Energy Blast, Dec. 21, 2007

(Here goes our first test of a new daily feature summarizing what’s new in the energy sector. Bear with us while we make some adjustments to the format and style. As always, let us know your thoughts. Cheers! – Editors) Russian Energy News Gazprom has pitched a $99 billion plan to develop new supplies of natural gas to potential investors in Tokyo, and has outlined plans to build 9,000km of new pipelines by 2030. Good news for Gazprom at home – Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said that the ministry “doesn’t view it expedient to hike the severance tax for gas.Gazprom Neft, the company’s oil arm, has announced a drop in net profit and a rise in core earnings. Tatneft has posted a nine-month profit of $1.19 billion for 2007. The Industry and Energy Ministry has approved the crude oil export schedule for the first quarter of 2008. Russia’s delivery of nuclear fuel to Iran is, some say, only the beginning of cooperation for the countries, and the Bushehr plant is “a necessary prerequisite” for further dealings. The plant is not expected to start operating before late 2008. “Iran’s legal nuclear cooperation with Russia could mask and facilitate a variety of illegal transfers”. The experience of London-listed Imperial Energyexemplifies what it means to navigate the mazes of corruption that permeate President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.”

World Energy NewsThe US has complained to Beijing about a new deal between Sinopec, the Chinese state-owned energy company, and Iran, in a sign of further friction caused among the world’s big powers over Tehran’s nuclear programme. The sales of two British nuclear assets, the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the state’s one-third stake in the Atomic Weapons Establishment, are due to go ahead next year. Specialist energy private equity firm First Reserve Corp. said Goldman Sachs is leading a $2.1 billion loan backing the $1.80 billion public to private buyout of British oil rig builder and operator Abbot Group. Kazakh officials are negotiating with the consortium of companies running the Kashagan oil field project, in an attempt to secure better commercial terms. Spain’s Repsol will approve the sale of a 14.9% stake in its Argentine unit YPF to businessman Enrique Eskenazi. Thai energy company PTT plans to invest $7.2 billion between 2008 and 2012, largely in natural gas.