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Posts on ‘May 1st, 2006’

Globe & Mail (Canada): RENEWABLE ENERGY: Goldman Sachs sees green in biofuel firm

RENEWABLE ENERGY

Goldman Sachs sees green in biofuel firm

Investment bank taking stake in Iogen, a leader in cellulose ethanol technology

SIMON TUCK

OTTAWAGoldman Sachs Group Inc. has agreed to take a large minority stake in a Canadian alternative fuels company, the first time that one of Wall Street's big players has made a significant investment in the promising cellulose ethanol industry.

Goldman Sachs will announce today that it has invested $30-million (Canadian) in Ottawa-based Iogen Corp., considered the global leader in cellulose ethanol technology. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Business Online: Gazprom: Don’t stand in our way

Don’t stand in our way

By Richard Orange

‘In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen Gazprom exert this extent of bullying or political pressure’

You could be forgiven for thinking that those hundreds of fashionably-dressed couples caught on TV disembarking from chauffeur-driven Mercedes and Rolls-Royces into Claridges and the Dorchester hotel last week were heads of blue-chip companies. If so, you would have been wrong.

Those sturdily-built, prosperous, cigar-smoking men accompanied by bottle blondes were Russian – and there were some 2,000 of them in London last week attending the Russian Economic Forum.

Many flew in on eight specially chartered Transaero jets. The glitzy entertainment kicked off with a concert by Liberty X. On Saturday night, some of Moscow’s most beautiful, most famous, and most rich glugged Moet and Chandon in an Alice-in-Wonderland-themed fantasyland built under the Victorian arches of London’s Old Billingsgate market. And the fashion show put on that night by DJ Zorkin and Russian designer Denis Simachev illustrated that the Russia of grim-faced oligarchs in loud, ill-fitting pinstripe suits has passed. “Moscow style” is starting to match anything London, New York, Tokyo or Milan can offer.

But the cameras were there for other reasons. The Russian bear was growling and Moscow was demonstrating its growing economic influence on the West. Alexander Medvedev, gas giant Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, even made it on to the BBC’s main evening news signifying just how far Russian companies have come in establishing their global profile.

President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of control over Russia’s oil and gas sector is now complete. Russia is flexing its muscles to recover its former superpower’s swagger on the world stage.

The forum’s week came after a threat from Alexei Miller, chief executive of Gazprom: if Europe didn’t allow it the access it wants to European gas pipeline and supply companies, Gazprom might divert its European energy supplies to the US and the Far East. On the BBC, Medvedev put it even more clearly: “There are two concepts available – a weak Russia or a strong Russia. There are still people who believe that weak Russia is good for the world. We completely disagree with this. A strong Gazprom is good for the world.”

Cliff Kupchan at Eurasia Group, a consultancy that studies the politics of energy told The Business: “In the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen Gazprom exert this extent of bullying or political pressure. I could describe the Moscow mindset right now as ‘Petro-steroid’. They think this is their ticket back to the world stage … and they may be right.”

A look at past Russian Economic Forums shows how times have changed. The 2003 event was about western investment in Russia. Talk was about how western oil companies could repeat BP’s landmark deal with Russian oil company TNK. Yukos’s founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was even seeking to bring Exxon Mobil into a merged Sibneft and Yukos. A year later a disenfranchised Khodorkovsky was in a Moscow jail, but BP’s Lord John Browne was still the toast of the 2004 forum. Last year, Medvedev vied with TNK-BP chief executive Bob Dudley. This year, Medvedev and Sergei Bogdanchikov, chief executive of Rosneft, Russia’s emerging state oil giant were unchallenged, with western bankers and business executives little more bowing courtiers.

Gazprom’s Miller made his threat after meeting 12 European ambassadors in Moscow. What other company can call in that kind of audience at short notice? When was the last time a listed company tried to dictate energy policy to a union of 15 of the world’s most powerful countries?

Mattias Westman, chief executive of Prosperity Capital, a leading Moscow-based investment fund told The Business: “There’s never been a company with Gazprom’s type of power. Not since the days of Standard Oil anyway and that was a long time ago.”

The UNITED KINGDOM has taken Gazprom’s bullying as a warning not to block any bid it might make for UK energy retailer Centrica. Gazprom has made clear it will not respond well if its efforts to control the European gas market right down to supplying directly to consumers are frustrated. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair quickly capitulated saying his government would not stand in the way should Gazprom bid for Centrica.

Have your say e-mail: [email protected]

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

The Business Online:

Gazprom is now world’s third largest company

By Richard Orange
30 April 2006

RUSSIAN gas giant Gazprom has usurped Microsoft’s position as the world’s third most valuable company. Last week, title holder Microsoft’s shares suffered their biggest drop in six years, as Gazprom surged.

Microsoft shares on Friday fell 11% on the Nasdaq to $24, valuing the software giant at $246bn (E194.7bn, £134.7bn), meaning Gazprom’s $269bn market capitalisation gives it a clear lead into third place.

Only oil group Exxon Mobil, with a market capitalisation of $381bn and General Electric, with a market capitalisation of $358bn, now stand in the way of Russian government’s goal to turn the massive gas monopoly into the world’s most valuable company based on market capitalisation.

Microsoft shares fell after chief executive Steve Ballmer announced plans to step up investment in its struggling internet business to compete with Google, with $2bn more being channelled in than analysts had expected.

Gazprom shares have nearly quadrupled in the last year after the Russia government lifted restrictions on foreign ownership and investors began to recognise the almost limitless value of its enormous gas reserves.

Gazprom overtook BP’s market capitalisation last Tuesday after the MSCI emerging markets index, which most emerging markets tracker funds use to balance their portfolios, announced that it would increase Gazprom’s weighting in the index.

MSCI will increase Gazprom’s weighting from 5.85% to 29.15% at the end of May and 45.14% in August, to reflect the fact that 49% of the shares are now open to investment.

Morgan Stanley last month upped its price target on Gazprom to $140 a share, which would value the company at more than $330bn.

Analyst Matthew Thomas wrote: “Gazprom’s market capitalisation is a prestige badge for the Russian state. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the current government wants to have the world’s leading energy company by market capitalisation.”

Gazprom deputy chief executive Alexander Medvedev last week said he aimed to bring the company’s market value to $1trillion by 2010-2015.

Have your say e-mail: [email protected]

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Goldman Takes Stake in Iogen

Goldman Takes Stake in Iogen

By CHRISTOPHER J. CHIPELLOMay 1, 2006; Page C6

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is placing a bet on “cellulosic ethanol,” the alternative-fuel technology touted by President Bush in his State of the Union address earlier this year.

The Wall Street firm is investing 30 million Canadian dollars (US$26.8 million) for a minority stake in Iogen Corp., a closely held Canadian company that has been at the forefront of efforts to turn agricultural waste into ethanol.

The move underscores growing investor interest in cellulosic ethanol, as the U.S. looks for ways to reduce its reliance on oil amid rising gasoline prices. The investment also broadens Goldman's foray into alternative-energy technologies. Goldman last year acquired a Texas-based wind-energy company; it is also involved in a venture with BP PLC's solar-energy unit. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Financial Times: Stay away from delta, Nigerian rebels tell China

Main page content:

Stay away from delta, Nigerian rebels tell ChinaBy Dino Mahtani in Lagos
Published: April 30 2006 21:04 | Last updated: April 30 2006 21:04

nigeria oilNigerian militants have warned Chinese companies to “stay well clear” of the oil producing Niger delta or risk facing attack, while simultaneously claiming responsibility for a car bomb attack.

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The bomb, which was detonated near a refinery in a city in the western delta late on Saturday, destroyed at least five petrol tankers and sent debris flying 100 metres away. No casualties were reported.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), which has cut Nigeria’s oil output by about a fifth this year, said the bomb was a final warning to oil companies before it resumed attacks on oil facilities. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Financial Times: Shell set to turn in $5.6bn for first quarter

Main page content:

Shell set to turn in $5.6bn for first quarterPublished: May 1 2006 03:00 | Last updated: May 1 2006 03:00

WEDNESDAY

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*British Sky Broadcasting, the satellite television group, will report its third quarter results, with the focus likely to be on the bidding for the live broadcasting rights for Premiership football games, and how the company will square the cost of the rights. BSkyB won three out of the six packages last week and the Premier League has put the remaining three packages for a second round of bidding. Analysts say they will downgrade forecasts if BSkyB ends up paying over 10 per cent more for the Premiership rights than the £1bn it paid previously. For the quarter to March 31, revenues are forecast to be £3.18bn to £3.3bn, while operating profits are forecast about £639m to £671m. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

Barron's Online: INVESTORS' SOAPBOX PM: Valuation Gush for Integrated Oil

INVESTORS' SOAPBOX PM

Valuation Gush for Integrated Oil

Banc of America Securities
9 West 57th St.
New York, N.Y. 10019
(Tel) (212) 583-8000

WE ARE RAISING OUR 2006 OIL-PRICE FORECAST to $65 per barrel from $58 to reflect unexpected strength. Oil prices are supported above the $50-to-$60 per-barrel range on the recognition that near-term geopolitical pressures can sustain petroleum product pricing.

We are lifting the 2007 oil-price forecast to $55 per barrel from $45 as a gradually improving supply/demand balance eases — but does not collapse — prices from this year's peak. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

TheStarOnline (Biz): New Shell chairman shares his potent success formula

New Shell chairman shares his potent success formula

SHELL Malaysia chairman Saw Choo Boon's recipe for success is honour, integrity and “heart”. 

It is a potent recipe, and one that propelled Saw to the height of his career as “head honcho” of Shell Malaysia two months ago. 

“It was my father's influence. He told me to be honourable in everything I did and to be true to the company, the people around me and myself.  

“For example, when working for the company, you must do a good job and earn your keep.   read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

TheStarOnline (Biz): Shell pumped up about Malaysia

Monday May 1, 2006

Shell pumped up about Malaysia

By ELAINE ANG

OIL giant Royal Dutch Shell plc's “love affair” with Malaysia is still going strong despite having spanned 115 years, when Shell Malaysia began operations in 1891. 

Shell Malaysia's newly appointed chairman Saw Choo Boon could not be happier and hopes it will last another 100 years – at least. From the look of things, there is a high possibility his wish would come through.  

Saw said the group saw excellent prospects in the local oil and gas (O&G) industry and would continue to pump substantial investments into the country to fuel business growth.  read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.