RUSSIALINK: “Russian Oil Exports to U.S. Soar to 6-Year High” – Moscow Times

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 21, 2019) Russia’s oil and petroleum sales to the United States have reached six-year highs, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data analyzed by the RBC news website. The U.S. imported 61.75 million barrels of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia in January-May 2019, up from 56 million barrels in January-May 2018. Russia’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Pipeline: Strategic Hit Or Miss?” – Forbes/ Anna Mikulska

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“… the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced a bill that would impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 (NS2) pipeline … currently under construction … [that] could bring up to 55 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas directly to Germany. … [T]he House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee approved a companion bill. The rationale for the sanctions (beyond […]

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Impact of Sanctions on Russia’s GDP Less Severe Than Low Oil Prices – IMF

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The fall in oil prices cost the country on average $48.75 billion in lost economic growth per year. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 6, 2019) Sanctions have had a less severe impact on Russia’s GDP growth than low oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest report on the country. Between 2014 and 2018, sanctions slowed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Allies’ Oil Feud Spills Into Public View” – Reuters

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“The blame game over a [Russian oil industry] contamination scandal … has breached … Putin’s inner circle. Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft, the world’s biggest publicly-traded oil company, and Nikolai Tokarev, the boss of Transneft, the world’s largest pipeline network, are embroiled in an unusually public and rancorous dispute over their companies’ responses to the contamination of Russia’s Druzhba (“Friendship”) […]

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Putin: Oil Price Volatility Is Hurting Russia’s Economy

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – July 4, 2019) Economic realities including the fluctuating international oil prices are among factors interfering with the Russian government’s economic program, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Italian Corriere della Serra ahead of a state visit to Rome. Asked about why, despite his overwhelming victory in the latest elections and the virtual non-existence […]

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Putin Undermines OPEC’s Power

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(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – July 1, 2019) After so much hype and anticipation, it seems that the OPEC meeting in Vienna was all but over before it had even begun. Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to extend the OPEC+ production cuts by six to nine months. The production levels remains unchanged, but the timing could be extended through […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Sovcomflot Says Arctic Sailings Will Become Routine; CEO of the state-owned shipping giant says melting polar ice will draw more ship operators to Siberian waters” – Wall Street Journal/Costas Paris

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

“‘The Northern Sea Route shipments are growing …’ [Russian state-owned shipping Sovcomflot] Chief Executive Sergey Frank said … ‘It’s a question of time before all kinds of ships routinely cross it.’ Arctic routes are drawing greater attention as the global climate warms and polar ice recedes, potentially opening new paths between Asia and Europe. The mostly frozen NSR seaway … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In a Blow to Maduro, Russia Withdraws Key Defense Support to Venezuela” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove,Alan Cullison, Maolis Castro

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

Russia has been one of Maduro’s major supporters in its standoff with the U.S. “Russia has withdrawn key defense advisers from Venezuela, an embarrassment for … Maduro as Moscow weighs the leader’s political and economic resilience against … U.S. pressure. Russian state defense contractor Rostec … trained Venezuelan troops and advised on … arms contracts, [but reportedly now] has cut […]

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Will The U.S. Slap Sanctions On Nord Stream 2?

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(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – May 23, 2019) There is a growing push in the U.S. Congress to slap sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline under construction would carry Russian natural gas to Germany, and has been a lightning rod of controversy both in Europe and across the Atlantic. Many governments and officials from Eastern Europe fear […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “The U.S. Department of Energy’s Rebranded ‘Freedom Gas’ Is a Not-So-Subtle Dig at Russia” – Fortune

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[scroll down for video] “… the Department of Energy … [has] touted the expansion of [a] liquid natural gas … facility … by saying that it would spread ‘freedom gas’ to the world. … giv[ing] ‘America’s allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy’ …. Not only has the U.S. become largely energy independent … the shale boom has […]

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The U.S. Is Losing The Nuclear Race To Russia And China

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(Oilprice.com – May 23, 2019 – Tsvetana Paraskova) While nuclear power plants in the U.S. are retiring as they face stiff cost competition from cheap and abundant natural gas, America has also been struggling to keep its leadership on the global nuclear power market as state-sponsored programs in China and Russia have started to dominate the world’s nuclear plant construction […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Gives Putin Reasons Not to Extend OPEC+ Deal” – Bloomberg/ Olga Tanas

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“The OPEC+ pact is hurting the Russian economy, potentially giving … Putin a reason not to agree on an extension …. While higher crude prices can bring … additional revenue, production cuts are weighing on one of the country’s biggest industries. … [Putin] may have to weigh his desire for faster economic growth against the benefits of his alliance with […]

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Russia Could Take Hold Of China’s Entire Gas Market

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“As the trade war between the U.S. and China intensifies … Beijing has vowed to retaliate. … Not only will the trade war impact U.S.-Chinese LNG deals, but it will impact the overall global LNG market since the U.S. is the fastest growing LNG producer ….”

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s New Energy Security Doctrine Preaches Self-Reliance; Updated plan tackles sanctions and global demand.” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 15, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a new energy security doctrine preaching self-reliance in the face of geopolitical isolation. Russia has unrivaled energy resources and is the world’s top exporter of gas and its second-biggest of crude oil. The new doctrine replaces the 2012 plan and takes into account threats to Russia’s […]

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RUSSIALINK: “In Russia’s Arctic, Oil Majors and Reindeer Herders Are Coming Together; Sustainable development and cooperation are replacing encroachment on pastures.” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – NARYAN-MAR, May 15, 2019) Russia’s oil and gas giants are establishing a new model in the country’s Arctic based on sustainable development and cooperation with the region’s native reindeer herders. A decade ago, locals were struggling to sustain their traditional way of life due to the energy firms’ growing encroachment on their pasturelands. And as […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s nuclear power exports are booming” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

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“… state-owned … Rosatom … operates 35 nuclear power stations in Russia … produc[ing] 28GW of power, and … is actively exporting … nuclear technology …. [to help] cement[] ties with … emerging markets with no nuclear power tradition and the BRICS countries …. [including i]n recent years … construction of six nuclear power reactors in India, Iran and China […]

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Have Sanctions on Russia Changed Putin’s Calculus?

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

Since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have hit Moscow with economic sanctions, hoping to put a stop to President Vladimir Putin’s aggression. Have they worked? (Council on Foreign Relations – Andrew Chatzky – May 2, 2019 – cfr.org/article/have-sanctions-russia-changed-putins-calculus – Andrew Chatzky covers economics, energy, and geopolitics, and helps edit the Daily News Brief.) The United States and the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Suddenly Sacks Russian Envoy to Belarus Amid Oil Row” – Reuters

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… Putin … sacked Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus, Mikhail Babich … amid a row over contaminated oil and a wider political discord between the ex-Soviet countries. Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has generally been more closely aligned with Moscow than any other ex-Soviet leader, while the lack of tolerance for dissent at home has made him largely a pariah in the […]

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Russia Replaces Venezuelan Crude On European Markets

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(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – April 12, 2019) European refiners are switching to Russian sour grades as U.S. sanctions have shrunk Venezuela’s similar-grade exports, Reuters reports, adding that the Russian sour crude is getting increasingly expensive. Citing sources from the trading industry, Reuters says the situation has been made worse by the fact that OPEC members have cut mainly their […]

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Russia Seeks New Arctic Oil Frontier

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

Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company … the largest oil producer in the country, plans to develop an Arctic cluster of oil fields over the next five years. These plans by Rosneft – led by a close [Putin] ally … Igor Sechin – fit [Putin’s] ambition to develop Arctic oil and gas resources and adjacent regions, as well as the so-called Northern Sea Route – a shipping lane through Russian Arctic waters … from Europe to the Far East. …

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The UK executives helping Putin burnish Russia’s image; Meeting with top British businessmen could not come at a better time for the Kremlin” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Eleven years ago [BP’s] Bob Dudley … fled [Russia] citing ‘sustained harassment of the company and myself’ and threats to his life allegedly directed by politically connected oligarchs and Russia’s security services. Last month … Dudley, now head of the British oil group, was back, telling … Putin … at the Kremlin that he and the British company ‘deeply appreciate […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin Kicks Off Massive New Gas Field in Russia’s Arctic” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 20, 2019) President Vladimir Putin has kicked off the full-scale development of one of Russia’s largest proven gas fields in the Yamal peninsula, the Kremlin reported on Wednesday. The Kharasaveyskoye gas field is located in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, a key gas-producing region in an economy that heavily relies on gas exports. This month, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Natural Resources Make Up 60% of GDP” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 14, 2019) Russia’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry estimates that the combined cost of the country’s oil, gas and other resources amounts to 60 percent of its gross domestic product, the RBC news website reported on Thursday. As one of the world’s top producers of natural gas and oil, Russia’s economy is heavily reliant […]

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The World’s Most Geopolitically Charged Pipeline

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(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – January 19, 2019) Russia’s proposed pipeline to bring more gas from Russian fields into Europe via an undersea pipeline to Germany seems to be unable to shake both geopolitical maneuvering as well as headline-grabbing quotes from both sides of the divide. On Thursday, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, and a seasoned diplomat […]

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Diminishing Returns: How Effective Are Sanctions Against Russia?

(PONARS Eurasia – Stacy Closson – January 2019 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/diminishing-returns-how-effective-are-sanctions-against-russia) Stacy Closson is a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute and a Senior Adjunct Professional Lecturer at American University’s School of International Service. (PONARS Policy Memo) In November 2018, the Trump administration announced another set of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities for supporting Russia’s economic integration […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says oil price war with U.S. would be too costly” – Reuters

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“Russia should not unleash an oil price war against the United States but … stick with output cuts even … losing market share in the medium term, one of the main Russian architects of a production pact with OPEC said. Since 2017, Russia and OPEC have cut oil production jointly … to boost the price of crude. … oil has […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukraine Wants to Be a Part of the West; But it’s strategy is yielding mixed results” – The National Interest/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

“Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has staked his country’s future and his own chances at re-election to a second term on three gambles. He hopes that these gambles will permanently rupture Ukraine’s connections to Russia and ensure that Ukraine becomes a full member of the Western community of nations. So far, however, the scorecard is showing mixed results. …”

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RUSSIALINK: “Medvedev hopes pact with oil cos to rein in prices will be honored” – Interfax

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 14 (Interfax) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he hoped agreements between the government and oil companies to rein in fuel prices would be followed and that it would not be necessary to resort to restrictive measures. “As you know we have a number of understandings with oil companies, including that price growth for petroleum products, motor […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Europe is fast-becoming a natural gas battleground for Russia and the U.S.” – CNBC/ Holly Ellyatt

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“With 28 countries and a combined population of around 512 million people, the European Union is something of a prized market – and political battleground – for the world’s largest energy exporters …. Russia has long been the dominant source and supplier of natural gas to Europe’s mass market but the U.S. is looking to challenge Russia … [with] U.S. […]

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Why Russia Isn’t Worried About Lower Oil Prices

Oil Wells File Photo

(oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – Dec 27, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/Why-Russia-Isnt-Worried-About-Lower-Oil-Prices.html) Even as Saudi Arabia has scrambled to prevent a bust in the oil market, so far failing to head off a dramatic price slide, Russia seems just fine with prices where they are. Russia is a key piece of the oil price puzzle. OPEC, once a coalition of oil-producing members […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian oil output reaches record high in 2018” – Reuters/ Vladimir Soldatkin

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“Russian oil production rose to a post-Soviet record high of 11.16 million barrels per day (bpd) last year on an annual average basis, data from its energy ministry showed …. surpass[ing] the previous annual record average of 10.98 million bpd … in 2017. Russian oil output reached 555.838 million tonnes last year, against 547 million tonnes in 2017. Reuters uses […]

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19 Events — Almost Certain to Occur — Russians Will Be Talking About in 2019

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 1, 2019) The events likely to be the most important in the coming year are likely to be things no one can predict accurately or with any degree of confidence, including the passing of leaders, the start of new wars, and developments that in and of themselves seem minor but nonetheless […]

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The Battle To Control Russia’s Pipelines

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – December 27, 2018) For much of 2018, the internal situation of Russia’s oil market was remarkably peaceful – no hostile takeovers and no overt antagonization. To a significant degree, this was the result of U.S./EU sanctions which have indiscriminately left all major oil companies in a somewhat constrained position. This meant they would cooperate much […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian-Saudi Oil Cooperation Won’t Last; They say they will cut production. But it’s in the interests of both big oil producers to pump as much as they can.” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

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“There’s a nasty undercurrent to the surprisingly strong Saudi-Russian oil alliance behind the upcoming oil production cuts …. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may high-five … Putin in public, but … expect[s] that Russia will disappear from the oil market …. Eventually … the two big exporters may not be interested in production-cutting deals as they square off for […]

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World Bank: Russia Can Withstand Oil Price Volatility In 2019

World Bank Building

(Oilprice.com – Julianne Geiger – December 4, 2018) Russia is well-positioned to withstand external shocks, The World Bank said today in its most recent version of Russia Economic Report, cited by TASS. Oil prices are expected to average $71 per barrel over the next three years, the report also said, with the caveat that there is still “considerable uncertainty” to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Every fifth Russian worker earns less than $250 per month” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Every fifth Russian worker earns less than RUB15,000 ($250) per month, according to … a study by the RIA Rating agency [cited by] … RIA Novosti …. Over 33% of people living in 22 regions earn less than this amount, according to the survey. [The worst were] Dagestan … (46%) … [and the] Karachay-Cherkess Republic (44%). In six regions, two […]

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Russia Outmaneuvers U.S. LNG

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(Oilprice.com – Nick Cunningham – November 28, 2018) For years, boosters of U.S. LNG have trumpeted the fact that gas exports from the Gulf of Mexico could break Russia’s grip on the European energy market. That has yet to be the case, and in fact, Russia has managed to respond with various strategies to maintain its market share on the […]

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Russia Takes Major Leap In European Gas War

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(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Nov. 17, 2018) [Text with links and graphics oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russia-Takes-Major-Leap-In-European-Gas-War.html] On November 19th, President Putin will stand shoulder to shoulder with President Erdogan during a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the first string of Turk Stream. The subsea gas pipeline will transfer 15.75 bcm directly from mainland Russia to Turkey. The capacity will double after […]

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Russia’s Most Powerful Oilman: We’re Fine With Any Oil Price

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(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – November 15, 2018) Rosneft is fine with any level of oil prices, chief executive Igor Sechin told Kommersant radio station as quoted by news agency TASS. “We manage risks. If prices fall, we will work on increasing our market share,” Sechin said, adding that if prices continued their current slide, Rosneft would focus on maintaining […]

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The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – November 12, 2018) Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources. While it may have come as a surprise to the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia clashes with Western oil buyers over new deals as sanctions loom” – Reuters

Oil Well file photo

“Russian energy majors are putting pressure on Western oil buyers to use euros instead of dollars for payments and introducing penalty clauses in contracts as Moscow seeks protection against possible new U.S. sanctions. … Western oil majors and trading houses have clashed with Russia’s third and fourth biggest producers, Gazprom Neft and Surgutneftegaz, over 2019 oil sales contract terms during […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. overtakes Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer” – bne Intellinews

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

“The U.S. overtook Russia to become the world’s biggest producer of oil in August …. Russia has been the biggest single producer of oil in terms of barrels produced a day for several years, but the shale oil revolution in the U.S. has seen production there skyrocket …. As average oil prices rose to over $65 in the first quarter […]

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Can Russia Relieve The Iranian Oil Crisis?

Iran Map and Flag

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – October 30, 2018) Charles de Gaulle once said: “no nation has friends, only interests.” Cooperation between Russia and Iran has been increasing over the years. The countries are drifting towards each other due to shared interests over topics such as Syria and opposition to a unipolar world led by the U.S. Although Moscow and Tehran […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, wary of U.S. sanctions, puts saving before growth” – Reuters/Darya Korsunskaya

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s drive to fill state coffers to give itself a $200 billion buffer against threats like new U.S. sanctions … will come at the expense of economic growth. … With oil prices high, Russia has been steadily siphoning revenues from its major export into the National Wealth Fund (NWF). It has also raised oil industry taxes, hiked value-added tax and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Sanctions Give Russian Economy an Unintended Boost; For months, rising dollar-denominated oil prices, falling ruble have worked to Moscow’s benefit” – Wall Street Journal/ Avantika Chilkoti

Oil Well file photo

“U.S. sanctions have driven the price of oil and the ruble apart – leaving Russia with expensive crude and a cheaper currency … helping its economy. The price of oil, Russia’s main export, has risen almost 14% since mid-August. … largely because of the coming resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, choking off the supply of crude from that country. […]

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More U.S. Sanctions On Russia Would Be Counter Productive

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Oilprice.com – Nicholas Trickett – September 20, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/More-US-Sanctions-On-Russia-Would-Be-Counter-Productive.html) Hoping to push back against Russia and prevent president Trump from changing current policy, the Senate has produced two new sanctions bills: the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act and the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA). Both would create a new set of harsh […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Oil Production Jumps to a New Post-Soviet Record” – Bloomberg/Elena Mazneva

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“Russia’s crude production has jumped to a new post-Soviet record, boosting … budget revenue as it prepares for talks with OPEC+ on further cooperation, according to a [Russian] government official. … currently fluctuating between 1.54 million and 1.55 million tons a day — driven mainly … Rosneft … 11.29 million to 11.36 million barrels a day, beating the previous record […]

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The U.S. Calls On Russia To Cap Soaring Oil Prices

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – September 15, 2018 – oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/The-US-Calls-On-Russia-To-Cap-Soaring-Oil-Prices.html) As crucial mid-term congressional elections in November draw near, the Trump administration is feeling the heat over higher oil prices. London-traded global oil benchmark Brent breached the $80 per barrel price point on Wednesday, its highest level since May 2. NYMEX-traded U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate Crude (WTI) reached […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hungarian PM reaches agreement on gas deliveries from Russia to 2020” – bne Intellinews

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“Hungary has reached an agreement on gas deliveries from Russia for both 2019 and 2020, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a joint press conference with … Putin … [Orban] has built strong ties with Putin over the years, defying his EU partners. The Russian president has become his main ally since he announced his plans to build an illiberal […]

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Russia Looks To Boost Gas Sales In Tighter European Markets

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – September 8, 2018) Western Europe will need more flexibility in natural gas supplies in the coming winter season. The European market has been tight amid higher demand in the summer’s heat wave, while natural gas stockpiles are lower than usual after one of the coldest winters in the past decade. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is […]

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