Gazprom woos OMV in pursuit for Nord Stream expansion

Updated 02 April 2016

Gazprom woos OMV in pursuit for Nord Stream expansion

ST PETERSBURG/VIENNA: Russian oil major Gazprom on Friday signed cooperation deals with Austrian energy group OMV as it tries to secure more lobbying power for its project to expand the Europe-bound undersea gas pipeline, Nord Stream.
Russian gas supplies, which account for a third of European gas consumption, have been increasingly politicized due to Moscow's involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
Gazprom wants to bypass Ukraine, a prime route for Russian gas to Europe, by expanding a network of undersea pipelines, primarily Nord Stream, which runs via the Baltic Sea to Germany — plans opposed by Brussels.
Alexei Miller, Gazprom's long-standing chief executive, said on Friday "there is no doubt" the construction of Nord Stream-2, which foresees the doubling of the existing pipeline's capacity to 110 billion cubic metres (bcm), will be over by the end of 2019.
However, some European leaders are against the project, which is backed by E.ON, Germany's Wintershall , Shell, OMV and Engie.
Europe has been seeking to cut reliance on energy supplies from Russia, its erstwhile cold war adversary, as political tension has risen between the two over numerous issues, such as Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine's crisis and eastward expansion of NATO.
The existing Nord Stream pipeline is not utilized at full capacity due to anti-monopoly rules in Europe, known as the Third Energy Package. Gazprom insists that Nord Stream-2 is legal.
Gazprom said the deals signed with OMV in St. Petersburg on Friday included Russian oil supplies to the Austrian company.
A source familiar with Gazprom's plans said the Kremlin-controlled company wants to use OMV's lobbying power to get Nord Stream-2 on track.
"That's the main task of Friday's event, to secure OMV's lobbyism," the source said.
A preliminary asset swap deal was agreed in September. Under the deal, OMV will acquire a 24.98 percent of areas IV and V of the Achimov formation of the Urengoy oil and gas field in Siberia.
Miller also said on Friday that the company expects record-high gas exports to Europe this year after they rose by 29 percent to 44.4 bcm in the first quarter.


UAE-based companies turn to Bangladesh to build their ships

Updated 39 min 12 sec ago

UAE-based companies turn to Bangladesh to build their ships

  • Vessels worth $160 million were exported by the South Asian country last year

DHAKA: At present, Bangladeshi ships are being exported to around 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

“Made in Bangladesh ships have a huge potential in India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Germany and some African countries. Now, our focus is to have more orders from different international buyers and Bangladesh government is also formulating the policies for this export oriented industries,” Dr. Abdullahel Bari, president of the Association of Export Oriented Shipbuilding Industries of Bangladesh (AEOSIB) told Arab News.

Bari, who is also the chairman of Ananda shipyard, said that the country has more than 100 shipyards which produce different kind of ships for the local and international markets. Of them, 12 large shipyards have the capacity to meet the demand of the international market. He said that Bangladesh will have a “golden period” in the next five years in the ship-building sector with both the government and private sector investors keen on exploring new opportunities.

“If everything goes according to the plan, our export earnings from shipbuilding will exceed the benchmark of $1 billion per year within the next five years,” Bari said.

He added that, as a Muslim nation, Bangladesh enjoys goodwill in the Middle East especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“To bag the opportunities in the Gulf countries, from now onwards, we should have more active participation in different marine fares in Saudi Arabia and UAE,” Dr. Bari said.

FASTFACTS

• At present, Bangladeshi ships are being exported to around 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

• Ananda Shipyard began exploring the European market by exporting a multi-purpose cargo vessel to the Germany.

• Bangladesh’s export earnings will exceed the benchmark of $1 billion per year within the next five years.

UAE-based shipping company Al Rashid shipping is already in talks with Bangladeshi shipbuilders to source its ships, with Western Marine Shipyard Limited (WMS) – one of the leading shipbuilders in the country – securing orders for the construction of two oil tankers worth $6.8 million. 

“With government support, shipbuilding could play an important role in export diversification. The main challenge for this sector is arranging working capital for projects. If banks and financial institutions come forward in supporting this sector, we can secure more orders from local and foreign buyers,” Saiful Islam, WMS Chairman, said. The shipbuilding company is expecting more orders from the UAE market after the successful delivery of these oil tankers.

“According to our capacity, Bangladeshi shipbuilders can only concentrate on building medium-sized vessels which is within 15,000 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT) capacity and various utility vessels like OPV, TUGS, offshore vessels, survey vessels, inland container vessels, multi purpose cargo vessels, survey vessels, landing crafts, ro-ro ferries, passenger ships,” Captain Sohail Hasan, managing director of WMS told Arab News.

In 2017, Western Marine also exported one Landing Craft namely “Ajman Trans” to the same company making it the 43rd ship to be exported from Bangladesh.