Daily Archives: May 25, 2011

Mol Duna refineryHungary is taking no chances with control of Mol (MOL:BUD), the national oil company. After announcing a €2.88bn deal to buy back a controversial 21.2 per cent stake from Surgutneftgaz, the secretive Russian energy group, Budapest is proposing to up its stake further, to up to 24 per cent.

The fact that the cash-strapped government, which emerged from an IMF rescue only last year, is spending big money on increasing national control over Mol highlights how sensitive Hungary is over Russian influence in the energy sector. Most other central European states are no different. Oil sector investors in the region ignore politics at their peril.

The additional shares are coming from the semi- private pension funds that the government is nationalising, taking control of their €10bn portfolios, including a 2-2.4 per cent stake in Mol. Peter Szijjarto, the government spokesman, said on television late on Tuesday that the state would also retain these shares taking its stake to up to 24 per cent.

Wow. Turns out that in 2008 (into the mega rally time period) someone may have been “squeezing” oil after all.

As the FT reports:

The US commodities regulator has charged a trading house and two individuals with manipulating oil prices in 2008 by amassing dominant positions in the physical market that created the impression of a shortage. The charge is only the second oil manipulation case the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed since launching a “nationwide crude oil investigation” three years ago as the cost of West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, surged towards a record high of $147 a barrel.

FT Energy Source

- CFTC charges traders over oil price – FT

- Oil price jumps as Goldman raises forecasts – The Telegraph

- GE to invest in buoyant gas market – FT

- Shift in power generation lifts gas turbine makers – FT

- Big dogs of oil tangle over gas subsidies – WSJ

- Tymoshenko charged over gas contract – FT

- Shell huts Caspian office – The Telegraph

- Tullow buys North Sea assets – FT

- IAEA launches investigation into Japan nuclear accident – WSJ

- Spent reactor fuel ‘greater risk in US than Japan’ – NY Times

- Mol buy-back to cost €1.9bn – FT

- China’s utilities defy planners to cut production – NY Times Green blog

- US and EU step up Iran nuclear sanctions drive – FT

- US agencies to use only alternative fuel vehicles – Argus

- US smart grid to cost billions and save trillions – Reuters

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