Energy Blast – July 30, 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has visited Elemash, a nuclear energy plant, to look at the production of nuclear fuel and “was interested to know why the plant had to resort to foreign help”. Russia’s labour agency has asked a court to hear a case on labour violations against TNK-BP’s senior management. “Where next for TNK-BP?” BP chief Tony Hayward opened the company’s board meeting yesterday, saying “There’ll be a present for the first journalist to ask a question that isn’t about Russia.” He then went on to warn foreign investors in Russia to “tread with caution”. Robert Amsterdam is quoted on a Wall Street Journal blog on the Mechel affair. “The fact that [Mr. Putin] spoke a second time knowing the damage it would cause represents a matter of grave concern to all investors.” The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service says it will investigate coal miner Raspadskaya and a unit of Evraz Group over high domestic coking coal prices, along with Mechel. First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov has tried to make assurances that Mechel will not suffer the same fate as Yukos. A Gazprom delegation has paid a working visit to Turkmenistan.