This week we have seen major developments in the oil and gas sector in Russia, a conflicted outlook for the future of Scottish renewables and the first step in China's shale gas journey - and much more.

A consortium building the offshore section of the 2,500 km South Stream Pipeline transporting Russian gas to Southern and Central Europe - in turn bypassing the Ukraine - has awarded major contracts for the second line.

A Marubeni-Itochu and Sumitomo joint venture, United Metallurgical Company and Severstal have won contracts to supply more that 75,000 12 m pipes for the first line of South Stream's offshore section.

Gazprom, Eni, Wintershall and EDF Energy  - the builders of the pipeline - have gone ahead with the contract awards despite an EU decision to delay talks on the scheme in light of the political situation in Ukraine and Crimea. Read more here.

JSC Yamal LNG - the consortium developing Russia's Yamal LNG project in the Yamal Peninsula - has awarded GEA Batignolles Technologies Thermiques (GEA BTT) a contract to supply over 400 air-cooled heat exchangers, which will delivered over a three-year period. Read more here.

Furthermore, Russian oil producer JSC Gazprom Neft will start full-scale production drilling at the Messoyakha fields in the Yamal region of the Russian Arctic during 2015; 6 production wells and the construction of supporting infrastructure is already underway at the Messoyakha fields.

Gazprom Neft subsidiary, Gazpromneft-Khantos, has also been granted a licence to explore for shale oil in the southern Priobskoye field. See more here.

The Scottish Government has given the go ahead to the Beatrice and Moray offshore wind farms, totalling 1.9GW, to be located in the outer Moray Firth.

Meanwhile SSE - formerly Scottish Southern Energy - will consolidate its activities in the offshore wind market, stating it will not invest the 340MW Galloper wind farm beyond current phase of development, and has halted its plans to develop the 690MW Islay wind farm. SSE attributed a lack of confidence in the sector as the reason for its withdrawal. Read more here.

Scottish oil and gas exploration firm Cairn Energy has confirmed the presence of heavy oil at its JM-1 well, offshore Morocco. See more here.

On the continent, Germany's second largest utility provider RWE AG has agreed the sale of its oil and gas exploration unit, RWE Dea Ag, to Russia's Alfa Group at an enterprise value of EUR5.1 billion (USD7.02 billion). See more here.

A joint venture between the energy division of Neal & Massy Holdings Limited and Wood Group PSN will provide construction services to Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago, the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer in the Western Hemisphere.  The joint venture will be responsible for project construction activities for Atlantic's four-train liquefaction facility in Point Fortin on the southwest coast of Trinidad. See more here.

UK power plant development company Hurwan Power has outlined plans to develop a gas-fired power plant in Wales.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) is planning to develop the country's first shale gas field in Fuling, which will have a predicted annual production capacity of 10 billion cubic metres by 2017. Read more here.

Alstom has been awarded a contract worth approximately EUR40 million (USD55 million) by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) to supply three 660 MW supercritical boilers for North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Project (STPP) located in Jharkhand, India. Read more here.

It has also secured a EUR20.1 million (USD27.66 million) contract from Powergrid for the extension of air-insulated substations (AIS) at 14 sites across five Indian states, and 765 kV reactors at Bhiwani.

Alstom has also signed a partnership with Freyssinet to enhance its ability to provide higher towers to serve less windy power sites. Read more here.

KBR has been awarded an onshore liquefied natural gas portfolio contract by Shell Global Solutions International bv, which will see it develop pre-front end engineering and design (pre-FEED) and FEED for Shell's worldwide LNG projects. KBR will also be able to exercise the option to continue as the lead party in consortia for projects in the execution phase. See more here.

KBR has also won a FEED services contract from Emirates National Oil Company Processing Company for the upgrade of its condensate refinery at Jebel Ali. See more here.

Foster Wheeler AG has revealed that a subsidiary of its Global Engineering and Construction Group has signed an alliance agreement with OMV to provide integrated project management and engineering, procurement and construction management services.

The BBE Hydro Constructors Limited Partnership - led by contractor Bechtel - will build a USD1.27 billion Keeyask hydroelectric power plant on the lower Nelson River in northern Manitoba, Canada. Read more here.

Subsea 7 won a lump sum contract valued at approximately USD110 million from Shell for the installation of jumpers, umbilicals and associated subsea structures for the BC-10 Phase 3 Project in the Campos Basin offshore Brazil. See more here.

For more information about any of these EPC developments, or if you would like to share details of projects in your region, please contact David Kershaw.