Energy Blast – March 11, 2011

The high price of oil is damaging to the global economy because it ‘dampens consumer spending and that cuts into economic growth‘ – for everyone except OPEC members and major oil producers like Russia, that is.  Lukoil is a case in point, reporting a 29% jump in annual profits on the back of oil prices.  ‘The stepped-up flow of petrodollars into the government’s coffers relieves what had been a worrisome budget deficit and lessens the urgency of reform.‘  And crude export duty could rise by 17% if the Finance Ministry can get Vladimir Putin’s approval.  Libya’s National Oil Company, whose headquarters are based in Benghazi with the opposition, has pledged to support them and may donate funds from crude produced by rebel fields to their cause.  Pro-Gaddafi troops meanwhile are fighting to retake the oil port of Ras Lanuf.