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Energy Blast – July 29, 2010

The war of words between Russia and Iran over sanctions seems to be having no impact on preparations for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is apparently due to be finished at the end of August, says a Rosatom source.  ConocoPhillips is planning to sell its 20% stake in LUKoil (worth roughly $10 billion) over the next year, 7.6% of which will return to LUKoil, with the rest being sold on the open market.  The Moscow Times says the sale relates to Conoco’s need to pay off debts, but the FT quotes the company’s chief executive as saying that the Lukoil investment had been aimed at doing joint deals and these had not happened.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that certain tax breaks for oil and gas producers will stay in place, but that others – gas extraction taxes in particular – will increase.  Bloomberg suggests that new BP head Robert Dudley will follow the same high-risk, high-return strategy ‘that led to the Gulf spill and turned outgoing CEO Tony Hayward into a pariah‘.  Russia could have its first solar plant on the way by 2011, as Rostovteploelektroproekt enters its last round of talks on construction.