Tag Archives: Energy

Russian Gas: There Is No Alternative For Europe

EU Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – May 17, 2015) The sanctions are now in their second year; the ruble is still not quite itself; and national champions Gazprom and Rosneft are both bracing for what can generously be called a down year. Still, while Russia’s political relationship with the west continues to be redefined, the broader element of codependence remains relatively […]

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Russia Was Right: Shale in Europe Has Proved a Dud

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Mortkowitz Bauerova – May 11, 2015) When Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. opened an office in Poland in 2009, it had a reason to be optimistic: the shale boom was transforming the U.S. into the world’s largest producer of natural gas. To the companies rushing to imitate that success in Europe, Poland looked like the next Texas. […]

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Punitive Tax Regime Is Crushing Ukraine’s Oil And Gas Sector

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Robert Bensh – May 6, 2015) Each country blessed with oil and gas discoveries initially tries to create a tax regime that maintains the balance between generating tax revenues from the extraction of these hydrocarbons while also encouraging investment. If the country gets too greedy and imposes an excessive tax burden, the inverse effect occurs – investors abandon […]

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Oil’s Rebound Is Here

Oil Wells File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 6, 2015) As Brent crude oil reached more than $68 per barrel Wednesday, a high for 2015, analysts started to backtrack on earlier predictions of $40-$50 oil. The rebound, however, may not last: Speculators appear to have disrupted Saudi Arabia’s strategic game against U.S. shale oil producers. Predicting oil prices is a […]

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Is Gazprom a “buy”?

Gas Facility file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – May 7, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/moscow-blog-gazprom-buy] With the RTS Index up 30% year-to-date, foreign investors are drifting back into Russian shares simply because they are so cheap. But is the bluest of Russian blue chips and long-time market proxy Gazprom a buy again? Russian investment bank Renaissance […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Judge Rebuffs U.S. in Rejecting Extradition of Ukraine Billionaire

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

In a defeat for the United States, an Austrian judge refused Thursday to order the extradition of Dmitri V. Firtash, a Ukrainian billionaire and onetime patron of the country’s ousted president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, siding with defense lawyers who said the American request was politically motivated.

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Russian Economy May Be Stumbling Back To Its Feet

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Oilprice.com – Andy Tully – May 3, 2015) The Bank of Russia has cut interest rates for the third time so far this year, reinforcing forecasts by some government ministers that the country’s economic woes are beginning to stabilize. The central bank cut its key rate on April 30 to 12.5 percent, a reduction of 1.5 points, and said it would […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs: Paper Tiger Putin; The Failure of Russia’s Anachronistic Antagonism

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not as strong as he might seem, or, more important, as he might hope. Although Russia supports fighters in Ukraine, invaded Georgia in 2008, sold missile systems to Iran, and recently threatened Denmark and Lithuania with nuclear war, it is, in reality, a muted and restrained power operating in a system that no longer supports […]

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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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Is Gazprom’s changing export strategy a threat to Europe?

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – James Henderson – April 17, 2015) James Henderson is Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies The visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to Moscow in May to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II could also mark the next stage in Russia’s “pivot to Asia” if, as some […]

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NEWSLINK CNBC: Russia has bigger concerns than oil, ruble: Deputy PM

Arkady Dvorkovich file photo

Faced with the triple whammy of plunging oil prices, currency volatility and Western sanctions, there’s no dearth of challenges for Russia’s ailing economy, but Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said what hurts most is the scarcity of financing for new investments. “The shortness of financing for new investments is where the Russian economy is being hit in the most important […]

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Putin’s Mideast Gains Trump $27 Billion Loss From Iran Agreement

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Stephen Bierman – April 14, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he’s willing to take an economic hit to expand his political influence. He’s taking the same approach with Iran. Lifting sanctions and allowing Iranian oil onto global markets would threaten to deepen the plunge in crude […]

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Millions of Russians Edge Toward Poverty as Economic Pressure Mounts

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 13, 2015) Clutching two plastic bags full of clothes she had just collected from a charity center in central Moscow, Svetlana Burkutskaya said that rising prices were making it harder for her to find enough money to put food on the table for her three school-age children. “There is not sufficient […]

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NEWSLINK Forbes: Here’s Where Russia Shipped Oil Last Year As Ukraine, Europe Diversified.

Oil Wells File Photo

Russian oil companies are diversifying slowly away from their dependence on the European Union, just as the E.U. does the same with its long-time supplier of oil and natural gas. As a result, Russian exports to Germany — its most important market — fell between 2014 and 2013. And Ukraine shipments have fallen by nearly half.   Forbes.com: Kenneth Rapoza, […]

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Putin approves three-month extension of Ukraine’s gas discount

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – April 1, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a request by Gazprom to supply discounted natural gas to Ukraine for three more months on March 31, saying the arrangement would be reviewed later as oil prices changed. Ukraine in the first quarter of 2015 paid $329 per thousand cubic metres […]

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Russia’s economy in 2015 – more resilient than expected

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia- March 26, 2015) How is Russia’s economy doing right now? Pretty clearly, the answer is “not very well.” 2014 was the first year since Putin came to power in which, due to a combination of spiking inflation, plummeting oil prices and flat-lining growth, the average real disposable income actually shrank. […]

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Ukraine’s Catch 22 over its oligarch class

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – March 25, 2015) As the Soviet Union collapsed in both Russia and Ukraine, small groups of extremely clever and even more ruthless men “privatized” (or if you prefer less exalted language “stole”) all of the prize industrial assets. Virtually overnight, these formerly mid-ranking bureaucrats and functionaries became billionaires, some […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions

Oil Wells File Photo

[“U.S. faces meager options for further Russia energy sanctions” – Reuters – Timothy Gardner – March 23, 2015] Reuters examines Western sanctions on Russia, including some of the remaining options for energy-related sanctions. Energy is the economic lifeblood of Russia, which vies with the United States and Saudi Arabia to be the world’s top oil producer …the sector is the main target of […]

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NEWSLINK Moscow Times: Oil Crash Is Crushing Russia

Oil Wells File Photo

The impact of oil prices on the Russian economy is well known. After crude fell 50 percent last fall, the Ministry of Economic Development forecast a 3 percent GDP contraction this year, along with 12 percent inflation. The crash in oil prices will not only test President Vladimir Putin’s domestic support. It will upend Russian foreign policy, challenging the modernization of the country’s armed forces while diminishing its influence in Asia […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Middle Eastern oil players lose out to Russia in Asia

Oil Wells File Photo

As Russian oil supplies increase, Gulf states are forced to drop prices to remain competitive (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Kuchma, RBTH – March 12, 2015) Russia boosted oil supplies to China, Japan and South Korea by 10 million tons in 2014, increasing the proportion of oil exports to Asia from 7.2 percent to 8.7 percent. The […]

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NEWSLINK: Russia may ease Ukraine’s gas terms, but Kiev must settle its bills

Gas Flame file photo

Russia may ease the terms of its gas supplies to Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Reuters, but he said that sooner or later Kiev would have to pay for the gas Moscow is supplying to rebel-held areas of east Ukraine. …

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Russia’s dependence on oil prices may threaten national security – official

Nikolay Patrushev file photo

(Interfax – February 25, 2015) Moscow, 25 February: Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev thinks that the aim of the Western sanctions is to put pressure on the development of Russia’s mineral resource base, while Russia’s dependence on oil and gas prices may pose a threat to its national security. “The aim of the sanctions is to put pressure on the […]

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Interfax: Kyiv must supply energy to Donetsk, Luhansk under Minsk accords – Putin

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

NOVO-OGARYOVO. Feb 25 (Interfax) – The central government in Kyiv must ensure energy supplies to Donetsk and Luhansk under the Minsk agreements, which were reflected in a resolution of the United Nations Security Council and have now become an international legal document, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “We mentioned the Minsk agreements which were not only signed in Minsk […]

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Interfax: Russia sees risk of global economic slowdown due to low oil prices – minister

Oil Well file photo

ISTANBUL. Feb 10 (Interfax) – Russia warned G20 finance ministers meeting in Istanbul about the risks of a slowdown of global economic growth as a result of the drop in oil prices and called for a deeper analysis of the impact that the drop in prices has had on the economies of various countries, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said […]

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Business New Europe: Russian coal keeps UK household lights on as winter grips

Russian Coal Mine file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.ru – Nick Kochan in London – February 5, 2015) As winter grips the UK, a group of Russian coal companies with leaders closely linked to President Vladimir Putin are enabling British power companies to keep the country’s lights on – a precarious position as the sanctions rhetoric rises once again. Three Russian firms, SUEK, KRU […]

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Russian Sanctions Might Be Obama’s Greatest Blunder

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(oilprice.com – Robert Berke – January 25, 2015) One of the greatest foreign policy blunders of the Obama Administration was the push by the U.S. for economic sanctions against Russia. That led to Russia fleeing into the arms of China for refuge. In response, Russia, Europe’s largest and most populated country, is now intent on moving its vast storehouse of […]

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Russia in for recession, high inflation even if oil rebounds to $80-$90 – RenCap

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) – The Russian economy will not see any growth and inflation will remain high in 2015 even if oil prices rebound to $80-$90 per barrel, economists at Renaissance Capital believe. At an oil price of about $60, which is the investment bank’s baseline scenario, Russia’s GDP will contract by 4.3% in 2015 and average annual inflation […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Gazprom throws down the gauntlet to Europe over gas supplies via Turkey

Gas Facility file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – January 19, 2015) Russian gas giant Gazprom says Europe must build a new pipeline from Turkey if it wants to secure energy supplies via its new route that cuts out Ukraine. Russia had been intending to supply gas to Europe that bypassed Ukraine through South Stream, which was to […]

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Interfax: Medvedev calls agreements on electricity shipments to Ukraine and Crimea mutually beneficial

Electrical Yard file photo

GORKI. Jan 20 (Interfax) – Agreements to ship electricity to Crimea and Ukraine are beneficial to both parties, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) CEO Alexei Miller. He also said that work must continue in this area. “I think that this is a form of support, in this […]

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Moscow Times: Russian Oil Firms Can Weather $50 Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – January 16, 2015) If oil stays at its current price through this year, Russia’s gross domestic product will likely shrink more than 6.5 percent, but Russian oil companies will continue to make a profit at even lower prices, analysts at the Gaidar Economic Forum said Thursday. Oil prices climbed to $48.62 per […]

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Ukraine’s Effort to Cut Russian-Gas Reliance Sees Explorers Exit

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ladka Bauerova – January 12, 2015) Ukraine’s ambition to wean itself off gas supplies from a hostile Russia has never seemed so distant. Foreign explorers that are key to Ukraine’s future energy independence are fleeing the nation as a war against pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern regions sends the economy into freefall. Even government measures aimed at shrinking […]

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Russia 2014 Gas Exports Seen Lowest in Decade as Nations Cut Use

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – January 13, 2015) Russia, the world’s biggest natural-gas exporter, probably cut 2014 fuel exports to the lowest in a decade as consumption in Europe and Ukraine declined. OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the state-run gas-pipeline export monopoly, supplied no more than 195 billion cubic meters of fuel from Russia to the European Union, Turkey and […]

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What awaits Russia’s economy in 2015 after ruble collapse?

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Konstantin Korishchenko, special to RBTH – December 17, 2014) Konstantin Korishchenko is head of the stock market and financial engineering department at the Finance and Banking Faculty of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, and a former deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank. As the Russian ruble plunges […]

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Kremlin to sell off 19.5% stake in Rosneft in bid to raise funds

File Photo Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH- December 9, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed an order to sell off 19.5 percent of the shares in Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft. According to experts, this might help the government generate extra cash amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions. However, this may not be the […]

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Shipping Chokepoint Strangles Ukraine Hopes for U.S. LNG

Gas Flame file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Isis Almeida – December 4, 2014) Ukraine’s plan to diminish its energy dependence on Russia is adrift in the Bosporus Strait. The nation, which gets half its gas from Russia, wants to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Black Sea and held talks with Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG) to import U.S. cargoes. The only […]

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Business New Europe: Ukraine seeks power and coal from Russia and rebel-held east

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 5, 2014) Kyiv has started talks with Russia as well as with Russian-backed rebels in East Ukraine in order to source electric power and coal, as Ukraine’s national grid faces a critical shortage of fuel, Ukraine’s new energy minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said on December 4. Demchyshyn said that Ukraine is […]

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Putin’s Luck Runs Out

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Seated at Desk

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – December 3, 2014) Vladimir Putin has been on quite a roll for about a year now. But December 1, 2014, just might turn out to be the day the tide finally turned against him. Ever since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March sparked the worst East-West showdown since the Cold War, Moscow has […]

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Oilprice.com: Ukraine’s Next Energy Minister Will Be Bought and Paid For, As Usual

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Oilprice.com – James Stafford – December 2, 2014) A month after Ukrainian general elections, there is still no new government, and elite power circles are playing a very dangerous game with the country’s most important ministry-energy. It’s a game from which Ukraine will not recover for decades in the best-case scenario. The past week has seen a flurry of media […]

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End Of South Stream: Winners & Losers

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Daisy Sindelar – December 02, 2014) Russian President Vladimir Putin rarely makes an uncalculated gesture or concedes defeat. So his announcement on December 1 that Russian energy giant Gazprom was pulling out of plans to build the South Stream natural gas pipeline to southeastern Europe took many by surprise. Russia had long sought a direct route […]

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Ukraine approaches energy crisis

Gas Flame file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – December 3, 2014) Ukraine still has to pay for more than 1bn cubic meters of natural gas that it needs in December, worth some $385m, outgoing energy minister Yury Prodan said on December 2, as a cold spell hit the country. Power generators are introducing rolling outages to cut consumption because […]

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Interfax: Russia’s decision not to build South Stream increases Ukrainian gas transport system’s role – Ukrainian minister

Gas Flame file photo

(Interfax – December 3, 2014) The Ukrainian gas transport system’s role has grown with Russia’s decision to stop the construction of the South Stream pipeline, says Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yury Prodan. “Surely, if there is no South Stream, our gas transport system’s role is increasing,” Prodan told journalists in Kiev on Tuesday. Ukraine has objected to the […]

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Ukrainians Cannot Count on Sanctions or Falling Oil Prices to Stop Putin, Illarionov Says

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 2, 2014) Many in Ukraine and elsewhere think that falling oil prices or increased Western sanctions or more sensible people in his entourage will convince Vladimir Putin to change course and end his aggressive policies, but they are wrong because none of these things will affect Putin’s pursuit of his goals, […]

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The US, Ukraine and Shale

Gas Flame file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Pat Davis Szymczak, special to RBTH – November 28, 2014) Pat Davis Szymczak is the founder and editorial director of Oil&Gas Eurasia, a monthly, bilingual trade publication devoted to the application of western technology to Russian and CIS oil and gas fields. If relations between Russia and the EU break down over Ukraine, […]

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Russian Oil-Output Cuts to Support OPEC Seen as Unlikely

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stephen Bierman, Elena Mazneva – November 26, 2014) Each time oil takes a dive, the idea of Russia allying with OPEC to shore up prices gets an airing. It happened in the months after 9/11 and again during the 2008 financial crisis. Now it’s back on the agenda. Russia’s top two oil officials are in Vienna […]

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NEWSLINK: Newsless Joe Biden’s disappointing visit to Kyiv

File Photo of Joe Biden at Podium with U.S. Seal, With Ukrainian and U.S. Flags in Background

[“Newsless Joe Biden’s disappointing visit to Kyiv” – Kyiv Post – Brian Bonner – Nov. 23, 2014] The Kyiv Post covers U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip to Ukraine and bemoans the fact that more was not accomplished, at least publicly. At the same time, a meeting involving Biden, Victoria Nuland, Geoffrey Pyatt, new members of Parliament, and activists addressed […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Text of Ambassador Pyatt’s Panel Comments at the Kyiv Post Tiger Conference WEF Panel

Geoffrey R. Pyatt file photo

(US Embassy Ukraine – November 19, 2014) I think with government servants like Hanna Hopko and Dmytro (Shymkiv), you get a sense of Ukraine’s direction. I think the greatest single risk factor is business as usual. It’s the assumption in some circles that Ukraine can keep doing as it had been doing in the past. I think that attitude is […]

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Russia Sees Recession Next Year If Oil Price Falls to $60

Oil Well file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – November 18, 2014) Russia’s economy will sink into a recession next year if the price of oil slumps to $60 a barrel and the U.S. and its allies tighten sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. The economy of the world’s largest energy exporter won’t grow faster than 1 […]

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Russia’s energy ministry revises oil price to $80-$90 per barrel

Oil Well file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne/IntelliNews – November 20, 2014) Russia’s energy ministry has revised the outlook for global oil prices downwards from previous $95 per barrel to $80-$90 per barrel, deputy minister Kirill Molodtsov told the press, without specifying the time frame of the outlook. Currently the ministry is witnessing surplus demand in the oil market, with additional […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Low oil prices hurt Russia and the West

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Bryan MacDonald, special to RBTH – November 12, 2014) Bryan MacDonald is an Irish journalist who focusses on Russia and international geopolitics. Are Western and Gulf oil interests ganging up to break Russia? Is the country hopelessly addicted to black gold? Bryan McDonald find the truth is a bit more prosaic. The last […]

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