RUSSIALINK: “Russia strengthening presence in Arctic – Putin”- Interfax

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – The Arctic is important for Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The Arctic plays a strategic role for Russia. Today we are strengthening our presence in the region, we are implementing scientific research initiatives, large-scale programs for its economic development, we are implementing ambitious infrastructure projects,” Putin said in his message to the participants and […]

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NATO’s Trident Juncture Exercise as a Deterrence Signal to Russia

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Dmitry Gorenburg – November 1, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/natos-trident-juncture-exercise-deterrence-signal-russia) Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism. This week, NATO […]

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Russian Infrastructure to Support Northern Sea Route Won’t Be Ready for at Least Another Decade, Experts Say

Arctic Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 12, 2018) The Washington Post reported four days ago that global warming is opening the Northern Sea Route to more shipping sooner than expected, but officials and experts in the North say that Russia won’t have the necessary infrastructure in place to support trade on that route for at least another […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin invites foreign partners to develop Northern Sea Route” – Interfax

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

VLADIVOSTOK. Sept 12 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited foreign partners to develop the Northern Sea Route. “We are inviting all interested partners to develop this promising route, and we know that our partners are interested in doing so,” Putin said at a plenary meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum on Wednesday. The logistic potential of the Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Is Building $320 Million Icebreakers to Carve New Arctic Routes; The 1,000-foot-long vessels for hauling liquefied natural gas can cut through ice up to 7 feet thick” – Bloomberg/Eric Roston

Arctic Map

“… there’s no less hospitable an industrial workplace than Yamal LNG, a $27 billion liquid natural gas plant … in Russian territory 375 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In the winter, when there’s zero sun for more than two months, temperatures reach -13F on land and -58F in the blinding fog out at sea. … [T]here’s a lot of […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Arctic as the next battleground? Don’t count on it” – Asia Times/Richard A. Bitzinger

Arctic Map

“… as tensions between Russia and the West also grow, where might conflict between these two camps break out? … Global warming … raises the specter that the Arctic might become a new zone for conflict, as the polar icecap recedes and the area becomes more accessible. In the first place, competition for natural resources in the region is increasing. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: Talking Their Way Out of Another Cold War” – Bloomberg/James Stavridis

NATO Meeting file photo

“… Tactically, the two generals need to create an effective regime to avoid unintended confrontations between NATO and the Russians. … aircraft and ships have been on collision courses …. there have probably also been close … interactions under the ice in the Arctic. The two leaders should see that their staffs confer on ways to reduce the potential for […]

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Pride, Loneliness in the Deep North: The Russians Who Refuse to Leave Dying Arctic City

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Henry Ridgwell, Ricardo Marquina Montañana – March 25, 2018) VORKUTA, RUSSIAN ARCTIC – In Russia’s far north, the city of Vorkuta is slowly being reclaimed by the Arctic tundra. The front lines of this battle between the urban and natural worlds are in the suburbs, where abandoned apartment blocks emerge from the towering snowdrifts. […]

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Global Warming Destroying Coastline, Critical Infrastructure in Russian North

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 11, 2018) Global warming is leading to the erosion of shorelines in the Russian north by as much as four meters a year and to approximately one accident there every three days involving power stations, roads, gas and oil pipelines, and other infrastructure, according to analysts at the emergency services ministry. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin and Xi Are Dreaming of a Polar Silk Road; The Northern Sea Route might not be the next Suez Canal, but it’s at the heart of Moscow and Beijing’s play for the high north.” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Keith Johnson, Reid Standish

Arctic Map

“The unprecedented melt of Arctic sea ice is … rejuvenating hopes of a shipping shortcut …. It shouldn’t be. China is dreamy-eyed about the prospects of shipping goods from Asia to Europe across the top of Russia … dominating its brand-new Arctic strategy. … Russia is convinced that the melting Arctic will open up a new economic frontier rich in […]

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Arctic Winter ‘Warmest On Record’

Arctic Map

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 7, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/arctic-winter-warmest-on-record-us-russian-scientists-report/29084098.html) The winter of 2017-18 was the warmest on record for the Arctic, U.S. and Russian scientists have reported in separate studies. The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on March 6 that the Arctic winter during December, January, and February […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘Russia’s Arctic military construction bigger than other countries’ – Shoigu” – Interfax-AVN

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

With regard to Russian military construction in the Arctic: “[Says] Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu … ‘Since 2013, we have built 545 installations on over 710,000 square meters under Far North conditions. No other country in the world has carried out such massive construction on the Arctic latitudes’” Apparently with regard to broader Russian military infrastructure: “‘The geography of construction […]

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Russia Struggling To Expand Arctic Oil Production

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – January 30, 2018) Oil production from Russia’s Arctic region increased in 2017 as new onshore developments and the only offshore producing platform ramped up production. But challenges in Russia’s arctic remain. Last year, production from onshore fields in Yamal-Nenets autonomous region in northern Russia contributed the most to the rise in oil production in the […]

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Russia Goes All In On Arctic Oil Development

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – October 19, 2017) Neither sanctions nor persistently low oil prices are hindering Russia’s ambitions or plans to develop oil resources in its sections of the Arctic. In April, state-controlled oil giant Rosneft started drilling the northernmost well on the Russian Arctic shelf in the Khatangsky license area in the Laptev Sea. In June, Rosneft struck […]

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NEWSLINK: “Little cash for Russia’s new Arctic development program; Ambitions are sky-high, but much hinges on private investments” – The Independent Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“… The new Russian Arctic program has undergone major revision since the Ministry of Economic Development was commissioned to make a draft. The Ministry first proposed to allocated 209 billion rubles (€3.1 billion) of state cash to program implementation. Later, the sum was reduced to only 12 billion rubles (€177 million). Originally, the program was to cover the period until […]

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Kennan Cable No.24: Russian Foreign Policy in the Arctic: Balancing Cooperation and Competition

Arctic Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Stacy R. Closson, Assistant Professor, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky – June 26, 2017) Introduction The Arctic region presents a particularly interesting case study of Russian foreign policy. In a time when Russia is showing renewed aggression on three fronts – the Baltic Sea region, Syria, and Ukraine – and meddling in […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Why does ExxonMobil need Russia’s Arctic region? Even though the price of extracting oil in the Arctic is very expensive, ExxonMobil still wants to strengthen its position in the Russian market.”

Arctic Map

“The U.S. Government will not give the green light to oil major ExxonMobil Corporation and other American companies that seek to drill in areas covered by U.S. sanctions against Russia, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on April 21. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum. [excerpts re Putin]

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 30, 2017) Vladimir Putin is taking part in the filurth international forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue. The forum’s theme this year is People and the Arctic. The participants are discussing ways to improve the quality of life in the Arctic, maintain its unique environmental potential, boost sustainable socioeconomic development of the Arctic regions and strengthen international […]

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Russia Can Wait for $70 Oil Before Re-Entering Arctic Waters

Arctic Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Dina Khrennikova – March 29, 2017) Russia can wait for a sustained recovery in oil prices before drilling again in Arctic waters, relying for now on less costly regions even as rival producer Norway accelerates development of its northerly fields. “We estimate production costs for the Russian Arctic offshore in the range of $70 […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting on Arctic region’s comprehensive development

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 29, 2017) In the course of his trip to Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Archipelago Vladimir Putin held a meeting on the comprehensive development of the Arctic region. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment, and Transport […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Melting glaciers threaten to inundate Russia’s Far North and Siberia”

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

Scientists say that the melting permafrost and the cryosphere’s destruction might lead to massive flooding in the Arctic and Siberian regions of Russia in the next 20 years, as well as foster the resuscitation of dormant pathogens and the destruction of vital infrastructure. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLGA DOBROVIDOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 14, 2017) Maria […]

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How Tillerson Could Fuel A Russian Arctic Drilling Boom

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at readyagain.gov

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – January 23, 2017) Robert Berke is an energy financial analyst with experience as a government consultant to the State of Alaska. It’s now clear to nearly everyone that U.S. President Trump intends to seek warmer U.S. relations with Russia, while putting China and Iran relations in the deep freezer. Trump has made no secret of […]

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RBTH: A welcome cold war: Russia and the U.S. fight to protect polar bears

File Photo of Polar Bear on Ice and Snow with Water Nearby

In late 2016, Russia and the U.S. jointly studied 180 polar bears living along the border of Alaska and Chukotka. Their findings will help develop a three-year plan to save the species. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAM TER-GHAZARYAN, SPECIAL TO RBTH – January 10, 2017) The Wrangel Island Reserve in the Chukchi Sea has one of the […]

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Could Tillerson Open Up The Russian Arctic For Exxon Again?

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – December 16, 2016) If the ExxonMobil CEO is confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of State, the evolving relationship between Russia and the United States will take an interesting turn. Rex Tillerson could be in a position to hand his former company a major victory if he helps orchestrate a removal of U.S. sanctions on […]

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Russia’s Largest Problem: Permafrost Lies beneath Two-Thirds of Its Territory and Two-Thirds of That Will Melt This Century

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 14, 2016) The Russian government says it will invest 80 billion US dollars in developing Russia’s Far North between now and 2030, money it does not yet have (profile.ru/economics/item/111568-5-trillionov). But the biggest barrier to achieving its goals may not be financial stringencies but the impact of global warming. According to Russian […]

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Russia: the tinderbox in the struggle for a safe climate

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

Russia is at the forefront of the global climate change struggle. We ignore it at our peril. (opendemocracy.net – Daniel Voskoboynik – September 20, 2016) Daniel Voskoboynik is a journalist and campaigner covering human rights, ecology and migration. The Russian region of Yamal rarely makes global headlines. Despite being larger than France, its remote location bordering the Arctic Circle holds […]

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Why Arctic Oil Is Crucial For Russia’s Future

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – August 23, 2016) The Arctic – a cold wasteland that has shattered the expansion dreams of many an oil company by proving to be too difficult and too expensive to tackle. And, of course, Arctic exploration is the target of major environmentalist opposition to any intervention in this wasteland that is in fact home to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s melting ice could release more threats to humanity” – AFP

Arctic Map

Anthrax, small pox and giant viruses – Russian scientists are warning of a host of threats that could be unleashed on the world as global warming melts the frozen far north …. A recent anthrax outbreak on the Yamal peninsula left a child dead, 23 people infected and the government scrambling … The most likely source of the epidemic was […]

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The Kremlin’s Arctic Plans: More Gutted than Grand

Arctic Map

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Sergei Medvedev, Professor of Politics; Deputy Dean for International Affairs Higher School of Economics, Moscow – June 7, 2016) Article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/memo/kremlin-arctic-plans-more-gutted-grand Over the past decade, Russia has launched a diplomatic and symbolic offensive in the Arctic, supported by increased military activity, grandiose economic plans, and showy assertions of sovereignty. Russian officials have […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DIA Statement for the Record – Worldwide Threat Assessment [excerpt re Russia]

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Armed Services Committee, United States Senate – Vincent R. Stewart, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency – February 9, 2016) RUSSIA Moscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in […]

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Arctic winter temperature rose 3 degrees since 1990

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Interfax – December 8, 2015) The average Arctic winter temperature has risen three degrees Celsius since 1990, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy told a seventh High-Level Assembly of the Climate and Clean Air coalition. The average ice cover in the Arctic sea has halved since 1980, he said. “Already this region is characterized by a three-degree […]

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Interfax: Russia, U.S. cooperating in telecommunications, environmental issues, access to drinking water in Arctic

Arctic Map

MOSCOW. Dec 4 (Interfax) – Russia and the United States are cooperating in spheres of mutual interest in the Arctic Council, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large, senior official in the Arctic Council Vladimir Barbin has said. “Speaking of the U.S. program, they have lots of projects Russia is interested in […]. Naturally, we will be cooperating with them,” Barbin […]

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Is Russia The King Of Arctic Oil By Default?

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – October 22, 2015) To be king implies preeminence, or lasting rule. In the Arctic, such oil and gas supremacy is still little more than a dream. That dream remains alive in Russia however, and the nation – through an unmatched stubbornness and a decidedly timid field of competitors – is making a strong bid for […]

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New research shows the Arctic is warming faster than previously believed

Arctic Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yana Pchelintseva, special to RBTH – September 11, 2015) Russian scientists have found about 700 “methane holes” in the Arctic shelf. The scale of emissions shows that the permafrost has degraded severely, and researchers think the thawing is irreversible. A team of Russian scientists spent over 20 years examining thermokarst lakes – bodies […]

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RBTH: Russia waits on U.N. response over claim to extend Arctic borders

Arctic Map

After 14 years, Moscow is renewing an effort to claim a vast territory on the outer margin of the continental shelf abutting Russia’s land mass in the Arctic. What are the economic benefits of acquiring the legal rights to this underwater area and is Russia’s claim likely to be approved? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH […]

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RBTH: The battle for Arctic heats up

Arctic Map

Russian scientists say their new model for the Arctic’s tectonic evolution shows that the underwater Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges are part of the Eurasian mainland. This apparently substantiates Russia’s claim to 1.2 million square kilometers of Arctic sea shelf. At stake is control over vast natural resources, and opposition from western nations is almost certain. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – […]

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Why Putin Is Losing

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – August 10, 2015) Are little green men about to appear on the North Pole? Russia’s claim last week, using an extremely creative interpretation of international law, to exclusive economic rights to nearly half a million square miles of the Arctic Sea, was certainly a head scratcher. Sure the territory is valuable due to […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: As the Arctic Thaws, New Temptations

Arctic Map

The New York Times comments on Russia’s attempt to use the United Nations to expand Russian territory in the Arctic, accompanied by expanded Russian military activity in the region. As the Arctic rapidly thaws and surrenders access to its awesome wealth of energy and precious minerals, it is inevitable that nations in the far north will stake claims over huge […]

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NEWSLINK Alaska Dispatch News: Russia and US must maintain Arctic relations in an interconnected world

Arctic Map

Russia is in the news, again. NATO ministers continue to discuss how to upgrade their response capabilities to contain Russia, an increasingly unpredictable neighbor, and Pentagon officials advise Congress that Russia is a primary military threat. All the meanwhile, President Putin ramps up his military modernization effort. Could this finally be the end of strong Russia-U.S. cooperation in the one […]

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NEWSLINK AFP: Russia’s vast Arctic gas project aims to avoid Ukraine deep freeze

Arctic Map

Spread across the frozen whiteness of the Russian Arctic, the ambitious $27 billion Yamal gas megaproject aims to defy both the extreme temperatures and the Ukraine crisis impacting its funding. Some 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) northeast of Moscow, the Yamal site — a joint venture by Russia’s Novatek, France’s Total and China’s CNPC — is eventually meant be one of […]

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Two of Russia’s Greatest Misfortunes – Roads and Fools – Once Again Come Together

Map of North Polar Region with Real or Hypothetical Rail Lines Across Eurasia, Bering Strait, North America

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 24, 2015) Even though the Russian government currently repairs less than one percent of its horrific roads in many regions, Moscow has announced plans to build a superhighway and rail line extending across the Russian north to the Bering Straits and a tunnel to Alaska, a project in which enormous sums will […]

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Putin Signs New Military Doctrine: Core Elements Unchanged

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 12, Issue 2 – Roger McDermott – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – January 6, 2015) President Vladimir Putin has introduced a new Military Doctrine in the context of the Ukraine crisis, deteriorating relations with the United States, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as shifts within the international security environment. […]

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Will Western Sanctions Stop Russia’s Arctic Oil Expansion?

Arctic Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 9, 2014) Igor Sechin, the most influential figure in Russia’s energy industry, announced last week that a new oil field discovered in the Arctic was to be christened “Pobeda” – the Russian word for victory. Speaking to reporters from a blustery drilling platform, the Kremlin heavyweight, who also heads state-owned oil […]

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Re: South shore of the Kola peninsula

Map of Russia

Subject: South shore of the Kola peninsual Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2014 14:09:31 -0500 From: William Brumfield <william.brumfield@gmail.com> David, below is announcement for the latest in my RBTH series. A stunning part of northwest Russia. Regards, William —— My current article for Russia beyond the Headlines is devoted to the south shore of the Kola Peninsula. Located near the Arctic […]

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Business New Europe: Sanctions aim at Russia’s Arctic push

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Joe Parson in Moscow – August 21, 2014) US and EU sanctions are threatening to derail a monster exploration and production project in the Russian Arctic between state-owned Rosneft and US oil major ExxonMobil. The threat is not that Washington will pressure US companies to pull out of Russian deals. Rather, the latest round […]

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Exxon’s $900 Billion Arctic Prize at Risk After Ukraine

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman – April 29, 2014) Exxon Mobil (XOM) Corp.’s dream of drilling in the Russian Arctic may risk running aground on the politics of Ukraine. The company plans to start drilling in August in the Arctic’s remote Kara Sea — the centerpiece of Exxon’s global alliance with Russian state-controlled OAO Rosneft. (ROSN) The partnership, which […]

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