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Energy Blast, Feb. 14, 2008

RosUkrEnergo, the murky gas-trading vehicle half-owned by Gazprom, will continue to handle sales from Russia to Ukraine until a replacement, to be joint owned by Gazprom and Naftogaz, can be set up. First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that if Ukraine received gas not only from Russia but also from Central Asia, it would be necessary to keep the intermediary. Naftogaz has already paid off about $100 million of its gas import debts. GAIL Ltd., India’s biggest natural gas distributor, and Itera Group plan to set up ventures to sell fuel and build chemical plants in Russia. BP and Rosneft have begun an indefinite “lull” in drilling off Sakhalin island, as BP admitted the exploration program in the region “hasn’t been the huge success that some thought it might be”.

Russia’s No. 2 gas firm, Novatek, plans to raise a three-year, $800 million syndicated loan by April this year.World EnergyThailand’s PTT Exploration and Production will join with Chinese energy giant CNOOC Ltd to explore and develop gas and oil projects in army-ruled Myanmar.After it was reported that Venezuela halted oil supplies to Exxon Mobil, a federal judge in Manhattan confirmed the freezing of $300 million in cash held by Venezuela’s state-run oil company PdVSA, finding it probable that Exxon Mobil will win its legal battle against the company.