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Energy Blast – Feb 25, 2011

Oil and Gas Eurasia report on a slight drop in oil prices this morning on news that protests in North Africa have calmed somewhat.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has described the spate of highest prices since August 2008 as ‘a serious threat to economic growth in the world’.  According to Italy’s Eni, the largest producer in Libya, the upheavals have taken 1.2 million barrels of oil off the global market.  Russia’s Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko has asserted that Gazprom can increase natural gas supplies to Europe if demand rises due to the events in North Africa.  Gazprom anticipates increased European demand for supplies via the planned South Stream pipeline as a result of the situation.  Sky-rocketing oil prices could increase ‘the danger of a double dip not just to the developed economies but to the rest of the world’, says a concerned Hamish McRae in the Independent.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the president of the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, were, as predicted by some, at loggerheads at a meeting in Brussels over EU plans to stop suppliers of oil or gas from directly managing pipelines, a decision Putin compared to ‘property confiscation’.   Mr Barroso has rejected the suggestion that the move is discriminatory.  Both Gazprom and Rosneftegaz have bid for the giant Kovykta gas field, majority-owned by TNK-BP, a source close to the bidding has said.