Members of the upper house of the parliament have drafted legislation that would ban shale gas extraction in the Czech Republic using hydraulic fracturing, said one of its authors, Petr Pakosta of the center-right Civic Democrats (ODS). Earlier, the goverment had put forth a number of ammendents with the same aim – drafting a new law was seen as a simpler short cut, the news sever Novinky.cz reported Friday.
Gaz-System, the gas transit system operator in Poland, reportedly could make a bid for its counterpart in the Czech Republic, Net4Gas, which together already plan to build a new pipeline between the countries in a bid to further weaken Russian control over the key energy source.
A north-south pipeline to connect a liquid natural gas (LNG) sea terminal in Poland with the Czech Republic and Slovakia has been labeled a priority energy project agreed by the EU’s energy ministers. The Czech Energy Regulatory Office, however, says the project may not be viable and even says it’s possible the projected LNG terminal in Poland will not be completed.
ČEZ financial director Martin Novák, recently promoted to become deputy board chairman of the Czech power giant, probably put his foot in it when he said Wednesday night that the country’s main natural gas pipeline company, NET4GAS, is up for sale. The German power company that owns it has insisted no decision has yet been taken.
Just before midday on Tuesday in Lubmin on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a symbolic turn of a large tap to launch commercial operation of the first of two lines of the Nord Stream — the world’s longest submarine gas pipeline. The dynamics of the European gas market will never be the same.
Companies building two gas pipelines bringing Russian gas under the Baltic sea to European markets announced their connection on Thursday. The link between the undersea Nord Stream pipeline and OPAL landward link in Germany connects up with another pipeline, GAZELLE, being built in the Czech Republic. The links provide an alternative to problematic gas transit across Ukraine and Belarus.
There are countless reasons why Europeans concerns Gaz de France Suez and Germany’s E.ON Rurhgas would look to sell their stake in Slovak gas monopoly Slovenský plynárenský priemysel (SPP). But there is only one logical explanation for why Czech energy giant Energetický a Průmyslový Holding (EPH) — in which billionaires Petr Kellner of PPF and Daniel Křetínský of J&T have control — would look to buy it. The answer lies in Mother Russia.
RWE Czech Republic announced on Wednesday that due to Germany’s resolution to phase out nuclear power, EU unbundling legislation, and challenging economic conditions, the energy giant would sell off more assets than previously planned — including subsidiary Net4Gas, which owns and operates the Czech gas pipeline network. An RWE Group spokesman, however, said the sale was only being considered.
Czech billionaire Petr Kellner’s energy holding EPH is still relatively small, but that could all change within a couple of months. His joint venture with Daniel Křetínský and the J&T Group is planning its largest acquisition yet: The firm wants to buy Slovak Gas Holding which holds a 49 percent stake and managerial control of the Slovak gas monopoly SPP. The deal should be completed in the spring of 2012. The question remains as to why EPH wants the Slovak gas company.
Shale gas has transformed the US energy market and promises to do the same for Poland by making it independent of natural gas imports, chiefly from Russia. Hopes of smaller exploitable finds in the Czech Republic have sparked foreign and local companies to file applications with the Environment Ministry to carry out research. Many environmentalists, however, will hope that they come back empty handed.