Energy Blast – April 16, 2009

The Moscow Times reports that Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has accused Norilsk Nickel and two other private companies of reneging on investments in electricity.  Russia’s oil output declined by 1.3% in January-March 2009 in comparison with last year.  Falling oil prices have hit Gazprom Neft, which recorded a net loss of $543 million in the fourth quarter.  Despite financial worries, Rushydro has apparently pre-sold all the electricity for 2010 from the hydropower plant it is building with Rusal.  Russia will give $1.5 billion to Rosatom in state aid, in keeping with its promise to develop the nuclear industry.  In a move to reduce dependence on Russian supplies, Poland has signed a twenty-year contract to buy gas from Qatar.  Norway has become the first Arctic state to define the limits to its northern seabed.  European oil and gas developers Afren and Regal Petroleum are having problems raising funds from banks and are having to rely upon industry partners instead.  Lukoil and TNK-BP are considering acquiring a stake in Regal Petroleum’s Ukrainian assets, perhaps even a total buy up of the $165 million company.  Nuclear plants may open too late to spare the UK an energy shortage reports the Times.