"Putin and the Federal Coal Lease in Montana"

"Will Russian President Vladimir Putin get richer thanks to a sweetheart government coal deal in Montana? Last month the Treasury Department informed Congress that Mr. Putin personally held an interest in an international oil and gas investment fund called the Gunvor Group, run out of Geneva, Switzerland. Team Putin adamantly denied his involvement, but the Treasury Department insisted it was right.

The Gunvor Group is a large and profitable enterprise, producing $91 billion in revenues in 2013, but unlike U.S. companies, it publicly reports very little detail about the source of its revenues and profits or how they are divided. In 2011 the Gunvor Group bought into the partnership that is working the Signal Peak coal mine in Montana.

Signal Peak is a productive coal operation that leases mines from the U.S. government and State of Montana. Signal Peak benefits from a robust base of export customers and is a source of coal for U.S. power plants. The partnership that operates Signal Peak has received approval from the U.S government to double the size of the mine. Environmental and landowner groups oppose the mine expansion as harmful to surface and spring water and the climate. "

Thomas Sanzillo of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports for Huffington Post June 3, 2014.

Thursday, June 5, 2014