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China to send in deep-sea divers to plug oil leaks in sunken Iranian tanker Sanchi


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.

Gaza’s infrastructure on the verge of collapse


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.


US and Canada will host North Korea nuclear meeting


The United States and Canada will co-host an international summit on the North Korean nuclear threat in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, as tensions on the Korean Peninsula settle into a steady simmer while direct talks between the north and the south continue. The summit comes at a critical time. But with diplomats’ attentions absorbed by the delicate talks between the two neighboring countries – which were initially focused on North Korea’s participation in the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics but have since broadened – some analysts are skeptical that much will come out of the Vancouver meetings.

The Gazprom and Naftogaz dispute


Gazprom will not be disputing the ruling by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce regarding the contract to supply gas in the dispute with Ukraine’s Naftogaz, Alexander Medvedev, the Russian gas giant’s deputy CEO, told reporters. Gazprom filed an appeal with the Svea Court of Appeal (District 356) in Sweden on November 7 against an interim ruling by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce on a claim regarding the gas supply contract dated January 19, 2009 and the partial cancelation of the contract. The interim ruling was made on May 31. The final ruling was handed down at the end of December.

Saudi Arabia turn to nuclear power


In the perspective of diversifying its energy supply, Saudi Arabia turns to nuclear power. The world’s top oil exporter wants nuclear power to eventually enable the kingdom to export more crude rather than burning it to generate electricity. It plans to build 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, the equivalent of around 16 reactors, surprisingly making it one of the biggest prospects for an industry struggling after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan. By the month of April or May, Saudi Arabia plans to prequalify for bidding firms from two to three countries for the first nuclear plans. A joint venture between the Saudi government and the winning developers would be signed in 2019, after the shortlisting by the end of 2018. Commissioning of the first plant, which will have two reactors, is expected in 2027.

China’s natural gas imports hit record high in December as winter bites


China’s natural gas imports soared to a record high in December to battle a winter supply crisis. Gas imports, including pipeline imports and tanker shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG), came in at 7.89 million tonnes, 20 per cent above November’s previous record of 6.55 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed. Imports for the whole of 2017 jumped 27 per cent from 2016 to a record 68.57 million tonnes. Crude oil imports instead eased sharply from November. December’s crude oil imports hit 33.7 million tonnes, or about 7.94 million barrels per day (bpd), compared to November’s 9.01 million bpd. Buying eased in December because refiners and fuel distributors drew on inventories after hefty stockpiling in the previous month.

Trump is about to put his mark on the US nuclear arsenal


The Pentagon is putting the finishing touches on the first comprehensive review of US nuclear forces in nearly eight years. It’s shaping up as President Donald Trump’s signature nuclear weapons initiative in the face of a growing North Korean nuclear threat. The review, which may allow Trump to put his mark on the nuclear inventory for decades to come, could lead to more than $1 trillion in spending over nearly 30 years. There have been three such reviews since the end of the Cold War, the most recent in 2010 under President Barack Obama.

Egypt: the Zohr Field’s potential in the energy sector of Egypt


On 16 December the largest offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean, the Zohr Field, that covers an area of 100 square kilometres, started production. It could bring Egypt to the goal of self-sufficiency in energy sector by 2018 and to the export of gas by 2019. According to the British Petroleum Statistical Review the Egyptian gas consumption amounts to nearly 5 billion cubic feet per day and its total daily production is almost 4 billion cubic feet but Egypt planned to stop importing the fuel by the end of next year.  Petroleum Minister Tarek Al-Molla declared that The Zohr Field, together with the other two fields of North Alexandria and Nooros will rise the gas production by 50 per cent this year and 100 per cent by 2020. The Italian Eni in 2018 will invest into Egypt $3.5 billion, that corresponds to half the company’s annual investments. Recently the country has adopted several economic reforms in order to attract foreign investments, including  floating the currency and cutting subsidies. In addition the gas pricing formula is flexible instead of fixed as it was in the past. According to the law 196 the private sector can transport, store, market and trade natural gas using the country’s pipeline network, moving away from state monopolies.

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