|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|THE SEASONAL SPIKE|
Ukraine's spring fuelling crisis had record number of flagrant statements
The looming crisis was apparent in early spring; by that time, it was already obvious it will provide a severe trial for the new Ukrainian administration. Still, it is unlikely anyone expected either such heated atmosphere or the plethora of «eye-openers». Ostensibly, the situation was put under control — but many issues vital for Ukraine's economy remain unanswered, with already more questions in the stack.
|PERSON OF THE ISSUE|
UKRAINE'S TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION MINISTER
On many occasions at press-briefings in the end of April and in May Chervonenko repeatedly stated that the country would reverse an ongoing slide in railway transit volumes of crude and oil products. Chervonenko said Ukraine would apply its best efforts to restore the previous levels. «The development of transit — this is what our Euro-integration is about», said the minister in one of his presentations.
|PHOTO OF THE ISSUE|
|COMPROMISING FOR THE COMMON BENEFIT|
The first leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil export pipeline was inaugurated 25 May in an official ceremony at the head pump station in the Sangachal Terminal near Baku. The event was attended by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Kazakhstan which announced joining the BTC project Kazakhstan's inclusion in the project was expected for a long time, but the negotiations progressed with varied success — in particular, Nursultan Nazarbaev, the President of Kazakhstan was unhappy with the BTC tariffs levels.
|EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION|
|RUSSIA STAKES OUT THE SHELF|
A strategy for the developing Russia's continental shelf will be submitted to the government by December 2005
|SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE|
The upgrade of the Severgazprom-operated Sosnogorsk gas plant, which was completed in December 2004, propelled the unit to the top of Russia's gas processing league and made the company one of the industry's flagship enterprises world-wide. With a 230% boost in gas processing capacity — to 3 bcm a year — and an increase in processing depth from 40% to 99–100%, Sosnogorsk joined the ranks with the best gas plants of Australia, US and other countries. Russia's crude companies presently burn billions cubic metres of natural gas and millions of tonnes of hydrocarbons during production and refining processes. The combined effort of Czech experts, financiers, Gazprom specialists and their partners from Ukraine and other states resulted in a highly advanced plant which output that meets the most rigorous standards.
Nizhnekamsk refinery boosts production capacity
The Nizhnekamsk refinery tops the Russian league by the number of recently completed projects. In mid-2003 the refinery completed installation of its backbone production facilities by launching a visbreaking unit. The only problems that still haunt management are the refining of sour carboxylic crude, low capacity utilisation and refining depth. The refinery plans to meet these challenges by 2009, after completing a modernisation program supported by the president of Tatarstan. In 2005 the refinery started projects on upgrading bitumen production and on construction of new units for primary distillation.
|METHANE FOR TRACTORS|
Russia's ministry of agriculture has held a number of joint meetings in regions with national gas vehicle association. One of the key topics discussed at the venues was a conversion of agricultural machinery from conventional fuel to natural gas.
|WINNING WITH A MULTI-FACETED APPROACH|
Kazakhstan's Helios has proved yet again that quality control is a key component of success in the business world, and a component no less important than good service or a fine-tuned marketing policy.
|AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE GASOLINE HEADACHE|
As developed countries impose progressively more strict regulations on motor fuels and prices for crude and oil products continue to spiral, the search for substitutes continues with ever more effort, particularly in the motor fuels field. Propane-butane mix (autogas) is currently one of the best alternatives — its growing use is already a given market trend. Autogas is more efficient both economically and environmentally than gasoline and diesel fuels and does not require additional production facilities — being a by-product of existing refining processes, it can be produced at virtually any refinery or gas plant.
Satisfying growing demand for natural gas takes more than additional effort and investment in new gas-extracting projects — it requires significant modernisation of existing pipeline infrastructure, too. This is especially important in Russia.
|LOOKING FOR A CHALLENGE?|
THE BOARD AT YUKOS OIL LOOKS FOR A NEW MEMBERS
Yukos has been through a lot over the past two years: the company's former director Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who until recently was its principal shareholder, is behind bars; the majority of shareholders and top-managers are either under investigation or wanted; and the company itself, deprived of its core production unit Yuganskneftegaz, is facing multi-billion dollar tax claims.
|MYTHS AND REALITIES OF UKRAINE'S CRUDE SUPPLIES DIVERSIFICATION|
Ukraine seems to have finally realiSed why it needs Odessa-Brody link
Severe fuel shortages Ukraine experienced in April-May this year shocked not only the local political establishment but the industry insiders as well. The crisis coverage in media reports completely shadowed yet another popular oil-related issue — which way should crude flow along the 625km Odessa-Brody pipeline. Only after the acute shortages of crude and oil products hit Ukraine's government point-blank, it was forced to recall the reasons for launching this ill-fated pipeline project. Initially the project targeted diversification of crude supplies to Ukraine — expansion of Caspian crude transit was the secondary issue. Yet the project suffered from myths, illusions, incompetence and political populism which altogether severely damaged this otherwise pretty sound idea.