Roman Abramovich is looking to invest in Queensland resource company Linc Energy, which has developed technology for underground coal gasification.
Abramovich made his fortune in Russia’s oil and aluminium industry and is now estimated by Forbes to be worth $US12.1 billion and the 50th richest person in the world.
The relationship between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Abramovich has been described as like that between a father and a favourite son
A share of Linc Energy is not quite as glamorous as Abramovich’s other investments, which include English Premier League football club Chelsea and the biggest and most expensive yacht ever built – the 164-metre monster called Eclipse was built in 2009 at a cost of between $600 million and $1 billion.
The Australian Financial Review reports that during a brief visit to Australia last weekend Abramovich flew in on his private jet to have dinner with Linc Energy chief Peter Bond at Matt Moran’s Aria Restaurant in Brisbane.
He then had a tour of Linc Energy’s coal gasification facilities at Chinchilla about 300 kilometres west of Brisbane.
Linc Energy has a market capitalisation of about $310 million and has been in talks with potential investors about growing its global business.
Abramovich’s confidential talks with Linc Energy have raised speculations that the Russian billionaire is considering investing in the Australian resources sector or wants to use Linc Energy’s technology in Russia.
Alternatively, the pair could have been discussing holiday homes after Bond snapped up tourism icon Dunk Island as his holiday spot last year, while Abramovich paid just under $US30 million for the 200-acre former Wildcat Ridge estate, near Aspen, Colorado.
Linc Energy declined to comment.