What Jolted Russia’s Investments Is About to Fizzle Out; From pipelines to cash registers, the factors that caused last quarter’s pickup in investment are only temporary

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 30, 2017) [Text with charts bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/what-jolted-russia-s-investments-is-about-to-fizzle-out] Russian investments have spiked to a five-year high as the economy exited recession, but the factors that drove the boom are already fading. Fixed-capital investment accelerated an annual 6.3 percent in the second quarter, according to Bank of Russia estimates, the most since 2012. The jump […]

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New U.S. Sanctions on Russia Are a Mixed Bag; Europeans are rightly wary that promoting U.S. exports is an ulterior motive.

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – July 24, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. The European Commission is preparing to counteract the new sanctions the U.S. Congress may impose on Russia this week. This may sound as if Europe is […]

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Why the Comey Hearing Was Frightening to a Russian

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – March 21, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Monday’s hearing on Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election and the alleged contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin yielded inspiring news for […]

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The Beginning Of The End For Europe’s Natural Gas War

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(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – October 27, 2016) Russia’s Gazprom is on the verge of striking a deal with EU regulators to settle a half-decade old dispute over natural gas pricing, and the resolution could change the way Gazprom does business and lead to lower gas prices for much of Eastern Europe. The conflict began back in 2011 when EU […]

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Russia Shifts Focus From Oil To Agriculture

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(Oilprice.com – Michael McDonald – October 13, 2016) Michael MaDonald is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. Russia’s biggest industry has been oil production historically, but the country appears to be trying to diversify that by putting more emphasis on agriculture. The former soviet state has been relying on […]

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International Economic Forum opens in St. Petersburg

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Russian observers expect dialogue and possible progress on the softening of EU sanctions against Russia from the forum, as well as Gazprom and Shell’s joint launch of an enormous LNG plant in Russia’s northwest. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – June 16, 2016) Leading world economists have gathered at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum […]

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Russian liberal radio station sees off “censorship” move

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(Interfax – May 27, 2016) A dispute about freedom of speech at the Ekho Moskvy radio station in Moscow seems to be resolved to the satisfaction of the journalists and with the editor-in-chief’s authority enhanced. New contract and “censorship” The argument began when talk show presenter Yevgenia Albats refused to sign a new contract that she said amounted to censorship. […]

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Why Gazprom’s ‘Monopoly’ in Europe is Far from Over

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(Oilprice.com – Ilana Stav – April 4, 2016) The first U.S. shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in Portugal last week and Gazprom did not immediately cut its own gas prices for Europe. While European media has hailed the entry of U.S. gas into the market as a game-changer and a monopoly-breaker, in the short term, nothing has changed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Mikhail Lesin’s Strange Death in U.S. Follows a Fall From Russia’s Elite” – New York Times

U.S. Capitol at Twilight With Washington Monument, National Mall, Washington, D.C., Environs and Sunset in Background

It took more than four months for the city’s medical examiner to announce the cause of death … not a heart attack … but rather ‘blunt force injuries.’ But the autopsy left the manner of death undetermined. … fuel[ing] speculation … Lesin might have been murdered, presumably by a financial or political rival …. *** police … continue to treat […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller

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(Kremlin.ru – February 29, 2016) The head of Gazprom briefed Vladimir Putin on the company’s results in 2015, and discussed, in particular, gas supply figures for the domestic and European markets and the programme for connecting Russia’s regions to the gas network. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Miller, I have several questions to start our discussion, and then we […]

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Who benefits and who loses from revocation of anti-Iranian sanctions

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If Moscow plays its cards correctly, it will be able to strengthen its positions not only in Iran but also throughout the entire Middle East. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN – January 29, 2016) The lifting of sanctions against Iran has generated an entire wave of speculation about the upcoming reformation of the Middle East. However, […]

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Russia Seeks To Drive Wedge Into Central Asia

Map of CIS Central Asia and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Bruce Pannier – January 5, 2016) Russia appears to be practicing a bit of “divide-and-conquer” politics in Central Asia, and state-owned Gazprom is spearheading the campaign. On January 4, Russia’s main news agencies quoted a “source” within Gazprom Export, the Gazprom wing charged with handling gas imports from other countries, saying Russia would not be importing any […]

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Gazprom’s Miller Tops Russia’s Best Paid Executive List With $27 Million

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 20, 2015) Russia’s highest-paid executive last year with earnings of $27 million was Alexei Miller, the head of natural gas producer Gazprom, according to a ranking published by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine on Thursday that showed a sharp fall in the incomes of many of Russia’s top corporate bosses. Miller, 53, bucked […]

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A Winter Of Discontent For Russia

Snowy Night on Red Square with Old St. Basil's Lit Up

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – August 25, 2015) Winters are the stuff of legend in Russia and – despite a fair bit of warming – winter 2015/16 is shaping up to be one of the harshest, and most formative, in recent memory. After a brief period of respite – and muted acceptance of the “new normal” – to start the […]

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Washington ups the ante with sanctions on Gazprom

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RBTH presents its weekly analytical program TROIKA REPORT, featuring a look at three of the most high-profile recent developments in international affairs. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TROIKA REPORT: Sergey Strokan, Vladimir Mikheev – August 20, 2015) 1. Engaging the West U.S. sanctions on Gazprom: Washington ups the ante The recent move by the U.S. administration to restrict […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Bypassing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia’s Gazprom – Analysts

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Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say.

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Are The E.U. And Asia Turning A Blind Eye To Russian Sanctions?

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(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – July 8, 2015) In a previous article on Oilprice, I questioned whether western sanctions imposed on Russia were being regularly breached by E.U. and Asian companies, noting that sanctions only work if all countries unite behind them. In June, the Financial Times reported that only one year after being imposed, the sanctions are eroding. It […]

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Is Russia Ready To Make A Comeback?

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(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – July 6, 2015) As world markets nervously react to any news out of Greece, a sense of calm prevails in Russia. In short, a Greek sovereign default and exit from the euro zone is unlikely to inflict much damage on the Russian economy, already largely isolated from western financial markets. That’s not to say the […]

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RBTH: Why Gazprom became so flexible

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – July 6, 2015) Russia’s natural gas giant is planning to put three billion cubic meters of gas up for auction – yielding to pressure from European customers, experts say. It may also scrap plans to stop Ukrainian gas transits, reducing supply risks linked to the construction of a new […]

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Ukraine cancels gas supplies from Russia in pricing row

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 2, 2015) Ukraine suspended Russian natural gas purchases on July 1, citing its inability to secure from Gazprom a heavily discounted price for the third quarter of the year. Henceforth, the country’s state-owned monopoly Naftogaz will rely on supplies from the European Union, and claims that volumes bought from EU […]

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Ukraine Seeks New Russia Gas Deal as Military Tensions Rise

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – June 9, 2015) Ukraine needs to negotiate a new natural-gas deal with Russia just as the conflict between the two countries risks escalating again. A gas-price agreement with Russian exporter OAO Gazprom expires at the end of the month and Ukraine requires fuel to replenish stockpiles before the winter. At the same time, […]

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NEWSLINK Interfax-Ukraine: Gazprom: gas transit through Ukraine to end after 2019, come what may

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Gazprom has no plans to continue using Ukraine as a transit country for gas exports after 2019, Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told journalists. “When the transit contract with Ukraine expires, there will be no prolongation, no conclusion of a new transit agreement under any circumstances. In light of the economic, commercial, technological, investment and political risks for gas transit, there […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia’s Gazprom presses on with Turkey pipeline despite questions

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Russia’s Gazprom plans to start building a pipeline to Turkey this month to get gas to Europe without going through Ukraine, company sources said, although it has no firm agreement with Ankara and faces opposition from the European Union.

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A wakeup call for Gazprom

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Widely considered one of Russia’s most potent weapons, Gazprom’s financials show the slow erosion of its core business. (Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – May 19, 2015) As with almost every other major Russian company, 2014 was not a particularly good year for Gazprom. In fact, at first glance, the headline numbers were nothing short […]

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Is Gazprom a “buy”?

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

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

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(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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Russian independent radio board chairman says not aiming to destroy station

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(Interfax – November 18, 2014) Mikhail Lesin, chairman of the board of directors of Gazprom-Media, which owns the Russian editorially independent radio station Ekho Moskvy, met the station’s members of staff on 18 November, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on the same day. They met to discuss the ongoing dispute between Lesin and Aleksey Venediktov, the station’s editor in […]

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Gazprom Media to consider proposal on selling stake in Echo of Moscow to minority shareholders – editor

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

(Interfax – November 19, 2014) Gazprom Media Board Chairman Mikhail Lesin is ready to consider a proposal from the Echo of Moscow radio minority shareholders on selling them a controlling stake belonging to Gazprom Media, Echo of Moscow Editor-in-Chief Alexei Venediktov said. “Mikhail Lesin said at a meeting with the editorial board [on Tuesday] that, if the minority shareholders make […]

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Embattled Ekho Moskvy’s Long Record Of Riling Officials

File Photo of Interview on Ekho Moskvy Radio

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Carl Schreck – November 18, 2014) The doggedly independent Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy is facing an existential crisis this week, with its editorial leadership and its operations due to be scrutinized in a snap shareholders meeting on November 21 called by state-owned Gazprom-Media, which holds a controlling stake in the station. The meeting comes amid […]

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China Gets Upper Hand in Gas Deals Amid Russia-West Tensions

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – November 11, 2014) Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Monday, President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia would develop all forms of trade with China, not just hydrocarbon exports. But the second-largest natural gas deal this year signed the previous day with Russia’s Gazprom suggests China is more interested in Russia’s […]

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Firing of Ekho Moskvy Reporter Prompts Speculation Over Fate of Editor-in-Chief

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 7, 2014) A state-controlled media holding has fired an Ekho Moskvy radio journalist, citing ethical norms, and threatened to dismiss the radio station’s long-standing chief editor who has led it as one of the final strongholds of media freedom in the country. The dismissal of Alexander Plyuschev followed a Twitter post […]

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Gazprom proposes to pay for gas transit with Ukrainian debt

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Lossan, RBTH – October 6, 2014) Russian gas monopoly Gazprom has proposed to pay for gas transit through Ukraine using debt owed by Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz. According to experts, this decision is advantageous for Kiev, since it will speed up the renewal of gas supplies to Ukraine. Gazprom […]

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Interfax: Russian PM tells minister to seek compromise with Ukraine on gas

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(Interfax – October 6, 2014) Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev said on 6 October that the search for a compromise with Ukraine over the gas issue needs to continue, with the understanding that the existing debts should be paid while the terms for Ukraine should be sufficiently acceptable to it. “It is necessary to continue a search for compromises, it […]

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Gazprom’s Grip on Russian Gas Exports Weakens as Novatek Gets Export License

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – September 9, 2014) Novatek, Russia’s largest independent gas producer, has been granted a license to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, marking the next step on Russia’s gradual liberalization of a market dominated by state-owned giant Gazprom. Deputy Energy Minister Kirill Molodtsov told the TASS news agency on Saturday that the export […]

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Ukrainian sanctions on Gazprom could threaten European economy

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Kira Egorova, Anna Kuchma, RBTH – August 19, 2014) On August 14, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law enabling Kiev to introduce sanctions against Russian companies, meaning that if measures are introduced against Gazprom, the transit of Russian gas through Ukrainian territory will be blocked. What threats does the European economy face if […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia-EU Gas Transit Through Ukraine Compliant With Contract – Gazprom

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MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s EU-bound gas flows through Ukraine comply with transit contraparameters, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said Monday. “The transit of Russian gas through Ukraine is flowing according to contract parameters with a volume over the last 24 hours of around 205 million cubic meters,” Kupriyanov said. Earlier on Monday, reports appeared in the media that […]

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Interfax: Accidents on Ukrainian gas pipelines to continue, not enough invested in maintenance

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Interfax – June 18, 2014) Accidents on Ukraine’s gas transportation system will continue because not enough is being spent on maintenance, Gazprom Deputy CEO Vitaly Markelov told journalists, commenting on yesterday’s blast and fire on the Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline in Ukraine’s Poltava region. “The gas transportation system, ours and Ukraine’s, was created as a unified gas supply system. We have […]

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Gazprom’s EU customers not at risk for now

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(Business New Europe – bne.ru – Teneo Intelligence – June 17, 2014) Following the failure of negotiations on natural gas pricing and debt between Russia and Ukraine last weekend, Russian company Gazprom reduced supply volumes to Ukraine, the main transit country for gas delivered to Gazprom’s EU customers. However, Gazprom continues to deliver contracted amounts to the EU for now, […]

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Exactly what is a fair price for Ukraine to pay for Russian gas?

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – June 16, 2014) [Charts here http://www.bne.eu/content/exactly-what-fair-price-ukraine-pay-russian-gas] Russia cut Ukraine off from gas deliveries on June 16 after the emergency talks at the weekend to strike a new price for gas failed. From now on Russia won’t deliver any gas unless Ukraine pays for it in advance. The row has […]

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Russia cuts Ukrainian gas supplies

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – June 16, 2014) Russia’s state-owned Gazprom cut Ukraine’s gas supply off at 10 a.m. Moscow time for failing to pay its bills after talks broke down ahead of a June 16 deadline. “This decision was taken due to systematic failure of Naftogaz Ukraine to pay,” Gazprom said in a statement. “The debt of the […]

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Interfax: Conditions proposed to Ukraine on gas shipments better than those in place under Yanukovych – Miller

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

GORKI. June 16 (Interfax) – The conditions that were proposed to Kyiv during gas talks were better than the conditions in place under former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) CEO Alexei Miller said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Firstly, the Russian side was ready to guarantee that the discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic […]

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NEWSLINK: Russian gas keeps flowing to Ukraine as deadline passes

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[“Russian gas keeps flowing to Ukraine as deadline passes” – Reuters – June 10, 2014] Reuters reports that Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and the EU have remained stable, despite the passing of a deadline over disputed Ukrainian gas bills.  Meanwhile, the European Commission continues to broker related negotiations. Natural gas supplies to Ukraine and the European Union were stable on Tuesday after […]

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Gazprom Says U.S. Can’t Prevent European Reliance on Russian Gas

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva – June 3, 2014) OAO Gazprom (OGZD), Russia’s gas-export monopoly, said U.S. pressure won’t stop it from supplying fuel to Europe and increasing market share in the region. “We understand that the U.S., sitting high on a hill and independent of economic cooperation with us, is pushing Europe to take wild steps,” Gazprom Deputy […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Demands Kiev to Pay Gas Debt in Full Before June 9

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MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine has to pay Moscow the remaining part of $2.2 billion gas debt and agree on payment schedule for April-May gas supplies before June 9, press-service of Russia’s Energy Ministry said Monday. “Before this deadline Ukraine has to pay the remaining part of $2.23 billion debt and also agree on payment schedule for the […]

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Ukraine Nears Russian Gas Deal as Eastern Clashes Persist

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Elena Mazneva, Brian Parkin, Ewa Krukowska – May 31, 2014) Russia and Ukraine moved closer to a deal that would keep gas flowing between the countries even as they spar over Russian support for separatists seeking to break away from the government in Kiev. After talks brokered by the European Union in Berlin, Ukraine made its […]

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Gazprom’s Miller says Ukraine will owe $5.2 billion by June 7

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – May 29, 2014) I guess that is the $2.5bn for the period to the end of March, another $1bn for April/May, and then $1.7bn in pre-payment for June, as previously demanded by Moscow. EU officials have suggested though that $4bn is owed to date, and under a provisional deal […]

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Russia Bats Off Yatsenyuk’s Accusation of Gas Stealing

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – May 28, 2014) Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Tuesday that Russia should return the $1 billion worth of gas that he said it stole while annexing Crimea, and accused Moscow of not being trustworthy when it comes to negotiating. “We would like to hear an explanation from Russia, including the […]

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