Energy Blast – March 16th, 2009

Oil prices have fallen back below $45.  OPEC says its new strategy will focus more on production curbs than output cuts.  Russia’s insistence that it had supported OPEC’s last round of cuts was dismissed by analysts, who said the Russian cut was a result of lack of investment rather than voluntary restraint.  ‘It’s really just a show game.’  At yesterday’s meeting of the cartel, which was attended by Russian delegates, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said that Russia was doing its part in reducing global crude supply and proposed an overhaul of the market to limit the effects that financial speculators have on prices.  He suggested that Russia cooperate more closely with OPEC to implement these measures.  Sechin also insisted that foreign investment is returning to Russia’s oil and gas sector.  Russia and Venezuela have announced a fourth joint venture to pump crude oil in the Orinoco belt.  By June, Saudi Arabia’s oil production capacity will be 12.5 million barrels a day.  Following a successful start to the year, Rosneft is considering new acquisitions ahead of the start-up of its new Siberian field.  A ‘long-awaited build-up’ in supplies of liquefied natural gas could force temporary closures of coal mines.  Russia has signed a hydrocarbon memorandum with Iran to allow Gazprom to make ‘swap operations’