Testing a concept

Trialling something out ….


Uranium hunt on for both Russia & China

Since the opening up in the mid-1990s, uranium exploration in Mongolia by international companies has not been  subject to any clear national policy or close regulation.

In the last few years, however, the Government has sought to exercise more control over the whole mining sector and earlier this year it set up MonAtom to undertake uranium exploration and mining on behalf of the state, as well as to pursue nuclear energy proposals. It will hold the state’s equity in uranium and nuclear ventures, under the Mongolian Nuclear Energy Agency.

In mid-July, after consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Parliament passed a Nuclear Energy Law to regulate the exploration and mining of uranium and give the state a greater degree of ownership and control of those resources. Along with this the Government set up Dornod Uran, a joint venture company between MonAtom and Russia’s ARMZ to develop two uranium mines in Mongolia — Dornod and nearby Mardai. A Japanese partner, evidently Marubeni, is also expected to be later involved in the work of this joint venture.

The development is of particular interest to Russia due to its proximity to the Priargunsky operations, allowing possible creation of a ‘single infrastructure. At least until mid-August, Canadian based Khan Resources owned a 69% share in the Dornod project, mostly through its 58% subsidiary Central Asian Uranium (CAUC). The balance of CAUC, which holds Mongolia’s only uranium mining license, was owned by MonAtom and ARMZ, each with 21%.

A definitive feasibility study released in March 2009 showed that the $333 million project was sound, on the basis of 24,780 tons of indicated resources, including 20,340 tons of probable reserves. Annual production of 1,150 tons over 15 years from 2012 was envisaged.

However, the Nuclear Energy Agency has announced that the joint venture of MonAtom with ARMZ will develop the project to annually produce about 2000 tons. Khan is uncertain where it stands, having apparently been dispossessed as it sought to negotiate an investment agreement with the Government.

Gurvanbulag is another deposit, about 30 km away, which has been held by the Canadian Western Prospector Group. This March the company agreed to a $25 million takeover by China’s CNNC International, a 74% subsidiary of CNNC Overseas Uranium Holding and through it, of SinoU. MonAtom appears to be positive about this development.

As an aside, I think the photo above says a lot about Sino-Russ relations ….

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Dubai debacle & housekeeping

First off hello, I’m back blogging after a hiatus on here, has been a very busy 6 weeks or so since my last post, as have been blasted by a few things, not least amongst them getting Emerging Voice into shape.

So, a quick look around the blogosphere today has shown that markets have attempted to throw off the Dubai Debacle, but it would seem that not everyone has got the message. Some of the best from the last few days include :

Junior Deputy Accountant (comes with language warning) where Adrienne shares her usual eclectic mix with us : It’s a miracle ! The Bailout Will Save us All

The lovely Lynn Berman over at MarketNut gives us a pull down from the main & not so mainstream sites : Dubai Update

The hive mind of Emerging Voice has a myriad of offerings : Contagion to Tower of Babylon

& Josh over at Reformed Broker brings his own brain to focus on the topic : Dubai World & Bear Stearns : Coal Mine Canaries?

there has been plenty of sniggering & much joking about exchanging an island for a goat, but we leave you with this sobering picture


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Wind of change comes to Chile

president bacheletLatin American nations are leading their Western counterparts with respect to diversity in renewable energy. Now GDF Suez has opened its 38 MW wind farm facility at Monte Redondo in Chile.

Work on the wind farm began at the start of this year, with more than $100 million being invested, as GDF Suez commits to it’s green credentials in it’s South American operations. According to estimates, Monte Redondo will prevent the emission of 54,000 tones of CO2 per year, whilst providing energy for up to 60,000 homes.

“GDF SUEZ strongly believes in Chile and in the development opportunities it offers. The Group holds broad and multiple areas of expertise in this country and intends to further reinforce them.” said Gerard Mestrallet at the inauguration

Monte Redondo will also assist in providing long term stability in energy prices, as GDF Suez has already entered into a 14 year supply contract for 100 GWh/year, beginning in January 2010. Chile has historically been dependant upon gas imports from Argentina, which have been the subject of much contention, as Argentina seeks to secure it’s own domestic energy requirements & supply has fluctuated from agreed measures.

Chilean President Bachelet said that clean energy investments have grown sharply from a mere 2 MW in 2006 to 250 MW in 2010 & it would seem that this may be only the beginning of a love affair with wind power. By the end of the 2009, a further five new wind parks will begin operating in Chile, increasing the country’s wind energy production by a factor of 10.

These new projects are slated to produce 180 MW of wind energy, dwarfing the existing 20 MW currently produced by Chile’s two existing projects. According to the National Energy Commission, other new wind turbine projects which are currently under review or in planning will soon generate 1,500 MW for the country’s Central Power Grid. To put this into perspective, the country’s largest proposed hydro-electric project, Ralco, will provide 690 MW at full capacity.

It is encouraging to see real commitment from what people in the West term “developing” markets, Chile & Brazil are world leaders in the advancement of renewable energy & also in implementation of green policies down to grass roots level. Perhaps those of us in our ivory towers in Europe & the Us should pay a little more attention to what is being implemented in the southern hemisphere.

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Brazil confirms hydrocarbon strategy

Santos basinMuch has been made of Brazil’s offshore hydrocarbon deposits particularly in the Tupi oil & gas reserves which have been touted by state owned energy firm Petrobras as containing up to 5-8 billion barrels of recoverable oil.

Tupi,which is located in the pre-salt region, is estimated to contain between 5 billion & 8 billion barrels of light crude, & is the world’s biggest new field since a 12-billion-barrel find in Kazakhstan in 2000. The pre-salt region covers an offshore area 800 kilometers long and 200 kilometers wide between the states of Espirito Santo and Santa Catarina, is estimated to contain up to 80 billion barrels of light crude under a thick layer of salt far beneath the ocean floor.

As discussed in a previous article, Petrobras (NYSE: PBR)  & partners including Repsol and BG Group discovered vast deposits of oil under more than 4,000 meters of water, rock and salt in 2006. These deposits are at previously untapped depths and will be costly to extract. It is thought that other reserves may be nearby in other as yet unexplored blocks.

To capitalise, Brazil’s regulatory agency the ANP has announced that it will be excluding Tupi from a new round of block concessions scheduled for spring 2010, as Brazil looks to protect it’s strategic reserves & is currently changing the concession framework for blocks in the area. According to proposed legislation, which is being heavily pushed by President Lula, Petrobras will operate all blocks in pre-salt areas with a minimum 30% stake. Output would belong to the federal government under a production sharing model & participating IOCs will receive a fixed share of the revenues.

This is a canny move & possibly a very good gambit to make, as IOCs are now on the backfoot with new capacity for exploitation becoming scarce. More tellingly, companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Chevron & Exxon Mobile have come under increasing pressure in countries such as Nigeria & Angola in recent months, especially from Chinese state firms.

Last month, CNOOC, made a bid to acquire concessions in 23 prime blocks in Nigeria, which could see the Chinese state-controlled oil giant securing more than 20% of Nigerian hydrocarbon assets. There has been some speculation that Nigeria may be using the Chinese approach as a heavy hammer to extract more favorable terms on concessions that are due for re-newal, however, it underlines the fact that oil majors must look for more stable environments in which to do business.

ANP Director Nelson Narciso has expressed confidence that oil majors will still be interested in new pre-salt areas despite market uncertainty over the new terms because of both economic & political stability.

“As long as the production sharing agreements are preceded by a fair competition, there is no reason for not being happy with Brazil,” he said. “I expect that if everything goes well, by the end of next year we’ll be in a position to start the bidding for the new pre-salt round”

Lula has a knack of getting his way, as he is seen as being instrumental in pulling Brazil out of the global recession via his socialist policies, which have been very popular with Brazil’s citizens. Our view is that the IOCs will be forced to accept these terms on the pre-salt fields, whilst picking up other concessions in more mature blocks as a sap. We have been bullish on Petrobras for a good while & we see no rason to change that view on the basis of this news.

 

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EU toughens stance on FTA, India could miss the boat

european unionAfter nearly three years of negotiations, Indian & The European Union (EU) hopes of concluding a Free Trade Agreement by the close of this year are fading fast.

It is thought unlikely that Delhi & Brussels can hammer out any meaningful resolutions before the EU-India Summit next month.

The talks have historically been bogged down over a number of issues; for example Europe wants India to sign up to stringent food safety criteria, which Delhi is reluctant to enforce on it’s own producers & also wants India to relax rules on foreign investment & ownership in Indian companies.

Additionally, India has made great efforts to ring fence government procurement including public utilities at state, provincial & local government level as it seeks to onshore these areas for Indian service companies. At the same time, India is also trying to get Europe to relax it’s Schengen controls with regards to Indian nationals seeking employment across the 27 member states, as Europe has it’s own issues regards catering to emigration from new member states to more develpoed countries, it obviously wants to keep this issue at arms length.

None of this wrangling has been helped by the financial crisis, expecially from a European point of view, whilst India has also been distracted as it attempts to jockey for position with China on a global scale, whilst on a domestic level social movements, including fishermen & labor unions, are building up strong campaigns against the Free Trade Agreement.

What should not be ignored is that India is being forced to again become more competitive in global markets if it wisheds to continue it’s economic growth plans. Plenty of other Asian economies are looking to Europe as destinations for products & export markets, not just China. Another area of contention that has not yet received any significant attention from Delhi is sustainable developmentclimate change issues raised by members of the European Parliament, who in turn, are being pressured by environmental groups across the Union.

The bottom line is that the EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for approximately €77 billion in trade in goods & services in 2008, whereas India is ranked tenth in the list of EU’s main trading partners. Understandably the EU is concerned at India’s attempts to force what is effectively one way economic traffic further. The danger for India is that it’s near neighbours in SE Asia including Korea, Taiwan & emerging tigers Malysia, Indonesia & Vietnam will get a head start.

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Nokia launches first handset on China Mobile 3G standard

nokia logoHere at Emerging Voice, we have been following the the whole Nokia / China Mobile / 3G story for a good while, you can pick up on some of those previous posts here : Nokia in China

Today, Nokia has finally launched it’s first TD-SCDMA compliant handsets the Nokia 6788, which was built from the ground up for China Mobile.


Nokia (NYSE: NOK) today announced the Nokia 6788, its first device for TD-SCDMA – China’s domestic 3G standard, at an event in Beijing. The Nokia 6788 is the result of close collaboration between Nokia and the world’s largest mobile phone operator, China Mobile.

Speaking at the event, said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, CEO of Nokia: “Nokia sees TD-SCDMA as being central to the successful evolution of 3G in China, and so is fully committed to this 3G standard. With a wide range of integrated China Mobile applications, the Nokia 6788 marks a new level of collaboration with China Mobile and offers enriched experiences to China’s 3G users. Nokia plans to introduce more TD-SCDMA phones in the near future, further boosting the development of this 3G standard in China.”

“We are excited to see the launch of Nokia 6788,” said Mr. Lu Xiangdong, Vice President of China Mobile Communications Corporation. “With extensive experience in the China market, Nokia will provide Chinese consumers with TD-SCDMA solutions that are perfectly catered to their needs. Such cooperation between the world’s largest operator and the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturer will provide an important boost to the development of TD-SCDMA in China.”

The Nokia 6788 is specifically designed for China Mobile’s (NYSE: CHL) network and offers rich data services. It is an all-in-one device that provides its users with faster Internet speeds and download times. Featuring a 5-megapixel (2592 x1944) camera with a dual-LED flash, a 2.8″ QVGA display, and the hugely-successful Symbian S60 platform, the Nokia 6788 allows people to instantly share the things that matter to them most.

& here’s some pics

Nokia 6788

we apologise for the Engadget style of this post, but it’s been a long time coming !!

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