Energy Blast – Sept 19, 2011

Germany’s BASF and France’s EDF have agreed to join Gazprom and Italy’s Eni in the building of the South Stream pipeline, in a major step forward for the costly project.  Italy’s Eni will apparently follow through with an agreement to sell half of its stake in the Libyan oil field Elephant to Russia’s gas monopoly.  Following the German government’s decision to pull the plug on nuclear energy, Siemens, which built all of the country’s nuclear installations, has announced it will stop building nuclear power plants, leading it to scrap a venture with Russia’s Rosatom.  Stoking ongoing tensions over gas pricing, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has told reporters that Kiev is ready to consider the suspension of its gas transit system which pumps Russian gas to Europe.  The Prime Minister did also state that Ukraine would fulfill all international contracts, including the controversial agreement with Russia, until the countries review it, hopefully by the end of October.  A meeting between the two parties has been scheduled for September 24.  According to Oil and Gas Eurasia, Iran shares Russia’s disapproval of the the EU Council decision to participate in the construction of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline project.   Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has challenged the Energy Ministry over dilatory progress on oil tax reform.