Energy Blast – Feb 3, 2012

A number of European countries are reporting reduced flows of Russian gas as the cold snap continues to pressure demand, including Austria, Poland (PGNiG says it is receiving 7% less gas a day) and Slovakia.  Italy has cut its estimate of gas volumes from Russia for a second time.  Gazprom denies cutting supplies to Europe, and has blamed Ukraine for taking more than its contracted share.  Ukraine denies this, and says that Natfogaz will continue to meet obligations on shipping gas from Russia to Europe.  Saudi Arabia is tapping into the fuel oil boom by hiking the price of its lowest-quality crude to a two-year high.  Why are Sinopec’s refineries operating at a loss?