Huge deals struck in both the energy and mining sectors this past week — with one rising nation at the hub of them all.
Russian resource firms kicked off their project spree last Friday. When the Wall Street Journal broke the story that a consortium led by major Russian oil and gas producer Rosneft will buy India’s Essar Oil.
The deal is a huge one — reportedly with a purchase price of as much as $7.5 billion. With Rosneft being joined in the purchase by commodity trading house Trafigura, as well as Russian investment fund United Capital Partners.
And that was just the beginning of Russia’s energy deals in the strategic Indian market.
Over the weekend, the CEO of major Russian gas producer Gazprom said he expects to strike a major supply deal for liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India. Saying he will extend the supply period for a previous agreement where Indian petroleum major Gail will buy 2.5 million tonnes of LNG per year.
All those deals come as Russian president Vladimir Putin has been visiting India. During which time, he signed further agreements on petroleum cooperation — including technical exchanges, and a joint study with Gazprom on a possible natural gas supply pipeline to India.
And the deals between Russia and India didn’t stop in the energy sector. With the two countries also hooking up in a multi-nation mega-deal in the gold space Sunday.
On the sidelines of the BRICS summit (also hosted in India), India-owned SUN Gold announced that it will partner with the Russian Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund to develop the Kluchevskoyegold deposit in eastern Siberia. With a planned investment of up to $500 million.
The gold deal was especially unique given that it’s billed as the first “all-BRICS” resource deal — with players including China National Gold Group, as well as strategic investors from South Africa and Brazil.
All of which suggests that Russia is moving aggressively in energy and mining to secure its power in key markets globally — a distinct challenge to other big resource nations like Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K.
One final tidbit. The Mexican government announced this week that 10 oil and gas firms have been prequalified for bidding this December on the 480 million-barrel Trion offshore field, Gulf of Mexico. Many of these are familiar names in the local offshore sector — such as BHP Billiton, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Inpex, Mitsubishi, and Shell.
But one name on the prequalification list stands out as unusual: Russia’s Lukoil. Watch to see if the Mexican oil sector hosts the next shot fired in Russia’s “resource war”.