|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|SEARCHING FOR A BALANCE|
The 13th KIOGE-2005 conference and exhibition held in Almaty on 4-7 October was a success
|PERSON OF THE ISSUE|
Lukoil-Overseas regional director in Kazakhstan
Boris Zilbermints presentation at the KIOGE-2005 conference was greatly anticipated for a number of reasons, including Russia's stance (to a large extent, the country is represented by Lukoil) on the acquisition of PetroKazakhstan assets by China's CNPC, and Lukoil's drive to expand its presence in Kazakhstan. Zilbermints didn't mince his words regarding PetroKazakhstan assets, frankly stating that his company planned to file a claim in the Stockholm international court.
|PHOTO OF THE ISSUE|
|KAZAKH CRUDE BLENDS WEALTH|
In Aktau crude pumping station of Mangistau crude transit administration we have seen the confirmation of Kazakh's array of different crude grades. Several dozens of test tubes with labels — samples of the grades being shipped via pipelines or, in the majority of cases, by the rail. Karakudum, Zhazar, Dunga, Kumkol, Embin… Kazakhstan produces variety of light sweet crude and retaining its quality is one of mundane tasks of KazTransOil experts.
|EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION|
|A SET OF UNKNOWNS|
Exxon Neftegaz Limited, the operator of Sakhalin-1 project, on 1 October announced start of production. This is significant not only for Russia but also for other countries in the region — however, efficient clockwork of the project depends on whether shareholders can tackle the problems of natural gas distribution. Presently, several options are on the cards, right down to gas reinjection.
|KAZTRANSOIL'S WESTERN DIMENSION|
Rapidly expanding its pipeline capacities, this trunk pipeline operator is also sustaining its image as a socially responsible business.
|MOVING ON UP|
MOTOR FUEL PRICES ON THE DOMESTIC MARKET KEEP ON SWELLING
The government had to resort to emergency measures to counter spiralling gasoline prices on Russia's domestic market — those mirror global rise of crude price. After tete-a-tete with Russia's minister of industry and energy Victor Khristenko, largest vertically-integrated oil companies announced «freezing» motor fuel prices as of 19 September. The decision is neither selfless nor timely — for the concession oil companies expect preferential treatment in return. Meanwhile, despite the cartel agreement motor fuel prices still edge up. One can only guess what is in store for Russia's oil products market after the New Year, when the agreement runs out.
|LUKOIL-NEFTEKHIM — COURSE ON EXPANSION|
Lukoil, a leading Russian oil company, traditionally places development of the petrochemical segment high on its agenda. No doubt this policy is costly, but it indicates the company's sound approach to development strategies. A new project at the Saratovorgsintez petrochemical plant represents another step in the company's development programme.
|THE KRASNODAR APPROACH TO ISOMERISATION|
Environmental requirements for motor fuels regulations are getting ever more stringent, forcing the refining industry to pay particular attention to upgrading and re-equipping. It would seem the tendency opens up the domestic market to the global leaders of engineering industry offering well-known and time tested technologies — however, practice shows that in some segments Russian companies can at least match the technologies of Western competitors. Isomerisation technology developed at Krasnodar-based NPP Neftekhim not only matches the best Western designs but even outperforms them in a number of features.
|GAZPROM'S ACQUIRED SIBNEFT|
Gas monopolist agrees to buy an oil company for $13bn
Speculation about the state concern Gazprom buying the Sibneft oil company, which started in spring 2005, have been finally confirmed. Gazprom is becoming the owner of more then 75% of the company, ensuring a supermajority in Sibneft and, consequently, immunity from any possible action by unfriendly minor share holders. In completing the deal, the gas giant has fulfilled one of its major strategic tasks of joining the list of the world largest energy corporations with both oil and gas assets in its portfolio. Gazprom paid an incredible price for Sibneft — over $13bn. Unfortunately, this money is unlikely to be invested in the Russian economy.
|LET’S WAIT TILL SPRING|
Rosneft's acquisition of Yukos is put off until next year
Hardly anyone doubted that the state-owned giant Rosneft would study the option of taking over Yukos assets, after having successfully started off by buying Yukos key oil producing subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz. However, the process is unlikely to be completed until the spring 2006. In surprising move, Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov instead insisted the company did not aspire to own Yukos's assets.
|THE RECURRING KNOCKDOWN|
RITA HURRICANE EXACERBATED DAMAGES OF THE US OIL INDUSTRY
The US officials describe the condition of the US oil industry as «extremely difficult», though both the authorities and oil companies do everything to limit the damage. The country's Minerals Management Service says that the measures taken by operators working in Gulf of Mexico resulted in no casualties or large oil spillages this time.