Energy Blast – March 30, 2012

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has expressed concern over Iran’s amplification of its nuclear program, and told the media that Tehran is violating United Nations resolutions in doing so.  Bulgaria is apparently optimistic that Russian nuclear power plant builder Atomstroyexport will not take legal action following Sofia’s decision to abandon the Belene nuclear power plant, despite previous warnings from Moscow that it would expect up to 1 billion euros in damages if the project were to collapse.  Bulgaria’s former economy minister Petar Dimitrov has warned that his country does not have a strong case against any Russian claims of compensation.  Total may have to use helicopter water-drops to prevent an explosion at its leaking North Sea gas platform, says the Telegraph.  Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko says that Russia will grant tax breaks to offshore deposits, among them Gazprom’s Shtokman project in the Barents Sea, to guarantee that they produce at least a 16% return.  Investment decisions on the Shtokman project have recently stalled over concerns regarding profitability.  Crude producer Lukoil has reported that its Uzbek subsidiary signed a deal with a consortium of banks to raise up to $500 million to fund the development of gas fields in the Central Asian state.  French energy major GDF Suez is reportedly preparing a £6 billion bid to gain total control over International Power.  Happy days for Surgutneftegas which has announced an 81% year-on-year rise in 2011 net profit to $7.93 billion.   In an ‘historic event’, nine energy companies have submitted 19 bids to explore for oil off the coast of energy-poor Uruguay.