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VADU, Romania, June 28 (Reuters) – A new Black Sea offshore gas platform was officially launched off Romania on Tuesday and plans to extract gas despite risks posed by war in Ukraine, including mines detected in waters nearby.
The project by Black Sea Oil & Gas (BSOG), controlled by U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group LP CG.O, is Romania’s first offshore Black Sea development in three decades.
BSOG said it planned to extract 1 billion cubic metres of gas per year, or roughly 10% of Romania’s consumption.
Its platform, 120 kilometres offshore, sits around 45 km from Ukraine’s Snake Island and BSOG CEO Mark Beacom told reporters that had an impact.
“We are not in a war zone, but we are close enough and it clearly has an impact. We’ve had mines detected close to the platform, we’ve had warships that go close to our platform and we’ve had airplanes circling our platform,” he said. “But recall we started this project when none of this existed.”
Beacom added the platform has no insurance. “You can’t get insurance after war starts, so, yeah, we are taking that risk,” he said, without going into more detail.
The company moved forward with the project in 2019, despite a punitive tax imposed onoffshore gas income by a former leftist government which put all other Black Sea exploration and development work on hold and contributed to Exxon’s exit from the European Union state.
After years of stalling, Romanian lawmakers amended legislation in May, reducing the tax and removing export restrictions, hoping to unlock investment in the Black Sea where the country has an estimated 200 billion cubic metres of gas.
Beacom said the changes to the Romanian offshore gas tax are welcome but did not fully meet BSOG’s expectations, adding the company moved forward with the project on government assurances the tax would be repealed.
While the tax has been lowered, Beacom said the company had started a process to take the government to the International Court of Arbitration in Paris. It was currently assessing whether to proceed with that.
“It has been helpful …but it isn’t to the extent that we believe we have a legal right,” Beacom said about the law. “Whether we move forward with the arbitration we’ll see, it’s still there and we’re assessing it.”
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; editing by Krisztina Than and Jason Neely)
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By Elizabeth Low and Debjit Chakraborty (Bloomberg) Global energy markets that have thrown up plenty of anomalies in 2022 as flows get rerouted and prices jump just saw a fresh quirk: India, typically Asia’s leading gasoline and diesel exporter, has been forced to step up imports of the fuels.
''...By Elizabeth Low and Debjit Chakraborty (Bloomberg) Global energy markets that have thrown up plenty of anomalies in 2022 as flows get rerouted and prices jump just saw a fresh quirk: India, typically Asia’s leading gasoline and diesel exporter, has been forced to step up imports of the fuels.
Gasoline imports are set to rise to about 37,000 barrels a day in the first half of July, an eight-month high, according to preliminary data by Vortexa. Diesel imports, meanwhile, are set to surge to the highest since February 2020 at about 69,000 barrels a day in the period. Refiners such as Indian Oil Corp. and Bharat Petroleum Corp recently sought to buy diesel for delivery in June and July.
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The rare uptick has been driven by a need to cover local shortfalls even as India has emerged as a top buyer of shunned Russian crude following the invasion of Ukraine, and its refiners go all out to produce fuels. Elevated international product prices have prompted India’s private refiners to boost exports, creating a shortage that state processors are now rushing to address with extra imports.
The heightened import activity from India is shrinking Asia’s pool of fuel supplies at a time when China, which is also a key shipper of diesel and gasoline, has been cutting back. Planned fuel volumes from China for July have been reduced following refinery maintenance this month, according to industry consultant OilChem.
India’s rush to buy gasoline and diesel has already driven a surge in regional refining margins for both fuels, according to industry consultancy FGE, which said there have been fuel shortages in the states of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The country is expected to keep importing more fuel in the coming months, FGE said in a recent note.
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