The Race For Arctic Oil Is Heating Up

Arctic Map

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – February 6, 2020) Despite climate concerns and environmentalist backlash against exploration for oil and gas in pristine sensitive regions of the Arctic, companies continue to explore for hydrocarbon resources in the Arctic Circle, in Russia and Norway in particular. The largest Russian energy companies are looking to explore more Arctic oil and gas resources on […]

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Russia Bets Big On The World’s Least Explored Oil Frontier

Africa Map

(Oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – January 10, 2020) When the inaugural Russia-Africa summit was held in October 2019, most industry observers believed that the majority of projects under discussion would not get past the FID stage – in no small part because of their varied economic prospects. As well as wheat exports, nuclear technologies, conventional weaponry and ore mining, oil […]

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U.S. Lawmakers To Discuss Russia Sanctions Bill ‘From Hell’

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. 18, 2019 article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/u-s-lawmakers-to-discuss-russia-sanctions-bill-from-hell-/30331992.html) A U.S. Senate panel is set to debate a bill that is designed to punish Russia for its alleged interference in democratic processes abroad as well as “malign” actions in Syria and aggression against […]

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The Worrying Truth About Russia’s Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Dec. 16, 2019) The widespread adaptation of the combustion engine at the start of the 20th century propelled oil into becoming the world’s most important commodity. Resource-rich countries such as Russia were the beneficiaries of the new global energy order. Its predecessors, the Soviet Union and Imperial Russia, were already among the first and most […]

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Russia’s Economy Is Signaling An Oil Price Rally

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(Oilprice.com – Alex Kimani – December 12, 2019) Even as the oil price outlook has become clearly bearish, Russia knows little fear. It’s defying the oil price hibernation with bullish economic outlook, the best-performing equities market, and even the best-performing currency against the U.S. dollar. And there’s something the average investor might not know: A strong performance by Russia’s equities […]

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Russia-Ukraine Fallout Won’t Threaten Security Of EU Gas Supply

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(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – December 4, 2019) Even if Russia and Ukraine were to fail to reach an agreement on the natural gas transit through Ukraine onto Europe, the security of gas supply in the European Union (EU) will not be materially threatened, the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne said in a study on […]

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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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The Inevitable Finale Of The Nord Stream 2 Saga

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(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Nov. 11, 2019) Europe is quickly becoming one of the most important export destinations for gas exporters. Production is decreasing quickly due to political and technical developments. The next few decades are promising for exporters. Nord Stream 2 is arguably one of the most contentious projects currently under development. Denmark recently granted the last necessary […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Oil Production Among Most Expensive in World; Saudi analysis finds Russian oil production has one of the highest break-even prices in the world” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Nov. 12, 2019) Russia is one of the most expensive places in the world to produce oil, new analysis produced for Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco has found. The cost of producing a single barrel of Brent crude oil came in at around $42 for Russian onshore projects, and $44 for offshore projects, […]

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Oil, Military And Nuclear Tech: Russia’s Influence In Africa

Africa Map

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Oct. 17, 2019) Virtually all great powers have set their eyes on Africa as the continent’s global importance grows. Its population is set to double by 2050 and its economy is expected to expand significantly alongside its energy consumption. It is these projections that have driven Russia to invest heavily in strong relations in the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Hunter Biden’s web of interests; His ties span the globe and raise questions about the overlap of business and politics” – Financial Times/ Aime Williams, Sun Yu, Roman Olearchyk

“Hunter Biden’s business interests often show up in unexpected places … Now [they are] … at the centre of … the fourth impeachment inquiry in U.S. history. … under scrutiny after … Trump leaned on the president of Ukraine to investigate …. Trump has also publicly called on China to investigate the Bidens. The Ukraine revelations have led House Democrats […]

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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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Russia’s Oil Reserves Now Worth $1.2 Trillion

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(Oilprice.com – Charles Kennedy – September 22, 2019) The total value of Russia’s oil reserves is estimated at $1.2 trillion, nearly doubling the valuation over the course of a single year, Moscow’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment reported Friday. According to the ministry’s data, the market value of the oil reserves increased by 88 percent over the past year, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Could Gain From Saudi Oil Attack – Analysts; Higher oil prices are generally good for the world’s second-largest producer” – Moscow Times

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell) Russia is set to be a major winner after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities slashed production and ramped up tensions in the Middle East, analysts predict. In a frantic day for the world’s markets, oil prices climbed by almost 15% Monday following the drone attacks on Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia’s largest oil […]

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Russia’s Energy Minister: Fundamentals, Not Trump Impact Oil Prices

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(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – September 12, 2019) Russia and OPEC are looking at the fundamental forces on the oil market such as supply and demand, rather than at U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told CNBC in an exclusive interview on Thursday. “You know, we are looking at all the factors that one way or […]

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Russia Considers Possibility Of $25 Oil Next Year

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

(Oilprice.com – Julianne Geiger – Sept. 9, 2019) Russia is considering the notion that oil prices may be as low as $25 per barrel in 2020, the country’s central bank said in its new forecast published on Monday, as cited by Reuters. Russia’s Central Bank has forecast in its macroeconomic forecast that oil could possibly hit that low due to […]

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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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Will Europe Ever Shake Its Dependence On Russian Energy?

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(Oilprice.com – Wenyuan Wu – August 24, 2019) Much of the current discourse over Europe’s economic “independence” has revolved around its increasingly-tense relationship with the Trump administration over foreign policy issues such as trade and Iran. This focus has sidelined another important development, however: portions of the European energy industry-a major pillar of the single market-are increasingly coming into Russian […]

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

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(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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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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Russia’s FDI Outlook Grim, with No Chinese Rescue in Sight

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicholas Trickett – July 11, 2019) Nicholas Trickett is editor in chief of BMB Russia and an associate scholar with the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He specializes in the domestic and international political economy of the Russian energy and infrastructure sectors and Russian foreign policy, and is currently finishing an MSc in international political economy […]

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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: “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

Russian Nuclear Power Plant file photo

(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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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

Russian Nuclear Power Plant file photo

“… 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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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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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

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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Russia To Defend Its Venezuela Oil Assets In ‘Toughest Way Possible’

Venezuela Map, adapted from image at cia.gov

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – March 6, 2019 – oilprice.com/Geopolitics/South-America/Russia-To-Defend-Its-Venezuela-Oil-Assets-In-Toughest-Way-Possible.html] Nicolas Maduro’s staunchest international ally-Russia-reaffirmed last week its full support to the Socialist leader’s regime and his efforts to prevent what Moscow sees as interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs. At the same time, Russia, which vowed to defend its oil assets in Venezuela as early as the political crisis began […]

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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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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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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: “Russian inflation, growth to remain low in 2019 says World Bank” – bne Intellinews

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russian inflation is in focus for 2019 as prices began to rise at the end of 2018 and ended the year slightly above the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) target rate of 4%. … the World Bank says that inflation will remain low this year and growth will be 1.5%, the same as in 2018 …. The U.S. government has […]

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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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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

Oil Well file photo

“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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