Sunday, August 9, 2020

Economy Ministry News

Germany Lifts Offshore Wind Capacity Target to 20 GW by 2030

Illustration - Image by Tim HvW/AdobeStock

The German government, coastal states, and maritime authority BSH have agreed an offshore wind industry deal raising the new expansion target to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 from currently 15 GW, the economy ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The long-awaited move, which also involved the onshore transmission grid firms 50Hertz, Amprion, and TenneT, came after energy ministers of the states met last week and since then put the finishing touches to negotiations, it said.

Brazil, Petrobras Paving Way for Giant Tender

(Photo: Petrobras)

Brazil's government will announce "within days" a deal with state-run oil company Petrobras to settle a multi-billion-dollar contract dispute and clear the way to auction billions of barrels of oil off of the Brazilian coast, a minister said on Monday.Economy Minister Paulo Guedes told journalists that his team sat down recently with officials at the Mines and Energy Ministry, and that "the deal is done."Reuters reported earlier on Monday that Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as it is formally known, and the government had "practically agreed" on the size of a multi-billion-dollar payment to Petrobras to settle the fight…

Brazil Likely to Pay Petrobras $10 Bln

(Photo: Petrobras)

The Brazilian government is likely to pay around $10 billion to state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA to settle the so-called 'transfer-of-rights' dispute, newspaper Valor Economico reported on Tuesday, though the parties have not agreed on final terms.The financial daily, citing a source with knowledge of the matter, said the payment was a reduction from a previous proposal of $14 billion. Valor in January had reported that the government had agreed on the higher figure, but the government subsequently denied the report.The two sides are close to an agreement…

New Petrobras Chief Wants to Oust Board Members

Roberto Castello Branco (Photo: Petrobras)

The new chief executive of Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA is pushing for the ouster of two of the state-controlled oil company's board members, three people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.Roberto Castello Branco is seeking the resignation of two Petrobras board members, Segen Estefen and Durval Soledade, whose mandates were only supposed to end in 2020. Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico was first to report that Castello Branco was pushing for their exit.The people, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter…

Dutch Government to Slow Gas Production at Small Fields

© Rudmer Zwerver / Adobe Stock

The Netherlands will slow down production at smaller natural gas fields in coming years and halt the search for new fields on land as extraction from the vast Groningen field is phased out, the Dutch government said on Wednesday.The government decided in March to wind down output at the Groningen field, once Europe's largest gas field, by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce the danger caused by small but damaging earthquakes.The Economy Ministry said on Wednesday that production from the country's…

Tax Change Could Boost Russian Oil Output

© ping han / Adobe Stock

The Russian energy ministry has proposed changes to a draft oil production law that it says could boost production by around 900,000 tonnes per year, First Deputy Energy Minister Alexei Texler said on Wednesday.Debate about the law has dragged on for years, as the Finance Ministry expressed concerns the changes could reduce state revenues.Oilfields, especially in West Siberia, have become increasingly depleted and the new tax regime is seen as an incentive to produce more oil in a country which…

Netherlands to Halt Gas Production at Groningen by 2030

Photo: NLOG

The Dutch government said on Thursday it will phase out gas production at the Groningen field, once Europe's largest, by 2030 as part of efforts to reduce the danger caused by small but damaging earthquakes. Production is set for 21.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year, already down from a peak of 53.8 bcm in 2013, following a series of cuts as decades of extraction have led to dozens of earthquakes each year, damaging thousands of homes and buildings. "Our intention is (to cut production) to get towards 12 bcm in the coming four or five years…

Russian Economy Ministry Submits Rosneft Privatization Proposals

Russia's Economy Ministry has submitted to the government its proposals on the privatization of a stake in the nation's largest oil producer Rosneft , Interfax news agency cited a ministry official as saying on Tuesday. He didn't provide any details.     (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin)

French Unions Walk Out of Nuclear Sector Meeting with Minister

Several French trade unions walked out of a meeting with the economy minister on the nuclear sector on Monday, saying they did not want their participation used as a cover to sanction decisions such as on EDF's Hinkley Point project in Britain. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron was expected to meet the energy branch of the trade unions to discuss the overhaul of the French nuclear sector which has been in turmoil since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The unions, worried that heavily indebted state-controlled utility EDF is taking on too much…

Technip, FMC Target Oil Services 'Big League' with Merger Deal

France's Technip on Thursday announced an all-stock merger with U.S. rival FMC Technologies, as it seeks to offset weaker spending on exploration and production by cash-strapped oil companies. The new group, to be domiciled in London, would have combined revenue of $20 billion and the merger is expected to deliver annual pretax savings of at least $400 million by 2019, as well as boost earnings per share significantly, the companies said in a statement. Lower energy prices are driving consolidation in the oil services sector, hit by an oil supply glut that has been weighing on exploration and production.

EDF secures Finance Ahead of Hinkley Point Decision

Nuclear Courtesy EDF

French utility EDF has secured a new government-backed multi billion-euro financing package ahead of making the final investment decision on its Hinkley Point nuclear power plant project in Britain. Without mentioning the 18 billion-pound (23 billion euros) British project, EDF said on Friday that following a review of long-term financing requirements, its board had decided to issue 4 billion euros worth of shares "by the closure of the 2016 accounts". In addition, it said it will offer to pay dividends on 2016 and 2017 profits in shares.

Russian Minister Proposes Withdrawing Stake in Bashneft

Alexei Ulyukayev (Photo: Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation)

Russia's economy ministry is proposing cutting the state's stake in mid-sized oil company Bashneft to zero as part of a privatisation process, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told reporters on Tuesday. He added that the economy ministry was choosing between offering 18.9 percent and 10.9 percent stakes in diamond miner Alrosa, and that a sale via the Moscow stock exchange was possible, though other options were not excluded. The state owns 43.9 percent of Alrosa via the state property agency and a further 33 percent via the Republic of Sakha.

Russia Considers Drastic Steps to Plug Finances Hit by Tumbling Oil

Russia is running out of options to plug a yawning hole in its budget - and steps unthinkable before oil prices began to plunge 20 months ago are now being considered. Two senior financial officials told Reuters that authorities were discussing the possibility of calculating rouble rate levels against the dollar that could compensate for some budget losses caused by tumbling oil export revenues by preventing the rouble from strengthening too much. They did not say authorities would attempt to publicly set such a rate…

Montenegro Awards 30-year Oil Concessions to Eni, Novatek

The Montenegrin government awarded 30-year concessions for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic sea to Italy's Eni and Russian No. 2 gas firm Novatek consortia, an economy ministry's spokeswoman said on Thursday.   The concessions for four blocks have been awarded in line with the terms of a 2014 tender, pending parliamentary approval, she said. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic)

RWE to Shift 1.5 GW of Capacity to Germany's New Coal Reserve

German utility RWE will shift power plants capable of generating 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to the country's coal-fired reserve between 2017 and 2019, a spokeswoman for RWE said on Friday. Germany in July abandoned plans for a levy on coal-fired power plants and instead decided to pay companies to shift power capacity to a coal-fired reserve to safeguard its 2020 carbon-reduction targets. In total, some 2.7 gigawatts of power generation from brown coal, equivalent to the output from five power plants, will be closed but retained as reserve power in case of emergency.

German Nuclear Operators can meet Reactor After-life Costs

Courtesy World Nuclear Assocation

Germany's four nuclear operators said on Saturday they felt vindicated by the results of a government study that found provisions set aside to fund decommissioning of reactors were sufficient, after there had been doubts about the size of funds. The companies said that their accounting methods had been confirmed as correct and that provisions to deal with the costs of decommissioning and dealing with final waste were high by international comparisons. "In view of this unequivocal finding, speculation about a possible need for higher provisions has no basis in fact," they said in a joint statement.

German Official: Green Energy, Not Nuclear Way to Go

Green energy is cheap in the long run and clean compared to "dirty" coal and costly nuclear power, a senior German energy official said on the sidelines of a Cape Town conference, at a time when South Africa plans to expand atomic power generation. President Jacob Zuma's government is developing an energy mix that will boost power generation in Africa's most advanced economy which has been hit by electricity shortages and reduce its reliance on mostly coal generated energy. "If you want to have expensive electricity you buy nuclear generators…

Gazprom Jan-Aug Gas Output Falls

Russia's top gas producer Gazprom said its total gas output fell by 10.9 percent in January-August to 258.8 billion cubic metres, Economy Ministry said on Tuesday. It also said that other domestic producers have increased output at the same time. Reporting by Lidia Kelly

Investors Shun German Utilities on Nuclear Clean-Up

Investors are dumping shares in Germany's utilities, worried that the struggling firms might need to raise more capital to pay for the shutdown of their nuclear reactors, a plan that some estimates say could cost up to 70 billion euros ($79 billion). Concerns over the level of nuclear provisions sent shares in E.ON and RWE into a fresh tailspin earlier this week, even prompting a government denial that described as "irresponsible" any speculation about further funding needs. Their market capitalisation has halved over 2015 and now stands at a combined 22 billion euros…

Germany Denies Report on Coal Plant Agreement

Germany denied on Friday a report saying taxpayers might have to pay the country's utility companies more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to cover the cost of closing some coal-fired power plants. Weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported that German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel had reached such a deal with Peter Altmaier, Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, and Michael Vassiliadis, head of the IG BCE coal union. The magazine did not cite any sources. "The agreement mentioned in the report does not exist," a government spokesman said in an emailed statement.