May's top stories: US exports boost and GE pushes on with fracking

Rosneft announces big money move for local gas company Itera, US announces major LNG terminal expansion, GE pushes on with fracking research and India re-opens peace pipeline discussions. Hydrocarbons-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from May 2013.


Hydrocarbons

Rosneft plans to acquire Itera gas firm for $3bn

Rosneft

Russia-based state-controlled oil company Rosneft is planning to acquire local gas firm Itera for $3bn, in a bid to strengthen its presence and challenge Gazprom's industry dominance.

Rosneft, which already holds a 51% interest in Itera, is also planning to buy the remaining 49% stake in the gas firm.

Rosneft and Itera plan to produce 13bn cubic metres (bcm) of gas in 2013, equal to two percent of Russia's total output, through a joint venture formed in 2012.

GE to invest billions to improve fracking

GE

US-based multinational conglomerate GE is planning to invest billions of dollars to improve fracking.

The company said it will open a new laboratory in Oklahoma, US, and buy related science companies in the hopes that cutting-edge technology reduces the environmental and health effects of fracking, as well as improving its efficiency.

GE, which doesn't drill any wells or produce oil or gas, expects the complexities and techniques involved with the fracking boom to play to its strengths as a company.

Gazprom Neft to upgrade Moscow refinery in Russia for $1.5bn

Russia

Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft said that it will invest RUB50bn ($1.5bn) to upgrade its Moscow oil refinery between 2013 and 2015.

As part of a mid-term investment programme, the company will upgrade the facility to implement large-scale project, improve quality of petroleum products, increase the oil conversion rate, enhance energy efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.

Gazprom will commission a light naphtha isomerisation unit and a catalytic cracking gasoline hydrotreatment unit in 2013, alongside completing the reconstruction of the second stage of the LCh-24-2000 diesel fuel hydrotreatment unit.

US Government approves $10bn LNG export facility in Texas

US Government

The US Government has given its approval for a $10bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Texas, to export LNG to countries which do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US.

The facility is expected to start export operations in 2017 and has to clear approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The US energy department said that it has conditionally authorised Freeport LNG Expansion and FLNG Liquefaction companies to export LNG.

UK indicates support for EU to import Canadian tar sands

European Union

Leaked reports seen by The Guardian show that the UK has rejected a proposal in European Union (EU) negotiations to classify oil from tar sands as highly polluting, giving a strong indication that it wants to allow European countries to import carbon-intensive tar sands oil from Canada.

Classifying tar sands as highly polluting would put off EU countries from importing it.

The reports have been released by Greenpeace as Department for Transport Minister Norman Baker plans to meet former Nasa climate scientist Jim Hansen in London, reported the Guardian.

Exxon Mobil, Qatar Petroleum sign agreement to transport LNG to UK

Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum

US-based Exxon Mobil and Qatar Petroleum have signed an agreement to transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Britain.

Under the agreement, the companies will transport 15.6 million tonnes of LNG each year to the South Hook terminal in Wales from the Golden Pass plant in Texas, US, reported Reuters.

In the UK, natural gas stocks dropped to low levels during a long winter, leading to hike in prices and demand for a better supply system.

India to resume Peace pipeline discussions with Iran

Indian Government

The Indian Government has expressed its willingness to resume discussions over the extension of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, also known as the Peace Pipeline.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was quoted by Press TV as saying that India was ready to participate in the project.

Khurshid made the announcement after a meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's senior adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati on 4 May.

Regency Energy completes acquisition of Southern Union Gathering

Regency Energy Partners

US-based Regency Energy Partners has completed the acquisition of Southern Union Gathering Company from Southern Union Company for about $1.5bn.

Southern Union Gathering Company is the owner of Southern Union Gas Services (SUGS), while Southern Union Company is an affiliate of Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) and Energy Transfer Partners.

SUGS's assets comprises 5,600-mile gathering system and about 500 million cubic feet per day of processing and treating facilities in west Texas and New Mexico for natural gas and natural gas liquids.

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