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Energy Blast – April 2, 2009

Oil prices have climbed back up to over $50 a barrel. An explosion on a 30-year-old pipeline in Moldova, severely reducing Russian gas supplies to the Balkans, has been almost entirely repaired.  Was OMV always a front for the Russian group Surgutneftegaz? is the question raised in an article in the Moscow Times, following the company’s purchase of a 21% share in MOL.  According to the energy ministry, Russia has cleared Total’s 2009 plans for investment in the Kharyaga field.  Gazprom and Nigeria’s NNPC have signed an agreement for an exploration project in northern Nigeria.  Rosneft and Tatneft are among the nine companies selected by Iraq as potential bidders for development rights to 11 oil and gas fields.  Non-OPEC oil output could drop due to a lack of resources, which may raise prices and offset the possibility of an economic recovery, says an analysis piece in Reuters.  The USA will sue BP over the Prudhoe Bay oil spill of 2006.  The worth of Russia’s oil wealth funds dropped by $14 billion over last month as the government dug into oil reserves to offset budgetary deficit.