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Page added on October 30, 2008

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India plays at Russian Imperial roulette

India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora was to have been in Moscow last week to urge approval of a controversial plan to put 1.4 billion pounds sterling (US$2.43 billion) into a London-listed company called Imperial Energy Corporation. Questions the deal raises include why Imperial, why so much, and why was the visit delayed?

Imperial’s oil deposits in the Tomsk region of Siberia are years from full production, its current operations are loss-making, and its oil, when it finally is lifted, will either be refined in Russia or be exported by pipeline to China.
If the reserves are too small to warrant the strategic label, are they too small to earn the 1.4 billion pounds the Indians are offering? Imperial claims that the collapse in the current world price for oil ought not to make a difference to the long-term value of Imperial’s oilfield assets.

Asia Times

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