Energy Blast – July 3, 2008

Dmitry Medvedev plans to “lock up rights” to ship natural gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. “It’s Putin’s plan that all the gas from this part of the world should be sold by Gazprom,” said one analyst. TNK-BP’s Russian shareholders have reportedly called an extraordinary board meeting aimed at dislodging Robert Dudley as chief executive, although BP dismissed the call as a publicity stunt. A number of TNK-BP managers, including chief executive Robert Dudley, will have their visas renewed after the government promised to expedite the process. BP has meanwhile decided to withdraw 88 foreign employees from the venture. The leader in today’s Times says that Russia’s rule of law “remains a sham”. With oil hitting $146, Medvedev sees prices hitting $150 a barrel, with one analyst commenting, “it’s in his interest to talk the market up.” A possible agreement between Gazprom and Eni could see the gas supply doubled for the latter. The State Duma has approved tax cuts for oil producers. Prospects for a “gas OPEC” diminished after Iran and Russia rejected the idea.