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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07MOSCOW509 2007-02-06 11:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow
Cable title:  

RUSSIAN ENERGY: CHEVRON AND CPC - LOOKING AT

Tags:   EPET ENRG ECON PREL RU 
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1. (C) Summary: On February 5, Chevron's Russia chief, Ian
MacDonald, contacted us to talk about CPC expansion and the
recently-inked Gazpromneft deal. (This discussion follows up
on previous meetings with MacDonald with Mark Woloshyn, who
Chevron has hired to shepherd along the Bosphorus bypass
issue.) MacDonald expressed Chevron's frustration with
Russia's delaying tactics on CPC and laid out a
well-developed export option across the Caspian and beyond.
Woloshyn added that Chevron had signed an MOU with the
Kashagan operators to work together on this alternative. On
the Burgas-Alexandropoulis (BAP) pipeline, Woloshyn
complained that Bulgaria was still asking for too much and
noted that the Russians are now looking at the possibility of
re-opening talks with Turkey on the Samsun-Ceyhan bypass.
MacDonald reported CPC had lost its latest appeal in its tax
case, but minimized the impact to the consortium's bottom
line if they were to lose on final appeal this spring. On a
positive note, MacDonald hailed the recently inked joint
venture with GazpromNeft as a foundation for the company to
build on. Russia looks set to be left behind as its
foot-dragging on CPC expansion leads Kazakh shippers to look
for alternative export routes. End Summary.
.
Frustrated on CPC...


--------------------------


.


2. (C) While noting that CPC expansion is there for the
taking if the GOR would demonstrate senior leadership,
MacDonald said that he and other Chevron executives in the
region were increasingly frustrated with Russia's
foot-dragging. As an example of Russia's unwillingness to
close, he recounted a conversation in which he was told that
the Russians were thinking about adding yet another condition
for CPC expansion -- because the GOR was concerned that the
producing companies might actually agree to the latest
demands. In spite of the time he has invested in the
project, MacDonald left us with the impression that he was
ready to throw in the towel on expansion and told us that the
producing companies' "only options are to escalate matters or
refuse to negotiate further."
.
...But Still Need to Get Oil Out...


--------------------------


.


3. (C) MacDonald said the frustration is company-wide and
included their partners working on the giant Tengiz field in
Kazakhstan. As such, MacDonald admitted that Chevron's
announcement on a new southern route for Kazakhstan oil was a
very real consideration of alternatives to Russia, and not
just a negotiating tool to promote CPC. This route involves
a pipeline from Atyrau to Kuryk, shipping oil across the
Caspian to Baku, and a new pipeline from Baku to Supsa.
MacDonald said that BP was not that keen on expanding BTC to
accommodate these flows. Woloshyn says the oil may go in
some combination of BTC, the Baku-Supsa line, and a new BTC
(but not necessarily all). He had called on Transneft and
informed them of this plan.



4. (C) Woloshyn said that Chevron signed an MOU with the
Kashagan partners to work on this southern route and that
this would involve what he claimed was "much more than 2
million b/d." Such a route would be perhaps the most complex
transportation chain ever attempted anywhere and would
involve a different consortium in each part of the
transportation chain. He joked that it "might just be easier
to work with Russia." Woloshyn continued that Kazakhstan
wants to find routes out for its oil but doesn't want its
fingerprints all over the search for alternatives because
they fear upsetting the Russians. So, they are letting the
companies take the lead on coming up with ideas.
.
...And Still Need a Bypass


--------------------------


.


5. (C) Chevron continues to be interested in BAP but both
MacDonald and Woloshyn say the Bulgarians are still being
obstinate. Woloshyn relays that the Bulgarians are insisting
on ownership of the Burgas terminal and want to sell the

MOSCOW 00000509 002 OF 002


24.5% stake that they will get under the consortium up front
for a currently ridiculous sum. Neither of these demands can
or should be met. Transneft, he claims, has apparently gone
to the Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy to suggest
re-engaging with Turkey on the Samsun-Ceyhan bypass.
.
Another Loss on Taxes


--------------------------


.


6. (C) On the tax case (reftel), MacDonald said that CPC lost
its appeal on December 25 and that it would go to the Court
of Cassation next. He noted that losing the case would have
a marginal financial cost -- about $10 million in NPV terms.
It nonetheless continues to waste CPC's managerial time and a
legal defeat "would be considered a breach of guarantees
given by the Russian Federation in the Shareholders
Agreement."
.
Gazprom Neft Deal Could Be a Winner


--------------------------


.


7. (C) MacDonald described the Chevron-Gazprom Neft deal as
"quite promising" and said that this may lead to other deals
with the company (Note: The JV was set up to carry out
hydrocarbon exploration and production projects in the
Yamal-Nenets region. Chevron currently holds a 70 percent
stake in the JV but its share will fall to a minority holding
as Gazprom Neft adds assets. End Note). In fact, MacDonald
showed us a letter from Gazprom head Alexey Miller that
mentioned potential joint projects in the Arctic. MacDonald
described it as the best letter he has ever received from
Gazprom.
.
Comment


--------------------------


.


8. (C) MacDonald believes the key problem for CPC expansion
is lack of GOR leadership. Whether the Russian game is
control of CPC itself (perhaps through deliberate neglect to
close the deal in the hope of CPC's insolvency) or some other
grand bargain stretching from Greece to Kazakhstan may become
an academic exercise if Kazakhstani producers head south for
alternative routes. Another possible explanation is that
Russia wants a comfort level that a Bosphorus bypass will
happen before flooding the Black Sea with more foreign oil to
compete with their own for transit through the Turkish
Straits. One thing is certain -- whether it is Russia
turning to Samsun-Ceyhan due to Bulgarian intransigence or
Chevron turning to Supsa and BTC due to Russian
intransigence, alternatives are plenty.
BURNS