Russians Increasingly Angry that They Live in Poverty in a Country So Rich in Natural Resources

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(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 28, 2020) The pandemic and associated economic crisis have exacerbated widespread anger among Russians that they live in poverty despite the enormous natural wealth of their country and its sale earlier abroad for more than six trillion US dollars. Had even a small part of that money gone to the people, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Worries About Russia’s Natural Gas Pipeline” – Bloomberg/ Anna Shiryaevskaya, Dina Khrennikova

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“A … natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia … to the German coast is shaking up geopolitics. Nord Stream 2 … worries … bypassed countries in Eastern Europe … fear[ing the loss of] transit fees … [while also] adding to friction with the U.S., which argues the link would give the Kremlin new leverage over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senators to Announce Sanctions Bill on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” – Reuters

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

“U.S. senators [reportedly] will announce a bill this week expanding sanctions on … [the] Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project … [that] Washington says will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act[, spearheaded by Republican Senator … Ted Cruz[ and Democratic Senator] Jeanne Shaheen … follows legislation signed by … Trump last year …. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tanker crosses Russian Arctic route without icebreaker assistance; Commercial shipping on the Northern Sea Route starts earlier than ever before.” – Barents Observer/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

By late May, a carrier had set out on the icy route without icebreaker escort. “… [S]ea ice along the Russian Arctic coast is quickly vanishing as temperatures … have been reaching record highs. With the retreating ice comes tanker traffic. … [T]he ‘Christophe de Margerie’ … on May [19th] kickstarted this year’s shipping season across the eastern part of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Repair, abandon, burn: Russia explores options for historic oil cut” – Reuters/ Olesya Astakhova, Katya Golubkova

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“In just a week, Russia has to find ways to cut a fifth of its oil output … and is looking at all options, including putting wells on repair and maintenance to abandoning them entirely and even burning oil, four oil industry sources said. Russia, along with other members of the global oil alliance between the [OPEC] and non-OPEC members, […]

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Qatar And Russia Fight For LNG Supremacy As Prices Fall To Historic Lows

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(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – April 19, 2020) [Text with charts oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Qatar-And-Russia-Fight-For-LNG-Supremacy-As-Prices-Fall-To-Historic-Lows.html] The 2020 drastic oil price drop, induced by the ever-frightening coronavirus and the Saudi-Russian spat, has ravaged business interests all across the world. US oil producers are facing a new reality – instead of a seemingly watertight growth trajectory, 2020 will most probably witness a decline in annual […]

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Russia Sees Oil & Gas Income Fall By Almost $40 Billion

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(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – March 18, 2020) Russia’s revenues from oil and gas will be US$39.5 billion (3 trillion rubles) lower than planned, due to the tumbling oil prices, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday, adding that Russia’s budget will be in deficit this year. The coronavirus pandemic and the lower economic activity, coupled with oil prices […]

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U.S. Senate Hearing Exposes Partisan Differences Over New Russia Sanctions

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/u-s-senate-hearing-exposes-partisan-differences-over-new-russia-sanctions/30306449.html) A hearing in the Senate to discuss U.S. foreign policy towards Russia exposed partisan disagreements over whether to impose new sanctions on a rival power accused of “malign” actions, including interference in foreign elections. […]

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Clock Ticking In Congress As Russia Presses Ahead With Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline

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

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – Nov. 18, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/clock-ticking-in-congress-as-russia-presses-ahead-with-nord-stream-2-gas-pipeline/30278828.html) As the impeachment inquiry hogs the spotlight in Washington, another drama in which Ukraine has a role is playing out more quietly — and causing concern in Kyiv, which is watching warily as Russia brings […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pipelines From Russia Cross Political Lines; Critics say the Nord Stream 2 project would make Germany too dependent on Russian natural gas and economically punish Ukraine” – New York Times/ Steven Erlanger

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“… Radoslaw Sikorski … former Polish defense minister, compared it to the infamous 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that allied the Nazis with Stalin’s Soviet Union. … [A] pair of natural gas pipelines known as Nord Stream 2, … would double the capacity of an existing pair of pipelines, Nord Stream …. The pipelines run from Russia directly under the Baltic Sea […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s $150 Billion Bet on Arctic Warming; France’s Macron slams the northern shipping route as an ecological disaster in the making, but Asian and European companies are lining up for a share of its (potential) riches.” – Transitions Online/ Ky Krauthamer

Arctic Map

“… [Russian has high hopes for] the [Arctic’s] Northern Sea Route [NSR] … owing to the long-term thinning of the ice pack. … [Use of the route] could shorten the journey from East Asia to Europe by up to two weeks. Norway … is skeptical[,] … has concerns about the environmental dangers of increased shipping in the fragile northern environment, […]

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Superpowers Are Vying For Power In This New Oil & Gas Frontier

File Photo of Poritions of U.S. Navy Carrier Groups Lincoln and Stennis in Mediterranean, adapted from defense.gov image relating to defense.gov video

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – August 29, 2019) The Eastern Mediterranean has become a hotbed for tensions between regional and great powers due to the discovery of major energy deposits. The littoral states could potentially earn billions in gas exports while at the same time ensuring a level of energy security, which is rare to the region. However, the on-going […]

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Russia Could Allow Private Oil Firms To Explore Arctic Shelf

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – September 4, 2019) The Russian ministry of natural resources is open to the idea that private oil and gas firms could be allowed to explore Russia’s Arctic shelf, where currently only state-held firms Rosneft and Gazprom have the right to operate, Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Dmitry Kobylkin told news agency TASS in an interview published […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There is no ice left on Northern Sea Route; But the number of ships that set course for the Arctic route still remains low” – Barents Observer (Norway)/ Atle Staalesen

Arctic Map

“The Arctic shortcut … connect[ing] Asia and Europe is open and ice-free … [S]hipping appears smooth … [even] for vessels without ice class standards. The last pieces of … [ice] vanished in mid-August … [T]he whole route now is free of ice. … includ[ing] the East Siberian Sea, … normally … [with] the longest-lasting white sheet. … August [to] October […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Overextending and Unbalancing Russia; Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options” – RAND/ James Dobbins, Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, Bryan Frederick, Edward Geist, Paul DeLuca, Forrest E. Morgan, Howard J. Shatz, Brent Williams

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“This brief summarizes a report that comprehensively examines nonviolent, cost-imposing options that the United States and its allies could pursue across economic, political, and military areas to stress – overextend and unbalance – Russia’s economy and armed forces and the regime’s political standing at home and abroad. Some of the options … are clearly more promising … any would need […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Three Quarters of Nord Stream 2 completed – operator” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) – Nord Stream 2 AG has laid 1,855 kilometers of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea in Russian, Finnish, Swedish and German waters, the project operator said in a press release This corresponds to 75% of the overall length of the twin pipeline. “Nord Stream 2 AG proceeds with implementing the remaining […]

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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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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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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why are Russian stocks so cheap?” – Intellinews/ Ben Aris

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“Investors into Russian stocks have almost given up on seeing any of the cash the country’s leading companies generate. The valuation of what should be some of the world’s richest companies are in the basement, as would-be minority investors don’t believe the management will share the billions of dollars in revenue these companies make every year. Russia’s stock market boomed […]

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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: “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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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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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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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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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: “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

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(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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian oil and gas groups shrug off sanctions; Higher crude prices and weakened rouble bolster producers’ profits” Financial Times/Henry Foy

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“Higher energy prices and a weakened rouble saw second-quarter profits soar at three of Russia’s largest oil and gas groups … the country’s energy industry … has weathered international sanctions to reap strong earnings. Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer, said … second-quarter profits had risen an annual 440 per cent … both exports to Europe and average prices jumped. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Busting Nord Stream 2 myths” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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“The proposed expansion of the capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in Europe’s north, running from Russia’s Yamal gas fields to the German coast, has split Europe …. detractors claim it will make Europe more dependent on Russian gas and give the Kremlin a bigger club … to bully the rest of Europe. … supporters say it will diversify […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine marks 1,000 days without Russian gas” – Interfax-Ukraine

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“Naftogaz of Ukraine has not been buying natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom for 1,000 days. Since Nov. 26, 2015, the country has been instead importing gas from the West. …  in December 2017, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce revised the contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom. … rul[ing] that the price of gas for Naftogaz must be […]

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Analysts: Russia’s Oil Industry Won’t Crumble Under U.S. ‘Bill From Hell’

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

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – August 17, 2018) The ‘bill from hell’ of hard-hitting sanctions against Russia that U.S. Senators introduced earlier this month is unlikely to have a wide-ranging impact on Russia’s oil industry, analysts and economists tell Reuters. Since the United States slapped sanctions on Russia in 2014 over the Crimea annexation, Russian oil firms have drastically cut […]

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Is This The Most Important Geopolitical Deal Of 2018?

(Oilprice.com – Olgu Okumus – August 13, 2018 – oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Asia/Is-This-The-Most-Important-Geopolitical-Deal-Of-2018.html) The two-decade-long dispute on the statute of the Caspian Sea, the world largest water reserve, came to an end last Sunday when five littoral states (Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan) agreed to give it a special legal status – it is now neither a sea, nor a lake. Before […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to increase oil production to new record highs in 2019” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“… [According to OPEC,] Russian oil production has increased recently to a record 11.2mn barrels a day …. Russian state-owned oil producer Rosneft has already earned more profit in the first quarter of this year than in all of 2017 … ma[king] it the most valuable company in the country. The Russia’s energy ministry has raised its forecast for oil […]

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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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U.S. And Russia To Dominate World’s Oil & Gas Pipeline Spending

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(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – June 28, 2018) The U.S. shale boom and the massive Russian expansion of natural gas pipelines will make the United States and Russia the dominant spenders on oil, petroleum products, and natural gas pipelines through 2022, data and analytics company GlobalData says in a new report. The other big spenders between 2018 and 2022 will […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia-Saudi Plans for Super-OPEC Could Reshape Global Oil Order” – Bloomberg/Will Kennedy, Elena Mazneva, Wael Mahdi

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“… the group overseeing the so-called OPEC+ deal met last night [with] proceedings … dominated by … Saudi Arabia and Russia. … probably a snapshot of the oil market’s future.  Beyond … this week’s diplomatic efforts to agree to an increase in oil production, the more significant longer-term development may be moves to make Russia’s role in managing global supply […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too [Excerpt]” – Russia Matters/Morena Skalamera

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[Full text: russiamatters.org/analysis/transformed-gas-markets-fuel-us-russian-rivalry-europe-plays-key-role-too; This article first appeared on the Russia Matters website, russiamatters.org, with the title “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too”] “This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid […]

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