Energy Blast – April 23, 2010

Vladimir Putin commented on the gas deal that would reduce Ukraine’s prices in exchange for an extension of Russia’s lease on its Sevastopol naval base: ‘It’s anything but a simple decision for us. Anything but simple, because it is expensive.‘  President Viktor Yanukovich is defending the deal on grounds that the economy needs it, and insisting that the agreement is not a violation of the constitution because it extends an existing contract.  According to a new Forbes 2000 list of the world’s leading companies, Gazprom is the global number one for profits with $24.33 billion, closely followed by ExxonMobil, China Mobile, PetroChina and Petrobras, although it trails far behind in market value.  Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum Ministry predicts that it will ship less crude to Europe in the coming years as demand from Russia, India and Brazil increases.  The territorial dispute over oil and gas reserves in the Barents Sea between Russia and Norway is seeing some progress, but a breakthrough is still thought to be a long way off.  Australia is to ratify an agreement that will allow uranium to be exported to Russia for energy purposes.  The rise in US shale gas could end up being beneficial for Russia after all – pipe maker TMK, at least, is seeing increased demand thanks to the boom.  Brazile’s Belo Monte hydropower station is under widespread attack.  ‘But,‘ says The Economist, ‘with the economy set to grow by up to 7% this year, and tens of millions of Brazilians consuming more after leaving poverty, investing in more power generation is essential.‘