Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Europe. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Europe. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Κυριακή, Νοεμβρίου 26, 2017

Ιράν: Θα αυξήσουμε το βεληνεκές των πυραύλων μας αν η Ευρώπη απειλήσει την Τεχεράνη

Ιράν: Θα αυξήσουμε το βεληνεκές των πυραύλων μας
Ο ταξίαρχος Χοσεΐν Σαλαμί, αναπληρωτής επικεφαλής των Φρουρών της Επανάστασης του Ιράν προειδοποίησε την Ευρώπη ότι αν απειλήσει την Τεχεράνη, οι Φρουροί θα αυξήσουν το βεληνεκές των πυραύλων άνω των 2000 χιλιομέτρων, μετέδωσε χθες το ιρανικό πρακτορείο ειδήσεων Fars.

Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 05, 2017

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 03, 2016

Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 03, 2014

Bird populations across Europe declining rapidly

Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines - a staggering 421 million birds over the past 30 years - with the majority of losses from the most common species, a research shows.

The decline in bird populations can be linked to modern farming methods, deterioration of the quality of the environment and habitat fragmentation, the study noted.

Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings.


"It is very worrying that the most common species of bird are declining rapidly because it is this group of birds that people benefit from the most," said Richard Inger from the University of Exeter in Britain.

  • Birds provide multiple benefits to society. They help to control agricultural pests, are important dispersers of seeds, and scavenging species play a key role in the removal of carcasses from the environment.
The study brought together data on 144 species of European birds from thousands of individual surveys in 25 different countries.

The researchers noted that thanks to direct conservation action and legal protection in Europe, the numbers of some less common birds have risen.

The numbers of great tits, robins, blue tits and blackbirds were all shown to be increasing.

Populations of rarer species, including marsh harriers, ravens, buzzards and stone curlews have also increased in recent years.

The conservation and legal protection of all birds and their habitats in tandem are essential to reverse declines in the most common species of birds, the researchers highlighted.

"This is a warning from birds throughout Europe. It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species," concluded Richard Gregory from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in Britain.
Source: dayafterindia.com
[indian.ruvr.ru]

3/11/14

Τρίτη, Οκτωβρίου 28, 2014

EU gears up for 2030 with more emissions reductions

European Commission , Press release, Brussels, 28 October 2014:

The Commission, assisted by the European Environment Agency, today releases its annual Progress Report assessing the headway on climate action. According to latest estimates, EU greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 fell by 1.8% compared to 2012 and reached the lowest levels since 1990. So not only is the EU well on track to reach the 2020 target, it is also well on track to overachieve it.

The Progress Report also for the first time provides data on the use of fiscal revenues from auctioning allowances in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS). This new source of revenues for Member States amounted to € 3.6 billion in 2013. From this, around € 3 billion will be used for climate and energy related purposes - significantly more than the 50% level recommended in the EU ETS Directive.
EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: "Delivering on 2020 climate goals shows that Europe is ready to step up its act. And better, still: it shows that the EU is delivering substantial cuts. The policies work. Therefore, the EU leaders last week decided to continue the ambition and reach at least 40% by 2030. This will require significant investments. That's why it is encouraging that Member States have decided to use most of their current ETS revenues to invest in climate and energy and continue the transformation to a low-carbon economy."
These revenues complement the funds from the EU's NER 300 programme which is devoting €2.1 billion to support 39 large-scale demonstration projects for low carbon technologies around Europe.

Background
The Kyoto and EU 2020 Progress Report is an annual report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. It is based on the data reported by Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation. The Report provides information about the progress made by the European Union and its Member States towards their greenhouse gas emissions targets. The decrease in emissions of 1.8% in 2013 compared to 2012 implies that total EU emissions are around 19% below 1990.
Since 2013 auctioning is the default method of allocating allowances within the EU ETS. Auction revenues accrue to Member States. The EU ETS Directive stipulates that at least half of the revenues from the auctioning of allowances should be used to combat climate change in the EU or other countries. 

Most countries have used these investments in fields like energy efficiency, renewables or sustainable transport. For instance, France, the Czech Republic and Lithuania use all their auctioning revenues in projects to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain use most of their revenues to develop renewable energy. Poland uses most of its revenues that are dedicated to climate change in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy. In Germany, most of the revenues are directed to a specific climate and energy fund, which supports a wide range of projects including research and sustainable transport. The UK focusses in particular on energy efficiency, renewables, research and financial assistance to low income households in relation to energy expenses. The reported amounts represent only a proportion of total climate and energy related spending in Member States' budgets. 
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-1202_en.htm?locale=en
28/10/14
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Τετάρτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 17, 2014

Miller: Gazprom Maintains Steady Daily Supply of Gas to Europe

MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom maintains stable daily deliveries of natural gas to European customers in line with contractual obligations, the company's CEO Alexei Miller said Wednesday.

During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Miller said that claims of some of the Western customers of periodical reductions in supplies could be referred only to additional volumes.


Miller also said that Gazprom would be able to satisfy the growing demand for Russian gas on Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets without hurting contractual deliveries to Europe.

"We are ready to satisfy the growing demand in Chinese direction, in eastern direction and in the European Union," Miller said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan wrote a letter to the European Commission, saying that the country's energy security was threatened by the alleged reduction in Russian gas supplies to Slovakia, which launched reversed deliveries to Ukraine earlier this month.

On September 11, Slovakia's electricity and gas supplier SPP claimed it was receiving only 90 percent of Russian gas transited through the Ukrainian territory. On the same day, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said the company had not reduced gas deliveries to Slovakia, maintaining the supply at the regular level of 12 million cubic meters per day.

  • Poland's state-controlled oil and gas company PGNiG also claimed on September 11 that Russian gas deliveries to Poland had fallen.
In June, Russia introduced a prepayment mode of gas deliveries to Ukraine over its $5.3 billion debt and warned that it could reduce gas supplies to Europe should Kiev siphon off gas transited to Europe through its territory. On July 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, however, that Moscow would not aggravate the situation, although it saw the artificiality of reverse gas supplies from Europe to Ukraine.
http://en.ria.ru
17/9/14
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Weather forecasts predict colder winter in Europe this year

The upcoming winter in European is expected to be colder than the 2012-2013 winter, Russian federal hydrometeorology and environmental monitoring service (Rosgidromet) said on Tuesday.

“Frequent invasions of cold air with short warm spells are expected,” said Rosgidromet head, Roman Vilfand.

He said that last year’s stable cyclonic weather in the Arctic had ensured the influx of warm air from the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasts for the coming winter say that cyclones in the Arctic will be followed by anticyclones that will “pump” icy wind from the Barents and Kara Seas to Western Europe. The coldest weather is expected in February when air temperatures may drop much below average.
Winter will be also cold in European Russia, in Belarus and Ukraine.

According to Rosgidromet forecasts, the weather in western Ukraine will be colder than usual in November. Colder weather is also forecasted in the Caucasian republics. February will be the coldest winter month.
http://en.itar-tass.com/non-political/749856
16/9/14
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Κυριακή, Αυγούστου 31, 2014

Iceland issues red alert after new eruption near volcano

Iceland on Sunday raised its aviation alert over its largest volcano to the highest level of red after a new eruption nearby.

The alert entails a ban on all flights below 6,000 feet (1.8 kilometers) within a radius of 10 nautical miles (18.5 kilometer) of Bardarbunga.

"All airports are open. The area has no effect on any airports," the Civil Protection Office said in a statement.

Sunday was the third time in a week that Iceland issued a red alert for aviation due to seismic activity near Bardarbunga.


The latest eruption happened roughly in the same area of another eruption on Friday, the authorities said. Bardarbunga, in the southeast of the country, is Iceland's second-highest peak.

A major explosion at Bardarbunga, located under Europe's largest glacier, could signal a replay of the global travel chaos triggered when another Icelandic peak blew four years ago, unleashing a massive ash cloud across Europe.

Source: AFP - globaltimes.cn
31/8/14 (1/9/14)
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  • M 5.0 - ICELAND - 2014-08-31 12:01:47 UTC


Magnitude    mb 5.0
Region    ICELAND
Date time    2014-08-31 12:01:47.6 UTC
Location    64.71 N ; 17.44 W
Depth    2 km
Distances

    224 km E of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 12:01:47.6 2014-08-31
113 km S of Akureyri / pop: 16,563 / local time: 12:01:00.0 2014-08-31 

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  • M 4.6 - ICELAND - 2014-08-31 16:12:36 UTC

Magnitude    Mw 4.6
Region    ICELAND
Date time    2014-08-31 16:12:36.5 UTC
Location    64.78 N ; 17.27 W
Depth 

   15 km
Distances    234 km E of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 16:12:36.5 2014-08-31
108 km S of Akureyri / pop: 16,563 / local time: 16:12:00.0 2014-08-31 

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Κυριακή, Αυγούστου 24, 2014

Strong quakes shake Icelandic volcano

Two strong earthquakes on Sunday shook Iceland's largest volcano, which is on orange alert lowered from red one for one day amid fears of an imminent eruption, the Icelandic Met Office said.

A large explosion at the Bardarbunga volcano could signal a replay of the global travel chaos caused by the eruption of another Icelandic peak four years ago, which created a massive ash cloud across Europe.

The earthquakes were listed on the Met Office's website with intensities of 5.3 and 5.1 on the Richter scale, which makes them the strongest recorded in the region since the current seismic cycle began last week.


On Saturday, Iceland raised its alert over the Bardarbunga volcano to the highest level and closed airspace in the area, but all of Iceland's airports remained open.

Met Office official Gunnar Gudmundsson told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV that it was difficult to say whether the earthquakes indicated an increased risk of an eruption.

Police said some 300 people had been evacuated in a popular tourist area located north of the Bardarbunga volcano, which lies in southeast Iceland.

"This is quite an extensive evacuation, but it is only in the canyons themselves, not in the inhabited area," Husavi chief of police Svavar Palsson told local media.

"Most of the people were foreign tourists."

The authorities said they had decided not to evacuate residents of nearby areas, but encouraged them to be alert and have their mobile phones switched on at all times.

Police said that the ice layer in the area was between 150 and 400 meters thick.

  • Local authorities fear floods from melting ice could cause serious damage to the country's infrastructure.
Seismologists had recorded an earthquake of 4.5 on the Richter scale on Monday, when Iceland decided to raise its aviation alert to orange, the second-highest level of five.

The eruption of Eyjafjoell, a smaller volcano, in April 2010 caused travel mayhem, stranding more than 8 million people in the widest airspace shutdown since World War II.

"There's nothing we can do if we get another big eruption like that of Eyjafjoell except to interrupt air traffic in the dangerous areas," Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration spokesman Fridthor Eydal was quoted as saying earlier this week.

"It's really the only thing we can do," he said.

Iceland's most active sub-glacial volcano Grimsvotn erupted in 2011, forcing the country to temporarily shut its airspace and sparking fears of a repeat of the Eyjafjoell flight chaos.

Iceland is home to more than 100 volcanic mountains, some of which are among the most active in the world.

Sources: AFP - globaltimes.cn
24/8/14
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Σάββατο, Αυγούστου 23, 2014

Iceland issues aviation alert on volcano activity (M 4.7 - ICELAND - 2014-08-23 18:33:06 UTC.....local time: 18:33)

Iceland's Meteorological Office says a subglacial eruption is underway at the Bardarbunga volcano, which has been rattled by thousands of earthquakes over the past week.

Vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said seismic data indicates that lava from the volcano is melting ice beneath the Vatnajokull glacier. She said it was not clear when, or if, the eruption would melt the ice and send steam and ash into the air.

Minutes earlier, Iceland raised its aviation alert for the volcano to the highest level of red on Saturday, indicating an eruption that could cause “significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.” Red is the highest alert warning on a five-point scale.



Scientists had planned to fly over the glacier later Saturday to look for changes on the surface but it was not clear if that would still take place.

Authorities had evacuated several hundred people earlier this week from the highlands north of the Vatnajokull glacier as a precaution. The area is uninhabited but popular with hikers.

Iceland sits on a volcanic hot spot in the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge and eruptions have occurred frequently, triggered when the Earth's plates move and when magma from deep underground pushes its way to the surface.

A 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled. Aviation regulators since have reformed policies about flying through ash, so a new eruption would be unlikely to cause that much disruption.

Pfeffer said the amount of ash produced would depend on the thickness of the ice.

“The thicker the ice, the more water there is, the more explosive it will be and the more ash-rich the eruption will be,” she said.
(AP)

http://www.france24.com/en/20140823-iceland-issues-aviation-alert-volcano-errupts-bardarbunga/
24/8/14
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  • M 4.7 - ICELAND - 2014-08-23 18:33:06 UTC.....local time: 18:33
Magnitude    mb 4.7
Region    ICELAND
Date time    2014-08-23 18:33:06.2 UTC
Location    64.70 N ; 17.48 W
Depth    2 km
Distances    222 km E of Reykjavík, Iceland / pop: 113,906 / local time: 18:33:06.2 2014-08-23
113 km S of Akureyri / pop: 16,563 / local time: 18:33:00.0 2014-08-23 

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Τετάρτη, Αυγούστου 20, 2014

Iceland orders evacuation due to possible volcano eruption

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police (NCIP) announced on Tuesday that the authorities were evacuating the north of Vatnajokull to prepare against a possible eruption at Bardarbunga volcano in southeast Iceland.

The NCIP said in a statement that it has raised the Civil Protection level to Alert Phase as all roads leading into the area were closed, and the authorities in Husavik and Seydisfjordur were evacuating the area north of Vatnajokull.
A surveillance plane of the Icelandic Coast Guard has been ordered to monitor the volcano's situation.

This decision was a safety measure, said the statement, adding the seismic activity in Bardarbunga might lead to a volcanic eruption.

Bardarbunga volcano, located under the 800-meter-thick Vatnajokull glacier, is 225 km northeast from Reykjavik, capital of Iceland. Bardarbunga is Iceland's second highest mountain at 2,000 meters above sea level.

Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bardarbunga on Saturday morning, about 2,600 earthquakes have been detected by the earthquake monitoring network of the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO).

IMO has raised the danger level from yellow to orange, which indicates the volcano showed heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption.
If the volcano erupts, a major flood fed by melting ice from the glacier could be expected to the north, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reported.

There have been 48 eruptions in Iceland in last 100 years. The latest huge eruption happened in 2010, when the ash emission from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano forced an air travel disruption in Europe.
By AgenciesX Sources: Xinhua  -globaltimes.cn
20/8/14
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Παρασκευή, Ιουλίου 11, 2014

Security of gas supply: the role of gas developments in the Mediterranean region

European Commission, Joint Statement, Malta, 11 July 2014.
Joint statement by Günther H. Oettinger, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for energy, and Konrad Mizzi, Minister for Energy and Health of the Government of Malta:

Today, Energy Ministers from the EU, North Africa and the East Mediterranean, high officials, industry representatives and key stakeholders in the energy sector met in Malta to exchange views on how gas-related developments in the Mediterranean region can enhance security of supply in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

This discussion takes place at a critical time when the wider geopolitical events could have implications on energy security. In reaction to this, and in line with the European Council conclusions of March 2014, the European Union is putting further impetus on its supply diversification objectives. North African and Eastern Mediterranean countries are also looking to develop their economies and meet increasing domestic energy demand. 

The Participants agreed that secure, sustainable and affordable energy is a priority for all, and is a key factor for underpinning stability and prosperity in the region. They underlined the importance of regional cooperation to strengthen security of supply but also to favour regional trade at the interest of both gas producers and consumers in the EU, North Africa and the Middle East. 

The Participants underlined their general willingness to further strengthen regional energy cooperation and to support the progressive development of joint actions such as infrastructure plans, in order to support solutions that provide best alternatives with the objective of reinforcing the energy market in the Mediterranean region. This will provide real trade opportunities for producing North African and East-Mediterranean countries and consuming countries in the wider Mediterranean region and the EU.

In doing so the importance of a stable and predictable political, legal and regulatory framework was stressed, as was the importance of promoting an attractive investment environment for local and third party investors.

In order to progress on these issues, the Ministers agreed in principle to establish a 'Euro-Mediterranean Platform on Gas’ that would bring together policy makers, industrial representatives, regulators and energy stakeholders. This Platform will assist in the development of Euro-Mediterranean relations on gas issues. Its aim will be in particular to ensure greater convergence between the policies of the various countries, address upstream production challenges, promote third party upstream investments, improve the conditions for imports of oil and gas from producing countries, develop the necessary infrastructure of common interest, promote technology cooperation, examine gas pricing mechanisms, facilitate market access, cooperate on the domain of safety and security and work together on the promotion of regional energy security.
The Euro-Med gas platform would contribute to the ongoing efforts aimed at enhancing Europe's energy security and at meeting specific 2030 interconnection objectives. 

The scope of work and the operating rules of the 'Euro-Mediterranean Platform on Gas’, could be developed with the support of the "Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Énergie" (OME).
The further elaboration on the modus operandi of the platform will be discussed in the coming months with a view to establishing a fully-fledged proposal to be endorsed at the High Level Conference on "Euro-Mediterranean Energy Partnership" which will take place in Rome on 19 November 2014.
Participants discussed the possibility of this platform playing a key role in the creation of a Mediterranean Gas Hub in line with the European Energy Security Strategy (EESS).

For further information
"Security of gas supply – The role of gas developments in the Mediterranean region" conference, Malta (10-11 July 2014)..............http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-14-222_en.htm?locale=en
11/7/14
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Κυριακή, Μαΐου 04, 2014

Iran offers gas supply to Europe. - The South Pars field

Iran is ready to supply natural gas to European countries, the country's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Saturday.

"As a country that has the capacity to supply gas in large volumes, Iran is always willing to export natural gas to Europe via pipeline or in the form of liquefied natural gas," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Press TV.

The Europeans are willing to diversify their sources of energy, and Iran's offer has nothing to do with Russia's differences with Europe over Ukraine crisis, he said.


Development of different phases of South Pars gas field will allow Iran to increase its natural gas exports from the next Iranian calendar year, beginning in March 2015, Zanganeh said.

  • The South Pars or North Dome field is a natural gas condensate field located in the Persian Gulf. It is one of the world's largest gas fields, shared between Iran and Qatar.

  • The field holds an estimated 51 trillion cubic meters of in- situ natural gas and some 7.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas condensates, according to the International Energy Agency.

The gas field covers an area of 9,700 square km, of which 3,700 square km is in Iran's territorial waters called the South Pars, while the rest 6,000 square km belongs Qatar's territorial waters referred to as the North Dome.

  • Although Iran possesses one of the world's largest gas reserves, it has struggled for years to develop its oil and gas resources due to the withdrawal of foreign investors from its energy sector under Western pressure.

The European Union and the United States are in negotiations with Iran to ease oil and natural gas embargo which is part of the sanctions aiming to pressure Tehran to halt sensitive parts of its controversial nuclear program. 

 [globaltimes.cn]
4/5/14
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Πέμπτη, Απριλίου 10, 2014

Gas supplies may be affected, Putin warns Europe. -- Russia may begin requiring advance payment for natural gas from Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday sent a letter to EU leaders, expressing his "extreme concern" over Ukraine's debt for Russian gas and warning them that supplies to Europe may be affected, his spokesman said.

"Indeed, such a letter signed by Putin was today delivered to heads of state of Eastern and Western Europe through diplomatic channels," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the state RIA Novosti news agency.

"Putin expresses extreme concern over the critical situation around Ukraine's debt and supplies of Russian gas related to it," Peskov said.


  • The letter, sent after a government meeting on Wednesday, contains a number of proposals on how to settle the situation, Peskov said.

"The proposals are aimed at taking urgent measures, since (a solution to) the situation cannot be delayed," he said, declining to be more specific.

The Interfax news agency, citing Peskov, said Putin had proposed "dialogue mechanisms to urgently discuss the situation."

"The complicated situation indeed may negatively affect the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine," Peskov was quoted as saying.

  • Putin on Wednesday warned that Russia may begin requiring advance payment for natural gas from Ukraine, which has accrued $2.2 billion in unpaid energy bills, according to Russian natural gas giant Gazprom.

He added that it was "strange" that EU countries, while supporting the new authorities in Kiev "are doing nothing to support Ukraine."

"This situation cannot last indefinitely," he has said. Earlier this month, Gazprom announced it was raising the price of gas exports to Ukraine by more than a third, scrapping a previous discount amid soaring political tensions between the two ex-Soviet countries.

Ukraine now has to pay $485 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres of gas, the highest price of any of Gazprom's clients in Europe.

End-of-the-year haggling over energy prices has become a familiar problem in ties between Russia and Ukraine, with Moscow cutting natural gas to Ukraine and disrupting transit supplies to Europe in the past.

Ukraine maintains that Russia is punishing Ukraine for its Western ambitions and has threatened to take Moscow to court. 

[indiatimes.com]
10/4/14
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  • The full text of the letter, published on Tuesday:
Ukraine’s economy in the past several months has been plummeting. Its industrial and construction sectors have also been declining sharply. Its budget deficit is mounting. The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable. The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine’s economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment.
Russia and the EU member states are Ukraine’s major trading partners. Proceeding from this, at the Russia-EU Summit at the end of January, we came to an agreement with our European partners to hold consultations on the subject of developing Ukraine’s economy, bearing in mind the interests of Ukraine and our countries while forming integration alliances with Ukraine’s participation. However, all attempts on Russia’s part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results.
Instead of consultations, we hear appeals to lower contractual prices on Russian natural gas – prices which are allegedly of a “political” nature. One gets the impression that the European partners want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine’s economic crisis. Right from day one of Ukraine’s existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices. In January 2009, with the participation of the then-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, a purchase-and-sale contract on supplying natural gas for the period of 2009-2019 was signed. That contract regulated questions concerning the delivery of and payment for the product, and it also provided guarantees for its uninterrupted transit through the territory of Ukraine. What is more, Russia has been fulfilling the contract according to the letter and spirit of the document. Incidentally, Ukrainian Minister of Fuel and Energy at that time was Yury Prodan, who today holds a similar post in Kiev’s government. The total volume of natural gas delivered to Ukraine as was stipulated in that contract during the period of 2009-2014 (first quarter) stands at 147.2 billion cubic meters. Here, I would like to emphasize that the price formula that had been set down in the contract had NOT been altered since that moment. And Ukraine, right up till August 2013, made regular payments for the natural gas in accordance with that formula. However, the fact that after signing that contract, Russia granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas is quite another matter. This applies to the discount stemming from the 2010 Kharkov Agreement, which was provided as advance payment for the future lease payments for the presence of the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet after 2017. This also refers to discounts on the prices for natural gas purchased by Ukraine’s chemical companies. This also concerns the discount granted in December 2013 for the duration of three months due to the critical state of Ukraine’s economy. Beginning with 2009, the sum total of these discounts stands at 17 billion US dollars. To this, we should add another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine. In this manner, during the past four years Russia has been subsidizing Ukraine’s economy by offering slashed natural gas prices worth 35.4 billion US dollars. In addition, in December 2013, Russia granted Ukraine a loan of 3 billion US dollars. These very significant sums were directed towards maintaining the stability and creditability of the Ukrainian economy and preservation of jobs. No other country provided such support except Russia. What about the European partners? Instead of offering Ukraine real support, there is talk about a declaration of intent. There are only promises that are not backed up by any real actions. The European Union is using Ukraine’s economy as a source of raw foodstuffs, metal and mineral resources, and at the same time, as a market for selling its highly-processed ready-made commodities (machine engineering and chemicals), thereby creating a deficit in Ukraine’s trade balance amounting to more than 10 billion US dollars. This comes to almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s overall deficit for 2013. To a large extent, the crisis in Ukraine’s economy has been precipitated by the unbalanced trade with the EU member states, and this, in turn has had a sharply negative impact on Ukraine’s fulfillment of its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia. Gazprom has no intentions except for those stipulated in the 2009 contract, nor does it plan to set any additional conditions. This also concerns the contractual price for natural gas, which is calculated in strict accordance with the agreed formula. However, Russia cannot and should not unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine’s economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts, and in fact, using these subsidies to cover Ukraine’s deficit in its trade with the EU member states. The debt of NAK Naftogaz Ukraine for delivered gas has been growing monthly this year. In November-December 2013 this debt stood at 1.451,5 billion US dollars; in February 2014 it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars. Here I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in March there was still a discount price applied, i.e., 268.5 US dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. And even at that price, Ukraine did not pay a single dollar. In such conditions, in accordance with Articles 5.15, 5.8 and 5.3 of the contract, Gazprom is compelled to switch over to advance payment for gas deliveries, and in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, will completely or partially cease gas deliveries. In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery. Undoubtedly, this is an extreme measure. We fully realize that this increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers. We also realize that this may make it difficult for Ukraine to accumulate sufficient gas reserves for use in the autumn and winter period. In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine’s underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars. However, the fact that our European partners have unilaterally withdrawn from the concerted efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and even from holding consultations with the Russian side, leaves Russia no alternative. There can be only one way out of the situation that has developed. We believe it is vital to hold, without delay, consultations at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy in order to work out concerted actions to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and to ensure delivery and transit of Russian natural gas in accordance with the terms and conditions set down in the contract. We must lose no time in beginning to coordinate concrete steps. It is towards this end that we appeal to our European partners. It goes without saying that Russia is prepared to participate in the effort to stabilize and restore Ukraine’s economy. However, not in a unilateral way, but on equal conditions with our European partners. It is also essential to take into account the actual investments, contributions and expenditures that Russia has shouldered by itself alone for such a long time in supporting Ukraine. As we see it, only such an approach would be fair and balanced, and only such an approach can lead to success.


*The letter is addressed to the leaders of 18 countries: Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, ***F.Y.R.O.M., Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria and Italy.MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) 
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 ***[GREECE recognized this country with the name "FYROM"]

[UN  resolution A/RES/47/225 of 8 April 1993]
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Δευτέρα, Απριλίου 07, 2014

Ukraine continues Russian gas transit to Europe

“If Russia transports gas to Europe via Ukraine, the gas transport system will work effectively,” Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister says...

Ukraine’s top diplomat has said the country will not block Russian gas transit to Europe.
“If Russia transports gas to Europe via Ukraine, the gas transport system will work effectively,” Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Monday.

Commenting on the future of properties in Crimea, he said, “Courts have recognised the deals invalid. I believe that those who plan to buy property in Crimea should think twice. Any actions regarding property sales have been banned.”


“It will be difficult to get the money back money. I would advise everybody not to hurry,” Andrii Deshchytsia said.
[itar-tass.com]
7/4/14
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Παρασκευή, Απριλίου 04, 2014

Ukraine eyes coal after Russian gas price hike.

Ukraine's Western-backed leaders scrambled on Friday to find new sources of energy after Russia hiked its gas price by 80 percent in response to the overthrow of Kiev's pro-Kremlin regime.
      
The crisis-hit nation saw the amount it must pay for 1,000 cubic metres of blue fuel soar to $485.50 from $268.50 after Russia imposed two price increases in three days that reflected its deep displeasure with the ex-Soviet nation's new westward course.
      
Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan called Russia's new price "political" and vowed to explore solutions that included a heavier reliance on coal -- a polluting source of energy whose consumption has imperilled the air quality of nations such as China.

      
"We are now reviewing our electricity and fuel balance for 2014 with a view of using as much domestic coal as possible at the expense of natural gas," Prodan told a cabinet meeting in comments posted on the government website.
      
Ukraine has relied on coal throughout much of the past century despite efforts by global institutions such as the World Bank to help Kiev phase out its use following independence from Moscow.
      
The International Energy Agency estimates that coal accounts for about 30 percent of Ukraine's total energy supply compared to the 40 percent of the balance assumed by natural gas.
      

The nation of 46 million on the EU's eastern frontier is rich in resources but still imports about 30 percent of its needs due to inefficiencies and heavy state subsidies to both households and industries...........[hurriyetdailynews.com]
4/4/14
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Τετάρτη, Απριλίου 02, 2014

Europe’s economic and financial outlook and its social impact, growth and banking sector issues on the agenda of the Informal ECOFIN meeting

The two-day informal meeting of the ECOFIN, as well as the 13. Joint ECOFIN / FEMIP Ministerial Meeting, organized by the Geek Presidency in Athens on 1-2 April had a full agenda and Ministers were able to exchange views on a number of key issues affecting Europe’s economy and financial situation.
In particular, Europe’s social problems and their implications for economic growth were discussed, based on a research and policy paper presented by Bruegel, which confirms the link between poverty and unemployment on the one hand and economic growth on the other. There was a fruitful discussion on how fiscal sustainability is negatively affected by social problems, as well as on concrete measures to be taken to address persistent unemployment and social insecurity, which constitute a major problem for the EU.

In conjunction with Central Bank Governors of Member States, Ministers discussed the economic outlook, growth prospects and financial stability in the EU. The discussions highlighted that the macro-economic situation is improving, but that complacency should be avoided. Sustainable growth, growth that tackles unemployment and social challenges will continue to depend on growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and structural reforms.
Furthermore, a very fruitful and constructive discussion and exchange of views took place based on the Commission Communication on long term financing of the economy (adopted on 27 March) and on the High-Level Experts Group (HLEG) Report on SME and Infrastructure financing of 11 December 2013. In this context, Ministers took stock of public and private initiatives at national level to improve access to capital markets, in light of the HLEG final recommendations and examined outstanding issues and public responses both at EU and national levels.
As far as the Preparation of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings and the G20 Finance Ministers Meeting on 10-11 April in Washington is concerned, the EU Terms of Reference were endorsed along with the International Monetary and Finance Committee (IMFC) Statement, which focuses on the economic situation and outlook, policy challenges to strengthening economic recovery in the European Union, progress in financial regulation, and specifically IMF policy issues.
On the issue of banking structural reform, Ministers had the opportunity to hear a comprehensive presentation by the Commission on its proposal on banking structural measures improving the resilience of EU credit institutions. This was the first opportunity for Ministers to listen to the Commission, as well as to the Chair of the High-level Expert Group on Bank Structural Reform, Erkki Liikanen. Before kick-starting the regular legislative work, the Presidency deemed it useful to have an exchange of information and views on this very innovative legislative proposal. A close examination of the legislative initiative will be starting under the Greek Presidency, with meetings planned at working party level, but the work will definitely go well beyond the current semester.
There was also an exchange of views about the state of play on the implementation of the Single Supervisory Mechanism, on the basis of an update by the Chair of the ECB's Supervisory Board, Ms Danièle Nouy. The ECB is now steering Phase II of the Asset Quality Review. This AQR exercise will be crucial to deliver a thorough assessment of the degree of soundness of our banking system, especially within the SSM. For that purpose, stress tests will be an essential complement to the AQR. The detailed methodology for the stress tests will be published only later this month.
All in all, there was a good exchange on the SSM implementation, and there was a strong interest in following-up on this exchange when we may take stock of further major developments later in the year.
Ministers had a sort of “stock-taking” exchange on the EU’s Banking Union and on the Single Resolution Mechanism in particular, mainly on the way forward following the agreement reached by the Greek Presidency on this key file.
Moreover, interesting and fruitful discussions took place at the 13th Joint ECOFIN / FEMIP Ministerial Meeting, co-chaired by ECOFIN President, Yannis Stournaras, and Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, in presence of EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive. Discussions focused on the challenges and levers for sustainable growth and the new strategy of the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the Mediterranean: “Roadmap 2020”. Fostering growth and job creation, especially for young people, was a key aspect.
At the press conference, following the conclusion of the two days’ sessions, ECOFIN President Yannis Stournaras highlighted also recent provisional political agreements reached by the Greek Presidency on the Payments Account Directive (PAD) and on the Regulation on Key Information Documents - Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products (KID - PRIIPs):
“The agreement on Payments Account Directive (PAD) is an important milestone for the deepening of the internal market and the reinforcement of competition in the financial services to the benefit of consumers”, he said.
On the KID - PRIIPs agreement, Minister Stournaras noted that it enhances investor confidence and protection: “We expect that this new approach of consumer-friendly rules on standards for information about these products will contribute to restoring confidence of investors in the markets, which we consider essential for ensuring sustainable economic growth in the coming years”.

In his overall assessment of the Informal Eurogroup and ECOFIN Meetings in Athens, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras stated:
“I am very pleased. We had very interesting discussions on the economic and financial situation, as well as on the financing of the SMEs”, the backbone of the European economy.
[gr2014.eu]
2/4/14

Τρίτη, Μαρτίου 11, 2014

Bulgaria plans gas pipeline to Turkey. -Approximately 114 kilometers

A Bulgarian delegation will pay a visit to Turkey to discuss a gas pipeline plan between parties that would diversify natural gas resources.

An announcement from the Bulgarian authorities in the Turkish capital of Ankara said a group of experts, along with representatives of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and Energy, will soon negotiate a gas pipeline connection between the two countries.

Bulgarian ministry officials announced their full support for the project and urged for a swift timetable in undertaking the project.



  • The planned pipeline between Bulgaria and Turkey will be approximately 114 kilometers in length and is due to be completed in two years.

Bulgaria currently receives 90 percent of gas from Russia and the country is concerned the recent events in Ukraine may disrupt the flow of gas through the pipelines.

  • Last month, Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev and Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız announced the planned pipeline would play an important role in the diversification of gas supplies.

  • Russia currently supplies 25 percent of Europe’s gas imports and many European countries rely almost entirely on Moscow for their imported gas.
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/bulgaria-plans-gas-pipeline-to-turkey------.aspx?pageID=238&nID=63464&NewsCatID=348
11/3/14
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