|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|THE SINKING OF YUKOS SUBSIDIARIES|
Oil industry analysts and Russian state officials are unanimous in their predictions for Russia's embittered oil giant Yukos — other Yukos subsidiaries will follow the fate of Yuganskneftegaz. They only differ on what will go first.
|PERSON OF THE ISSUE|
|Face to face with new Ukraine|
On 25 February Lukoil's president Vagit Alekperov flew to Kyiv for the meeting with Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko and Yulia Timoshenko, Ukraine's PM. It is appropriate to recall that just before the visit Ukraine's state secretary Aleksandr Zinchenko unexpectedly accused Lukoil in failure to meet its obligations on 78,000 b/d Odessa refinery. The allegation was picked up by tabloids in no time, which is understandable taking into account re-privatisation strategy of the new Ukrainian government. However, the statement of Lukoil's president dotted the i's and crossed the t's.
|IP WEEK — MAKING A POINT OF CLEAN ENERGY|
From 14 to 17 February London held sponsored by the Energy Institute 91st IP Week.
|EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION|
|RUSSIA’S SUBSOIL: NO ENTRY FOR ALIENS?|
February 2005 was busy for the industry time. Russian media sources mulled over the issues of Yukos's future and origin of the cash used for Yuganskneftegaz acquisition, while foreign media outlets cried foul about restriction of field access for the foreign companies. Yuri Trutnev, head of ministry of natural resources (MPR), once again became one of the most quoted Russians.
|SEMYON VAINSHTOCK: RUSSIA SEES BEYOND EUROPE|
Unveiling the strategic plans of Transneft during the British Energy Institute's IP Week is something of a tradition for Transneft president Semyon Vainshtock. This is natural in light of the growing shipments of Russian and Caspian crude via Transneft's terminals and Druzhba pipelines to European and US markets. This year's presentation was closely watched by the China, Korea and Japan as Transneft just started its Eastern pipeline project to Russia's Pacific coasts
The CIS refining industry is famed for its hazardous production environment and highly negative ecological impact. There aren't many refineries that can boast of adequate standards — 180,000 b/d Saratov refinery owned by TNK-BP is one of those that can. The refinery has recently installed occupational health and safety and environmental protection control systems. The systems are compliant with international standards, which enhanced refinery's image and yielded tangible results almost instantly.
|Let's work together|
KOCH-GLITSCH presents the refining solutions most demanded in the CIS
The variety of refining industry seminars that had frequently gathered the USSR specialists disappeared with the break-up of the Soviet Union. However, the spirit of community discussion on CIS refining issues has been resurrected, courtesy of Russia's Refiners Association, which runs industry seminars for chief engineers. Ukraine has no such association so far, so the seminar on new refining technologies that was run by UPECO and KOCH-GLITSCH on 15 February stirred interest among specialists.
|SLAVNEFT: EUROPEAN EFFORTS|
Slavneft applies finishing touches to 359,000 b/d Yaroslavl and 323,000 b/d Mozyr refineries development projects
The majority of Russian oil companies invest in refining sector using so-called «leftover» strategy — the money left after investments in exploration and production projects. As result, many CIS refineries confidently loiter in the backyard of European oil products market. Still, any rule has its exceptions, Slavneft being such in this case.
|EXPONEFT OFFERS COMFORT BEYOND THE POLAR CIRCLE|
The Murmansk operator reminds its clients of a luxury of human dialogue
RUSSIA: GASOLINE PRICES ON THE RISE AGAIN
Following a six-week descent, average prices of motor fuels in Russia began to recover in late January — early February. Market players say the causes of price growth are largely same as last year, although this time increased production costs are also playing a role. While the government seeks a way out, experts forecast fuel prices will keep on rising.
|NOTHING PERSONAL, JUST BUSINESS|
While the state promises further «disassembling» of Yukos, other industry players have been forced to start dividing up its export directions.
The redistribution of Russia's crude export routes ignites a scandal in Ukrainian government
Yukos position on export shipments was not meant to last for long. But Surgutneftegaz, the successor of the Yukos export legacy, immediately ran into trouble. The company's decision to team up with a Ukrainian partner to skim some cash on Ukrainian VAT rebates resulted in a letter of resignation by the newly-appointed Ukrainian minister of Justice Roman Zvarych. As it turned out, the minister's spouse works for Oil Transit — the very company to which Surgutneftegaz shipped its first 65,000t of crude in January.
|THE SUBTLETY OF THE EAST|
The saga of Rosneft's purchasing Yuganskneftegaz equity took a hard turn when the details of this financial «deal of the century» started to leak out. Russian minister of finance Aleksey Kudrin said «Yugansk» was acquired with Chinese financing in the form of a credit from Vnesheconombank, Russia's foreign trade bank. As this statement ricocheted around the country's oil industry, a closer look made it clear the minister had oversimplified things and allowed himself a slip of tongue in the process.
|Cleaning the front yard|
The Lithuanian government's intention to regain control over the Mazeikiu Nafta concern, as announced in the end of 2004, took shape in early 2005 as the concern started to experience supply interruptions. Yukos, the coordinator of the concern, understands the complexity of the matter as well as the state authorities do.
TNK-BP is ready for large-scale corporate restructuring. This is a key element in the company's development strategy and one which will bring management in line with international standards and simplify relations with shareholders. More than 600 legal entities in the company are to be eliminated by early 2006, executives say.
|TOTAL: WE ARE NOT TAKING CHANCES|
French oil&gas major Total deems strategic alliances too risky. Consequently, Total usually proceeds in stages, a tactic it will use in developing its business in Russia.
The statistics are inexorable: over the last year, terrorist acts in Iraq more than tripled, rising from 77 in 2003 to 246 in 2004, with explosive growth towards the end of the year. Each new act of terror sets back the chance of revitalising the Iraqi oil industry in the short-term.