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Iran foreign minister to visit Russia next week

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will travel to Russia next week for a meeting of the countries that border the Caspian Sea, the official IRNA news agency reported. "Mr Zarif will arrive in Russia on Tuesday,' for the gathering of the Caspian Sea littoral states, Iran's ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sanaei, wrote on his Facebook page. Since the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, the nations that border the Caspian (Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) have failed to agree on the sea's legal status.

Kashagan oil field: Stuck between 'a widow maker' and 'a rotating bomb'

By Oleg Vukmanovic and Stephen Jewkes MILAN (Reuters) - Western oil majors struggling to restart production at one of the world's biggest offshore oilfields in Kazakhstan have found that whole kilometers of pipeline are defective, two people recently returned from the $50 billion project say. Replacing the damaged section altogether may be a better bet than trying to repair it.

Azerbaijan seals deal for Greek gas distributor DESFA

Azerbaijan's state gas operator SOCAR on Saturday finalised an agreement to buy 66 percent of Greek gas distributor DESFA, the Greek privatisation agency said. The sale is part of Greece's state asset sale programme that stems from its EU-IMF bailout obligations. The contract was signed in the presence of Greek Energy Minister Yannis Maniatis and SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev. SOCAR will pay 400 million euros ($546 million) for DESFA, the company that handles Greece's gas transmission system, the agency said.

Azerbaijan seals investment deal to send gas to Europe

The consortium developing an immense Azerbaijani natural gas field in the Caspian Sea signed on Tuesday a final investment deal that paves the way for the first deliveries to Europe. The Shah Deniz II consortium signed off on the final decision worth about $28 billion (20 billion euros) of investment that triggers the start of construction of a major new pipeline to Europe. The move is seen as a key step toward European ambitions of reducing its energy dependence on Russia.

Insight: The sour gas eating Kashagan oil profits

By Stephen Jewkes and Dmitry Solovyov MILAN/ALMATY (Reuters) - A pipeline inspection robot is set to join efforts to discover why the biggest new oilfield in decades is crippled and whether materials, construction methods, a design fault or all three are at the root of the problem.

Kashagan accident won't derail commercial output launch-minister

By Raushan Nurshayeva ASTANA (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's giant offshore oilfield Kashagan has halted production for up to four days after an accident, but this will not delay the start of commercial output set for October, Kazakh Oil and Gas Minister Uzakbai Karabalin said on Thursday. It took nearly 13 years and about $50 billion before first oil was produced at the mammoth field on September 11.

Azeris seal gas deal with European buyers

A consortium developing a vast new Azeri gas field on Thursday sealed a major deal to supply natural gas to nine European buyers, further securing the Caucasus nation as an alternative energy source to Russia. The Shah Deniz II consortium -- which comprises Britain's BP, Azerbaijan's SOCAR, Norway's Statoil and France's Total -- inked deals to supply gas to Europe over a 25-year period.

China buys into giant Kazakh oilfield for $5 billion

By Mariya Gordeyeva ASTANA (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping struck a deal with Kazakhstan on Saturday giving China a stake in its giant Kashagan oil project, a highlight of his tour of Central Asia to secure hydrocarbons for the world's largest energy consumer. The $5 billion deal further increases China's rising clout in post-Soviet Central Asia, once Russia's imperial backyard, and blocks an attempt by global rival India to get a stake in the oilfield, the world's largest oil discovery in five decades.

China, Kazakhstan eye deals worth $30 bln

Kazakhstan and China plan to sign 22 agreements worth around $30 billion, including in the key energy sector, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Saturday after talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. "We've reached an agreement on building an oil refinery which Kazakhstan needs," Nazarbayev told reporters after hosting Xi at his Akorda residence. The Chinese leader for his part said his country would become a shareholder in the Central Asian country's Kashagan oil field, one of the world's largest.

BP, Total join Adriatic gas pipeline project

Oil groups BP and Total and two other energy firms have taken stakes in a consortium which will build a trans-Adriatic gas pipeline seen as key to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russia. The so-called Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) consortium announced Tuesday that BP of Britain, Total of France, Socar of Azerbaijan and Belgian gas network company Fluxys had each taken shares in the group. The pipeline will run from Greece, through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to come ashore in southern Italy, and construction is due to start in 2015.
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