Energy Blast – March 7, 2012

Hot on the heels of the election, Russian gas prices have already begun to rise: Vladimir Putin’s 2011 moratorium on increases has been lifted.  The Iraqi Oil Ministry has approved Norway’s Statoil selling its minority stake in the West Qurna oil field to Lukoil.  Statoil says it cannot proceed as a partner in the Shtokman gas project until ‘significant changes’ are made to the structure of Russian tax.  Russia’s Finance Ministry is backing an initiative to cut export duty on heavy crude to just 10% of the standard levy for the next decade, a bid to stimulate production.  Germany’s RWE is warning investors to expect losses this year resulting from rising costs of long-term gas supplies from Russia and Norway.  The CEO of Gazprom claims that the company’s ‘unique large gas reserves’ mean that it can supply the entire Asian market with natural gas.  BP’s executive compensation still benefits Tony Hayward, despite his having resigned in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico spill in 2012, reports the Washington Post.  Falling gas prices are threatening the world’s largest private equity deal (the $45 billion leveraged buyout of TXU).