Energy Blast, March 26, 2008

The Kremlin’s investigation into BP is dominating the news today. “Analysts see clear similarities to the way Shell was treated before being made to hand part of its Sakhalin-2 project to state-owned oil and gas group Gazprom,” says one paper. “The idea that the events of the past few weeks are all coincidental stretches credulity,” says another. Russia’s largest coking coal producer Mechel has agreed to pay $1.5 billion in cash to acquire British-based ferro-chrome producer Oriel Resources. Russian potash miner Silvinit has offered to buy out a 25.1% stake held by managers of rival miner Uralkali. Unified Energy System has delayed an auction for its 25% stake in Russian Communal Systems by two months due to interest from a foreign investor. Anxiety in Germany about gas and oil deliveries from Russia, its main supplier, is contributing to a new interest in coal mining.

Russia and Egypt have signed an agreement that will pave the way for Russian firms to bid for lucrative contracts to build nuclear power plants in Egypt.Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) has concluded a cooperation framework agreement with Russia’s Rosneft aimed at developing oil fields in eastern Siberia. The former is said to be particularly interested in the East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline.