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Energy Blast – July 7, 2008

AAR, the Russian partner in the TNK-BP oil venture, is being sued for $362 million by BP in the High Court of London. BP is suing over a back tax claim. AAR responded by accusing the firm of “bullying tactics”, and meanwhile is set to begin legal action against chief executive Robert Dudley today, which could see him removed from the company if successful. This article suggests that the protracted dispute is predominantly about control, following comments from Mikhail Fridman on the nature of the conflict. Vyborg Shipyard has begun building the first of two drilling rigs for Gazprom’s Shtokman project in the Barents Sea. Power Machines will build a 26.8-megawatt hydrostation in northern Iraq by July 2010. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has given Gazprom and the Federal Antimonopoly Service a month to ease access for independent natural gas producers and oil companies to Gazprom-controlled pipelines. Sechin is chairman of Rosneft. Ukraine’s Naftogaz is in negotiations with Gazprom on joint production on the shelf of the Black Sea. Dmitry Medvedev has completed his energy tour of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. China Oilfield Services will buy Norway’s Awilco Offshore for around $2.5 billion. French oil major Total plans to spend $1.9 billion in 2009 developing of new wells and upgrading older wells in Indonesia.