Energy Blast – April 22, 2011

TNK-BP shareholder Viktor Vekselberg talks to the BBC about how he is ‘still upset‘ with BP for its attempt to sign a deal with Rosneft, likened his stake in the company to ‘a piece of [my] life‘, and noted the Russian shareholders’ ‘strong legal position‘ as the company announces new lawsuits against BP in various international courts.  Putin ally Vladimir Bogdanov has been reappointed head of Surgutneftegaz, which could soon be forced to pay full export duties if the government gets rid of its crude export tax breaks.  If the Kremlin goes ahead with its plan to raise mineral extraction tax, Novatek could save $717 million from 2012-13 in tax breaks designed to help independent producers cope.  Rosneft and LUKoil are planning to set up joint structures for transit and offshore exploration projects.  Gazprom anticipates that European gas prices will rise above planned levels to $500 per 1,000 cubic meters by the end of the year.  Austria’s OMV has proposed that Iran would be a safer source for European gas, and should not be excluded from the Nabucco pipeline project.  Gazprom and the consortium Japan Far East Gas Co will conduct a feasibility study on the possible joint construction of an LNG plant in Vladivostok.  In a bid to boost production at PVSA’s joint ventures with foreign companies, President Hugo Chavez says that crude output will not be eligible for a windfall tax until investments have been recovered.  Rosatom say that nuclear plants in the US and Japan with pressurized water reactors like those at Fukushima will have to be shut down.  China is beginning to throw its weight behind shale gas extraction, hoping to emulate the US, for whom shale gas has been ‘a game-changer‘.