Energy Blast – Dec 30, 2011

Turkey’s decision to allow Russia permission to build the South Stream gas pipeline ‘seems to have caused a degree of panic in Ukraine’, says the FT, which suggests the agreement will undermine Kiev’s bargaining power in extracting price concessions from Moscow.  Ukraine may take Russia to an international arbitration court if the two sides fail to negotiate a new gas supply contract with a lower price, threatens the country’s Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov.  Serbia has reached a deal on new natural gas purchasing prices with Gazprom which will apparently slash the cost for consumers in the Balkan state by 12%.  The Washington Post‘s Andrew Higgins examines the ‘curious malaise at the heart of a would-be energy axis between Moscow and Beijing’.  China has gained potential access to millions of barrels of oil after it gained approval for oil exploration and extraction in Afghanistan.  Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny continues his battle against Rosneft, the country’s largest oil company, with renewed demands for it to provide more information about its investmentsAs Iran threatens to counter sanctions with the choking of traffic in the Persian Gulf, military analysts are apparently optimistic that whilst Tehran can slow traffic, it would be impossible to entirely block movement through the Strait of Hormuz.  The China unit of ConocoPhillips is facing a lawsuit from from aquaculture farmers in the northern coastal city of Tianjin, who are seeking $77.54 million in compensation for losses prompted by an oil spill in a field operated by the major.  Bloomberg reports that Spain’s largest oil producer Repsol has agreed to purchase Russian explorer Eurotek for roughly $230 million.