Energy Blast – July 16, 2008

The technical problems affecting Russia’s oil supply to the Czech Republic “don’t seem to have touched Poland, Hungary, or Slovakia, all of which are also supplied by the same pipeline.” This may be because Tatneft, one of the two key suppliers of Russian crude to the Czech Republic, said it had reduced deliveries in order to re-route volumes to Turkey, where it would get better prices. TNK-BP oil has won a court ruling overturning an injunction preventing it from using 148 foreign employees. Roughly half of the venture’s foreign staff have now received their work permits, with the rest having to leave the country. Chief executive Robert Dudley’s visa reportedly expires at the end of July and may not be renewed. Moscow has reiterated that it is “surprised” at attempts to politicize the TNK-BP situation. Gazprom is reportedly considering a $4.7 billion increase in spending this year.