A man I bumped into at an investment conference might be laughing at the announcement that Western firms will not be allowed to help develop energy fields in Crimea.
“They’ve stitched it all up.” he told me, on a train gliding through the lakeside hills of Switzerland.
“The Russians, I mean...
And their friends in Crimea aren’t going to like it!”
He was glad of his two passports. One was seized at an improvised checkpoint, the other got him home. Needless to say, he went cold on the idea of investing in oil or gas in Eastern Ukraine for the time being.
And pro-Russian Crimeans might be facing a more miserable Christmas than they thought too. They had once harboured dreams of developing the vast oil and gas fields off-shore. There might be as much as 13 Trillion cubic metres of gas out there, for example.
Pete suggested that Moscow wasn’t likely to want to share those spoils though. And indeed it came to pass… Russia’s Gazprom has ‘been given’ the task of exploiting any new finds. And the Crimean energy firm Chornomor Naftohaz has effectively been nationalised - into a bit of Gazprom.
It puts the new sanctions into perspective.
How likely was Western participation in Crimea’s energy boon anyway?