Energy Blast – March 22, 2012

China has cut its crude oil imports from Iran to just half of December levels and replaced them with Saudi Arabian purchases, in a move to pressure on Iran over a contract dispute.  Poland’s shale gas reserves could be as much as 85% less than last year’s U.S. Energy Department estimate, although are still large enough to cover 65 years of demand.  This report explains why European shale gas is, if not the ‘game-changer’ it has been in the U.S., a useful bargaining chip in controlling the price of imports.  Belarus could begin cutting imports of Russian natural gas as of 2017.  The Saudi Arabian oil minister says his country is ready to boost output to ease excessively high petroleum prices – it is currently producing 9.9 million barrels a day.  This report says prices were falling this morning due to lower production in China.  Russia and Ukraine have still not managed to resolve their dispute over gas prices.  Iraq is still considering whether to lift a ban on ExxonMobil’s bids on new oil contracts, initially imposed due to its relations with Kurdistan.  Charges have been filed against 17 Chevron executives over the Atlantic Ocean oil spill last November, for environmental crimes and failure to provide accurate information.  Eurasian Natural Resources Corp has set out its investment plans, indicating that over a third of its profits will come from projects abroad.  The FT looks at plans to rejuvenate the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System.  Rosneft is planning to request shareholders’ approval on a $1.5 per barrel discount on oil sales to China, and will buy back shares from those who vote against the plan.  Russia’s work has restarted at India’s Kudankulam nuclear plant (after protesters blocking access were removed from the site), paving the way for plans to build two more atomic reactors.  InterRao’s appetite for overseas acquisitions is frustrating investors who want the company to develop its own electricity sector.  Spain’s Repsol is seeking alliances with Chinese and Russian energy companies in a bid to protect its interests in Argentina.