Energy Blast – April 10, 2008

The biggest Russia energy story of the day comes from the International Herald Tribune, reporting that Gazprom and Eni are preparing to join forces to build a natural gas pipeline from Libya to the European Union. The IHT reports: Some analysts describe Gazprom’s moves in North Africa as a “pincer” attack on Europe. They say if Gazprom succeeds in Libya and in Algeria, where it is already competing for contracts, it could end up dominating the supply routes to Southern Europe. Germany’s RWE is “heating up” the race to acquire UK nuclear producer British Energy, which is seen as part of a wave of acquisitions to “bulk up” the company to avoid being swallowed up by Gazprom. The Russian government is considering slashing oil taxes to counteract stagnating production levels, which for the first time may decline this year. French paper Le Figaro is reporting that two Russian regions are suing oil company Total, claiming $35-$85 billion in loses from a breach in a drilling contract made during the Yeltsin era. Timan Oil & Gas Plc reports that it is at an advanced stage to secure financing and will resume trading soon.