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Prophetic Times: Sakhalin cost overuns and delays

The Times July 15, 2006
Extracts From City Diary
Prophetic Times
By Martin Waller

A PACKAGE arrives on my desk. It is from a regular correspondent and contains a real find, a copy of The Times for May 2, 1966, just before this paper took the advertisements off the front page.

There are ads inside for Gamages, a largely forgotten retailer, for West End plays by William Douglas Home — “the perfect comedy for those who simply want to be entertained”, Daily Mail — and, strangely, for Chase Manhattan Bank, apparently offering a way around exchange controls. 
I turn to the City Editor’s comment. Hill, Samuel, the merchant bank, has opened for business in New York and has over the past six months acted for US flotations worth a staggering, ooh, $55 million. But it is the headline “Long Wait For Gas” that catches my eye.

“The most intriguing” of impending gas exploration schemes is “for gas from the Russian island of Sakhalin to be shipped some 600 miles south to Japan”. That would be the same Sakhalin, off the east coast of Russia, where Shell has recently admitted to cost overruns and delays on its gas project. Forty years later. Make that a “Very, Very, Very Long Wait For Gas.”

JACQUELINE GOLD, chief executive of Ann Summers, has been voted one of the ten most powerful women in Britain by Woman Magazine. I’m sorry? Power? Selling naughty knickers, however profitable and liberating this may be, hardly makes you Britain’s answer to Condoleezza Rice. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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