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September 19: Today is another huge one for natural resources news. Japan has rebuked Russia for yesterday suspending the Sakhalin 2 natural gas project, which is led by Royal Dutch Shell but which is 45 per cent owned by Japanese trading companies. The report this morning from our Tokyo correspondent, David Pilling, cites Shinzo Abe, who is expected next week to become prime minister, saying it “may hurt the overall relationship between the two countries”. There also signs of profound tensions within the Kremlin over this.
We are planning much, much more on BP. We think we may have fresh details of what is going on at the troubled Thunder Horse oil and gas field in the Gulf of Mexico but we have other stuff, too. Elsewhere in the oil sector, we have a number of results and updates. These include first-half figures from Venture Production, figures from Emerald Energy and Sterling Energy, and drilling updates from Tullow Oil and Dana Petroleum.
Also still in the energy sector, expect us also to look closely at the fall-out from the problems at Amaranth Advisors, the US hedge fund which suffered big losses on natural gas prices. This morning, Lex said: “For a huge fund to have placed such concentrated bets and lost so much suggests a shortage of ideas and, perhaps, imperfect planning for the difficult task of scaling down big exposures quickly”.
Still in among the natural resources companies, Kazakhmys, the Kazakhstan-based but London-listed copper miner, says it made more profit in the first half of this year than in the whole of last year. The company also says Yong Keu Cha, chief executive, is to stand down at the end of the calendar year “to spend more time in his native Korea”. As our story on FT.com says, there are no plans to replace him. His role will be carried out by Vladimir Kim, executive chairman, and the finance director, assisted by David Munro, formerly of BHP Billiton, who becomes strategy director. There is interesting background on Kazakhmys on the blog of Sean Roberts, a central Asian specialist from the University of Washington, DC.
Those seeking some light relief among all this natural resources news should check out the blog from Tim Newman, a British expat who has just written some very jolly pieces about his move to Sakhalin Island.
Outsider the miners, oil companies and power generators, John Laing has confirmed it has agreed to be bought by Henderson, the fund manager which, like others, is increasingly keen on infrastructure investments. Henderson has offered 355p a share in cash but Laing shares are trading at 362½p on hopes that a rival bidder may be out there, prepared to offer more.
Bloomsbury Publishing is trying its own version of BP – Beyond Potter. With its results today (in line with expectations) it says it wants to lessen its dependence on the trainee wizard. Bookworms will find some great literary events on the Bloomsbury website. Also, check out the best villains poll on the Big Bad Read website. Personally, I have bit a block when it comes to reading about books online but perhaps you could let me know where to go for great reviews.