Ramco Energy, a UK oil explorer, posted a loss in 2001 because of a drop in income from asset sales, it said that it may produce natural gas from a field off the Irish coast before the end of 2003. The company last month agreed to raise its stake in the Seven Heads field to 56.5 percent from 49 percent and has reached a preliminary agreement with Marathon Oil Corp. to pump the gas through its facilities. Supplies could reach the market before the end of 2003. “We're fairly confident there is a ready market for the gas,” said Steven Bertram, Ramco's finance director, in an interview. “The advantage of using existing infrastructure is there is far less work to be done.” The project in Ireland, where gas usage rose by over a sixth in the year 2000, is part of Ramco's plan to invest in a “politically stable” areas, this being after selling its interest in an Azerbaijan oil field and losing another in the Czech Republic. The company also provides services to oil companies.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea