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Energy Blast, Jan. 31, 2008

Viktor Zubkov and Vladimir Putin are both being reported as likely to succeed Dmitry Medvedev’s role as chairman of Gazprom, a company “regularly referred to as Kremlin Inc.ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, has agreed to buy three coal mines in Russia for $720 million from OAO Severstal. Russian stocks led by Rosneft, LUKoil and Tatneft fell on renewed concern that a recession in the United States will hurt global demand for oil and gas, the country’s biggest exports.

Italy’s biggest utility, Enel, is confident of gaining control of Russian generator OGK-5 through a buyout of minority shareholders.World EnergyI saw it as a very positive sign because all 27 countries now are clearly moving towards agreeing on an internal market in energy,” said the European Commission‘s energy chief, welcoming an alternative proposal from eight EU countries, led by Germany and France, to its radical plan for breaking up Europe’s big gas and electricity companies.In response to threats of new sanctions from the UN Security Council, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said that his country would produce nuclear energy by next year.North Korean leader Kim Jong Il assured a visiting Chinese delegation that his regime was still committed to holding up its end of the stalled six-nation nuclear deal, saying that “’the present difficulties are temporary and can be conquered.”India’s Essar Oil Ltd said it will raise up to $2 billion for expansion of refining capacity, exploration and production activities via share or bond issues in India.The European Commission fined Eon €38m after a seal on a room storing documents seized by antitrust regulators during a dawn raid at the German energy group’s offices was found to be broken.Suncor Energy of Calgary has outlined details of a US$20.7bn expansion of its oil sands operations in northern Alberta, saying it is confident it can contain escalating costs and environmental damage.London-based oil major BP has made a significant gas discovery at record depths in Egypt’s Nile Delta.