SAKHALIN SITUATED off the Russian Far East mainland in the Okhotsk Sea, north of Japan, lies Sakhalin, one of Russia’s most promising locations for oil and gas development. The 580-mile long island has flourishing fisheries and useful resources of timber and coal. However, it is the Sakhalin shelf to the northeast, in the waters known as the “ice kitchen”, that interests the giant Western multinationals such as ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell. They are pouring millions of dollars into two of the biggest integrated oil and gas projects ever undertaken—known as Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2. Severe winter conditions have to be overcome—the sea freezes over for six to seven months each year—and there are ambitious plans to build pipelines, a huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and export facilities. Once the infrastructure is in place, however, the rewards could be huge. The energy-hungry economies of nearby Japan, China and South Korea are the primary target. And with the United States seeking to diversify its sources of energy, plus talk of a US/Russian energy alliance, the west coast of America is another potential market.

MACEDONIA OCCUPYING a strategic position on the Balkan peninsula, Macedonia is a small country that is naturally oriented toward the wider world. Integration with NATO and the European Union is seen as the key to its future. Membership of the World Trade Organization and a series of free trade agreements with other countries in the region are important steps toward extending beyond the limited scope of its domestic economy. Progress made in building democratic structures in the 1990s has led to the country becoming the first of the western Balkan nations to be offered a definite prospect of accession to the EU through the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement. With good transport and telecommunication links, both within Macedonia and with the rest of the world, a developed and efficient financial system, well educated work force and tax incentives, the country offers promising prospects for participation by foreign companies. Notable sectors open for investment include tourism, food and beverages, textiles, tobacco, steel, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, telecommunications, energy and banking.
KRASNODAR KRASNODAR Krai, the southernmost of Russia’s 89 regions, is a place of extraordinary natural beauty, with a landscape that ranges from forests, wheat fields and sunny beaches to the snow-capped Caucasian mountains. It is also an area of great economic importance to Russia and one of the country’s most densely populated regions, with more than five million people and a well-developed consumer market. Krasnodar’s agro-industrial complex is Russia’s biggest producer and supplier of agricultural products and raw materials. The region is a major crossroads along transportation routes linking Russia and Central Asia to the Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East. It is also one of Russia’s most popular health resort and tourist areas. Krasnodar’s natural resources include marble, limestone, sandstone, gravel, ferrous ores and mineral waters, and it is one of the oldest petroleum extracting areas in the country. It hosts two major energy projects. Investment totalling some $2 billion is being spent on the Krasnodar section of the Caspian pipeline, which will transport crude oil from Tengiz in Kazakhstan to a terminal at Novorossiysk. The other big project is the construction of the Russia-Turkey gas pipeline at the bottom of the Black Sea, running across 230 miles of Krasnodar’s territory.