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Energy Blast – March 11th, 2009

Following a meeting with the Hungarian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin announced Russia has enough oil and gas to meet Europe’s and its own energy needs for the next century.  He met with Ferenc Gyurcsany to sign a deal for a joint venture between Gazprom and Hungarian Development Bank, under which the two sides will cooperate on completing a section of the South Stream pipeline.  He also took the opportunity to criticize Ukraine’s recent raid on Naftogaz, saying it could force Russia to consider alternative routes to Europe.  Rosneft may be forced to cut several thousand jobs.  Ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting, Iran’s oil minister suggested that the cartel would accept Russia as a member.  Shell is predicting that low prices for crude oil could provide easier access to reserves for larger, international companies.  Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is aimed at the peaceful production of energy, as the US acknowledges the difficulty of persuading it to abandon its nuclear development plans.  China Shipping Development Co is on the verge of signing an agreement with a unit of CNPC to set up a $5 million joint venture to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG).  A drop in demand for the fuel has led to a six-year price low in the US.