Energy Blast – July 8, 2011

ExxonMobil’s Yellowstone River oil leak continues to resist containment efforts due to fast-flowing, high water.  It looks like Italy’s ENI will pull out of Libya, leaving the Gaddafi government to negotiate over its assets with Russia and China.  Gazprom plans to merge its power division with Renova assets owned by Viktor Vekselberg to create a new state-controlled entity, ‘part reversing a recent privatisation of the industry‘ and raising the concerns of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service: ‘this is not desirable. Our position has always been circumspect — this can lead to limited competition on the market, so we will therefore watch this deal very closely.‘  One analyst quoted in the FT said that the merger would allow the state to ‘dominate the market‘.  Under the deal, Renova would get 25% plus one share in Gazprom Energoholding.  Gazprom could be seeking an advance payment from China on future gas deliveries of as much as $40 billion.  New tax discounts for smaller Russian oilfields could see extraction taxes cut by 50%.  A Kommersant report indicates that Bulgaria wants to reduce its current intake of Russian gas by four times, supported by increased domestic production and diversified imports.  China has awarded two of four shale gas block tenders to its own Sinopec.  Could developments in the shale gas sector help reduce China’s reliance on LNG and pipeline gas imports?