high oil prices could trigger global recession

The world economy faces a recession if the price of oil stays above $90 a barrel, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned.

The price of oil crept up again today, reaching $95, following two days of declines caused by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers and slumping stock markets. Fears of a deep recession had pushed the price below $100 a barrel for the first time in six months.

International Energy Agency executive director Nobuo Tanaka said economic growth depends on "what will happen if high prices affect the emerging economies." There has been no sign so far of a slowdown in China, India or the Middle East, he said, despite oil reaching a record $147 a barrel in July. Barclays Capital estimates the average price in the third quarter will be $97.50 a barrel.

The drop in price over the last few days was an aberration caused by investors fleeing any potentially risky assets and hoarding cash, analysts said at the time. Oil traded as low as $90.51 yesterday, when hurricane damage in the Gulf of Mexico and demand in Asia should have caused further rises, based on supply and demand.

US oil consumption has already fallen because of the record prices reached this year, Mr Tanaka said. He called on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries nations not to reduce production when they meet again in December.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries producers last week said they would cut production by 520,000 barrels a day, as prices dropped from their highs over the summer. Oil supplies are still tight, according to the IEA. Earlier this year some analysts forecast prices would reach $200 a barrel because demand from emerging economies would create a permanent shortage.

Source: Telegraph|By Amy Wilson

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[OIL PRICES] Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries faces production dilemma

The decline in oil prices in recent weeks has been a welcome relief for consumers and a rare piece of positive news in an otherwise bleak economic landscape. But for oil producers, increasingly accustomed to rising revenues, falling prices are fast turning into a cause for concern - if not quite panic.

Oil prices have fallen by a third in the past seven weeks and are headed for a drop below the symbolic $100 threshold for the first time since March. Though not a full-blown collapse, the speed of the decline is prompting some soul-searching within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries oil cartel.

Venezuela and Iran, the leading price hawks within the group, said they did not want oil to fall below $100 a barrel, a price Iran's oil minister recently said was a "minimum" level. Both countries signaled that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries needed to reduce their output to prevent prices from dropping further.

Other OPEC members, like Algeria or Kuwait, fear that high energy costs could jeopardize their exports as the global economy slows down and consumers reduce their consumption. Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has not said what would be a fair price, although King Abdullah has said that $100 was too high.

For OPEC's dignitaries, meeting in Vienna next week, managing the current slowdown is tricky. Cutting production to stem the price drop could spark a backlash and paint the oil cartel as greedy and short-sighted. Leaving production unchanged may precipitate the decline in prices at a time when oil demand is slowing. "The biggest signal for OPEC is price," said Michael Wittner, the global head of oil research in London for Société Générale. "They are playing a balancing game: if prices are too high, they will kill the golden goose and hurt consumption. But at the same time, they see the weakening economy and are thinking the world doesn't need so much oil right now."

The price for oil for October delivery was down $1.57 at $107.78 a barrel in New York trading Thursday afternoon, the lowest level in five months. The drop accelerated even after Hurricane Gustav's passage over the Gulf of Mexico interrupted oil and natural gas production. Three other tropical storms are forming over the Atlantic Ocean and could yet thwart the slide in prices.

Still, prices remain historically high. Despite their fall from the record of $147.27 a barrel on July 11, oil prices are up 12.5 percent this year. They have more than quadrupled in five years.

Producers have become used to these high prices, which have powered an unprecedented economic boom in the Middle East, Russia and South America. From the gleaming towers of Abu Dhabi to the new cities burgeoning in Saudi Arabia, producers are relying on the income to develop new industries, attract new businesses and expand their economies.

This year should be no exception. OPEC's export revenue should exceed $1 trillion, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy. The exporters have earned $642 billion during the first seven months of 2008, nearly as much as they did last year.

But the cartel is facing a dilemma. Demand for oil in the United States, the world's biggest market, has fallen by about one million barrels a day as a result of high prices, slowing economic growth and credit woes. The economic slump is spreading to Europe, and could also affect Asia, the main driver of oil demand growth. Also, the third quarter of the year is traditionally the time when refineries need less oil as they shut down for their annual maintenance.

At a recent meeting of producers and consumers in Jidda, Saudi Arabia pledged to keep pumping full out to bring prices down. The kingdom is OPEC's biggest producer and the group's de facto leader. At the same time, analysts said, the Saudis realize that if they keep their output at the current level, they will create a glut in the market. The kingdom is pumping about 600,000 barrels a day more than its official quota.

Some analysts believe the group may opt for an informal cut in production, reducing output without much fanfare, instead of a formal announcement that could prove to be too politically sensitive for some of the cartel's pro-Western allies, especially with the U.S. election season in full swing.

Another option may be to convene another meeting in six to eight weeks and announce a big reduction then. The group is already scheduled to meet in December in Algeria, but that could be too late for Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to act if prices keep declining through the autumn.

Source: International Herald Tribune| By Jad Mouawad