RUSSIAN oil tycoon Roman Abramovich has ploughed a small portion of his fortune into a pioneering Oxfordshire firm.

Through his investment business Ervington Investments, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club has bought £4.3m worth of shares in Oxford Catalysts as part of a £30.6m share placing by the company, which specialises in alternative fuels.

That gives him a 3.5 per cent stake in the firm based at Milton Park, near Didcot, which span out of Oxford University in 2004 and is headed by Prof Malcolm Green, one of the world’s most respected inorganic chemists.