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Energy Blast – July 7, 2011

Russia and Norway have resolved their 44-year Arctic border dispute, opening up a 175,000-km-squared area thought to contain up to 6.8 billion tons of oil and gas.  Artur Chilingarov, the Russian explorer who riled Canada and others by placing a flag on the Arctic sea floor in 2007, was awarded the title of ‘Hero of the Russian Federation’ in 2008, claims the Guardian in a report on political tensions in the region; and here’s a breakdown of current territorial disputes.  According to this report, Russia is planning to apply to the UN next year to increase its share of Arctic territory, and intends to spend millions seeking to prove that a particularly energy-rich underwater mountain range is part of its own landmass.  It is also concerned that its economic interests are threatened by NATO’s activities in the region.  Mongolia has added confusion to the Tavan Tolgoi project, saying that its decision on the three shortlisted bidder was not yet final.  A Hong Kong-based analyst talks to Bloomberg about China’s surging demand for energy products, natural gas in particular, and defends the process of hydraulic fracturing against claims of environmental damage.  The chairman of Rosneft says that the company’s assets are a strategic holding for the state, and should not be sold: ‘The government should be guided by a certain calculus, not an abstract notion that the public sector is bad and the private sector is good.‘  Desmond Tutu speaks up against boosting global nuclear power: ‘Eliminating nuclear weapons is the democratic wish of the world’s people.‘  On the one hand, Ukraine is taking steps to distance itself from Russia, inviting investors to consider building its first LNG plant.  On the other, President Viktor Yanukovych is inching closer to the ‘rather unpopular step‘ of tying up a joint venture between Naftogaz and Gazprom