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Energy Blast – March 21, 2012

Vietnam and the Philippines have rejected China’s map of the South China Sea, over most of which China claims ‘indisputable sovereignty’, including blocks currently under exploration by ExxonMobil and Gazprom.  Polish gas monopoly PGNiG is planning to reduce its purchases from Russia this year to a contracted minimum, which will not incur a fine; the group is still disputing prices with Gazprom.  Gazprom’s reported call for a rise in domestic wholesale prices for gas is apparently linked to possible tax hikes levied by the government in an attempt to cover a spending increase linked to Vladimir Putin’s election campaign.  In what looks like a ‘radical departure’ from previous policy, the head of Lukoil says Russia is becoming more receptive to foreign companies willing to drill in Arctic waters.  A lack of new legislation in the petroleum industry is causing uncertainty and holding back growth in Nigeria’s oil sector.