Gazprom Neft, Iran’s NIOC agree oil field studies

Alexei Miller, Russian natural gas giant Gazprom CEO, addresses a recent news conference in Moscow recently. (AP)
Updated 13 December 2016
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Gazprom Neft, Iran’s NIOC agree oil field studies

TEHRAN/MOSCOW: Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) have agreed to conduct a study into the possible development of two oil fields in Iran, Russia’s Energy Ministry Alexander Novak said.
Iran, OPEC’s third largest oil producer, plans to launch next year a new-style contract for helping develop its oil and gas fields with invitations to tender to be the first since the lifting of sanctions.
Novak said Gazprom Neft, the oil producing unit of Gazprom, has signed a memorandum of understanding with NIOC and Gazprom Neft will now conduct a study for the Changouleh and Cheshmeh-Khosh oil fields in Western Iran. A deal on producing oil at the two fields could follow, the minister said.
He also said on Tuesday that Gazprom and Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft have signed a separate memorandum with NIOC.
Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said in Tehran that his company has been interested in joint liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
Russia, which has already signed several memorandums of understanding with Iran, has the largest share of Iran’s oil field development studies compared with other countries involved in oil exploration there, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.
Zanganeh also said Iran would finalize another deal in the next two days to sell Russia 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Commenting on the recent OPEC deal to cut oil output, Zangeneh said: “The talks between the two countries’ leaders were essential and very significant in this matter.”
He said that oil prices were likely to settle at $50-$55 per barrel.
“No other country may have influence on Russia’s and Iran’s intention to develop ties,” Iranian Communications Minister Mahmoud Vaezi said at the talks with Russia’s Novak.


US says conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative

Updated 19 August 2018
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US says conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative

  • Fears of oil scarcity no longer driver of US energy policy
  • Surging shale production brings energy abundance

WASHINGTON: Conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative for the US, the Trump administration declares in a major new policy statement that threatens to undermine decades of government campaigns for gas-thrifty cars and other conservation programs.
The position was outlined in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month without fanfare.
Growth of natural gas and other alternatives to petroleum has reduced the need for imported oil, which “in turn affects the need of the nation to conserve energy,” the Energy Department said. It also cites the now decade-old fracking revolution that has unlocked US shale oil reserves, giving “the United States more flexibility than in the past to use our oil resources with less concern.”
With the memo, the administration is formally challenging old justifications for conservation — even congressionally prescribed ones, as with the mileage standards. The memo made no mention of climate change. Transportation is the single largest source of climate-changing emissions.
President Donald Trump has questioned the existence of climate change, embraced the notion of “energy dominance” as a national goal, and called for easing what he calls burdensome regulation of oil, gas and coal, including repealing the Obama Clean Power Plan.
Despite the increased oil supplies, the administration continues to believe in the need to “use energy wisely,” the Energy Department said, without elaboration. Department spokesmen did not respond Friday to questions about that statement.
Reaction was quick.
“It’s like saying, ‘I’m a big old fat guy, and food prices have dropped — it’s time to start eating again,’” said Tom Kloza, longtime oil analyst with the Maryland-based Oil Price Information Service.
“If you look at it from the other end, if you do believe that fossil fuels do some sort of damage to the atmosphere ... you come up with a different viewpoint,” Kloza said. “There’s a downside to living large.”
Climate change is a “clear and present and increasing danger,” said Sean Donahue, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund.
In a big way, the Energy Department statement just acknowledges the world’s vastly changed reality when it comes to oil.
Just 10 years ago, in summer 2008, oil prices were peaking at $147 a barrel and pummeling the global economy. OPEC was enjoying a massive transfer of wealth, from countries dependent on imported oil. Prices now are about $65.
Today, the US is vying with Russia for the title of top world oil producer. US oil production hit an all-time high this summer, aided by the technological leaps of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
How much the US economy is hooked up to the gas pump, and vice versa, plays into any number of policy considerations, not just economic or environmental ones, but military and geopolitical ones, said John Graham, a former official in the George W. Bush administration, now dean of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.
“Our ability to play that role as a leader in the world is stronger when we are the strongest producer of oil and gas,” Graham said. “But there are still reasons to want to reduce the amount we consume.”
Current administration proposals include one that would freeze mileage standards for cars and light trucks after 2020, instead of continuing to make them tougher.
The proposal eventually would increase US oil consumption by 500,000 barrels a day, the administration says. While Trump officials say the freeze would improve highway safety, documents released this month showed senior Environmental Protection Agency staffers calculate the administration’s move would actually increase highway deaths.
“American businesses, consumers and our environment are all the losers under his plan,” said Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat. “The only clear winner is the oil industry. It’s not hard to see whose side President Trump is on.”
Administration support has been tepid to null on some other long-running government programs for alternatives to gas-powered cars.
Bill Wehrum, assistant administration of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, spoke dismissively of electric cars — a young industry supported financially by the federal government and many states — this month in a call with reporters announcing the mileage freeze proposal.
“People just don’t want to buy them,” the EPA official said.
Oil and gas interests are campaigning for changes in government conservation efforts on mileage standards, biofuels and electric cars.
In June, for instance, the American Petroleum Institute and other industries wrote eight governors, promoting the dominance of the internal-combustion engine and questioning their states’ incentives to consumers for electric cars.
Surging US and gas production has brought on “energy security and abundance,” Frank Macchiarola, a group director of the American Petroleum Institute trade association, told reporters this week, in a telephone call dedicated to urging scrapping or overhauling of one US program for biofuels.
Fears of oil scarcity used to be a driver of US energy policy, Macchiarola said.
Thanks partly to increased production, “that pillar has really been rendered essentially moot,” he said.