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Energy Blast – September 9, 2009

Russia’s refusal to upgrade gas contracts with Ukraine jeopardizes gas transit to Europe, says Bogdan Sokolovsky, the representative of the Ukrainian president on international aspects of energy security.  The Ukrainian economics minister has reportedly assured Moscow that it will stick to the gas contract agreed in January.  The Kuwaiti Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmed al-Abdullah al-Sabah, has advised that OPEC output quotas be retained – meanwhile Qatari Energy Minister, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, has chastised Russia for not supporting the cartel more actively.  Russia may face a fall in oil production as geological prospecting significantly decreases.  The Kremlin is preparing a series of oil and gas agreements to be signed when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visits Moscow later this week.  Gazprom reportedly plans to increase investment in the Far East to $3.7 billion in 2010 to cater to the oil-thirsty Asian market.  Oil and Gas Eurasia reports that trained seals may be the latest to join the Gazprom payroll in the Shtokman field, for detecting leaks from gas and oil pipes deep underwater.