Energy Blast – June 9, 2008

One report says that the weekend’s Economic Forum saw Russian leaders “wooing investors by pledging to curb corruption,” but that the still uncertain fate of TNK-BP “clouded” the meeting. At the forum, Medvedev’s economic aide complained of “limiting” foreign investments, in relation to a dispute at Vimpelcom. Gazprom is reportedly keen to buy the Russian half of TNK-BP, but a senior government source warned against this, saying it would be “the worst option”. The company ended a bid to gain control of Siberian Coal Energy Co., because of “uncertainty” in the energy market. It also reportedly wants to join a gas pipeline project in Alaska and has already made a proposal to BP and ConocoPhillips. BP CEO Tony Hayward said he is “confident” of reaching an agreement with the billionaire shareholders of TNK-BP. Russia’s antitrust regulator cannot rule on billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s application to buy Russneft until the company settles claims concerning the sale of its shares. Royal Dutch Shell and Gazprom signed a preliminary agreement to study liquefied natural gas projects on Russia’s Yamal peninsula. Russia may build a nuclear reactor to supply electricity to Gazprom’s offshore Shtokman project. From 2010, Russian oil firms will to receive another round of tax cuts worth up to $8.4 billion. SUEK and Gazprom have dropped plans to merger their power and coal assets valued at $16 billion, after the sides could not agree on the managing format of the joint companies. A meeting of Group of Eight energy ministers emphasized the need for domestic efficiency over than “piling pressure on a resistant OPEC to pump more crude.” The head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs has predicted that oil prices are likely to reach $150 a barrel this summer.