|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|The wind of changes|
The London winter creates an illusion of security, even insouciance. Mistakenly so — for example, just before the 93rd IP-Week media has been crying foul about gasoline quality. In February the matter has been investigated by the UKPIA (United Kingdom Petroleum Industry Association) jointly with its members, large refiners and distributors. The British strength lies in ability to timely detect signs of a problem, circumventing it at the source.
|PERSON OF THE ISSUE|
|Rising up to a challenge|
Yevgeniy Bakulin, a new CEO of Naftogaz Ukrainy
The instance of a new manager taking up such a large company in such an uneasy moment is hard to come by in the annals of oil&gas industry of Ukraine and FSU in general. Ukraine's state-owned oil&gas monopoly Naftogaz Ukrainy had a difficult time in 2005 and first half 2006. Over that period the company virtually skittled away lucrative upstream projects in North Africa, UAE and Russia, also losing a significant and solvent segment of Ukraine's natural gas market, the industrial sector, and adopting a laissez-faire attitude to shelf production in Black and Azov sea region.
|PHOTO OF THE ISSUE|
|The season of natural disasters|
Late February — early March period brought natural disasters to Indonesia, as ruinous earthquakes followed deadly floods that swamped the Indonesian capital covering up to three quarters of Jakarta in the peak times. The water began receding, but still stays up to 1 metre high in some areas of the capital. About 40% of Jakarta is below the sea level, so water has nowhere to go but to tank trucks of the water risk management services.
|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|Russian fresh wind|
Over the last seven years, the «Russian party» opening the IP Week has become a pleasanttradition. The event has picked up the «fallen banner» of now-forgotten parties hosted by Ventspils Nafta in the legendary Cafe Royal on Piccadilly. This year, following the path of organisers and the regulars of previous venue at Trader Vic's bar in Hilton's, the Russian party moved into cosy and respectful Jewel Bar close to Piccadilly.
|TOPIC OF THE ISSUE|
|Biofuels: challenges of the day-after-tomorrow|
Biofuels market in the USA and EU is developing rapidly; Brazil is the leader of bio-ethanol production. It's no surprise than that this topic is gaining importance in FSU states too, as illustrated by Russian-language international conference on biofuels organised by Vostock Capital on 14-15 February in the London's Crowne Hotel.
|EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION|
|A fresh impulse for Russian shelf development|
Moscow hosted the second «round table» on exploration and development of energy and mineral resources on the Russian shelf.
January standoff between the Russian and Belarus oil pipeline operators had serious implications for the future of shipments. Following a compromise on the matter of Belarus backtracking with its newly proposed transit shipments duty and Russia reducing three times its crude exports duty for shipments to Belarus, Russia's neighbour managed to somewhat benefit on the wave of compromise spirit.
|One step forward|
On 7 February the working group of Russian, Bulgarian and Greek officials approved a draft intergovernmental agreement on Burgas–Alexandropoulos project. After having been negotiated for the last 15 years, the project finally succeeded to make one step forward. It is still hard to judge on how big the step is, as neither project's structure and financing, nor crude reserves for the pipeline have not been confirmed yet.
|Dangerous stand off|
The ruinous for the plant stand-off between shareholders at the Moscow refinery (MNPZ) continues. The new stage of the drawn out court battle was Gazpromneft deflecting a «court torpedo» skilfully launched by another shareholder, the Moscow Oil&Gas Company (MOGC). But Gazpromneft's success is local and unlikely to bring significant advances to the case. Meanwhile, the modernisation of the plant, confirmed in 2003, remains on paper. Meanwhile, experts claim the Moscow refinery is a hindrance to approving legislation on quality fuel production in Russia.
or the triumph of independent refining
Dynamic independent Swiss refiner takes control of a British refinery.
|Russia’s power grid beefs up investment programme|
Russia's giant power grid monopoly RAO EES is pushing forward its massive investment programme. In a recent public presentation the RAO EES chair Anatoly Chubais explained why he is so proud of the programme he had masterminded.
The SCEC and Gazprom plan to merge power generating and coal assets
Gazprom's expansion is continuing. Having bought Sibneft and agreed the terms for joining the Sakhalin-2 project, the gas monopoly has decided to take on closely related sectors of the economy. Soon the holding should own a controlling stake in MosEnergo utility company. And very recently, Gazprom agreed the merger with the Siberian Coal Energy Company (the open joint-stock company SUEC). The deal is not yet finished and the list of investments into the new joint company is yet uncertain, but criticism of the alliance is already mounting. The gas giant's top man Aleksey Miller and SUEC general director Vladimir Rashevskiy signed a letter of intent on 8 February, Gazprom said. According to the paper, the sides want to set up a joint company based on the power generating and coal assets they have. Gazprom and SUEC plan to finalise the deal in the first half of 2007. Under the protocol, Gazprom will own a controlling stake in the new company (a 50%+1 share), SUEC will get a 50%-1 share.
|Lukoil expands lubricants business|
LLK-International, a wholly-owned Lukoil's subsidiary, has published its 2006 preliminary results (the first year of operation). The company sold 1,19 mn t of lubes and additives, the results show.
|The fuelling crops|
Diversification of the global biodiesel market
Consumption of ethanol and biodiesel fuel must grow in order to minimise the US dependency on energy sources imports, said the US President in his annual report.
|Borrowing from missile technology resources|
Explosion-proof electric drives for pipeline fittings
Pipeline fittings (PF) is one of the key parts of oil&gas industry equipment. The issues of PF import substitution are highly relevant in Russia considering the market state. According to Scientific industry association of armature engineers, growth of pipeline fitting imports over the last 3 years reached 200% in oil industry and 218% in natural gas industry.