Energy Blast – Jan 6, 2010

Belarus has sent a delegation to Moscow for talks to try to end the oil tariff dispute.  Reuters considers Russia’s harsh stance as a possible attempt to prompt negotiations on other tricky issues, such as the selling of Belarussian assets to Russian corporations.  An adviser to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has suggested that dwindling oil reserves in its European region may be the reason why Russia is acting ‘nervously in relation to Belarus.  Belarus is not the only country complaining about the increase in energy prices – according to RFE/RL, Moldova claims that Russia raised the gas price by 20% as of January 1.  Gas exports from Russia to Poland have increased since the beginning of the week, yet there remains no deal to ensure full supplies.  Decreasing European demand, technical and managerial inefficiency – why the future is not as bright for Gazprom as Russia may hope.  The Chinese envoy to the UN has said that now is not the time to consider sanctions against Iran, preferring that a diplomatic solution be awaited.  Reports from the Washington Post suggest that North Korea began its uranium enrichment program not long after its 1994 agreement with the US, under which the Communist outpost promised to do the exact opposite; to dismantle it.