Gazprom recently said it had completely suspended gas supplies to Bulgarian Gas company and Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG) because it was not being paid in rubles. Russia said it would resume gas supplies after it agreed to pay for them in rubles.
Bulgaria and Poland announced Monday that they have received a notice from Russia to suspend natural gas supplies from Monday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 31 signed a presidential decree to settle gas trade with "unfriendly" countries and regions in rubles. When the new rules took effect on April 1, Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russia would not immediately "cut off gas" to Europe, as the cost of gas supplies starting April 1 should be settled in the second half of April or May.
Because of the ever-changing international situation, the supply and prices of international bulk vein graphite are still very uncertain.
Vein graphite is known by various names including crystalline vein, Plumbago, Sri Lankan graphite and Ceylon graphite. The names "Sri Lanka" and "Ceylon" are often used for vein graphite, as the island nation of Sri Lanka (formally known as Ceylon) is the only region where the material is produced in commercial quantities. Significant mining and export of Ceylon graphite began around 1824, but the unusual deposits in Ceylon have been known and apparently used locally since the mid-20th century.
Of all the natural graphite materials, vein graphite is probably the most difficult to describe geologically, and various theories have been put forward as to its origin. As the name implies, vein graphite is a true vein mineral rather than a laminated mineral (amorphous graphite) or a mineral scattered throughout the ore rock (e.g. flake graphite). Seam minerals have a number of unique characteristics, including that they are non-contemporaneous with the surrounding rock, steeply dipping (vein orientation) and filled with a large number of minerals, particularly of hydrothermal origin.
Veined graphite is not confined to Sri Lanka. Many places are known, including the famous Borrowdale in Cumberland, England, where the first 'pencils' were carved out of solid graphite veins. Dillon Montana, USA, is another place where relatively thick graphite vein fillings have been found. The authors have even observed pegmatite vein fracture fillings in northwestern New Jersey, USA. However, all currently available commercial vein graphite is mined in Sri Lanka.
The first photograph below is of a vein graphite specimen from the Borrowdale deposit in the UK. The second photo below is a vein graphite specimen from Sri Lanka.
Vein graphite is unique in that it is considered to be a naturally occurring pyrolytic (deposited from a fluid phase) graphite. Vein graphite gets its name from the fact that it is found in veins and fractures in closed 'ore' rocks. This graphite is formed by the direct deposition of solid graphitic carbon by high temperature subsurface fluids called pegmatite fluids. Pegmatites form regionally or locally when large amounts of magma cool, or when some other source of 'geological energy' causes the surrounding rock to melt. Fluids from these sources are hot and aggressive at high pressures and may actually be in a state known as 'supercritical', a sub-stable fluid state that is neither liquid nor gaseous. Pegmatites represent substances distilled from heated rock because of their low solubility in the local system. If this fluid intrudes into pre-existing flake graphite deposits or other carbon-bearing rocks, the solid carbon present may be bound to the fluid as carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide or other carbon-bearing fluid phases. Carbonaceous gases may also be formed by the reaction of carbonate mineral species with magma or other energy sources. If limestone, marble or other carbonate-rich mineral species are involved, significant amounts of carbonaceous gas may be formed as a result of the release of 'crystalline carbon dioxide'.
Regardless of how the gas/fluid is produced, the carbon will be moved and transported through the fractured envelope to a location more or less remote from where the carbonaceous fluid was formed. When the equilibrium conditions are correct, solid graphitic carbon "precipitates" directly from the fluid phase to form a beautiful graphitic vein filler called vein graphite.
This type of graphite usually has a needle-like macroscopic form and a flaky microscopic form. Close examination of the fracture fillings reveals the presence of closely spaced needle-like or pin-like crystals aligned perpendicular to the vein walls. The needle-like texture is clearly visible to the naked eye, but the vein fillings are reversed and do not form well as single crystals. The accompanying photograph shows a large 6 X 6 X 10 inch piece of vein-like graphite from Sri Lanka. Note the 'top to bottom', elongated preferred orientation of this piece. When placed in the enclosure, the specimen is rotated 90o from its current position, with the top and bottom of the specimen perpendicular to the fissure wall. A close-up of the same specimen shows the needle-like structure of the adjacent vein-like graphite crystals. This vertical 'crystal wall' orientation is typical of pyrolytic carbon deposition.
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Recently, the Turkish government announced that the Turkish President has signed a presidential decree to provide incentives for its Black Sea gas field development projects, including tax exemptions and other preferential measures.
With a fixed investment of 145.1 billion Turkish lira ($10 billion), the project will employ 1,018 people and produce 14 billion standard cubic meters of gas per year, the decree reads. The incentives involved include tariff and VAT exemptions, as well as a range of tax cuts.
In June 2021, Turkish drill ships discovered 135 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Sakaria field in the Black Sea, bringing Turkey's total gas discoveries in the region to 540 billion cubic meters.
Turkey imports almost all of its annual gas consumption of about 50 billion cubic meters.
Except for natural gas, the supply and prices of many other vein graphite will continue to be influenced by international situations.