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Energy Blast – Nov 9, 2011

The U.N. atomic agency’s much-anticipated report on Iran has apparently concluded that the country may have conducted secret experiments whose sole purpose is the development of nuclear arms, and this research may be ongoing.   The report’s findings, which are the product of nearly a decade of research, are reportedly likely to prompt the EU and US to seek harsher sanctions against the regime.  According to ITAR-TASS, Moscow apparently is very ‘disappointed and perplexed’ about the furor surrounding the report, and suspects ‘political dishonesty’ is at play.  Rosatom has strenuously denied that any of its employees have been involved in developing anything other than civilian-use nuclear isotopes.  Yesterday saw the opening of the Nord Stream pipeline, attended by Angela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev who announced with visible pleasure, that ‘today, for the first time, Russian gas will reach countries of the European Union directly’‘Not everyone was clapping and cheering,’ says RFE/RL, given that transit states such as Ukraine and Belarus will now lose revenue and a political bargaining chip.  As the pricing disputes ruble on, it appears that Gazprom, whose second quarter profits have risen, may be willing to offer a compromise for German consumers on the basis of a $100 gap between the forward price of gas in Europe and the current price of some Russian contract gas points.   Nonetheless, transit nation Lithuania has apparently exhausted opportunities to reach agreement with the company on a ‘fair price’ of Russian gas.  Ukraine’s state energy firm Naftogaz has borrowed $550 million from the banking arm of Russian gas giant Gazprom to pay for the country’s October gas supplies.  The Guardian reports on how Russia and China’s Arctic prospecting plans contravene the Madrid protocol.