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Energy Blast, Feb. 27, 2008

Another gas row. Gazprom has, for the second time, threatened to cut fuel supplies to Ukraine, with a deadline of March 3, if an accord on the repayment of debt isn’t signed. The new conflict is reportedly due to delays with the original debt payments and, according to one Russian newspaper, “the general unwillingness of Ukraine to stick to delivery procedures agreed on by presidents of both countries”. Yulia Tymoshenko is to make an emergency brief to President Viktor Yuskchenko this morning. It has been confirmed that Ukraine has paid off its gas debts for 2007, but a Gazprom spokesman said, “To pay off what is due for last year is not an exploit. There is nothing to be proud of.” Gazprom has announced its acquisition of the Siberian Energy and Coal Company, also known as SUEK, marking a major foray into coal. The move, which expands Gazprom’s influence into the electricity sector, is part of a long-term industrial strategy to increase the use of coal in domestic electricity generation in order to free more natural gas for export. Hungary‘s government has rushed to defend its decision to join Gazprom‘s South Stream gas pipeline, “which some observers fear will scupper plans for an EU-backed project to cut dependency on Russian energy supplies.

Russia’s Tatneft says it hopes to set up a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell to tap heavy oil deposits in mid 2008.Marubeni Corp., a Japanese trading company, has bought greenhouse gas-emission credits from Gazprom “to capitalize on growing demand for the rights to pollute air in Japan.World EnergyOne UK newspaper today is running a story that explores the “stereotypes and myths” surrounding the oil industry.