Energy Blast – April 9, 2008

BP stands to lose up to $20 billion to Gazprom as the government seizes control of a larger stake in the production project at TNK-BP’s Kovykta field. Rosneft’s fourth quarter net earnings leaped from $603 million last year to $2.98 billion this year, fueled by the controversial acquisition of Yukos assets. The company’s debt was cut from $26.3 billion to $23.8 billion. Anatoly Chubais, the chief executive of the utility UES, announced that TransNeftServis-S is the last serious bidder for power generator OGK-1 after EdF and RWE pulled out of the race. The privatization of Russia’s electricity sector is entering its final phases. “From a market point of view, it’s very sexy,” said James Fenkner, chairman of Red Star Management, a hedge fund based in Russia. “You are going, all of a sudden, from a system of government controlled inputs and outputs to a market based system with more potential for profit.” Sweden has blocked Gazprom’s plans to build an offshore platform as part of the Nord Stream pipeline project for environmental reasons, but the project managers say they can continue the pipeline without service platforms. Enel has signed a major gas deal with Egypt’s state company EGAS for exploration and sales, which could eventually help Italy diversify away from Algerian and Russian supply. Lukoil has announced a sizable investment to develop six fields in the North Caspian Sea, which should help peak production reach 13 million tons of oil by 2016.