Energy Blast – June 27, 2012

Oil prices have fallen to below $80 a barrel for a third day in New York due to fears that a meeting of European Union leaders will do little to temper the bloc’s debt issues, precipitating a drop in fuel demand.  Under the U.S.-Russian nuclear cooperation program, Russia intends to convert two nuclear research reactors to low-enriched uranium fuel in 2014.  Washington and Moscow apparently envisage increasing cooperation in nuclear reactor design and enjoy a ‘strong partnership‘ in the field of nuclear security.  According to Reuters, Norway plans to award oil and gas exploration drilling permits in up to 86 blocks, predominantly in the Arctic, over the course of next year.  Turkey and Azerbaijan have reached an agreement to construct the Trans Anadolu pipeline, to transport Azeri gas to Europe via Turkey.  After an explosion at one of its US gas plants killed one worker and injured two others, BP is facing a number of new allegations relating to its safety record.  Oil and Gas Eurasia reports that energy-hungry China will expedite the process of exploring its own shale gas reserves.  Iran announced this week that it has made its first oil discovery in the Caspian Sea for more than a century.
 Domestic gas producer Novatek is hoping that the Russian government will rebuff the finance ministry’s ‘shocking’ calls to quadruple the mineral extraction tax on natural gas. Gazprom is looking to expand in Israel.