A cynic might treat this as stage one of an eviction notice. That cynic might be right.
An oil venture in Kazakhstan, led by Chevron
The levy, which Chevron has pledged to fight in court, comes just as the company and its partners in the venture, Tengizchevroil, have invested $6 billion to expand Tengiz. It also parallels another push by the government of Kazakhstan to pressure a second group of Western companies operating in the country.
The other group, led by Italy's Eni
This emerging pattern of Kazakh heavyhandedness follows similar approaches by the neighboring Russian government in its handling of Western energy companies. In late 2006, Royal Dutch Shell
For its part, ExxonMobil
Frankly, this series of events in Russia and Kazakhstan -- and you can throw in Venezuela, if you'd like -- has a disturbing ring. In my rarely tentative opinion, there's very little likelihood that the world will come anywhere close to the 120 million barrels of daily production that most energy seers predict will constitute global demand in just a couple of decades. That's about 40% above today's levels, and caprice by a group of tinhorn governments will do little to help supply meet that pie-in-the-sky level.
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