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Energy Blast – Feb 26th, 2009

Here we go again: Gazprom has warned it will again cut off gas to Ukraine on March 8 if the country does not pay back 400 million dollars of new debts.  ExxonMobil is preparing to drill new exploration wells at its $17 billion Sakhalin-1 project in Russia, despite a lingering government dispute over budgets and work plans. Chevron pulled out of a joint venture with Gazprom Neft after disappointing finds at the two Siberian fields they explored, although says it has not abandoned future plans to explore in Russia.  Total and Gazprom are reportedly interested in participating in a $13 billion dollar project to pipe Nigerian gas to Europe across the Sahara.  With a degree of fanfare, Iran has carried out successful tests at its Bushehr plant, moving another step closer to its launch.  The former prime minister and current head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, praised Iran’s ‘significant improvements’ in its drive for nuclear energy.  Kiriyenko said Russia and Iran are planning to sign a nuclear fuel supply contract for a term of at least 10 years.  The BBC has some video footage of Iran’s test run.  Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov says that modernization of Russia’s nuclear forces is a top priority.  Total thinks Nigeria could become a key player in the global gas industry – if the main obstacle of poor infrastructure is removed.