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

Oil Well file photo

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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For Russian Economy, August Not April is the Cruelest Month

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 3, 2019) August has begun with yet another decline in the value of the ruble, continuing the trend this summer month set in 1998 with default and continued last year with a decline of eight percent in the ruble’s exchange rate against Western currencies. And the rest of this month this […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and China; Partnership is much better for China than it is for Russia; Just how much better might not become clear for a few years yet” – The Economist

Asia Map

“[Compared to Russia,] … China[‘s] economy is six times larger (at purchasing-power parity) … its power is growing … as Russia’s fades. … Russia is evolving into a Chinese tributary. … Russia is still a nuclear-weapons state with a permanent seat on the [UNSC]…. It has modernised its armed forces and, as in Syria, is not afraid to use them. […]

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

Oil Well file photo

“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

Oil Well file photo

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

Oil Well file photo

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

Oil Well file photo

(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 Venezuela motives: It’s about the U.S., not Maduro.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

“Historically, when Washington and Moscow have butted heads over a power struggle in a third-party nation, it’s been in a Cold War context. But the core issue over their divide on Venezuela today is simpler: staking out turf.” “… Russian affinity for former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez’ Bolivarian Socialism has no part in it. … The U.S. demands that Russia […]

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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

Oil Well file photo

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

Oil Well file photo

(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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Officials get somber on GDP growth” – BMB Russia/ Bear Market Brief

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Oreshkin cited … one-off factors such as an increase in oil production and a dangerous boom in consumer borrowing as unsustainable sources of 2018 growth. … tr[ying] to refocus the discussion on structural reforms …. [and] a massive investment drive via national projects in infrastructure, demography, health, education, and exports …. Nevertheless, to the extent that the high 2018 […]

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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

Oil Well file photo

“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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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: “Russia to resume forex purchases after sanctions hiatus; Moscow will spend Rbs265.8bn between next Tuesday and early February” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s finance ministry said it is resuming foreign currency purchases on open markets after fears over U.S. sanctions saw it halt them last year to head off a slide in the rouble rate. … Rbs265.8bn … next Tuesday and February 6, the ministry said in a statement on Friday. … the first since the central bank … stopped them in […]

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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

Oil Well file photo

“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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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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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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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Kudrin renews push for tough policy talk” – Bear Market Brief

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“… Kudrin, went on record with RBK ahead of today’s ‘Russia Calling’ economic forum, asserting that in the last decade Russia has experienced economic stagnation unseen since the Second World War. He appears to be continuing his search for a public, honest discussion of foreign policy. … … annualized GDP growth at 1% over the last ten years … predat[ing] […]

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

Oil Well file photo

(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

Oil Well file photo

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

Gas Facility file photo

“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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U.S. Sanctions Wreak Havoc On Russia’s Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – August 23, 2018) [Text with links: oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/US-Sanctions-Wreak-Havoc-On-Russias-Oil-Industry.html] The U.S. sanctions on Russia have affected investment in Russian oil and gas exploration projects, U.S. officials say, while Congress is considering further sanctions on the energy and banking sectors to punish Moscow for the threat it poses to the United States. At Senate hearings on Tuesday, a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s got the gas and is ready to set fire to our system of democracy” – Miami Herald/Markos Kounalakis

Kremlin and River

“… even a currency crunch won’t stop Russia’s foreign interventions because, despite punitive sanctions, the price of oil, ultimately, pays for its troublemaking. High energy prices are the cost of power transferred from Europe and the United States to Russia and other petrostates. The higher the Brent crude price and the market for natural gas, the greater Russia’s domestic tranquility […]

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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: “U.S. to impose ‘crushing’ set of sanctions on Russia’s debt and oil” – bne Intellinews/Ben Aris

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

“A proposed ‘crushing’ bipartisan bill introduced by the … Senate … will not be debated until … autumn and many … harsh terms could be considerably watered down, Luis Saenz, … co-head of equities at BCS Global Markets said …. [The] bill … targets Russian debt and energy companies, designed to punish Russia for interfering in the U.S. presidential election, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Western Sanctions on Russia’s Oil and Gas Sector: a Damage Assessment” – Carnegie Moscow/Tatiana Mitrova

Oil Well file photo

“Don’t be misled by Western sanctions’ limited impact on Russia. In reality, they operate with an accumulating effect: the more time passes, the greater the potential technological backlog, financing gap, and negative consequences will be. In the long run, sanctions may jeopardize Russia’s oil and gas production volumes and the development of pipeline infrastructure, gradually squeezing the country out of […]

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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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Russia’s Finance Ministry Warns Of Another Price Collapse

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – July 9, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russias-Finance-Ministry-Warns-Of-Another-Price-Collapse.html) If prices remain at their current level, another collapse could be around the corner, the Russian Finance Ministry has warned in a report, cited by Sputnik. According to the report, the long-term equilibrium price level for crude oil is currently around US$50-60 a barrel, but actual prices are substantially higher […]

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