Energy Blast, Dec. 31, 2007

Nord Stream, a consortium led by Russia’s Gazprom, is building a new pipeline that will cost at least €5 billion. The controversial project is facing “growing opposition from governments and private environmental groups.” The Lithuanian president has acknowledged that energy issues with Russia create tension, but says that they “should in no way harm Lithuanian-Russian relations”. Gazprom is doubling its number of liquid gas filling stations in Russia, boosting its monopoly on the domestic LPG market. The president of Gazresurs says that “large state-owned energy companies like Gazprom continue to buy up gas refineries and filling station chains. At the same time, they also dictate the price for independent retailers, for example, by increasing transportation tariffs.

Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, expects to raise crude output 11% next year as it opens new wells at fields “bought from bankrupt OAO Yukos Oil Co.44 oil and gas fields were opened in Russia in 2007, 2 of them in Eastern Siberia.Gazprom‘s €400m offer to take control of Serbia’s state-owned petroleum monopoly has “divided the Serbian government and sounded alarm bells about the cost of Moscow’s political support.”The Iranian foreign minister says that Russia is paving the way for Iran’s first nuclear power plant to begin operation in the summer of 2008 using half its 1,000 megawatt capacity.World EnergyKazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has summoned the heads of the six foreign oil companies that control the Kashagan oil field to a meeting in the new year.Malaysian state oil and gas firm Petronas has awarded a production sharing contract to Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips to explore natural gas.North Korea appears set to miss a year-end deadline to disable a key nuclear reactor and declare all its nuclear programs.Rising oil prices threaten poorer countries, with this year’s surge towards $100 a barrel putting pressure on Africa’s “fragile economies”.India’s state-run gas firm, GAIL, has signed a memorandum of understanding for joint cooperation in various business areas with Oil India Limited (OIL). The two firms could buy 12.5% each in Reliance Industries’ oil block in East Timor.The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) declared last month it had lost control of the world market – what control does it have now?Osama bin Laden has reportedly accused the United States, in a statement posted on the Internet, of plotting to take control of Iraq’s oil.Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp will pay $684 million to acquire a 35% stake in Denver-based Delta Petroleum Corp.