Energy Blast – Feb 20, 2012

US and European officials have ‘cautiously’ welcomed a letter from Iran proposing talks about its nuclear program, says the Washington Post.  IAEA inspectors are on their way to Tehran, hoping for a ‘constructive’ visit to the regime whose nuclear ambitions have caused international consternation.  Is President Obama naive to hope that sanctions against Iran could have limited collateral damage?  France and Britain are apparently on the verge of signing a civil nuclear cooperation agreement.  Whilst lip service is paid to the idea of economic diversification, ‘being the world’s largest energy producer keeps Russia at the top table of global politics’ says Chris Weafer, from Troika Dialog, on Bloomberg and is therefore non-negotiable.  Gazprom has apparently lowered the price of natural gas for long-term contracts to its customers in the European Union and Turkey; rumor has it that Ukraine may be in line for a 10% discount.  Gazprom’s Deputy Chief Executive officer, Alexander Medvedev, downplays the threat of the burgeoning US LNG industry.