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Energy Blast – May 29, 2009

Oil prices have reached a six-month high, surging to $65 a barrel.  The Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has drawn up a proposal to create a reserve of lucrative oil fields.  An analysis conducted by the US Geological Survey says that nearly one-third of the world’s undiscovered gas is north of the Arctic Circle, mainly lying in Russian territory, meaning the country’s control of gas may be ‘accentuated and extended’.  Central Europe’s largest oil company OMV wants to open a delayed pipeline between Bratislava and Vienna as early as next year, which would give it direct access to Russian oil for the first time.  Italy has said it would support Moscow’s proposal to have the European Union subsidize some of the gas bills that Ukraine is struggling to pay.  OPEC will leave its quotas for daily output of crude oil unchanged.  Whilst Romania is committed to the EU’s Nabucco pipeline, if the project does not gain momentum it may consider other ventures.  The New York Times reports on the many difficulties Finland has encountered in building an ambitious nuclear facility.