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Energy Blast – Sept 7, 2011

After a ropey August, Russia needs the 1,200 km Nord Stream pipeline, which has just become operational, says the Washington Post.  The fact that it bypasses sparring partner Ukraine will be a relief for Western European consumers, argues this article.  Putin may have employed the inauguration as a chance to twist the knife in Ukraine’s side, using ‘the occasion to point out that Ukraine’s leverage in price disputes with Gazprom had now diminished’.  Ukraine’s transit ‘exclusivity is ending’ the Prime Minister pointedly told journalists at a pumping station near Vyborg, where the pipeline begins its Baltic journey.  Nord Stream ‘serves the very political purpose of isolating Ukraine,’ says Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford university, quoted by the FT.    Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has affirmed that Ukraine cannot unilaterally break the gas contract at the heart of a pricing dispute.  On the seemingly indefusable row, RFE/RL has an overview.  Electricite de France and Germany’s Wintershall will each get 15% and Italy’s Eni 20% of Russia’s $21.5-billion Black Sea-crossing South Stream project.   Despite a background of mounting investor frustration‘, Bob Dudley refuses to bow to pressure to improve BP’s trailing share price with quick fix measures, says the Telegraph.   The CEO will accompany Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, on a trade visit to Moscow next week.  Russia apparently has no plans for building any further nuclear stations in Iran after Bushehr.  The Guardian reports that European governments negotiating major energy deals with third countries such as Russia or Libya will need to submit any agreements to Brussels for vetting by the European commission, under new rules being proposed on Wednesday.