Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Gasoline problems looming?

Two big petroleum refineries in Ukraine are now undergoing 'kapitalnyi remont' [remont, ie 'maintenance or repair' in Ukraine is often a catch-all excuse covering a multitude of deficiencies and sins]. A piece in Ukrainian Journal explains why there may be more to this than meets the eye.

A quote: "The government fears the [temporary] closures of the oil refineries may trigger a wave of gasoline price hikes next month despite the government’s efforts to encourage oil firms to boost gasoline production in Ukraine.

Analysts said that high oil prices on world market encourages Russian oil companies to export crude rather that to ship it to their refineries in Ukraine. Most of the Ukrainian refineries produce low-grade gasoline or, like Lukoil-Odessa, fuel oil, which is later exported overseas."

On Monday,when writing about these matters I said, "If [the oil companies] can get away with selling 'crap' to the market, why change?" Clearly they are in no rush to improve their products, so foreign companies should be allowed into the market to satisfy needs, rather than their products being subjected to hefty 25% duty. The Yanuk gov. know a drop in supplies could very quickly trigger a big crisis. There were rumors that a recent visit by Yanuk to Moscow 'for treatment to an old sports injury,' was a just a cover for secret talks exactly on these matters.

The new Cabinet of Ministers are already beginning to 'tread on the toes' of President Yushchenko, changing the VR 'rehlament' in order to restrict the President's power to cancel Cabinet of Ministers' acts.

Yanuk is still on holiday, so first deputy PM Azarov chaired a cabinet meeting where these matters were decided. Developing a plan to elevate the Russian language to that of a second state language, in contravention of the spirit of the recently-signed 'Universal' was also discussed. The new government will surely keep chipping away the President's powers and authority.
It's time to stand up to these guys Vitya..

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