The Sakhalin Stick Up

oil-stick-up.jpg Energy Negotiations, Russia Style In reviewing the media coverage of Shell and Gazprom’s “business negotiations” over the Sakhalin-2 natural gas project this week, one would be led to believe that these were fair and equitable talks, held by two partners within a constructive and rules-based framework. This obscene characterization by the Canadian press in particular is a travesty – a euphemism used to conceal a crime of appropriation without compensation. The fact is that we should all know we are dealing with state-sanctioned criminality here, and while a corporation is held a gunpoint by the opportunists of Gazprom and their friends in the Kremlin, and the media does the business and political community a great disservice by reporting the story the way many of them they are. What we are really witnessing here is essentially a hostage-taking, not business negotiations. We would be closer to reality if we imagined armed troops storming the Sakhalin-2 platforms and pipeline routes – rather than businesspeople sitting at a negotiating table. Can we just call a spade a spade, please?