Energy Blast – July 29, 2011

The price of oil on world commodity exchanges was reportedly falling this morning, as U.S. congressmen continue to battle out the U.S. debt issue.  South Korea’s nuclear envoy has told a group of foreign journalists that he is pessimistic about the chances of North Korea renouncing its weapons program, a view apparently shared by most analysts.  Exxon Mobil , Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other big oil groups have all reported higher profits: Reuters examines how they plan to use their earnings.  Shell’s strong performance, the Telegraph argues, demonstrates the value of being an integrated producer, whilst much attention has been focused on the benefits of demerging the major oil companies.  The Economist considers the separation of upstream and downstream at some length here. Relations between the Bulgarian government and Lukoil  have entered a new stage of acrimony with the news that talks over the former’s decision to revoke the company’s permits for storing fuel in the country have been canceled.  Lukoil has announced its Bulgarian refinery will halt operations completely today.  Is there a link between Bulgaria’s problematic ties with Russia’s oil major Lukoil and the state nuclear company Atomstroyexport?