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Energy Blast – Jan 6, 2012

Gazprom’s $2.5 billion payment to take control of Belarus’ pipeline operator, Beltransgaz (a condition of a rescue loan package), contributed to the health of the country’s New Year’s gold and foreign exchange reserves.  In response to ongoing sanctions, Iran says it is preparing to resume nuclear talks with the West that have been stalled for almost a year.  China is reducing its imports of Iranian crude oil for the second month running, and Japan and South Korea are also seeking new suppliers to help them reduce their dependence on Iran.  Estonia is searching for ways to reduce its dependence on Gazprom for natural gas supplies by taking steps to unbundle its supply and distribution to comply with EU directives; new legal measures have been approved, but still require parliamentary approval.