Kommersant is reporting today that one of the Czech Republic’s most wealthy businessmen, Karel Komarek, is considering the purchase of shares in six oil and gas projects in Russia. According to the report, Komarek’s company, Moravske Naftove Doly (MND), may seek partnerships with Neftemontazhspetsstroy and Saratovneftegeofizika, and could place a bid at the upcoming auction to buy the Chukhlorsky oil reserves in the Khanty-Mansiysky Autonomous Area.
Karel Komarek, leading Czech businessman
However, as is often the case for investors in Russian energy, the Kremlin will likely require something in return from the Czech Republic. The Czechs are unique among their neighbors for having successfully parried the advances of Gazprom through diversification, and maintaining control over the transmission, distribution, and retailing of natural gas. The MND acquisition of energy assets in Russia could go hand in hand with a Gazprom deal to build a 400 million cubic meter underground storage unit in the Czech Republic, and last June there was news of Gazprom interest in taking a direct stake in MND.