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Energy Blast – Aug 5, 2010

If oil prices remain at $70 to $80 per barrel, Russia is likely to relive key features of the Brezhnev era of the 1970s and 1980s — with a stagnating economy and 70 percent to 80 percent approval ratings for its political leaders.‘  Reuters reports that Emergency Ministry staff are working to stop a hydrogen leak from an unnamed Moscow oil refinery’s catalytic cracking unit.  Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, is optimistic about efforts to resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  The White House says that it had to push BP ‘at every step of the way‘, with regard to post-spill cleanup, to act more quickly, although it is now finally saying that the majority of the oil has disappeared.  It is still anticipated that clean-up operations will remain ongoing for months.  Welcoming Robert Dudley, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin ‘prais[ed] his predecessor Tony Hayward, ousted over his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill‘.  Venezuela is repaying the $20 billion it borrowed from China in kind, with 200,000 barrels of oil a day.  The country has agreed to form a joint shipping company with Iran for transporting crude oil to ease future cooperation.  Russia’s July gas invoice for deliveries to Ukraine is in at $780 million.