Energy Blast, Feb. 4, 2008

The share of the world’s oil reserves controlled by big Western oil companies, such as BP, Shell and ExxonMobil, has fallen to less than 10%, compared with 70% in 1978; and world reserves are dominated increasingly by government-controlled national oil companies in big producer countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran and Venezuela. Gazprom will buy back 1.7 million of its MICEX-listed shares and distribute them to selected employees. “The Russian energy giant did not say how many company managers will be awarded shares.” Kyrgyzstan’s newly appointed Prime Minister has announced that Kyrgyzgaz will be sold. “Although no tender has been held yet, it is clear that Russia’s Gazprom will take partial or full ownership of Kyrgyzgaz.

Gazprom Neft, the oil producing arm of Gazprom, intends to boost crude output to 80-90 million metric tons (586-660 million barrels) per year by 2020, and will buy new refining assets in Russia and abroad as it has limited options to boost capacity at existing plants.Ukraine has taken its first step toward removing intermediaries from its natural gas imports, in an effort that threatens to annul a previous agreement with Russia.Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will seek to persuade Russian officials to pick a “cheaper” route for Gazprom’s planned Nord Stream pipeline, as “Nord Stream is three or four times more expensive” than the rival Amber pipeline that passes through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.US nuclear power reactors will be able to obtain more supplies of Russian enriched uranium for fuel, under a new trade deal signed by the two countries.World EnergyQatargas Operating Co. will supply 1 million tons a year of liquefied natural gas to Thailand once the Bangkok receiving terminal is ready in 2011.ExxonMobil beat its own record for the highest profits ever recorded by any company, with net income rising 3 percent, to $40.6 billion, sparking accusations that such profits are “unjustifiable”; Friends of the Earth commented that the news supports the case for ending oil subsidies.Lithuania’s government won a parliamentary vote to merge a private and two state-owned energy companies to invest in a new nuclear power plant and build connections to Sweden and Poland.Venezuela will open a bid round for private companies to develop the Carabobo I block of the OPEC nation’s Orinoco heavy crude belt.