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Energy Blast – March 25, 2009

Russia has indefinitely broken off talks with Ukraine in response to the former Soviet state’s attempt to work with the EU on modernizing its gas infrastructure.  Austrian energy regulator E-Control says Russia should let Europe upgrade Ukraine’s system and transport fuel across it, in order to reduce political tensions and the threat of supply problems.  Reuters has a Q&A on the situation.  Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko defended the move, saying, ‘Neither Russia nor Europe lost yesterday. Ukraine simply defended its national interests.’  Foreign and domestic power generators are demanding that the state step up its efforts towards introducing a so-called capacity market, saying that the lack of such a system creates uncertainty about energy project investments.  OGK-1 needs 34.4 billion rubles ($1.03 billion) over the next three years to carry out its growth plans, and may therefore issue new shares for sale to the government.  Gazprom is planning to exercise an option to buy back 20% of its oil arm Gazprom Neft from Italy’s ENI.  The Wall Street Journal says that global oil markets aren’t taking enough notice of the decline in Russian oil production.  India’s Nuclear Power Corp will cooperate with Areva on a $4 billion large-capacity nuclear plant, as part of plans to add 60,000 megawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032 from its current 4,120 megawatts.