Energy Blast – July 15, 2008

The Czech Republic is reportedly suspicious of Russia’s claims that oil supplies have dropped due to technical reasons. There is speculation that the cut is a “punishment” for Czech involvement in US missile defense plans. “Up to date, Russia has never used energy as leverage against any EU member state, and we do hope that the Czech Republic is not being used to set the precedent.” Russia’s audit chamber says that several energy projects, “all of which have foreign participation”, did not achieve production targets last year. TNK-BP’s ongoing shareholder disputes have reportedly left it “without an approved 2008 investment program or an interim dividend”. AAR, the Russian shareholders in the venture, have reportedly expressed interest in buying BP’s 50% stake as a last attempt to gain control. Indian oil and gas company ONGC intends to buy 100% of shares in Imperial Energy, a British company operating in West Siberia and Kazakhstan. Following Total’s pulling out of Iran’s South Pars gas project, Malaysia’s Petronas is reportedly also assessing its involvement.