The emissions scandal at Volkswagen will cost a high-ranking group manager the office. Thomas Steg, former spokesman for the Federal Government and today chief lobbyist of the automaker, is giving up his post for the time being. He had offered his release itself, said Volkswagen. The board had agreed to that on Tuesday. Steg was released as a general representative for the group “until the complete clarification of the events of his duties”. With his leave of absence pulls Volkswagen according to own data “first consequences” from the controversial exhaust gas tests, which were recently publicized. Nitrogen dioxide is the focus of the emissions issue. For years, Volkswagen had been manipulating diesel test results in the US in order to cover up the fact that the limits for harmful nitrogen oxides had been exceeded many times over. The group said it would continue to work on the investigation of the controversial emissions tests. “We are in the process of thoroughly examining the work and to draw all the necessary conclusions from it,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller. “Mr. Steg has declared to take full responsibility”.
Russia’s draft resolution on the creation of the United Nations Independent Mechanism of Investigation stipulates that the UN experts will have to visit the sites of chemical attacks in order to collect the evidence about the incidents there. “Decides that the UNIMI in conducting its investigations must be guided by high standards established by the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] and, accordingly, use the whole spectrum of relevant methods envisaged in the above-mentioned Convention and in particular Part XI of its Annex on Implementation and Verification, which includes investigation, sampling, interviewing witnesses and collection of evidence and information on the site of an incident”, the text of the draft resolution said.
Japan has told the United Nations about a North Korean tanker spotted in the East China Sea that it suspects was engaged in a transfer of goods with another tanker in defiance of U.N. sanctions. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry, the North Korean-flagged tanker “Rye Song Gang 1” – blacklisted by the United Nations last month for carrying banned cargo – was spotted by a Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force patrol plane with the Dominican-flagged tanker “Yuk Tung” tied up beside it in the East China Sea on Saturday. The two boats were lit up and some kind of activity was taking place, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the Japanese government strongly suspected them of transferring goods in violation of the U.N. sanctions.
The Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water, Yuval Steinitz told the management and board of the company Israel Gas Lines Company that it was considered the possibility of making it participate in the construction of a gas pipeline to export gas to the ‘Europe. Society plays a significant role in continuing to promote the connection of the economy to natural gas, and the involvement of a government project in this project is believed to increase the chances of it materializing. The plan to transport gas from Israel to Italy via Cyprus and Greece involves the construction of a subsea pipeline of 2,100 km, making it the longest submarine gas pipeline in the world. The construction cost, expected to be completed in 2025, is estimated at 25 billion NIS.
The Chinese authorities have reinforced the gas supplies in sight of expected heating spike over the holidays, to avoid a repeat of December’s chaos, which saw serious supply shortages. To ensure supplies before the longest holiday in the Chinese calendar, some 60 ships carrying more than 4 million tonnes of LNG are on their way to China this month, the third highest total behind December’s 5.1 million and November’s 4.36 million tonnes. The shipments are coming from unusual origins, Equatorial Guinea and Angola in Africa, Peru in South America, and Trinidad and Tobago, and several are also coming from the United States. Domestic producers are also churning out more gas. China’s December gas output was the highest since at least 2014. The urgency for gas has lifted Chinese prices by 15-18 per cent within a week to 6,650 yuan (US$1,039.87) per tonne.
PJSC Ukrtransgaz and Powernext (France) intend to cooperate in the creation of spot and futures exchange markets for gas trading in Ukraine, the company’s press service has said, with reference to the signed memorandum. “For Ukrtransgaz, this is another step towards integration with European gas transportation operators, a further development of the gas market in Ukraine”, the report said. According to the press service, Powernext is the provider of the pan-European gas trading platform PEGAS, which allows market participants to sell natural gas at 12 hubs in nine countries. Today it is the main trading platform for natural gas sales in Europe. After establishing cooperation with the Central European Gas Hub (CEGH) in 2016 and integrating the Czech gas pipeline into the PEGAS platform in December 2017, Powernext began to integrate into Eastern Europe.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al-Falih in Oman on Saturday, where they both expressed satisfaction with the way oil market has been rebalancing, the Russian energy ministry said. “The market sees the efforts are successful and reacts — the prices have almost reached $70 per barrel”, Novak told Falih, according to the ministry’s web site. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers, including Russia, are cutting oil output by 1.8 million barrels per day under a pact running until the end of 2018.
The Sonatrach group and the Spanish company Cepsa signed Thursday a new agreement for the exploitation of the oil field of Rhoude el Krouf (RKF) in the Berkine basin (Ouargla). This new association plans to carry out an additional development program estimated at $ 1.2 billion. The program includes the duplication of the number of existing development wells, the construction of a new production facility, including a LPG extraction unit and the increase of gas treatment and water injection capacity, as well as the creation of a new production.
Chinese maritime authorities will deploy deep-sea divers to assess the wreck and to minimise damage to the marine ecosystem plugging oil leaks from the Iranian oil tanker Sanchi, which exploded and permanently sunk on Sunday. The authorities also sended in bigger salvage vessels to support the divers.
“It will be a daunting task to entirely block the leaks but China is doing its utmost to minimise the impact,” an Official from the Shanghai Maritime Search and Rescue Centresaid said.
The tanker in fact was carrying 136,000 tonnes of highly flammable and polluting ultra-light crude oil.
A new report published by the Giza organization reported that Gaza’s energy, water and sewage systems are on the verge of collapse. The 1.8 million inhabitants of the Strip are afflicted by frequent blackouts, undrinkable water and an obsolete cellular network. Israel says its blockade is essential to prevent terrorists from obtaining materials to fortify military positions, dig tunnels and build rockets to shoot at the Jewish state. The shortage of fuel has meant that the only power plant in Gaza can only operate for a few hours a day. The lack of electricity in Gaza stems from a dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority on tax payments on fuels, accused Gisha; currently, the total wattage is still only about half that needed to meet the daily demand. Another problem is that of the water. According to the report, 90% of Gaza’s water is taken from an underground stratum, which is however running out much faster than expected and excessive use has damaged water quality. The United Nations has estimated that groundwater damage will become irreversible by 2020. In the report, Gisha specifies the role that the actors present in the Strip have in every crisis, including the PA of Ramallah, Hamas and Israel. Furthermore, the risk of future conflicts discourages foreign donors from starting new projects.