Energy Blast, Jan. 8, 2008

In a modification of previous rules, foreign companies are to be permitted to participate in auctions on strategic Russian natural resource fields, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources. Poland is pushing for talks with Germany and Russia about a controversial Baltic Sea gas pipeline project controlled by Gazprom. “We need to understand why the Russians are holding out for this project under the Baltic, which is three times more expensive than a gas pipeline crossing Poland”. VRJ Petroleum, which includes Russia’s OAO Zarubezhneft, Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, and a unit of Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan, has made a commercial oil discovery off the Vietnamese coast and plans to begin production as soon as 2009.

World EnergyThe problems with gas coming from Iran to Turkey are seen lasting a long time,” says one official. Turkey expects a cut in its natural gas imports from Iran to last a long time while Russia, another key energy provider, is unable to allocate additional supplies. The Turkish Prime Minister is to ask the Iranian President directly to restore the flow of natural gas that was cut off this week.Despite denials by Nigerian officials, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has linked rising crude oil prices to the Niger Delta crisis.The US says that a “full disclosure” from North Korea on its nuclear program is more important than its meeting deadlines for doing so.US President George W. Bush “may be tempted to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this election year” to help his potential Republican successor.