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Energy Blast – April 12, 2011

Just like that: Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has stepped down from his post as Rosneft chairman.  The company says Sechin ‘decided to set a good example‘.  And in the capacity of his state role, President Dmitry Medvedev has charged Sechin with the creation (by June 1) and maintenance of a natural-gas exchange, as well as to ensure that energy companies’ investment plans are implemented.  ‘Russian leaders have admitted that the modernization of the economy will not be possible until there is some development of energy effective systems.‘  Ukraine has opened a criminal case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko over the gas deal she brokered with Russia in 2009. ‘They are launching new cases (against me) every day,‘ she says.  Don’t hold your breath for a TNK-BP buyout.  Among a raft of other reasons, BP is still struggling to afford the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, says Reuters.  But the company is reportedly seeking Kremlin approval for just such a deal, and BP had ‘$19 billion in cash on the balance sheet at the end of 2010 and have more capacity through debt arrangements‘, driving speculation which has boosted BP’s share price to a three-month high.  But according to the FT, TNK-BP is planning to launch three separate sets of litigation against BP.  Gazprom stocks are booming at the moment as well, on news that it may see record sales in Europe this year.