Oil alliances

When I’m less busy (revising, vising, etc. research papers), I would like to pull together, in one discussion, the various hook-ups that Peak Oil is generating, these days. Iran, China, Russia, etc. It’d be handy to see it all laid out.

Until then:

Gazprom’s offer to take control of Serbia’s state-owned petroleum monopoly has divided the Serbian government and sounded alarm bells about the cost of Moscow’s political support.

The Russian state-run gas group aims to pay €400m ($590m, £290m) for 51 per cent of Petroleum Industry of Serbia, or NIS, without facing rival bidders.

The Russians have also promised to boost Serbian “energy stability” by activating a gas storage site. In return, Gazprom, its subsidiary Gazpromneft, and NIS would retain a monopoly on refining and a protective ban on private-sector oil and gas imports for five years.

NIS holds nearly 60 per cent domestic market share for natural gas, and more for heating oil, petrol and diesel. It is to be privatised with an initial 25 per cent stake to the winner of a bidding process involving Russia’s Lukoil and several central European oil companies early next year, after repeated delays resulting from Serbian elections.

Mladjan Dinkic, Serbia’s economy minister, called the offer to pay less than half of NIS’s $1.2bn book value “humiliating”, even though Gazprom would also invest €500m from 2008 to 2012.

Very interesting indeed.


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