Vladimir Putin told a defence ministry meeting that he wished to see the military bolster its presence in the territory

View from City Road: Lasmo may need a rights issue

Lasmo's North Sea disposal confirms the soundness of its assets, reflected in the values they attract. But the fact that it has been forced to sell them underlines the weakness of its balance sheet.

Mitsubishi buys into North Sea oil sector

MITSUBISHI Oil, the big Japanese exploration and refining group, is buying a parcel of North Sea assets from Petrofina, the Belgian group, for about dollars 200m (pounds 136m), writes Neil Thapar.

Tall ships emerge from the North Sea mist for 1993 race

(Photograph omitted)

Hardy in 29m pounds cash call

HARDY Oil & Gas, the North Sea explorer, is tapping shareholders for the second time in two years with a pounds 29m cash call to finance acquisitions and develop new fields, writes Neil Thapar.

Sports Listings: This Weekend / Windsurfing - North Sea Cup, Pevensey Bay

The North Sea Cup at Pevensey Bay, East Sussex, this weekend is one of the largest windsurfing regattas in Britain as it is also the second round of the National Series Championships. The Cup itself is a four-round event, contested by France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain, and more than 200 sailors will compete in the penultimate round. Britain has not won the North Sea Cup, though this season a strong challenge is mounted. Matthew Wemms, from Welwyn Garden City, is the overall leader in the lightweight division and will work hard to retain the position in open-sea conditions at Pevensey Bay. Also in contention in this category is Willie Banham, the National Champion. The Londoner won the first round in the Netherlands over Easter. Christine Lapworth, from Botley, leads the women's section for Britain.

Shell decision

Shell is not to be prosecuted over 11 deaths in a helicopter crash near the Cormorant Alpha North Sea platform, the Crown Office confirmed.

Oil tax changes 'will damage economy'

THE GOVERNMENT'S sweeping tax changes affecting the North Sea oil industry are likely to cause severe long-term damage to the economy, according to an authoritative report.

Subs 'close to nuclear explosion'

A US nuclear-powered submarine that collided with a Russian sub in the Barents Sea last month came within 60ft of striking the Russian vessel's nuclear reactors, AP reports from Moscow. Had the USS Grayling hit the vital reactor area, 'a thermo-nuclear explosion would have followed', said Rear-Admiral Alexei Ovcharenko, a Russian officer who investigated the 20 March accident.

North Sea vessel hit

About 70 men were evacuated from a North Sea oil rig support vessel after it was hit by a safety ship which lost power in 45mph winds and 22ft seas. The crash happened in the Claymore Field, 100 miles north-east of Aberdeen. No injuries have been reported.

Letter: Tax that could dry up North Sea oil revenue

Sir: We, the undersigned, former chairmen of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain and/or the Petroleum Group of the Geological Society, wish to draw your attention to the absence of comment in the press on proposals in the Budget for the most fundamental tax changes to affect the North Sea oil and gas scene for 10 years. This is because the outcome of the proposed changes is not obvious.

Clyde to raise pounds 34m to develop oilfield: Rights issue accompanied by bigger loss

CLYDE Petroleum, the North Sea oil explorer, is raising pounds 34m from a rights issue to fund the development of Gryphon, a new offshore oilfield in which it has a 35 per cent stake.

Enterprise profits fall

ENTERPRISE OIL, the big North Sea explorer, has lifted its total dividend by 2 per cent to 16p for last year despite a sharp fall in profits caused by lower oil prices and a high tax bill.

Next services: 244 miles: Armed with permit, insect repellent, CB radio and the collected works of Tater Bob, Bill Pannifer follows the Alaska pipeline to the Arctic Ocean

We are driving out to the coast. Not the East Coast, nor the West Coast, but the North Coast: the northernmost point in the United States accessible by vehicle. Our route is on all the maps, a dead straight, lonely-looking line up from Fairbanks to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. We've already driven three thousand miles from San Francisco, and we're not going to stop now, just because it says 'Restricted Road'.

Itochu buys North Sea interests

THE market for North Sea oil assets received a further boost after Enterprise Oil, the UK independent, sold some interests to Itochu, the Japanese conglomerate, for dollars 106m (pounds 73m).

Riggers' plunge

Two North Sea riggers were recovering in hospital after falling 50ft (15.2m) into the water from the underside of British Petroleum's Bruce platform, 250 miles north-east of Aberdeen. Both were able to swim back to a platform leg. An investigation has begun.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?