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Energy Blast – March 14, 2012

Azerbaijan halted gas exports to Russia due to maintenance requirements. Germany’s E.ON has announced a 50% profit drop for 2011, blaming the closure of nuclear reactors and lower earnings from its gas and power businesses.  The company says it has managed to renegotiate gas purchasing contracts with Norway’s Statoil (which constitute about 25% of its gas supply).  Gazprom is still struggling to get a foothold in Asian markets, at least partly due to price disputes. ‘Gazprom has a major problem of having a fixed view on what the price of gas should be, irrespective of market conditions.’  Ukraine is refusing to budge on its call to amend Russian gas prices.  Offshore oil-drilling in the Arctic is planned to begin this month on the Prirazlomnaya platform.  China is seeking breakthroughs in unconventional fuel production.  Is China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) backing away from a long-running and U.S.-opposed plan to build a gas pipeline from Iran to Pakistan?  Saudi Arabia says it is ready to fill any supply gap stemming from loss of Iranian output.