Tag: Russia

Turkmenistan has started to sell gas to China through the world’s longest natural gas pipeline as it continues to develop an international export market for its vast energy reserves.

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.

Kiran Stacey

A fisherman sails on the Ice Fjord of Ilulissat, Greenland Wikileaks has an impeccable sense of timing. As Hilary Clinton meets counterparts from Arctic nations in Greenland to talk about oil, the whistle blowing website publishes a raft of cables showing just how much international tension the country’s natural resources have provoked.

The cables make for fascinating reading, and tell a tale of US perceptions of Russian paranoia and aggression in the territory. They claim:

Serious interest in buying Poland’s Lotos Group has come only from Russian companies, making the sale of the government-owned refiner politically problematic before this autumn’s parliamentary election.

Unofficially, the Russian companies who submitted bids for Lotos before the treasury ministry’s deadline at the end of last month include TNK BP, GazpromNeft and Rosneft, according to Poland’s Parkiet newspaper.

Russian companies have long been interested in Lotos, the country’s second largest refiner – which owns a modern refinery in northern Poland as well as a chain of petrol stations and some oil production on the Baltic Sea – as a way of gaining a foothold in the Polish market.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president, touring Mognitogorsk metal works March 2011President Dmitry Medvedev has grumbled more than once about ministers holding top jobs at state-controlled companies – and to little effect. But this time it seems to be for real.

After Medvedev late on Wednesday ordered the removal of ministers from state enterprise boards by mid-year, Arkady Dvorkovich, his economic aide, followed up on Thursday and named names, starting with Igor Sechin, deputy prime minister, and Alexei Kudrin, finance minister. This is serious – and Moscow is rife with speculation about what it all means.

Vladimir Putin has been regaling TV viewers with his memories of the good old Soviet days when electricity was cheap and Russians paid their utility bills on the nail. But fond stories from the Russian prime minister’s past may just rub salt in the wounds of his people as a sharp increase in energy prices kicks in.

The government has sanctioned a 15 per cent increase in household electricity tariffs in 2011 – well above its inflation target. And in a final break with the Soviet past, energy prices for industrial consumers have been deregulated altogether.

Kiran Stacey

BP’s partnership with Rosneft was remarkable for a number of reasons, not least that it was done against the wishes of BP’s partners in TNK-BP and was the first equity partnership between a private international and a public national oil company. It is also a partnership not limited to developing Russian assets only: the two parties have a 50/50 ownership of Ruhr Oel, a German refining joint venture.

Ian Smale, BP’s group head of strategy and policy, told an audience in London on Monday that the two companies would be looking at further JVs outside Russia, and described the arrangement as an example of how IOCs and NOCs could form closer partnerships in future.

Kiran Stacey

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom, answers your questions.

In this second post, he answers questions on support from Vladimir Putin, the likelihood of a deal between South Stream and Nabucco and future Russian gas demand.

Earlier, he discussed changes to gas pricing, how reliable a partner his company is for EU countries and how Gazprom will respond to the shale gas boom.

Next in the hotseat are Terry Duffy and Craig Donohue, chairman and chief executive of the CME Group. They will be answering your oil-price related questions next Friday, February 25th. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Sunday, February 20th to energysource@ft.com.

But for now, over to Alexander:

Kiran Stacey

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom, answers your questions.

In the first of two posts, he discusses changes to gas pricing, how reliable a partner his company is for EU countries and how Gazprom will respond to the shale gas boom.

In the second post, published later, he will answer questions on support from Vladimir Putin, the likelihood of a deal between South Stream and Nabucco and future Russian gas demand.

Next in the hotseat are Terry Duffy and Craig Donohue, chairman and chief executive of the CME Group. They will be answering your oil-price related questions next Friday, February 25th. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Sunday, February 20th to energysource@ft.com.

But for now, over to Alexander:

Kiran Stacey

Many thanks for all your questions for Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of Gasland. His answers will appear on this site on Friday, February 11th.

Next week, the person in the hotseat will be Alexander Medvedev, deputy chief executive of Gazprom and head of Gazprom’s exports.

This is your chance to ask one of the biggest names in the gas world anything: from how his company can counter the US shale gas boom; to how much pressure he is under to lower prices for foreign governments; to what are the chances and potential consequences of another gas dispute with Ukraine.

Email all your questions to energysource@ft.com by the end of Sunday, February 13th.

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