Russian roulette

European and US oil companies are tipped to be big investors in Russia’s oil market. But while rewards could be great, any decision to invest in thecountry will be fraught with difficulties. Paul Lyon reports

Russia lurched towards a political and economic crisis at the end of October,when its stocks, bonds and currency plummeted on the arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky,chairman of oil company Yukos and the country’s richest man. The eventre-ignited fears that Russia is not yet stable enough for foreign investment.Nevertheless, US and European oil firms are still said to be pressing ahead withtheir Russian investment ambitions.

Khodorkovsky, whose wealth has been estimated at between $8 billion and

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