Energy Blast – March 23, 2011

Conflict in Libya is only going to strengthen Russia’s position on the energy market, with Gazprom’s shares already having risen by 11% this month, says this piece: ‘Russia could also take advantage of the greater levels of uncertainty in world energy markets — which have pushed crude prices to 2½ year highs above $100 a barrel — to extract long-term concessions from Europe.‘  Sergei Shmatko is proposing that the EU differentiate between local and transboundary gas pipelines in order to protect Russian pipelines from new rules stemming from the Third Energy Package.  Is growing global energy demand likely to lead to a gas consumption boom?: this article looks at a number of ‘huge‘ new LNG projects in Russia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.  15 of the 60 nuclear reactors under construction today are Russian projects, meaning that Russia is building more plants than any other country, and Rosatom says it has orders for a further 30.  Putin has outlined three options for the South Stream project as Russia waits for Turkey’s approval; Slovenia has agreed to form a venture with Gazprom to construct and manage its section of the pipeline, as Putin sought to reassure officials that the project is not in jeopardy.  Russia will double its crude oil supply to Japan as part of an energy aid package, with Igor Sechin anticipating that deliveries will reach 18 million tons.  The two countries are setting up a working group on energy cooperation in the long-term.  Belarus, which is scheduled to buy 21.7 million tons of Russian oil this year both for its own use and for export (the latter a crucial source of revenue), is seeking a price discount.