The heavyweight guide to Ukraine
Western oil companies are reeling from a series of setbacks in Russia. Welcomed in under Boris Yeltsin, offering a new frontier for exploration and production, the likes of BP and Shell saw a chance to build up their reserves. BP saw Russia as a next step in its history - after Iran (it was the Anglo-Persian Oil Company originally), then Alaska, and then the North Sea.
When Gazprom turned down the gas supply to the Ukraine in early January 2006, there was a sense of panic in Europe, as the full extent of dependency on Russian supplies dawned, both inside and outside the old Soviet boundaries. Some saw this as a wake-up call, which would usher in a dash-for-nuclear.