Putin's energy grab, continued

While the world press is distracted by the question of who's behind the murder of ex-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, Strategic Investment's Dan Amoss alerts us to another brazen move by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the energy front.

Russian prosecutors have filed criminal charges against Royal Dutch/Shell and other developers of the Sakhalin gas field in Russia's far East — accusing them of wrecking the environment in the area.  And…prosecutors are also accusing Chevron and the other members of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium of operating under an invalid license.  The folks at Stratfor note that these are the only two energy projects in Russia still operated by foreigners.  Sakhalin is now likely to come under the control of the Russian gas giant Gazprom, and the pipeline project will go to the Russian firm Transneft.

Dan says this is "more evidence that Putin is setting things up nicely to be CEO of Gazprom after stepping down from office (if he decides to). Putin will probably just swap titles with his buddy, current Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller."

But that's not the whole story of Russia's energy future.  There's a whole other dimension, one that's set to generate big gains in a certain class of investments.  More to come…