Putin says trade with Italy to exceed $30 bln in 2007

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi Greeting Russian President Vladimir Putin


Trade turnover between Russia and Italy this year is likely to exceed last year's figure of $30 billion, the Russian president said on Thursday during talks with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. "The scale of our cooperation is such that we always have something to talk about," Vladimir Putin said. "This year we will probably surpass last year's trade turnover record." Putin said Russia's economy is open to European partners, which is confirmed by the acquisition of Russian gas and electric power assets by Italian companies Enel and Eni S.p.A. He said, however, that cooperation with Italy is not limited to energy: "Our relations are quite diverse, involving the power industry, high technology, space, and aviation." Gazprom is currently in talks with oil and gas giant Eni and Italian electricity giant Enel on an asset swap, through which the state-controlled Russian energy giant could gain power generating assets from both firms. The Italian companies each own 20% in Gazprom Neft, Gazprom's oil production arm.

Gazprom and Eni agreed on Thursday to create a joint venture to develop a feasibility study for a gas pipeline to run under the Black Sea from Russia to the European Union. The document was signed in the Kremlin by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Eni President Paolo Scaroni in the presence of Putin and Prodi. Gazprom and Eni agreed in June to build the South Stream pipeline, which will deliver 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually via Bulgaria to Austria, Slovenia and Italy. Putin told journalists after his meeting with Prodi that he and the Italian premier believe trade and economic cooperation is developing successfully. The president highlighted joint work in creating the Superjet-100 aircraft, and the possibility of jointly building infrastructure for the 2014 Olympic Games in the Russian southern resort city of Sochi.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/business/20071122/89198902.html

Russia, Italy Agree to Build Gas Pipeline to Europe

Russia, supplier of a quarter of Europe's gas, signed a pipeline agreement with Italy today that will give the Kremlin more control over the continent's energy market. OAO Gazprom, Russia's gas exporter, and Italy's Eni SpA agreed to form the operating company for a 10 billion-euro ($14.8 billion) link from Russia to Europe via the Black Sea. The deal was signed in the Kremlin during Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi's visit with President Vladimir Putin, Gazprom said in an e-mailed statement. "We're using this opportunity to get a political blessing,'' Eni Chief Executive Officer Paolo Scaroni told reporters. "Pipelines in general, and South Stream in particular, are such a significant infrastructure investment that they raise political attention.'' Gazprom and Eni will each own half of the new company, which will hammer out the technical details of constructing the 900- kilometer (560-mile) South Stream pipeline, Scaroni said. The company will be formed by Jan. 15, 2008, and start deliveries in 2013, Gazprom said in the statement. South Stream will be Russia's second underwater gas link to the European Union that bypasses Ukraine and Belarus, through which most of Gazprom's exports flow, after the Nord Stream pipeline is built under the Baltic Sea to Germany. The two projects will enable Russia to boost shipments to Europe by more than 50 percent as early as 2013.

More Partners

Running under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, South Stream will cost ``more than 10 billion euros,'' Scaroni said. The operator will be registered in Switzerland or the Netherlands. Gazprom and Eni already have Blue Stream, which moves Russian gas across the Black Sea to Turkey. This year Gazprom plans to transport 10 billion cubic meters of gas via Blue Stream, up from 7 billion in 2006, according to the statement. The operating company may take on more partners depending on which countries the pipeline crosses on its way to western Europe, Scaroni said. In Bulgaria, the pipeline will split into a northern route going to Austria via Romania and Hungary, and a southern route crossing the Balkan peninsula to Italy. The northern route passes through the same countries as the Nabucco pipeline from Turkey to Austria, which the EU is pushing to reduce dependence on Russia. Both South Stream and Nabucco are designed to carry about 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year. "I think Europe has room for Nabucco and South Stream,'' Scaroni said. "We expect a lot of support from the EU because South Stream is a European project.'' When asked if South Stream and Nabucco could share the northern route, Scaroni said: "Why not? It's not on the agenda, but we're open to cooperation.''

Deeper Ties

South Stream is the southern link in Gazprom's strategy to boost capacity and cut reliance on transit countries. Gazprom plans to build the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany with partners E.ON AG, BASF AG and Nederlandse Gasunie NV. Eni unit Saipem SpA was contracted to build the 1,200-kilometer link in September. Together the two pipelines will have a capacity of 85 billion cubic meters, more than half of the 151 billion cubic meters Gazprom delivered to Europe in 2006. Nord Stream is scheduled to start pumping gas in 2010 and reach its full capacity of 55 billion cubic meters three years later. Gazprom cut deliveries to Ukraine briefly over a price dispute in January 2006, causing shortfalls across Europe. The Russian gas export monopoly threatened to shut off gas to Belarus on Jan. 1 this year in a similar price disagreement. Eni, Gazprom's single biggest customer in Europe, has imported Russian gas since 1974. The two companies signed a ``strategic partnership agreement'' a year ago to develop projects jointly in Russia and North Africa in return for Gazprom gaining the right to sell gas directly to Italian consumers. The companies deepened their ties this year when Eni bid for oil and gas assets owned by bankrupt OAO Yukos Oil Co., including a 20 percent stake in Gazprom's oil arm OAO Gazprom Neft. Gazprom hasn't yet exercised a call option to take control of the assets. When it does, Eni will be left with a 30 percent stake in the production assets, allowing it to book reserves of 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Scaroni said.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...vOY&refer=home

In related news:

China, Russia to build 10-mln-ton oil refinery in Tianjin

China and Russia have agreed to locate a planned oil refinery capable of processing 10 million tons a year in the northern port city of Tianjin. China's top oil firm, China National Petroleum Cooperation (CNPC), and Russia's Rosneft, have set up a joint venture in Tianjin to implement the project, which is still subject to approval by the National Development and Reform Commission. The refinery project is a concrete followup to the two companies' agreement reached in March 2006 to intensify cooperation in the oil sector. During a recent meeting with a Rosneft delegation, Tianjin's vice mayor Yang Dongliang promised to allocate quality land for the project before June. A possible site for the refinery will be the Tianjin Harbour Industrial Park, about 80 square kilometers off the Bohai Bay east of Beijing. The central government has listed Tianjin as a national base for the development of the oil industry.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/20...nt_7136919.htm

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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.