After Sweden and Denmark's power cut last week, some observers highlighted the growing call for state protectionism to safeguard home markets. With Italy's accusations focused on France and Switzerland, where the power failure originated, the call for self-sufficiency and national protectionism will grow.
Switzerland's aim of ensuring that all petrol consumed contains at least 5% bio-ethanol by 2010 would seem to be overly optimistic given the undeveloped nature of the Swiss ethanol market. Even with the construction of the country's first bio-ethanol plant in 2008 and various tax incentives, achieving this aim can only be achieved with considerable ongoing government support.
Following confirmation by the Libyan government that 60% of state owned Tamoil is up for sale, the bidding process for the stake has begun in earnest. With refining capacity and significant distribution networks in the Italian and Swiss markets up for grabs, the offer will be attractive to buyers hoping to benefit from the favorable market conditions in the oil sector.
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