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Energy Blast – Jan 31, 2011

As Egypt’s anti-Mubarak protests gather strength, oil prices are reportedly creeping up across world commodity exchanges, with fears that unrest could spread across the Middle East.  Lukoil has begun evacuating its staff from the country as upheaval mounts.  BP apparently wants to initiate ‘fast track arbitration’ to settle a dispute with Russian shareholders in its TNK-BP joint venture over the British major’s deal with Rosneft.  TNK-BP’s Russian shareholders reportedly believe that the authorities, including Prime Minister Putin, were left uninformed by the British oil giant as to its obligations to existing oil industry partners in Russia before the deal with Rosneft was concluded.  Apparently Royal Dutch Shell is hoping to jump on the Rosneft bandwagon.  Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych has concluded a handful of energy deals with Azerbaijan and criticized Russia for its plans to bypass his country in supplying gas to Europe, sparking fears of renewed Moscow-Kiev disputes over energy.   Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has told a panel on European energy security at Davos that he feels no pressure from Russia to shun the EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline.  Exxon Mobil breaks a record.