Energy Blast – April 26, 2010

Austria’s Economy Minister has signed a deal to join the South Stream gas pipeline project, under which an estimated 2 billion extra cubic meters of gas a year will pass through Austrian territory from Russia on its way to Europe.  ExxonMobil is having trouble convincing the Kremlin to grant it permission to invest in an offshore project near Sakhalin Island.  Reuters analyzes Total’s persistent focus on resources in the ‘heavily tapped’ North Sea, in part blaming a recent resurgence of ‘resource nationalism‘.  This same resource nationalism, says Bloomberg, contributes to major oil companies, such as Shell and Total, focusing their attentions on natural gas instead of oil supplies.  Would the Gas Exporting Countries Forum have a better chance of increasing prices if they included Pacific nations in their membership?  New Kyoto protocol this year?  Don’t hold your breath. If ratified, Russia’s controversial deal to reduce Ukraine’s gas prices could lead to other energy agreements, says Ukraine’s Prime Minister, provided Russia and the EU are willing to invest in new gas infrastructure.  Chevron’s chief executive says that shale gas is too expensive for his company to consider joining the current rush.  Shell wants the Middle East to solve the discrepancy between its plentiful resources and its current supply shortage.