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Energy Blast – Nov 28, 2011

Prime Minister Putin has announced a $14 billion rescue plan for Belarus, which, the Wall Street Journal argues, will tighten ‘Russia’s embrace over its isolated, authoritarian neighbor in return for a major stake in its economy’.  As part of the plan, Russia will dramatically cut gas prices for Belarus to less than half the average paid by other European states and will lend Minsk $10 billion to construct a nuclear plant.  According to RFE/RL, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled national electricity company has confirmed plans to stop its eight-year management of Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power station.  The Kremlin reportedly postponed the opening of its Ust-Luga Baltic oil terminal until next year on the basis of concerns that the port was so badly damaged by landslides it posed a serious environmental risk.  Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia’s gas exporter, has reportedly begun drilling the first appraisal well at the Badra field in Iraq, which is expected to reap 15,000 barrels of oil per day.   The Gulf state has completed the final agreement on a $17 billion project with Royal Dutch Shell and Mitsubishi Corp. to mine natural gas from its oil fields after years of underproduction.  The former deputy CEO of TNK-BP, Maxim Barsky, has said that he never advocated suing the British major for damages over the failed Rosneft tie-up.