Friday, March 18, 2011

Natural Gas: Putin Scores Again! (OGZPY)

Not directly but he sure did move a pile of loot to where he can visit it if he wishes.

Any idea what the Japanese earthquake did for the value of Russian far-east natural gas?
With the fall of Mubarak and the likely departure of Gaddafi, Mr. Putin should be able to claim the undisputed title of World's Richest Despot, links below.

Here's a little back-scratching, Russian style, from the Streetwise Professor:

Several interesting stories on the way things work in Russia.
The most fascinating is the tale of the remarkable rise to prominence of gas producer Novatek, and the windfall reaped by Putin friend Ginnady Timochenko:
The Novatek agreement was signed on March 3 in Novo-Ogaryovo with Putin personally blessing the deal. According to official reports, Total will acquire 12 percent of Novatek, the second-largest gas producer in Russia, from its CEO and largest shareholder, Leonid Mikhelson, and co-owner Gennady Timchenko.
The huge figures involved in this deal are especially noteworthy. In fact, on Dec. 20, Gazprom sold Gazprombank a 9.4 percent stake in Novatek for 57.5 billion rubles ($2 billion). Only one day earlier, that stake was valued on the MICEX at 87 billion rubles, and it is now worth 101.3 billion rubles. The very next day, Dec. 21, Gazprombank resold those shares to Novatek. Now, with Putin looking on, Timchenko and Mikhelson resold several major share packets to Total for 30 percent more money than Gazprom received for the same shares.
Gazprom is run by Putin’s friend Alexei Miller, Gazprombank is owned by Putin’s friend Yury Kovalchuk, and yet another friend of Putin’s, Timchenko, is co-owner of Novatek. What we have is a complex, multistaged financial transaction in which individuals and companies with close ties to Putin flip billions of dollars worth of stocks and securities in murky, under-the-table schemes.
And lo and behold, Putin anoints Novatek as the leader in future Russian LNG endeavors:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who wants Russia to export 10 percent of its gas as LNG by 2020, blessed Novatek’s plans at a ceremony near Moscow last week, calling it a “good and large- scale work.” Gazprom has delayed decisions on expanding Russia’s only LNG facility, the Sakhalin-2 project with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and developing the Shtokman field on the Barents Sea.
“Novatek’s project is now Russia’s primary LNG project outside of Sakhalin,” said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at UralSib Financial Corp. “Total’s strategic partnership with Novatek is an acknowledgement that Shtokman is on a much slower development path with an unpredictable future.”...MORE
Putin's energy resources

"It’s Amazing: You Poke Gazprom, and Putin Screams" (OGZPY)
Russia: What a Scam We Have in Carbon
UPDATED:"Gazprom and Igor Sechin: The Dale Carnegies of Gas"
Putin Takes a Stand Against Wind Power
(computation of Putin's net worth)
...Setting Gunvor aside, both of the oil and gas companies are down considerably from their YE '07 market caps: 4 1/2% of Gazprom is worth around $6 billion while 37% of Surgutneftegaz clocks in at $12 1/2 bil....  
Nice Shack: "RuLeaks posts photos of alleged 'Putin Palace'"
Quick, what's Vlad's net worth?
From Foreign Policy's Passport blog:
RuLeaks, a WikiLeaks type site owned and operated by the Russian Pirate Party, was shut down by a denial of service attack yesterday after posting photos of a lavish mansion alleged to be Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's estate on the Black Sea. The site, and the photos, are now back up. 
The existence of the "Putin palace" on the Black Sea was discussed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius in an article last year. According to Russian whistleblower Sergey Kolesnikov, the still under-construction digs cost more than $1 billion, include an amphitheater and three helipads and is being "predominantly paid for with money donated by Russian businessmen."....