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Energy Blast – Jan 10, 2012

The Moscow Times reports that Iran and Russia have replaced the U.S. dollar with their national currencies in bilateral trade.  Turkey’s Halk Bank has apparently told Indian oil refiners that it may no longer be able to act as an intermediary for their purchases of Iranian crude, meaning the BRIC member may have to start looking elsewhere to quench its energy needs.  Baltic nation Estonia is reportedly looking to dismantle Gazprom’s hold over its energy network.  Czech power company CEZ may have to downsize its nuclear expansion plans as a result of new legal restrictions on public procurement.  Nuclear Power Corp. of India has said that work at a plant at Kudankulam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is being constructed with Russian assistance, remains blocked due to protests of local villagers.  Judy Dempsey in the New York Times argues that Europe’s new access to shale gas and LNG might have somewhat reduced the Russian stranglehold on European gas supplies.  New figures show that in 2011, Russia’s oil exports to countries outside the CIS fell by just under 4%, in comparison with 2010.