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Energy Blast – April 20, 2012

Swiftly following BP’s announcement that it will pay out $8 billion for polluting beaches in the Gulf of Mexico, Russia’s Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Yuri Trutnev has threatened TNK-BP that the ministry will seek damages from the Anglo-Russian joint venture over spills in Siberia.  Trutnev has told the government that last year TNK-BP leaked up to 500,000 tons of oil products into Russia’s Ob and Yenisey rivers.  Energy Minister Sergey Shmatko has also attacked the partnership, accusing it of paying out dividends to shareholders rather than upgrading its pipelines.  In a small piece of good news for the company, its offshore explorations in Vietnam are, it would seem, proving successful.  Having infuriated Spain with plans to take over Repsol YPF, Argentina apparently also plans to take control of its gas unit.  ‘The likely long-term effects of politicising YPF’s management and sucking out profits are clear from the oil industry in Venezuela where, under Mr Chávez in the past decade, output has tumbled’, says this report from the Economist.   An analyst quoted here foresees further nationalizations in Argentina if Spain does not retaliate.