Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bits and Pieces – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1981)

A few weeks away from the office and so much to catch up on from my previous postings:
  1. Light sweet crude was on a bit of a rebound closing at $44.50 a barrel on December 31st for February delivery. All in all, oil fell 54% in 2008, the biggest drop since futures trading began over 25 years ago. The winner of The Oxford Princeton Pipeline’s annual challenge is Adrian Wey of Migrol AG who came closest with his guess of $38.50. Others seemed even more pessimistic. Adrian won a free web-based course.

  2. Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and 1997 Nobel Laureate in Physics for his work in laser cooling of atoms, has been nominated to be the next Secretary of Energy in the Obama administration. Many in the scientific and alternative energy community view this choice as a huge plus in sorting out funding in physics and a lot of other R&D work not to mention the U.S.’s energy policy.

  3. Ghana has a new president. John Atta-Mills, of the National Democratic Congress, beat out his opponent, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party by a narrow margin of 50.23% to 49.77% or yes, a ridiculously close spread of 0.46%! Mr. Atta-Mills promises an inclusive style of government. How this translates into Ghana’s newly discovered oil fortunes, it is too soon to tell.
And now for the energy news stories early into 2009 that has my attention. Tensions in Gaza aside, what about Moscow’s decision to shut off gas supplies to the Ukraine over a billing dispute while relying on pipelines that cross the country to get to the likes of Poland, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania?

London's Financial Times reported that Russian gas deliveries to Poland were down 11 percent over the weekend, and others are experiencing the same.

Russia has accused the Ukrainians of stealing gas supplies destined for Europe as the two sides remain far apart on how much Ukraine should pay for Russian gas. The Financial Times noted that Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, now plans to take the matter to the international arbitration court, although this may do little for the situation in the short term.

The pricing dispute is unlikely to ease immediately. The New York Times reported Monday that Russia is now seeking a price of $418 for 1,000 cubic meters, up from a previous offer of $250. The Times also noted that the shortages in Eastern Europe were reaching 30 percent, reminiscent of the previous Russia/Ukraine gas dispute in 2006.

What happens when common folk start to feel the effects of this dispute in the dead of winter?

Jobert E. Abueva
Global Marketing Director

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