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Energy Blast – May 31, 2012

Russia’s Finance Ministry is reviewing plans to increase mineral extraction tax on gas, with the possibility that Gazprom may end up paying a higher tax rate than its independent peers.  Lukoil is considering a $2-3 billion share buyback; Rosneft will spend $1.8 billion buying back 2.7% of its own shares.  Mikhail Fridman, who left his CEO role at TNK-BP earlier this week, has hinted that the joint venture may see an ownership shake-up with a third investor being added to the board.  Spain’s Repsol will pull out of Cuba after a failed 12-year-long attempt to find oil – ‘a devastating and perhaps irrevocable blow’ to Cuba’s hopes of an oil windfall, says Reuters.  PetroChina estimates that it could take up to five years to unlock the natural gas reserves (thought to be triple those of the U.S.) trapped in China’s shale rock.  A consortium led by Lukoil won its bid for an oil block in Iraq.