“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!

The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!

I know. You probably have to be a certain age to understand that very old and wornout headline based on a not so good 1966 movie. I was going to say, "Coming to a Corner Near You" because according to MSNBC, "Lukoil (pronounced LUKE-oil) may not be a household name, but it's the second-largest oil company in the world in terms of proven reserves and the sixth-largest in terms of production."

If you live in the northeastern part of the US, particularly, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you may have noticed that your old Mobil station has recently acquired new colors lately:
The fifteen year old, privately held, vertically integrated Russian company has recently converted hundreds of Mobil stations (of which it owns 779) but will soon decide whether to rebrand it's 1300 Getty stations. Some of the Mobil station owners have not been happy and more than two dozen of them filed a lawsuit against Lukoil claiming their franchise agreements were illegally terminated and the conversion has hurt their business. Others are understandably upset about the branding issue. (aside: Speaking of branding. Why would UPS spend a fortune to rebrand itself as "Brown?") Lukoil is "luuking" to buy a US refinery....

According to it's website, Lukoil:

LUKOIL is the second largest private oil Company worldwide by proven hydrocarbon reserves with 1.3% of global oil reserves 2.1% of global oil production. Produces 18% of total Russian (Western Siberia) oil production and 18% of total Russian oil refining.

Conducts international exploration and production projects in Kazakhstan, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Columbia, Venezuela and Iraq.

Owns 4 large refineries in Russia and operates in 17 countries of the world, including Russia, the CIS (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine), Europe (Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic, Estonia) and the USA, and consisted of 199 tank farms and 5,405 filling stations.

Also interesting, ConocoPhillips in September, 2004 paid $1.988 billion for 7.59 percent of Lukoil which had been owned by the Russian government. With it's profits soaring this year, ConocoPhillips plans to purchase up to 20% of Lukoil.


  1. I will have to be out of gas before I stop in a Lukoil station. Next on my attempt to avoid would be Citgo, owned by Venezuela.

  2. Yep! Same here 2164th.

    The Oligarthy marches on ...

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    I understand that if one uses Lukoil petrol that it soon sets up a dialectic within the Bourgeoisie engine and the proletariat transmission and drive train.

    This quickly leads to ineffecient power production as ancillary components, suck as tires and headlights become alieanated. This thesis/antithesis finds no remedy since the ruthless exploitation and alienation of the drive train cannot be reconciled with the Herbert Marcuse's Freudo-Marxist synthesis.
    This finally leads to the classsic Marxian gas struggle piting leaded against unleaded in a futile attempt to rook the queen and gain dominance as the next thesis.
    Buy American gas.

  5. Habu, you were on such a roll with that I was waiting for Eric Clapton playing Mason Williams' "Classical Gas".

  6. I will have to be out of gas before I stop in a Lukoil station. Next on my attempt to avoid would be Citgo, owned by Venezuela.

    Too bad Li'l Kim Jong-Il doesn't have a chain of "petrol" stations I could shun, this leading to a solemn pronouncement by the Hermit Kingdom that my girlcott of his gas was an act of war.

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  8. "GIRLCOT".........T-E-R-E-S-I-T-A ,

    as my grandmother never used to say, "Semplicemente meraviglioso".