Tag Archives: energy

No damage at nuclear plant construction after major quakes in SE Türkiye – Report.

Türkiye’s first nuclear power plant (NPP), now under construction in the country’s south, suffered no damage from the earthquakes that jolted the region on Monday morning, officials said.

“Our experts did not detect any damage to the buildings, equipment or cranes in the field. Construction and assembly work continues,” said Anastasia Zoteeva, head of the Akkuyu Nuclear project company, adding that the earthquake was felt at a magnitude of approximately 3 in the region in Mersin, where the plant is being built.

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According to Zoteeva, state civil defense and emergency protection units are cooperating with the plant’s emergency units and are preparing to send equipment and personnel to the region.

The 7.7 magnitude quake struck at 4.17 a.m. (1:17 a.m. GMT) in Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaraş, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), affecting neighboring provinces, leaving over 1,500 dead and more than 9,000 injured.

Akkuyu on Türkiye’s Mediterranean coast will be the country’s first nuclear-powered power plant. The plant, expected to have an installed capacity of 4,800 megawatts and four reactors, is set to begin producing power later this year


Türkiye signs ten year natural gas deal with Oman: Energy chief.

Türkiye has signed a natural gas purchase agreement with Oman that will be valid for the next 10 years, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez announced Monday.

A delegation from the Turkish state energy company BOTAŞ visited Oman for the agreement that will see Türkiye buying an annual 1.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Oman, Dönmez told an event in Istanbul.

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The agreement with Oman also includes an opportunity to be extended further if needed, Dönmez told the Summit of Century of Türkiye in Energy.

“At a time when the world, especially Europe, is suffering from gas supply problems, Türkiye is taking all steps to become a gas trade center,” he said.

Türkiye is almost entirely dependent on imports to cover its energy needs, which leaves it vulnerable to rising costs that skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Domestic demand has increased since the pandemic.

It imports gas mainly from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, as well as liquified natural gas (LNG) from Qatar, the United States, Nigeria and Algeria.

International gas markets were upended after Russia, a significant gas producer, invaded Ukraine in February last year. Many countries, including those in the European Union, responded with sanctions on Russian exports, while Russia has also cut off supplies to Europe via pipelines.

Black Sea gas
Meanwhile, Türkiye is set to start pumping the natural gas it discovered in the Black Sea into the national grid by the end of March. It has gradually discovered about 710 bcm of natural gas since August 2020, which is estimated to have a market value of $1 trillion (TL 18.81 trillion).

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Dönmez said the current reserve is enough to meet a 30-year demand of Türkiye, a figure he suggested could increase as the country expands its hydrocarbon explorations.

About 10 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day is expected to be transferred in the initial phase, while the infrastructure has been set up to enable this figure to peak at 40 mcm through 2026.

“The first phase of Black Sea gas will come into operation towards the end of March, and we will be able to meet one-quarter of our gas needs at full capacity production from here,” Dönmez noted.

“This means that Türkiye’s gas imports will have decreased by one quarter.”

Türkiye’s annual gas consumption rose from 48 bcm in 2020 to a record 60 bcm in 2021. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said she was expected to stand at around 53.5 bcm in 2022.

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Earlier estimates had put the figure at up to 63 bcm, but the power generated from renewable resources this year drove the gas consumption downward.

Gas hub target
Dönmez also declared that Türkiye’s third floating liquefied natural gas storage and regasification unit (FSRU) is projected to arrive in Türkiye within a week and that the ship has taken its first cargo and started sailing.

The ship will serve at the Saros FSRU terminal, which will also give the country the flexibility to carry out LNG transport, especially during the summer season when the demand to pump gas into the system is low.

“With the Saros FSRU, we will add a new entry point to the Thrace region, where consumption is high. More importantly, we will become a more active player in the regional gas trade, especially in the Balkans, in line with our gas hub target,” Dönmez suggested.

The first step, he said, was taken with Bulgaria in this context, as the agreement includes an annual gas supply of approximately 1.5 bcm to Bulgaria until 2035, corresponding to 30% of the country’s annual gas consumption.

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The agreement between Bulgaria’s state gas company Bulgargaz and BOTAŞ, signed earlier this month, will give Bulgaria access to Türkiye’s gas network and LNG terminals to help bring in supplies.

“In addition to Bulgaria, we are carrying out similar processes with North Macedonia, Romania, and Moldova,” Dönmez said.

In October, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin proposed setting up a gas hub in Türkiye following explosions that damaged Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Putin suggested developing transshipment and exchange terminals for Russian gas, potentially making Turkey a significant center for sales of Russian gas to third countries.

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Erdoğan backed the idea and the two countries instructed authorities to work on a roadmap, which is expected to be announced soon.

Summit of gas buyers, sellers
Dönmez also said Türkiye would hold a natural gas summit on Feb. 14-15 to bring together gas supplier countries and Europe’s consumer countries in Istanbul.

“We will bring together supplier countries from the Middle East, Mediterranean, Caspian and Middle Asia with consumer countries from Europe,” the minister noted.

Türkiye has the infrastructure and experience in gas trade and authorities are taking steps for it to be a hub where regional benchmark prices are set, Dönmez said.

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“Our target is to bring together supplier and consumer countries and become the gas-trading center where the benchmark price of gas is set,” he added.

Along with the energy ministers, the summit is expected to host high-level representatives of public institutions and organizations, the private sector, and international energy organizations.

The event will discuss the effects of global developments on the energy sector, changes in supply and demand and pricing, and global supply security issues, Dönmez concluded

Italy, Libya signs $8bn gas deal upon Meloni’s visit.

Libya’s Tripoli-based government’s prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah and Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni signed an $8 billion gas agreement during the latter’s visit on Saturday.

Meloni held talks with Dbeibah in the capital Tripoli before they attended the signing of the deal.

The head of Italy’s energy company Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC), Farhat Bengdara, signed the agreement to develop two Libyan offshore gas fields.

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Eni said that it aims to increase gas production to supply the Libyan market and for European exports.

Last weekend, Italy expanded its partnership with Algeria in the search for alternatives to Russian oil and gas, with Meloni flying to Algiers.

Meloni arrived in Tripoli accompanied by the interior and foreign ministers. Both sides discussed trade, energy, and migration across the Mediterranean.

Meloni, the leader of the radical right-wing Brothers of Italy party, has been calling for Rome and the European Union to work more closely with Libya to stop migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

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Libya has been in turmoil since long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011. Human traffickers are taking advantage of the chaos and political instability in the country.

Since March last year, an administration in Libya’s east backed by putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar – who has been close to Russia and Egypt – has challenged the government of Prime Minister Dbeibah, arguing it has outlived its mandate

SERAP Drags Buhari To Court Over Electricity Tariff Hike.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over the hike in electricity tariff.

This was confirmed in a statement on Sunday by the group’s Deputy Director, Kolawale Oluwadare.

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Joined in the suit as Respondents are the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC.

The group’s action comes after NERC approval to Electricity Distribution Companies to increase tariffs.

The case, with suit number FHC/L/CS/99/2023 was filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Lagos.

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SERAP told the court to “compel President Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly investigate the spending of public funds as investments and bailouts to DisCos and GenCos since 2005.”

Nigerians have witnessed incessant electricity tariff hike since Buhari’s government resumed office in 2015 without an improved power supply

Germany inaugurates floating LNG terminal near Baltic Sea.

Germany’s second liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Lubmin in the north-eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was opened on Saturday in the presence of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

“We are pleased today we are taking another step toward energy security in Germany,” said Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s state premier Manuela Schwesig.

The state’s environment minister, Till Backhaus, had previously handed over the operating license to Ingo Wagner, managing director of operator Deutsche Regas.

Afterward, Scholz visited the floating terminal.

After Wilhelmshaven in Lower Saxony, where a terminal was officially opened in December, Lubmin on the Baltic coast is the second German location where an LNG terminal has started operations.


Gas has already been injected into the grid since the beginning of the week as part of a test operation.

The Lubmin site is a vital part of Germany’s strategy to turn away from Russian fossil fuels to other energy sources. Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine, Russia has stopped delivering gas via an undersea pipeline to Germany.

Germany is rapidly building up its gas import infrastructure. Within months, the two terminals now in operation were planned, approved, and built.

Another terminal in Brunsbüttel on the North Sea coast will start up shortly.

LNG is delivered by ship from several regions of the world, converted back into a gas, and fed into the gas grid. In addition to increased purchases of pipeline gas from Norway, for example, LNG is intended to replace missing Russian supplies.

The floating terminals are already deployed or planned to have a feed-in capacity of around 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, depending on local conditions.

By comparison, nearly 60 billion cubic meters came through the now-defunct Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 1 pipeline in 2021.


Germany aims to cover about one-third of its current gas demand via the floating LNG terminals in the winter of 2023-24.

While there were warnings of a gas shortage this winter, this scenario seems unlikely. Most recently, gas storage facilities in Germany were still more than 90% complete after private households and industry reduced their consumption.

According to the operator, the Lubmin terminal is Germany’s only privately financed airport. Deutsche Regas put the costs at €100 million ($108 million).

Robert Habeck, the minister for economic affairs and climate protection, had also planned to attend Lubmin on Saturday but fell ill.




Türkiye to approve climate law as soon as possible: Minister Murat Kurum.

Türkiye aims to pass its climate law in line with the zero-emissions policy with the participation of all ministries as soon as possible, the Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murat Kurum said at the Sustainable Century Summit, organized by Turkuvaz Media’s business magazine InBusiness on Friday.

The summit touched upon Türkiye’s roadmap for a sustainable future, with the participation of business representatives and officials.

Noting that urban cities are responsible for 75% of global pollution, Kurum said they aim to come up with sustainable climate policies, as he warned against geopolitical instabilities, loss of bio-diversity, irregular migration and financial and economic degeneration posing challenges.

The minister continued by saying that Türkiye will aim to ensure sustainability in the next century.

Meanwhile, Abdulkadir Bektaş, the vice-chair of the Climate Change Directorate at the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, noted that the world is heading in a new direction and Türkiye has been taking action to tackle the challenges by making 217 important decisions and finalizing its climate law.


The country has accelerated its steps in the fight against climate change with the ratification of the Paris Agreement in October 2021 when its pledge to be net zero by 2053 was confirmed.

Since then, Türkiye has worked on charting a new road map and has initiated a strategic planning process to support sustainable development, a green economy and green technologies, in line with the goals of the agreement.

The ratification of the Paris Agreement was a key step in Türkiye’s fight against climate change. It was approved by Parliament on Oct. 6, following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s announcement at the U.N. General Assembly.

The Paris Agreement, defined as “a bridge between today’s policies and climate-neutrality before the end of the 21st century,” seeks to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by stopping global average temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels over the next century and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius, if possible.




Putin bans Russian oil exports to price cap endorsers


President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning the supply of oil and oil products in response to the EU price cap from Feb. 1 for five months. (Watch Video Here)

The Group of Seven major powers, the European Union and Australia agreed this month to a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil effective from Dec. 5 over Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s decree stated: “This…comes into force on Feb. 1, 2023, and applies until July 1, 2023.” (Watch Video Here)

Crude oil exports will be banned from Feb. 1, but the date for the oil products ban will be determined by the Russian government and could be after Feb. 1.

The decree includes a clause that allows Putin to overrule the ban in special cases. (Watch Video Here)




Russia says ready to start gas flow via Yamal-Europe pipeline.


Moscow is ready to resume gas supplies to Europe through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told state Tass news agency.

“The European market remains relevant, as the gas shortage persists, and we have every opportunity to resume supplies,” Tass cited Novak as saying in remarks published by the agency on Sunday. (Watch Video Here)

“For example, the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, which was stopped for political reasons, remains unused.”

The Yamal-Europe pipeline usually flows westward but has been mostly reversed since December of 2021 as Poland turned away from buying from Russia in favor of drawing on stored gas in Germany.

In May, Warsaw terminated its agreement with Russia, after earlier rejecting Moscow’s demand that it (Watch Video Here) pays in rubles.

Russian supplier Gazprom responded by cutting off supply and also said it could no longer export gas via Poland after Moscow imposed sanctions against the firm that owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline.

Novak also reiterated that Moscow is discussing additional gas supplies through Türkiye after the creation of a hub there. (Watch Video Here)

He also said that Moscow expects it will have shipped 21 billion cubic meters (bcm) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe in 2022.

“This year we could significantly increase LNG supplies to Europe,” Novak said. “In the 11 months of 2022, they increased to 19.4 bcm, by the end of the year 21 bcm are expected.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Tass, parts of which have been published throughout the (Watch Video Here) weekend, Novak also said that Russia has agreed with Azerbaijan to increase gas supplies for its domestic consumption.

“In the future, when they increase gas production, we will be able to discuss swaps,” he said.

Moscow is also discussing higher supplies of its gas to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, he said.

Novak also said that in the long term, Russia can send its natural gas to the markets of Afghanistan and Pakistan, either using the infrastructure of Central Asia or in a swap from the territory of Iran. (Watch Video Here)




Türkiye discovers additional 58 bcm of gas reserves in Black Sea.


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the Fatih drilling vessel discovered an additional 58 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves at a depth of 3,023 meters at Çaycuma 1 block off the Black Sea.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting of the year in the capital Ankara on Monday, the President said that the new discovery would significantly contribute to the country’s energy independence. (Watch Video Here)

He noted that Türkiye’s natural gas reserves in the Black Sea totals 710 bcm, with a market value of $1 trillion.

“Türkiye’s ultimate goal is to declare energy independence from foreign oil and natural gas as soon as possible,” the President said. He continued by saying that the new discovery would further extend to nearby fields and that Türkiye would soon embark upon new drilling activities.

“We are determined to ensure that Türkiye becomes the center of energy in the Caspian and Mediterranean Sea regions, and the Middle East,” he said, (Watch Video Here) adding that the country would also be a link between the East and the West with its energy bridges.

Ankara aims to start pumping the gas to the national grid in 2023, the centennial of the founding of modern Türkiye, with sustained plateau production starting in 2027-2028.

Türkiye currently has two seismic research ships, the Oruç Reis and the Barbaros Hayrettin Paşa, and three drillships: Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz operating. The three drilling vessels are expected to soon join hands and operate simultaneously in the Black Sea to expedite tasks of utilizing the natural gas discovered in the region. (Watch Video Here)

In 2022, the country drilled 94 exploration wells and 56 production wells. In 2023, according to previous statements from the Energy Minister, the country will have a total of 207 wells with 134 exploration and 73 production centers.

Stepping up with energy infrastructure investments, Türkiye’s future energy roadmap includes diversifying the sources as well as benefiting from its own reserves in the Black Sea.

According to plans, Türkiye wants to decrease foreign dependency on energy, which is 71% as of 2021, to under 50% in the next 10 years and to 13% in 2053. (Watch Video Here)




Obasanjo, Atiku wasted $16bn on power, punished me for being in opposition – Tinubu


Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice, Atiku Abubakar of spending $16.5 billion on the nation’s power sector without any results.

Tinubu said Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, confirmed it himself that the money was spent on electricity between 1999 and 2007.

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Recall with Noble Reporters Media that Tinubu was the Lagos State governor during the eight years rule of Obasanjo and Atiku.

While he was answering questions at a town hall meeting held in Calabar, capital of Cross River on Tuesday, the APC candidate maintained that PDP under Obasanjo and Atiku failed to provide electricity for Nigerians, urging Nigerians not to vote for the party in 2023.

“Power is the biggest human discovery in the last 1000 years. Tell me what you can do without power. That is why the so-called PDP must never come back. They spent 16.5 (billion) dollars some years back, Obasanjo and Atiku.




“Atiku said it with his mouth that they collected our money from even local governments, states and others, but they didn’t know what they did with it. They could not provide a kilowatt to roast a corn. What they have forgotten is that the colonial masters left a transmission line for us in a centralised form,” he said.

Tinubu alleged that he was punished by Obasanjo and Atiku for bringing power to Lagos because he was not a member of the PDP.

“I brought power for Lagos State, instead of embracing intellect and good idea, they (Obasanjo and Atiku) punished me for it because I was in the opposition.

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“Never again should you give them any opportunity for power. We gave them opportunity, they balkanized the power, balkanized the transmission. They didn’t know it is a highway for evacuation of electricity, they didn’t know it should be maintained, they didn’t know it should be decentralized. Generation, they balkanized it, shared it among their friends; distribution, no metre, they give you estimated billing. Reject them. Any government under PDP is a curse,” Tinubu said angrily


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ECOWAS reaffirms commitment to sustainable energy.


The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring sustainable energy across ECOWAS member states by 2030.


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Francis Simpore, ECREE executive director, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during the closing ceremony of the seventh edition of ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum 2022.

“Our strategic objective is to integrate the operation of the community’s national power grids into a unified regional electricity market to ensure a stable, regular, and reliable supply of competitively priced electricity to the citizens of the ECOWAS member states in the medium term,” stated Mr Simpore.

He added, “The ECOWAS Commission specialised energy agency, together with key stakeholders like ministry of power, among others, are working tirelessly to address challenges of power. We plan to achieve this objective by promoting and developing power generation and transmission facilities and equipment and coordinating electricity trade among the ECOWAS member states.”

The ECOWAS official further mentioned that the ECREE “is also working on improving” energy access for the ECOWAS rural population and actively promoting the deployment of off-grid energy solutions, such as clean energy mini-grids and stand-alone technologies.

“To this end, several regional projects are at the stage of implementation within the region. We aim to have an access consolidated rate of 70 per cent by 2030,” Mr Simpore said.


IAEA: World, in it’s first global energy crisis.


Tightening markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide and major oil producers cutting supply have put the world in the middle of “the first truly global energy crisis,” the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

Rising imports of LNG to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis and a potential rebound in Chinese appetite for the fuel will tighten the market as only 20 billion cubic meters (bcm) of new LNG capacity will come to market next year, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the Singapore International Energy Week.

At the same time the recent decision by the OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, to cut 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of output is a “risky” decision as the IEA sees global oil demand growth of close to 2 million bpd this year, Birol said.

“(It is) especially risky as several economies around the world are on the brink of a recession, if that we are talking about the global recession … I found this decision really unfortunate,” he said.

Soaring global prices across a number of energy sources, including oil, natural gas and coal, are hammering consumers at the same time they are already dealing with rising food and services inflation. The high prices and possibility of rationing are potentially hazardous to European consumers as they prepare to enter the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Europe may make it through this winter, though somewhat battered, if the weather remains mild, Birol said.

“Unless we will have an extremely cold and long winter, unless there will be any surprises in terms of what we have seen, for example NordStream pipeline explosion, Europe should go through this winter with some economic and social bruises,” he added.

For oil, consumption is expected to grow by 1.7 million bpd in 2023 so the world will still need Russian oil to meet demand, Birol said.


G-7 nations have proposed a mechanism that would allow emerging nations to buy Russian oil but at lower prices to cap Moscow’s revenues in the wake of the Ukraine war.

Birol said the scheme still has many details to iron out and will require the buy-in of major oil importing nations.

A U.S. Treasury official told Reuters last week that it is not unreasonable to believe that up to 80% to 90% of Russian oil will continue to flow outside the price cap mechanism if Moscow seeks to flout it.

“I think this is good because the world still needs Russian oil to flow into the market for now. An 80%-90% is good and encouraging level in order to meet the demand,” Birol said.

While there is still a huge volume of strategic oil reserves that can be tapped during a supply disruption, another release is not currently on the agenda, he added.

Renewables growth
The energy crisis could be a turning point for accelerating clean sources and for forming a sustainable and secured energy system, Birol said.

“Energy security is the number one driver (of the energy transition),” said Birol, as countries see energy technologies and renewables as a solution.

The IEA has revised up the forecast of renewable power capacity growth in 2022 to a 20% year-on-year increase from 8% previously, with close to 400 gigawatts of renewable capacity being added this year.

Many countries in Europe and elsewhere are accelerating the installation of renewable capacity by cutting the permitting and licensing processes to replace the Russian gas, Birol said.

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TurkStream pipeline has serious potential for expansion: Kremlin.


The Kremlin has said that the TurkStream gas pipeline is one of the world’s biggest gas transport systems and has serious potential for expansion.

“Türkiye is currently one of the largest recipients of Russian gas, and we are now connected with Türkiye by one of the largest gas pipeline systems, TurkStream, which has serious potential for expansion if necessary,” spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

Peskov’s remarks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month floated the idea of exporting more gas via the TurkStream running beneath the Black Sea to Türkiye, touting the country as the best route for redirecting gas supplies to the European Union after the Nord Stream pipeline leaks.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said both countries would immediately start work on Putin’s proposal to turn Türkiye into a new supply “hub” and that there would be “no waiting.”

The Turkish president said the Thrace region, bordering Greece and Bulgaria, appeared to be the best spot.

Carrying natural gas from Russia to Türkiye and further into Europe, the TurkStream was formally launched in January 2020. The pipeline, which allows Moscow to bypass Ukraine as a transit route to Europe, carries Russian gas to Southern Europe through the Black Sea and Türkiye.

It has an annual capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) and consists of two 930-kilometer offshore lines and two separate onshore lines that are 142 kilometers (88.2 miles) and 70 kilometers long.

The first line with a capacity of 15.75 bcm is designated for supplies to Türkiye’s domestic customers. The downlink to Türkiye carries gas to several European countries, including Serbia and Hungary.

Peskov said matters of energy cooperation were controlled at the highest level between the two countries and that there were also constant contacts at the working level.

Noting that Putin and Erdoğan have both expressed interest in building a gas hub in Türkiye, Peskov said the details of the project were being worked out.

An important part of the issue is related to the sale of gas, with the future of the project to become clear once it is settled, he said.

A day earlier, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said Türkiye would finalize its road map by the end of the year in a bid to realize its long-standing aim to operate as a gas hub.

Speaking to reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Monday, Dönmez said the country already has the infrastructure to contribute to this goal, including seven natural gas pipelines, five LNG facilities, three of which are floating storage and gasification units (FSRU), and two underground gas storage facilities.

Given what he said was Türkiye’s unique location straddling Europe and Asia, the minister said he believes the country is well positioned to bridge the gap between supplier and customer, providing much to both.

Peskov noted that European countries may hold different positions on the possibility of purchasing Russian gas through a hub in Türkiye.


Türkiye’s independent stance
On Russia-Türkiye relations, Peskov said Ankara had its own, independent position on world affairs, different from that of the West, and remains open to mediating between Moscow and Kyiv as it follows its national interests in trade and economic relations with Russia.

“Türkiye has not joined the sanctions of the collective West, and in this regard (Ankara’s position) compares favorably both for the Turkish people themselves and from the point of view of our bilateral relations,” he said.

NATO member Türkiye has close ties with both Russia and Ukraine and has sought to balance relations through the war. It has criticized Moscow’s invasion and provided Ukraine with arms, including drones, which significantly deterred a Russian advance early in the conflict.

Ankara refuses to join the West in imposing sanctions on Russia and has also cited its reliance on Russian energy supplies.

Western governments have raised concerns over Türkiye’s decision not to participate in sanctions on Russia – a stance Ankara says has helped its mediation efforts reap some results.

Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati defended Türkiye’s economic relations with Russia and dismissed Western concerns that Türkiye was helping Moscow circumvent sanctions.

Nebati insisted the economic ties between the two countries were “legal” and described them as “good neighborly relations.”

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Türkiye: Not right for US to pressure Saudi Arabia over oil output.


It is not right for the United States to pressure Saudi Arabia after the Riyadh-led OPEC+ alliance announced oil production cuts despite Washington’s objections, Türkiye’s top diplomat said Friday.

“We see that a country has threatened Saudi Arabia, especially recently. This bullying is not correct,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a news conference in southern Türkiye.

President Joe Biden said last week that “there will be consequences” for U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia after OPEC+ announced it would cut its oil output target.

OPEC+, which includes Russia as well as Saudi Arabia, earlier this month said it would cut production by 2 million barrels a day as of November.


The move comes even though fuel markets remain tight, with inventories in major economies at lower levels than when OPEC cut output in the past.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has said the OPEC+ decision was purely economic and was taken unanimously by its member states.

“We don’t think it’s right for the U.S. to use it as an element of pressure on Saudi Arabia or any other country in this way,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Oil importer Türkiye and Saudi Arabia have this year moved to mend ties following a decade of tension, which escalated especially after the 2018 murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul Consulate.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Saudi Arabia in April, the first high-level visit in years. His trip was followed by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) trip to Türkiye in June.

Türkiye as new gas hub meets interests of Moscow, Ankara: Peskov.


Creating a gas hub in Türkiye would meet the interests of both Moscow and Ankara, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow, Peskov noted that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan supported the idea and gave instructions to immediately start consultations.

“This initiative, in fact, is in the interests of both Moscow and Ankara. Therefore, now all the nuances will be worked out,” he said.

Peskov added that TurkStream is a well-working gas system, as for building the hub, a lot of questions should be resolved before making a final decision about its construction.

Turning to the accident with Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea, Peskov said Russia is bumping into a wall, trying to find out the truth about what happened.

He said Moscow is making intense diplomatic efforts in contact with Denmark, Germany and Sweden but sees unwillingness to interact and to get to the truth together.

Peskov said the truth about the Nord Streams accident “will surely surprise many in these European countries if it is established and made public.”

“As for possible performers, our considerations and our preliminary assumptions are well-known. We cannot have any new data at the moment, because we are deprived of the opportunity to take part in the investigation of this act of sabotage. Neither the Germans, nor the Swedes, nor the Danes share information with us,” he said.


Turning to the situation in Ukraine, Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin has always been open to peace talks, but the position of the Ukrainian side has changed, it has made it law, the impossibility of peace talks with Russia.

About the faults in the process of Russia’s partial mobilization, Peskov said “the lessons are learned” and the situation is improving.

The spokesperson also said Putin is monitoring how the mobilization is being carried out.

As for the date of the end of mobilization, Peskov said he does not know yet.

Asked about the resignation of U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss, Peskov said it is Great Britain’s internal affairs, and that he does not expect any changes in London’s policy on Russia.

“It is not necessary to expect any epiphany and some political wisdom from anyone in the countries of the collective West, including the U.K. Especially in the U.K., where people do not actually choose the current chief executive, he appears as a result of any party shake-up,” he said.

About the Russians arrested in Germany and Italy at the U.S. request, Peskov said Russian diplomats will do everything for the defense of their interests.

“Of course, we are categorically against and condemn the practice of such arrests of Russian citizens,” he stressed.

Buhari regime blames political saboteurs for power outages.


The epileptic power supply being experienced across the country in recent times is caused by system disturbances and disruptions and not because of national grid collapse as being insinuated in some quarters, Minister of State for Power Goddy Jedy Agba, has said.

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Mr Agba said this on Thursday in Abuja at the investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Power.

The investigation was sequel to perceived recurrent national grid collapse leading to incessant power outages.

The minister told the committee that there had not been a single system collapse in 2022.

He stressed that power disruptions being experienced were caused either by human, equipment or political factors.

He said blackouts experienced in September in particular were acts of sabotage.

He said that in September, there was a blackout nationwide for a short while and some youths were seen on social media switching off the system.

“That was not a system collapse. That was deliberate vandalism. In fact, it was sabotage.

“How can young men go and switch off light thereby putting the nation in blackout just because of some grudges,’’ he queried.

Mr Agba said the blackout arose from a trade union matter in the power supply structure and that he was already handling the situation.

In his submissions at the hearing, Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Sule Abdul’aziz, said total system disturbances declined between 2017 and 2021.

He said that there had been significant and sustained improvement in grid stability with every passing year.

Also at the hearing, Dr Joy Ogaji, Executive Secretary, Association of Power Generation Companies, attributed the problem to obsolete infrastructure and excessive volatile load.

She said another reason for incessant outages was weak transmission infrastructure, adding that most of the equipment are over 25 years old.

The instability and unavailability of most transmission lines are other problems, she said.

She attributed noticeable improvement in power supply to the fact that generation companies’ machines were now being used to manage the grid, contrary to the grid code provision.

She added that 97 per cent of the time, the grid was on high frequencies.

Responding, Rep Sada Soli (APC-Katsina) expressed dissatisfaction at the explanations given by the respondents.

He emphasised that none of the submissions made suggested how to solve the problems in the power sector.

In another response, Rep Magaji Aliyu, Chairman of the committee, said it would constitute a technical committee to compile a report and make recommendations to prevent future power outages.





Putin suggests major gas hub in Türkiye with Nord Stream supplies


Russia could redirect supplies intended for the damaged Nord Stream pipeline to the Black Sea to create a major European gas hub in Türkiye, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

An investigation is underway into explosions last month that ruptured the Russian-built Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea.

Addressing a Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow, Putin said it was possible to repair the pipelines but that Russia and Europe should decide their fate.

“We could move the lost volumes along the Nord Streams along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region and thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Türkiye, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Türkiye,” Putin said.

“That is, of course, if our partners are interested in this. And economic feasibility, of course.”

Putin’s call for a gas hub in Türkiye was echoed by Alexei Miller, head of Russian state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom.

Miller said the hub could be set up on the European Union border with Türkiye.

Putin again charged that the U.S. was likely behind the explosions that ripped through both links of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and one of the two links of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, causing a massive gas leak and taking them out of service.

Three of the Nord Stream pipelines are damaged. That leaves only one line of Nord Stream 2, which has an annual capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters, functional.

Putin said that Russian gas could still be supplied to Europe through one remaining intact part of the Nord Stream 2 but the ball was now in the EU’s court on whether it wanted that to happen.

Miller said that the damaged Nord Stream pipelines would take at least a year and that Russia had still not been granted access to the area of damage.

One of the two links of the Nord Stream 2 has remained pressurized and appears to be ready for service, Putin said. He noted that if checks prove that the pipeline is safe to operate, Russia stands ready to use it to pump gas to Europe.

“It is possible to repair gas pipelines running along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, but this will only make sense if they are further economically justified,” he said, adding that the security of the pipeline would have to be ensured.

“And there is one branch of the Nord Stream-2, apparently which survived,” Putin said. “Russia is ready to start such deliveries, the ball, as they say, is in the court of the European Union.”

The pipelines, which have become a flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis, have been leaking gas into the Baltic Sea off the coast of Denmark and Sweden.

The U.S. has previously rejected similar allegations by Putin. Several European governments said the undersea explosions were likely caused by sabotage that Moscow quickly sought to pin on the West, suggesting the United States stood to gain.

The Russian leader has repeatedly taunted the West by raising the prospect of sending gas through Nord Stream 2, a political nonstarter for the German government and others.

Reaffirming a claim that he made last week, Putin on Wednesday said that the attack on the pipelines was launched by those who wanted to weaken Europe by halting the flow of cheap gas from Russia.

“The act of sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 is an act of international terrorism aimed at undermining energy security of the entire continent by blocking supplies of cheap energy,” he said, alleging that the U.S. wants to force Europe to switch to importing more expensive liquefied natural gas.

“Those who want to rupture ties between Russia and the EU are behind the acts of sabotage on the Nord Stream,” he said.

While Russia is still pumping gas to Europe via Ukraine, the explosions on the Baltic pipelines have exacerbated the acute energy shortages faced by Europe before the winter season.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has never brought natural gas to Europe because Germany prevented the flows from ever starting just before Russia launched military action in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Before the explosions, Russia had cut off the parallel Nord Stream 1 pipeline at the center of an energy standoff with Europe. Russia has blamed technical problems for the stoppage, but European leaders call it an attempt to divide them over their support for Ukraine.

Plunging Russian gas supplies have caused prices to soar, driving inflation, pressuring governments to help ease the pain of sky-high energy bills for households and businesses and raising fears of rationing and recession.

Putin again scoffed at Western plans to cap prices for Russian energy exports, saying that “Russia won’t act against common sense and pay the other’s welfare.”

“We won’t supply energy to the countries that would cap the prices,” he said. “I would like to warn those, who instead of business partnership and market mechanisms try to use con tricks and blunt blackmail, that we won’t do anything to our own detriment.”




Putin’s proposal for gas hub in Türkiye should be discussed: Energy chief.


Türkiye’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Wednesday that it was too early to comment on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for a European gas hub in Türkiye but added that the issue should be discussed.

Speaking at the Russia Energy Week conference in Moscow, both Putin and Gazprom head Alexei Miller suggested creating a gas hub in Türkiye.

Putin said that Russia could redirect supplies intended for the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea to create the hub in Türkiye, or even use the one intact part of Nord Stream 2 to supply the European Union.

“We could move the lost volumes from the Nord Streams along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea region and thus make the main routes for the supply of our fuel, our natural gas to Europe through Türkiye, creating the largest gas hub for Europe in Türkiye,” Putin said.

Dönmez said it was the first time he had heard of the proposal, adding that it was too early to make an assessment.

“It is the first time we heard of the issue of supplying Europe through alternate routes, mentioned by President Putin in his speech. Therefore it is too early to make an assessment,” he said.

“These kinds of international projects need feasibility assessments … commercial aspects need to be discussed. These are things that need to be discussed,” Dönmez added.

NATO member Türkiye has close relations with both Ukraine and Russia and has sought to balance ties during the conflict in Ukraine, rejecting Western sanctions on Moscow while criticizing Russia for what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine and supplying Kyiv with armed drones.

Along with the United Nations, Türkiye brokered the July deal to unlock Ukrainian grain exports from its Black Sea ports in what remains the only significant diplomatic breakthrough in the seven-month conflict.

Ankara’s relations with Russia are complex, with the two countries cooperating closely on energy supplies while being at odds over Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.




Gazprom says Russian gas deliveries to EU down 48% this year.


Russian natural gas deliveries to European Union countries have dropped by 48% so far this year, with the decline totaling 49% if the United Kingdom is included, Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to cut off all energy supplies to the European Union if the bloc imposes a price cap on Russian gas, raising the risk of rationing in some of the world’s richest countries this winter.

Speaking at an annual economic forum in the far-eastern port city of Vladivostok, Putin scoffed at the EU plans for a cap on Russian oil and gas prices as a “stupid” idea that “will only lead to a hike in prices.”

“An attempt to limit prices by administrative means is just ravings, it’s sheer nonsense,” Putin said. “If they try to implement that dumb decision, it will entail nothing good for those who will make it.”

He warned that such a move by the EU would represent a clear breach of the existing contracts, saying that Russia could respond by turning off the faucets.

The Russian leader charged that Russia will easily find enough customers in Asia to shift its energy exports away from Europe. “The demand is so high on global markets that we won’t have any problem selling it,” he said.

European power costs have surged in the last year, driven by record gas prices as Russia curbed supply to Europe.

European governments have accused Moscow of using energy as “blackmail,” in retaliation for Western support for Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. Gazprom has blamed the cuts on Western sanctions and technical issues.




EU split over capping Russian gas price amid ‘energy war’.


A European Union proposal to cap the price its member countries pay for Russian gas did not receive broad support from energy ministers on Friday, diplomats said, as they met to work out steps to shield citizens and businesses from sky-high energy bills.

But ministers arriving for the emergency meeting indicated broad backing for moves to prevent power providers from being crushed by a liquidity crunch and several said it was urgent to decouple the price of gas from other cheaper energy sources.

Friday’s ministerial talks aimed to whittle down options for further discussion, rather than reaching a final decision on ways to tackle a crisis fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But many said agreement and action needed to be swift.

“We are in an energy war with Russia,” Czech Industry Minister Jozef Sikela said. “We have to send a clear signal that we would do whatever it takes to support our households, our economies.”


Energy bills, already surging as demand for gas recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, have rocketed higher since the Ukraine war. As Russia has reduced gas deliveries to Europe following the imposition of Western sanctions, EU governments have scrambled to limit the resulting energy price shock.

An EU proposal to cap Russian gas prices has so far failed to win support from a majority of countries, with Russia threatening to completely cut off the dwindling supplies that have continued to flow if such a step is taken.

“There was a big debate about capping the price of gas, and the Commission should come up with a proposal that will help reduce the prices of all gas, but at the same time will not jeopardize gas supplies to Europe,” one of the diplomats with knowledge of the closed-door talks told Reuters.

Baltic states are among those backing the idea, saying it would deprive Moscow of cash to fund military action in Ukraine.

“Russia has said if you want our gas, take down the sanctions. It is blackmail. We cannot back down, we have to be united, we have to have the political will to help Ukraine win,” Estonian Economic Affairs Minister Riina Sikkut said.

But central and eastern European states, many of them more reliant than others on Russian fuel, fear losing all their supplies, while some question whether a cap would have much impact on reducing prices when deliveries are so low.

“If price restrictions were to be imposed exclusively on Russian gas, that would evidently lead to an immediate cut-off in Russian gas supplies. It does not take a Nobel Prize to recognize that,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.

Market reforms
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said EU ministers should give Brussels the green light to prepare legislation to decouple the gas price from the price consumers pay for power from other energy carriers.

The European Commission this week said it would propose a measure to claw back revenues from non-gas power generators and spend the cash on cutting consumer bills.

A draft of the commission proposal, seen by Reuters, would cap at 200 euros ($201.74) per megawatt hour the revenues non-gas producers receive. It would apply to wind, nuclear and coal generators.

European power prices are typically set by gas plants, so the cap would aim to skim off excess profits made in recent months by non-gas producers that have lower running costs but have still been able to sell their power at soaring prices.

“The measures the Commission has recommended in taking some of those excess profits and recycling them back into the households makes sense,” Irish Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said.

But France, home to Europe’s biggest nuclear power fleet, questioned whether the same limit should be applied to all non-gas generators.

EU diplomats said governments broadly supported the EU’s proposal to offer emergency liquidity to power firms facing soaring collateral requirements, although the details of this have yet to be fleshed out.

Finland and Sweden have already offered billions of dollars in liquidity guarantees to power companies in a bid to prevent the cash squeeze from toppling firms.




G-7 company emissions falling short of global climate goal: Study.


Companies in the Group of Seven economies are failing to meet Paris Climate Agreement objectives, nonprofit disclosure platform CDP and global management consultancy Oliver Wyman said on Tuesday, based on current corporate pledges to cut emissions.

Under the global 2015 Paris deal, countries agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and aim to keep the rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which scientists say would avert some of its worst effects.

Across the G-7, which consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, corporate emissions targets are overall on a 2.7°C warming trajectory, CDP and Oliver Wyman analysis showed.

“It is not acceptable for any country, let alone the world’s most advanced economies, to have industries displaying so little collective ambition,” Laurent Babikian, global director of Capital Markets at CDP, said in a statement.

“Momentum is growing, but as we approach COP27, we must get our 1.5°C goal off life support,” he added.

Collective emissions of U.S. and Canadian firms are seen matching the pace of decarbonization required to restrict global warming to 2.8 degrees Celsius and 3.1 degrees Celsius, respectively, with the study stating that it is “largely the result of companies completely lacking targets, rather than targets that lack ambition.”

The study revealed that firms in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands had the most ambitious targets to lower emissions in the G-7, as they align with 2.2 degrees Celsius on average, while France is at 2.3 degrees Celsius and the United Kingdom at 2.6 degrees Celsius.

“The analysis highlights big differences in ambition and willingness across companies to take a lead with their targets, and the urgent need to spread best practices further and faster,” partner, Financial Services at Oliver Wyman James Davis said.

Nearly 200 countries will convene at COP27 climate summit in Egypt next November, after what has been for many a devastating summer of drought, heat waves and other climate-linked extremes.




Ukraine nuclear plant loses power, Moscow makes Europe sweat over gas.


A nuclear power plant on the front line of the Ukraine war again lost external power, U.N. inspectors said on Saturday, fueling fears of disaster while Moscow kept its main gas pipeline to Germany shut to hurt the economies of Kyiv’s friends in the West.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, Europe’s largest, had its last remaining main external power line cut off, although a reserve line continued supplying electricity to the grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

Only one of the station’s six reactors remained in operation, the agency said in a statement.

The plant, seized by Russian troops shortly after their Feb. 24 invasion, has become a focal point of the conflict, with each side blaming the other for nearby shelling.

A standoff over Russian gas and oil exports ramped up last week as Moscow vowed to keep its main gas pipeline to Germany shuttered and G-7 countries announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.

The energy fight is fallout from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s six-month invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the deep rift between Moscow and Western nations as Europe steels itself for the cold months ahead.

“Russia is preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans for this winter,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Saturday, citing the Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s continued closure.

Zelenskyy has blamed Russian shelling for an Aug. 25 cutoff, the first time Zaporizhzhia was severed from the national grid, which narrowly avoided a radiation leak. That shutdown prompted power cuts across Ukraine, although emergency generators kicked in for vital cooling processes.

Moscow has cited Western sanctions and technical issues for energy disruptions, while European countries have accused Russia of weaponizing supplies as part of its military invasion.

Nuclear concerns
Kyiv and Moscow have traded accusations about attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is still operated by Ukrainian staff.

An IAEA mission toured the plant on Thursday and some experts have remained there pending the release of a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog in coming days.

The remaining inspectors noted one reactor was still producing electricity “for cooling and other essential safety functions at the site and for households, factories and others through the grid,” the IAEA said on Saturday.

The plant said in a statement the fifth reactor was switched off “as a result of constant shelling by Russian occupation forces” and that there was “insufficient capacity from the last reserve line to operate two reactors.”

Deteriorating conditions amid the shelling have prompted fears of a radiation disaster that the International Red Cross has said would cause a major humanitarian crisis.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of storing heavy weapons at the site to discourage Ukraine from firing on it. Russia, which denies the presence of any such weapons there, has resisted international calls to relocate troops and demilitarize the area.

Russia’s Defense Ministry on Saturday accused Ukrainian forces of mounting a failed attempt to capture the plant. Reuters could not verify the report.

Türkiye on Saturday also offered to facilitate the situation.

Gas and oil
Announcing that it would not make a planned restart of gas shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, one of Russia’s main supply lines to Europe, state-controlled energy giant Gazprom blamed a technical fault.

Gazprom said on Saturday that Germany’s Siemens Energy was ready to help repair broken equipment but that there was nowhere available to carry out the work. Siemens said it has not been commissioned to carry out maintenance work for the pipeline but it is available.

The indefinite delay to restarting Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, deepens Europe’s problems securing fuel for winter as energy prices lead a surge in living costs.

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – said on Friday the cap on the price of Russian oil aimed to reduce “Russia’s ability to fund its war of aggression whilst limiting the impact of Russia’s war on global energy prices.”

The Kremlin said it would stop selling oil to any countries that implemented the cap.

Russia calls its invasion of its neighbor “a special military operation.” Kyiv and the West say it is an unprovoked aggressive war against a former part of the Soviet Union.

The United States and other countries have pledged fresh military aid for Kyiv to fight against an invasion that had killed thousands of people and displaced millions.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive last week targeting the south, particularly the Kherson region, occupied by Russians early in the conflict.




Outages-hit Cuba seeks Turkish powerships to double electricity supply.


Mired in an energy crisis that has brought frequent blackouts, Cuba is negotiating with a Turkish company to have it double the megawatts it currently produces for the country from shipboard generators just offshore, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

Cuban officials are in talks with Karpowership, one of the world’s largest operators of floating power plants and part of the Türkiye-based Karadeniz Holding, the sources said. The company already has five ships operating off Cuba with a capacity of around 250 megawatts (MW).

The Communist-run country needs to generate more than 3,000 MW to meet minimum demand and is currently producing between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW.

The sources, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the negotiations, said the talks centered on how to ensure lease payments from Cuba.

“The (U.S. trade) embargo makes Western financial transactions very difficult and Cuba is cash short and behind on payments with many suppliers and joint venture partners,” one source said.

Experts say the Turkish company would need to add to its fleet off Cuba to produce the required amount of energy. Powerships carry their own generator fueled by oil or gas, anchor close to land and connect to the local electricity grid. They are leased by the host country.

The deal, if it moves forward, would provide quick and much-needed relief for the embattled Cuban government as power outages have spread across the island and increased in length.

Cuba is desperate for more electricity.

The energy crisis, with blackouts in four to six-hour-blocks twice daily or more in most of the country, is perhaps the most painful symptom of a deeper financial crisis caused by external factors such as U.S. sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and poor economic management.

Cubans are also living through food, medicine and fuel shortages, forcing them to wait in long lines for the basics.

There have been scattered, small protests this summer and U.S. authorities registered a record of more than 175,000 Cubans at the U.S.-Mexican border since October, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency statistics.

Cuban power plants are obsolete, averaging 35 years of age, with a backup system of hundreds of smaller generators at least 15 years old. Just 5% of power comes from alternative energy sources.

The government blames lack of funds for its inability to update its decrepit grid and says breakdowns, not fuel shortages, are the main cause of blackouts.

Energy and Mining Minister Livan Arronte Cruz said last week that the country hoped to all but eliminate blackouts by the end of the year, in part by adding “531 megawatts to generating capacity through new investments,” a figure reduced to 450 MW by President Miguel Diaz-Canel at the weekend.

Omar Ramirez Mendoza, deputy director of the state electricity monopoly, said on state-run TV that “240 MW {of the 450 MW} will come from a mobile generation,” a euphemism used by officials to refer to the power ships and coinciding with the source accounts.

The remainder of the new capacity would come from upgrading existing facilities with the help of foreign partners in the Moa nickel region in eastern Cuba and at the Mariel Special Development Zone just west of Havana, Ramirez said.

Jorge Pinon, a senior research fellow at The University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute specializing in the Latin American region, said he believed the powerships would provide the “mobile generation” referred to by Ramirez but wondered how the extra capacity would be financed “as the Cubans do not have any money.”




Russia halts gas flows again in new jitters for Europe.


Russia halted gas supplies through a major pipeline to Europe on Wednesday, intensifying an economic battle between Moscow and Brussels and raising the prospects of recession and energy rationing in some of the region’s richest countries.

The Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom said earlier this month that it would cut the flow of gas through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline for what it says is a three-day pause for routine maintenance at a compressor station.

The outage means that no gas will flow to Germany between 1 a.m. GMT on Wednesday and 1 a.m. GMT on Saturday, according to Gazprom. Data from the Nord Stream 1 operator’s website showed flows at zero from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. (4 a.m. to 5 a.m. GMT) on Wednesday, the third hour in a row of no flows.

European governments fear Moscow could extend the outage in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on it after its invasion of Ukraine and have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using energy supplies as a “weapon of war.” Moscow denies doing this.

Further restrictions on European gas supplies would heighten an energy crunch that has already sent wholesale gas prices soaring over 400% since last August, creating a painful cost-of-living crisis for consumers and businesses and forcing governments to spend billions to ease the burden.

In Germany, inflation hit its highest level in almost 50 years in August and consumer sentiment is projected to hit a record low for the third month in a row next month as households brace for higher energy bills.

Unlike last month’s 10-day maintenance for Nord Stream 1, the upcoming work was announced less than two weeks in advance and is being carried out by Gazprom not Nord Stream AG, focusing on the last operating turbine at the station.

Moscow, which slashed supply via Nord Stream 1 to 40% of capacity in June and to 20% in July, blames maintenance issues and sanctions it says prevent the return and installation of equipment.

Gazprom said the latest shutdown is needed to perform maintenance on the pipeline’s only remaining compressor.

Yet Russia has also cut off supply to Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland completely, and reduced flows via other pipelines since launching what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Gazprom is just using an excuse to switch off natural gas deliveries to its French contractor, the energy minister in Paris said with regard to a separate dispute over payments, but added that the country had anticipated the loss of supply.

‘Element of surprise’
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, on a mission to replace Russian gas imports by mid-2024, earlier this month said Nord Stream was “fully operational” and there were no technical issues as claimed by Moscow.

Klaus Mueller, president of Germany’s Federal Network Agency, has said that the maintenance work is technically incomprehensible and he considers it a way of punishing Germany for siding with Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

Mueller said while a resumption of flows would help Germany’s security of supply, no one was able to say what the consequences would be if flows remained at zero.

Europe’s largest economy is making better progress than expected in filling its gas storage facilities, but it’s not enough to get the country through winter, he said.

The reduced flows via Nord Stream have complicated efforts across Europe to fill up vital gas storage facilities, a key strategic goal to make it through the winter months, when governments fear Russia may halt flows altogether.

“It is something of a miracle that gas filling levels in Germany have continued to rise nonetheless,” Commerzbank analysts wrote, adding Germany had so far been successful at buying sufficient volumes at higher prices elsewhere.

In the meantime, however, some Europeans are voluntarily cutting their energy consumption, including limiting their use of electrical appliances and showering at work to save money while companies are bracing for possible rationing.

At 83.26%, Germany is already within reach of an 85% target for its national gas storage tanks by Oct. 1, but it has warned reaching 95% by Nov. 1 would be a stretch unless companies and households drastically cut consumption.

For the European Union as a whole, the current storage level is 79.94%, just short of an 80% target by Oct. 1, when the continent’s heating season starts.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said their base case assumption was that this outage would not be extended.

“If it did, there would be no more element of surprise and reduced revenues, while low (Nord Stream 1) flows and the occasional drop to zero have the potential to keep market volatility and political pressure on Europe higher,” they said




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Russian gas-reliant Swiss brace for power shortages in winter.


Switzerland is among the world’s wealthiest countries, but its reliance on Russian gas and French nuclear power – both in short supply – has it bracing for power shortages and even blackouts this winter.

With hundreds of hydropower plants spread across the Alps, Switzerland produces more than enough power in the summer months. However, the landlocked nation is forced to turn to imports when the cold sets in.

That is not usually a problem, but this year, with the war in Ukraine, and Russia slashing gas deliveries to much of Europe, the threat of severe power shortages is looming.

While other European countries are also feeling the sting, the situation is particularly precarious in Switzerland, which lacks its own gas storage installations.

It usually depends on imports from the surrounding European Union, especially gas-derived electricity from Germany, but with the bloc wary about its own power supply, non-member Switzerland finds itself at the back of the queue.

Compounding the problem, neighboring France has been forced to halt production at half of its reactors, mainly due to corrosion problems, Stephane Genoud, an energy management professor at the Swiss HES-SO University, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Bern has been working to build up Switzerland’s energy production and storage systems, but even the grand opening next month of a new, powerful pumped-storage hydroelectric plant is unlikely to help avoid problems this winter.

‘Giant battery’
The Nant de Drance plant is located in a cavern 600 meters (2,000 feet) below ground at an altitude of 1,700 meters (5,600 feet), just a few kilometers from Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak.

Unlike typical hydropower systems, which create power by releasing water from a reservoir through turbines, pumped-storage systems do not run out of juice as the reservoir empties out.

Instead, the Nant de Drance plant, situated between two reservoirs, functions “like a giant battery,” said Robert Gleitz, of Swiss energy company Alpiq, a key shareholder in the facility.

It produces energy in the traditional way during demand peaks by sending water from the higher Vieux-Emosson reservoir plunging down into the Emosson reservoir below.

But when solar and wind power production is high and there is less demand for electricity from the plant, the water from Emosson is pumped back to the higher reservoir, storing the excess electricity generated.

“When there is too much electricity in the grid, we store the water in the upper reservoir,” Gleitz told AFP during a tour of the facility.

It can thus boost production during times of higher demand, as in winter, reducing the need to import power.

‘High risk’
But Gleitz warned that while the new plant will help Switzerland better withstand brief consumption peaks, it would help little in the face of long-term shortages.

The plant “usefully supplements a renewable electricity production that remains too low,” said Nicolas Wuthrich of nature preservation group Pro Natura.

That organization and others have long lamented that Switzerland, which has vowed to decommission its aging nuclear reactors, is dragging its feet on transitioning to renewables.

The country counted only 37 wind turbines in 2020, while experts say some 750 would be needed to reach the government’s 2050 renewable energy target.

The Swiss organization in charge of ensuring energy access in times of crisis warned in late 2021 that there was a “high risk of a power shortage emerging.”

Geopolitical events since then have only increased the likelihood.

Bern has cautioned against exaggerating the risks, but has also acknowledged it is preparing for power shortages, with the head of the federal electricity commission, Werner Luginbuhl, warning of repeated, hourslong power cuts.

Retailers across the country are reporting a consumer rush on solar panels and generators.

There is still a chance to avoid outages, said Genoud.

“If the French manage to restart their reactors and if Putin doesn’t make things too difficult and if it doesn’t get too cold, we could avoid shortages or a blackout.”