Energy Blast – Nov 18, 2009

In spite of recent measures taken to avoid more EU gas disruptions this winter, and a new Russia-EU partnership set to be discussed in detail at this week’s Stockholm summit, Slovakia’s Prime Minister can’t see Kiev being able to pay its gas bills.  A $300 million EBRD loan to Naftogaz, intended to help it manage the import and storage of gas from Russia, has just been delayed after the Ukrainian company failed to implement key reforms.  Gazprom chief, Alexander Medvedev, says the company’s 2009 profits are forecasted at around $42.5 billion – and that’s in spite of end-of-year export cuts of 10%.  He has also challenged reports that supply will outstrip demand until 2015, forecasting the end of the surplus for either 2011 or 2012, depending on your source.  Speaking as chair of a petrochemicals conference in Tatarstan, Vladimir Putin said he wants Russia to catch up with the global trend of petrochemicals consolidation, and emphasized the need to diversify the economy away from ‘selling raw materials and buying finished products‘.  In response to nervous local residents, the Kremlin insists that the dam built by the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant doesn’t pose a threat to inhabitants of the Yenisei River basin.