Russia: Power Play

The Kremlin clampdown on Yukos hasn't stopped the dealmaking frenzy

On the last Wednesday of September, Russia's second largest oil company, Lukoil, hoisted the Stars and Stripes up a flagpole outside its Moscow headquarters to celebrate a landmark deal: with a $2 billion bid, the U.S. firm ConocoPhillips had just won an auction for the Russian government's 7.6% stake in the firm. The two companies promptly announced a strategic alliance to develop oil reserves in the Russian Arctic and potentially work together in Iraq. For Jim Mulva, Conoco's president and chief executive, the deal amounted to a coup, giving Conoco access to 8 billion bbl. of proven oil reserves at relatively...

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