Energy Blast – May 21, 2012

Saudi Arabia has overtaken Russia as the world’s largest oil producer for the first time in six years, thanks to boosting its own production to a 31-year high.  Despite insistence that it has been keeping up a post-Soviet production high, Forbes shows evidence to suggest that Russian output has dropped since the end of last year.  Turkmenistan is due to sign a long-awaited agreement this week under which it will supply natural gas to Pakistan and India via the U.S.-backed TAPI pipeline which runs through Afghanistan.  Surgutneftegas is increasing last year’s dividends to record levels of 2.15 rubles per preferred share.  Iran’s Economy Minister predicts that international oil prices will riseunder sanctions against his country, estimating highs of $160 per barrel if the European Union goes ahead with its planned July embargo.  Royal Dutch Shell is anticipating a doubling of the price of U.S. shale gas by 2015 as demand increases.  The Turkish Energy Minister backs Nabucco’s proposal to downsize the project.  China National Offshore Oil Corp has debuted China’s first homemade deepwater drilling rig.  Chinese solar panel manufacturers are making plans to source components from Taiwan in order to get around the U.S.’s 31% anti-dumping tariffs.