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Energy Blast – Sept 5, 2011

The EU has ceased all imports of Syrian oil in protest at the Al-Assad regime’s punitive stance on internal dissent.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has condemned the move.  Ukraine has increased pressure on Russia to lower the price of its natural gas; at the CIS meeting in Dushanbe, President Yanukovich launched some of his sharpest criticism yet of the gas deals with Moscow.  Bloomberg reports that Ukraine may file a case against Russia in a Stockholm court of arbitration if dialogue over its gas contract fails.  Yanukovich has apparently stated that it will not sanction the unification of Naftogaz and Gazprom simply for the sake of a gas discount.  The Washington Post reports that five foreign oil and gas companies are back in Libya to work on restarting production.  Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claims that the Kremlin has received an invitation from Libya’s new National Transitional Council to discuss the energy projects agreed under Colonel Gadaffi which have hung in the balance since unrest began.  He also stated that Libya’s transitional leadership is ready to send representatives to Moscow for talks on these matters.  According to Oil and Gas Eurasia, the Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft will not abandon the Burgas-Alexandropolis pipeline project despite difficulties in its negotiations with a reluctant Bulgaria, but may put the project ‘to sleep‘ this fall.  How taxation issues could endanger Russia’s position as the world’s number one oil producer.  BP’s Moscow office hopes to resume business as usual today, after last week’s raids.  After a series of false starts, the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the first of its kind in Iran, has begun providing electricity to the national grid.