Archive for the ‘prices’ Category

Russia, Gazprom and the European Gas & Oil Mess

January 6, 2009

Russia sharply cut gas flows to Europe via Ukraine on Tuesday in a dramatic worsening of a pricing dispute with Kiev that threatened to disrupt supplies as far west as Italy and Germany.

Russian export monopoly Gazprom said it supplied some 65 million cubic meters (mcm) to Europe on Tuesday through ex-Soviet neighbor Ukraine, a fall of 78 percent from the 300 mcm it had been shipping since the dispute erupted on January 1.

Reuters

The European Union, dependent on Russia for a quarter of its gas, urged Moscow and Kiev to find a solution this week and German Economy Minister Michael Glos said it was very important the two sides began negotiations.

The head of Ukraine’s state energy firm said he would fly to Moscow on Thursday. Gazprom said it was ready to talk any time but did not expect Ukraine to return to the talks table for now.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090106/ts_nm
/us_russia_ukraine_gas

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By GEORGE JAHN and MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writers

The RussiaUkraine natural gas dispute hit Europe with the force of a winter storm Tuesday, cutting or limiting supplies to nearly a dozen nations. Tens of thousands of people were left without heat and governments scrambled to find alternate energy sources.

Shocked by how fast the shortages were spreading, the European Union demanded a quick end to the dispute — a sharp turnaround from their earlier stance, when officials had downplayed the conflict between Moscow and Kiev as primarily a business matter.

But by Tuesday evening, gauges on delivery pipelines to six countries — including some depending totally on Russian gas — were pointing toward zero and an increasing number of other nations reported significant reductions.

The Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz said Russia’s gas giant Gazprom had sharply reduced its shipments to Europe through pipelines crossing Ukraine, triggering the cuts.

Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey all reported a halt in gas shipments, and even France, Germany, Austria and Poland reported substantial drops in supplies from Russia.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090106/ap_on_
bi_ge/eu_ukraine_russia_gas

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What Is Gazprom?

Gazprom is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of natural gas — and Russia’s most powerful company.
It controls 20 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves and operates the world’s largest gas distribution network — approximately 157,000 kilometers of pipelines covering an area from Europe to the Far East, according to its Web site.

Gazprom exports energy to 32 countries and provides around 25 percent of the European Union’s gas supplies.

Last month it reported an 85 percent increase in net profits to $20.8 billion for the first six months of 2008. In 2007 it reported annual profits totaling nearly $61 billion. In 2008 the Financial Times placed it fourth on its list of the world’s top 500 corporations, as ranked by market capitalization.

CNN

Formed in 1989 to replace the Soviet Ministry of the Gas Industry, Gazprom is closely tied to the Russian government, which owns a controlling 50 percent stake in the company. Current Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is a former Gazprom chairman.

In recent years, an increasingly confident Moscow has used Gazprom to assert its authority over Russia’s former sphere of influence by offering heavily subsidized gas to ex-Soviet countries such as Ukraine and Belarus.

But that policy has led to disputes as Gazprom has then sought to raise prices.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/0
1/06/gazprom.profile/index.html?section=cnn_latest

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Obama’s Stimulus: Pray for a Miracle This Christmas and Beyond

December 24, 2008

Barack Obama’s economic stimulus will have to work wonders to even make a dent in this lousy economy. The rate of existing home sales plunged a record 8.6% in November.  Unemployment is getting higher, shops are closing, the Christmas retail season may turn out to be a disaster, the auto unions will fight to preserve their pay even if that means bankruptcy for their industry and….  Well, you know the rest.

But Barack “The One” Obama has hired Pastor Rick Warren to pray at the inauguration and his prayer better be a good one….

In this  Saturday Dec. 20, 2008, file photo, Evangelical Pastor ... 
Rick Warren: Looking to heaven and to the economic numbers…
(AP Photo/Hector Mata, File)

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Will The Obama Stimulus Work fast Enough?

By JEANNINE AVERSA and ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writers

President-elect Barack Obama‘s plan for economic revival puts a big emphasis on public works projects. It also would rely on tax cuts.

But with the nation bruised by recession, with hundreds of thousands of jobs vanishing monthly, Obama’s plan raises an urgent question: Will his remedies work fast enough?

The answer won’t be clear for months or longer. In the meantime, pressure on the Obama team to deliver help quickly is intensifying.

At least as designed, the Obama plan, like a calibrated drug regimen, aims to deliver both short- and long-term relief.

The short-term help would flow partly from tax cuts of $1,000 for couples and $500 for individuals, costing about $140 billion over 2009-2010. The Obama team, said two congressional Democratic aides familiar with the discussions, will likely deliver those tax cuts by reducing the tax withheld from paychecks.

This would put more money in paychecks, unlike the lump-sum rebates issued earlier this year. Many people used those rebates to pay down debt, rather than spending them as the administration had hoped.

In addition, states would get up to $200 billion over two years for Medicaid health coverage for the poor and to narrow state budget gaps, which are forcing layoffs and cuts in services. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the evolving plan.

Also in the short term, the nation’s governors are pushing a wish list of $136 billion in jobs-producing public works projects — chiefly road and bridge repairs — that they say are ready to go.

But even if they are, the Obama administration faces a much harder task, too: creating jobs that won’t disappear once a bridge is fixed. What’s needed are millions of permanent jobs that would put legions of laid-off people back to work for years to come.

It’s too soon to know whether many of the 2.5 million jobs the president-elect has said he intends to “save or create” within his first two years would become permanent. And with economic signs worsening, Obama wants to raise the goal to 3 million jobs, a presidential transition official said.

Related:
Will Obama Help? Labor Seeks to Renegotiate Auto Bailout

Obama’s Stimulus Plan Compared to other Government Programs

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081224/ap_
on_bi_ge/obama_economic_revival

OPEC Could Make Biggest Production Cut Ever This Week To Raise Prices

December 15, 2008

OPEC ministers could make their deepest oil supply cut ever when they meet on Wednesday to combat shrinking demand, bulging stocks and a $100 collapse in prices.

By Barbara Lewis and William Maclean
Reuters

File photo shows the OPEC logo in Vienna, Austria. OPEC Secretary ...

For many in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd) must be removed to keep up with a slump in consumption that has knocked two-thirds off prices since July.

“We have to act — we see a very sizeable reduction,” OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri told reporters on his arrival on Monday in this western Algerian city.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil agreed.

“Everybody is supporting a cut — I don’t have any doubt about it.”

Oil rigs extract petroleum in the Los Angeles area community ... 
Oil rigs extract petroleum in the Los Angeles area community of Culver City, California. World oil prices have rebounded on expectations that crude exporters’ cartel OPEC will cut production at a key meeting in Algeria this week, dealers said.(AFP/Getty Images/File/David McNew)

Benchmark U.S. crude rose more than $2 a barrel toward $49 in early trade — still far from the “fair” price of $75 a barrel identified by Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, at the end of November.

After slashing a combined two million barrels daily, 7.3 percent of its output at two previous meetings, OPEC was on course to chop at least another five percent off a world market that burns 86 million barrels of oil each day.

Saudi Arabia, had yet to make public comment on its position, but OPEC chief Khelil said Riyadh had already cut back in anticipation of further supply curbs.

Read the rest:
http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/081215/business_us_opec.html?.v=1

Oil Prices Soar as Russia Announces Output Cut

December 12, 2008

Crude oil prices jumped more than 10 percent Thursday after Russia said it was ready to join forces with OPEC and cut output.

Traders shrugged off a forecast of the first decline in oil demand in 25 years, instead anticipating joint efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia to slash production in an effort to bolster prices.

Oil rigs extract petroleum in the Los Angeles area community ... 
Oil rigs extract petroleum in the Los Angeles area community of Culver City, California. Crude oil prices jumped more than 10 percent Thursday after Russia said it was ready to join forces with OPEC and cut output.(AFP/Getty Images/File/David McNew)

Light sweet crude for delivery in January closed at 47.98 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a gain of 4.46 dollars, or 10.25 percent, from Wednesday’s close.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for January jumped 4.99 dollars, or 11.77 percent, to settle at 47.39 dollars a barrel on the InterContinental Exchange.

AFP

After the benchmark New York contract closed Friday at a four-year low of 40.50 dollars, the market has increasingly focus on next week’s OPEC meeting in Oran, Algeria.

Russia is ready to join forces with OPEC to stem the plunge in crude prices and could even become part of the oil cartel if membership were in Moscow’s interests, Russia President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.

“Our partners, colleagues from the oil club (OPEC) are asking us to have a coordinated policy and whoever I meet, they are asking quite actively,” he said in remarks broadcast on state television.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081211/bs_afp
/commoditiesenergyoilprice_081211214936