Ed Cox enjoys some Russian hospitality at a Gazprom press conference ...
Last week I was exposed to the mighty force of the Russian- or should I say Gazprom - marketing machine in my quest to keep on top of the latest episode in the dispute with Ukraine over gas supplies.
Well they say gas is the sexy side of the industry, and without wanting to do down my beloved chemicals background I can see why, following my trip to the Russian news agency's London branch on Tuesday.
Offices in Kensington don't you know- where one bed flats start at £700,000. Just down from the Maserati and Ferrari showrooms and near some exclusive looking gated residences, I slipped into a little room with a live link up to Moscow.
Sitting perilously close to a microphone that could have informed a fair chunk of the Russian and global media about my cold bug, I scribbled down the latest news, or lack of it. How much the Russians must care about their appearance abroad was shown by our permission to ask two questions against Moscow's one. We numbered around seven people compared with Moscow's 50, or maybe more.
Forget all the ins and outs of the dispute, all the accusations, all the anti-Russian press that it's created over here, Gazprom's marketing machine is quite a beast. Gone are the hours of chasing after English translations of some hidden Cyrillic press release- these days there is a website with up-to-the-minute sound bites summing up the latest failure to reach an agreement. They have the most courteous PR Company in London too. And don't forget they want to use Rolls Royce to build a pipeline to Germany so they're employing us too!
While we're at it, the UK doesn't rely on Russia for gas, contrary to certain media reports. Remember when the gas price in the UK briefly dipped to zero last year? That coincided with a flurry of Norwegian imports- funny how the press didn't latch on to that in the same way.
All that said, this whole Gazprom operation still seems a little too clean cut for my liking.