Sits On Riches Lives In Poverty 
 Oil and Gas Basins

Environm against floating nuclear power 
 Oil and Gas Reserves Marketable
ms  Chukotka Prof  Konstantinovich 
Chukotka Auton Regn Overview 10 1998
Some Reserve Estimates
Siberian Oil Company (Sibneft)
Introducing Sibneft
Seeking a Positive Commitment
Roman Abramovich
Abramovich Canada Visit
Abramovich Canada Visit
Sibneft, managed by Roman Abramovich
exploration in difficult Far East basins
Pet Pot Shallow-areas of Russian Arctic
On the road, tycoon touts  Chukotka’s potential

Chukotka is one of Russia’s least known and most isolated regions. Foreign and domestic investors have pretty much ignored the area, and even the district’s Moscow representatives have been unable to reach anyone there for the past week.

But Chukotka’s big-name governor, oligarch Roman Abramovich, is trying to change the situation, hitting the road to tout its economic potential to anyone who will listen and encourage investors to put their money into the district.

Abramovich traveled recently to the United States and Canada to speak to potential investors about the autonomous district at the farthest northeast of Russia’s Far Northeast. At a press conference in Seattle, Abramovich told investors that they would face "absolutely no political risk" in Chukotka.

"We will do everything possible to make the region open and transparent for investors," he told the Seattle gathering. "If an investor needs data on available mineral wealth, we will provide him with all available reports and publications."

How Abramovich or other Chukotka officials felt about the roadshow is difficult to determine. Numerous calls by The Russia Journal to the district capital of Anadyr and to the city Pevek were unsuccessful. And Moscow representatives also said they were unable to make contact.

"No, we can’t reach them, either," said a Moscow press spokesman for Chukotka. "Something is wrong with the satellite, something’s wrong with the connection."

In addition, from the Western investment standpoint, no major financial breakthroughs appear eminent, key officials say. Yelena Danysh, head of the Vladivostock office of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – which is a major foreign investor in this country, especially in underdeveloped parts of Russia, said by phone from the Far East that "we have no immediate plans for the area."

Danysh traveled to Canada to participate in Abramovich’s road-show, speaking on opportunities in the Far East. She noted that there were investors interested in developing the food and mining industries, but not in the "near future."

Abramovich has made it clear that he is hopeful for his province and is committed to long-term development. "Chukotka for the long haul" was his campaign slogan.

The governor has said he has spent a large portion of his own fortune to improve living standards in the region. Last year, he reportedly gave $16 million to provide local residents with health care, medical supplies and other necessities. This year, he said he has invested $65 million to improve living conditions in the region. 

With the exception of fishing, mining and reindeer herding, there is very little industry in the region, and most of Chukotka’s food products are imported, experts say. The region is a recipient of frequent aid packages from humanitarian organizations in the United States and Canada. 

Abramovich, during his campaign for governor, said the relationship between Chukotka and Alaska was critical to developing the region’s potential. "We must do everything possible to bring these two countries [U.S. and Russia] closer together," he was quoted as saying.

The Alaskan government is already engaged in projects to increase trade and cultural exchange between the United States and Chukotka. The University of Alaska boasts the largest number of Russian students in the United States, and residents of countries from the Bering Strait region can apply for a special stamp on their passport that allows for visa-free travel between Chukotka and Alaska.

The tourism industry is considered to hold potential for Chukotka, but organized programs have so far met with little success. There have been a few organized tours to Chukotka from Alaska but, according to Alaska’s Department of Community and Economic Development, they have met with "poor response from local authorities." They also noted that the lack of hotels and service industry makes the region unpopular with tourists. It is unknown what Abramovich would do to improve tourism in the region.

The lack of infrastructure discourages industry in the region, experts say. There are no railroads and no highways, according to published materials. The only way to reach Chukotka is by plane, or by ship. In the winter, the Bering Strait and East Siberian Sea freeze over and only icebreakers can reach the major ports. Both of the region’s international airports in Pevek and Anadyr are badly in need of repair.

Russian investors have also been hesitant to invest in the region. The only major Russian company with new plans in Chukotka is Sibneft – of which Abramovich owns a 45 percent stake. The proven oil reserves in the region are said to be small by industry standards – about 50 million barrels – but the company said it is hopeful it can find 275 million barrels of oil in the Lagunny depression.

Sibneft officials have said they would not be interested in the region, if it were not for Abramovich’s influence. Abramovich is considered to be one of Russia’s leading and most influential financiers. Along with his stake in Sibneft, he controls 50 percent of Russian Aluminum (Russky Aluminy). He was a Kremlin insider during the Yeltsin era. Abramovich has said he knows President Vladimir Putin, but he says he is not that close to the current leader.

The Chukotka Autonomous Region is one of 89 regions in the Russian Federation. It became autonomous in 1992. Before that time, it had been part of the Magadan Region. Chukotka enjoyed a period of development during Soviet days, when workers were lured there by large salaries and promised vacations to sunnier parts of Russia. By LUCAS ROMRIELL / The Russia Journal 

Abramovich Canada Visit ,
Feb. 5, 2001. Page 4  The Moscow Times
Oil tycoon and recently elected Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich made his first visit to Canada over the weekend for an unofficial get-together with local business and government officials, the Northern News Service reported.

Abramovich went to the Northwest Territories capital, Yellowknife, which lies across the Bering Strait from Chukotka, at the invitation of Canadian architecture firm  Ferguson Simek Clark, the news agency said Friday.
"It was our idea to bring him so he sees what we do here," Stefan Simek, president of Ferguson Simek Clark, was quoted by Northern News Service as saying.
"We want to build for them schools and houses, and this is the best way to sell products."

Ferguson Simek Clark has worked in Chukotka for 10 years.
Abramovich was also scheduled to meet with the region’s premier, Stephen Kakfwi, and Yellowknife Mayor Gord Van Tighem.

Roman Abramovich’s northern passion
There’s no understanding just what it was that turned well-known businessman Roman Abramovich’s gaze north last year. But whatever it was, the owner of oil company Sibneft and now also of aluminum empire Rossiisky Aluminy was suddenly burning with love for the far northern lands of Chukotka. So much so that 60 percent of the region’s voters chose Abramovich to be its representative in the Duma.
But Abramovich clearly underestimated the strength of his passion. Now, the oligarch is said to be mulling over the possibility of standing for governor of Chukotka.
If you weigh up the economic and political influence of Abramovich and Chukotka, the balance won’t be in favor of the latter. For Chukotka then, Abramovich with his connections, companies and his money, to put it simply, is what the prince was to Cinderella. But the question remains, what in this harsh Arctic land provoked such a passion in the oligarch’s heart?
The rumormongers, of course, have plenty of possible answers. Some say that the farsighted Abramovich, unlike the rumormongers themselves, isn’t given to exaggerating his influence in the Kremlin and, unlike Boris Berezovsky, who’s protege he was long considered to be, prefers not to be too visible. Instead, Abramovich would rather be as far as possible from where the feathers might fly and quietly get on with running whatever he can from a distance. Technology, after all, makes such things possible these days.

Roman Abramovich, a close friend of Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana Dyachenko and of Berezovsky
Roman Abramovich, an oil tycoon and governor of the Chukotka region, has bought out mogul Boris Berezovsky's 49 percent stake in state-controlled ORT television