Pompeo Says U.S. Will ‘Do Everything’ To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project

Gas Flame file photo

… The United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would run under the Baltic Sea and double Russia’s direct natural gas exports to Germany while bypassing Ukraine […]

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Russia Considers Emulating The World’s Largest Oil Hedge

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – July 22, 2020) Russia is considering whether to adopt a kind of state oil hedging program, similar to Mexico’s oil hedge, to protect government revenues from oil price crashes in the future, Russian news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday, quoting sources familiar with the matter. The Mexican oil hedge, or the Hacienda Hedge, is considered […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Is No Arctic Axis; Russia and China’s partnership in the north is primarily driven by business, not politics.” – Foreign Policy/ Elizabeth Buchanan

Arctic Map

“… [C]ommercial realpolitik is at the heart of [Russia and China’s Arctic] engagement. … [even as it] navigates existing fault lines, such as Beijing’s failure to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s nonalignment in the … India-China conflict. … [R]egional cooperation is due to … shared interest[s] in maintaining domestic stability. Long-term economic development ventures and the viability of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Folly; Pompeo may be in an uproar over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but it is hardly the geopolitical masterstroke he imagines.” – Foreign Policy/ Chris Miller

Gas Flame file photo

“As the United States [adds] … pressure … against Nord Stream 2, friction with Germany, which would receive much of the pipeline’s gas, will intensify. …. Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe see the pipeline as a glaring example of German hypocrisy … Berlin lectures them about carbon neutrality and human rights while guzzling fossil fuels from one of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Realism in the Arctic” – The National Interest/ Kenneth Yalowitz, Ross A. Virginia

Arctic Map

“The United States and Russia have disagreements on many issues, including the organization of the international system. No ‘reset’ in relations is in sight but there is a need to put a floor in the relationship and work on possible areas for cooperation. The Arctic can be one.” “… The Arctic is [Russia’s] highest priority strategic national interest …. Arctic […]

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

Oil Well file photo

(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: “Diesel Spill In Russian Arctic Could Be Putin’s Exxon Valdez” – Forbes/ Ariel Cohen

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

“… Putin ordered a state of emergency … in the Taymyr region near the Arctic Ocean, after 20,000 tons (150,000 barrels) of diesel fuel spilled from a Russian power plant into … soil and a nearby river. The accident occurred in the Siberian city … Norilsk … [T]he plant’s fuel reservoir collapsed into thawing permafrost, releasing its contents. Diesel is […]

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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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Khodorkovsky Marks the Spot: Russia’s Turning Point From Economic Freedom to State Control

File Photo of Judge and Clerk in Russian Court, with Russian Flag Behind Bench

… Khodorkovsky was not the first oligarch harassed by Putin, but this was indeed a turning point. Khodorkovsky was the richest man in Russia at that point precisely because he cleaned up his oil company’s corporate governance. […]

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Putin To Bail Out Russian Oil Industry

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 25, 2020) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has tasked the government with implementing a set of measures aimed at supporting the oil industry for the duration of the OPEC+ production cut agreement. According to a document published on the website of the Russian presidency, the measures include a prescription not to sanction companies that stray […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s GDP shrinks by 20% in April, but government maintains a triple surplus” – bne Intellinews

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“… Russia’s nominal GDP shrank … 28%, of which two-thirds was due to the nation-wide lockdown … another third … due to … oil prices, the Ministry of Finance said …. The real contraction of the economy in April could be 20%, according to the Ministry …. [T]he government has reported … surplus[es] [for] the trade balance, currency account and […]

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Why Russia Finally Accepted Deeper Oil Output Cuts

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – May 5, 2020) When Russia refused two months ago to join the deeper OPEC oil cuts, it was because Moscow found them unnecessary. Two months later, Russia agreed to cut quite a bit more than it was asked to at the ill-fated March meeting. It is now doing its best to achieve its promised cuts. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As coronavirus hits record numbers in Russia, this is a dangerous moment for Putin” – CNN/ Nathan Hodge

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

“Russia hit a grim milestone … officially recording the highest number of coronavirus cases the country has seen in a 24-hour period, with 10,633 people testing positive. … [T]he economic pain is worsening … Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on state television … ‘I don’t recall anything like this,’ … adding that plummeting global oil prices — a primary source […]

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Russia’s Energy Czar, Disliked And Feared, Catches Blame As Oil Prices Collapse, Venezuela Deals Crumble

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

March was the cruelest month for one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longest-serving and most hawkish confidants[,] Igor Sechin … head of state oil company Rosneft …

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Russia Expects A Protracted Oil Price Plunge

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(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – April 29, 2020) Even though the new OPEC+ deal is set to come into force this week, oil prices will not rise much in the near future because of very high global inventories, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an article published in the ministry’s publication Energy Policy on Tuesday. The oil market could […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s economic woes will clip Vladimir Putin’s wings; Pandemic combined with collapsing oil prices spells real hardship” – Financial Times

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

“… Putin’s … oil price war with Saudi Arabia … was disastrously timed. … days before the coronavirus pandemic began forcing economies around the world into lockdown, cutting crude demand. Russia then succumbed to the virus itself. … [Putin] had to cancel a referendum to approve constitutional changes …. The IMF forecasts Russian [GDP] could contract by 5.5 per cent […]

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Saudi Arabia And Russia Fight Bitter Market Share Battle As Oil Prices Collapse

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – April 27, 2020) The Chinese word ‘crisis’ consists of the characters for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. The unprecedented situation in global energy markets has provided traditional producers with an opportunity to displace incumbents in primarily the U.S. The price war Saudi Arabia started after Russia refused to reduce output in early March has decimated budgets of […]

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

Oil Well file photo

“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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RUSSIALINK: “Explainer: What Happened to Oil Prices and What Does it Mean for Russia?” – Moscow Times

Oil Wells File Photo

Oil prices in the U.S. went negative for the first time in history. Should Russia be worried? (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – April 21, 2020 – Jake covers business & economics for The Moscow Times.) What happened? The headline price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil fell into negative territory for the first time […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Oil prices fall to less than zero for the first time in history” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

Oil prices dropped to less than zero dollars as producers are forced to pay buyers to find some place to store their output “Oil prices for the US WTI blend fell to less than zero on the futures market for May deliveries on April 20 for the first time in history as producers ran out of places to store crude. […]

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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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Oil War And Peace: A Russian-Saudi Standoff Is Over — At What Cost To The Kremlin?

Oil Wells File Photo

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – April 15, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-saudi-standoff-oil-war-peace-kremlin-cost/30557642.html) When the alliance of oil-producing countries known as OPEC+ reached a deal to slash crude-oil output by a historic amount, it staved off a further collapse in the price of Russia’s main export commodity. The […]

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RUSSIALINK: “OPEC+ Deal Will Help Russia Avoid ‘Market Chaos,’ But Provides Little Support to Embattled Economy” – Moscow Times

Oil Well file photo

The production cut will support oil prices and avoid a further ruble crash while the wider economic damage from coronavirus continues to build. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – April 13, 2020) The fresh OPEC+ deal struck between Russia and Saudi Arabia over the weekend will provide little support to the Russian economy, analysts believe. Instead, the deal […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Hails Oil Deal It Says Will Save Millions of U.S. Jobs” – Reuters

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

“… .planned supply cuts represent a complete reversal by Russia and Saudi Arabia, which had both threatened to ramp up output in a battle for market share after the previous deal between … OPEC[] and other producers fell apart …. Combined with G20 input, the leaders of Russia, the United States and Saudi Arabia engaged in a series of phone […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Makes Painful Climbdown as He Sues for Peace in Oil War” – Bloomberg/ Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer

Oil Wells File Photo

“… Putin’s deal with OPEC … three years ago was a triumph … bolstering his clout on the global stage. But now he’s had to to make stinging concessions after … Trump stepped in to end a price war. Amid relief in Moscow at the unprecedented deal with Saudi Arabia and other major producers to slash oil output, the accord […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia will have to cut oil output by 1.8 mln bpd under OPEC+ deal” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. April 10 (Interfax) – OPEC+ countries agreed on Thursday to cut oil production by 10 million barrels per day from the October 2018 level, although for Russia and Saudi Arabia the baseline for the cut will be 11 million bpd, a communique from the meeting seen by Interfax shows. OPEC+ countries, the communique said, produced 43.85 million bpd in […]

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Money Is Flooding Into Russia Despite Crashing Oil Prices

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(Oilprice.com – Michael Kern – April 7, 2020) With the virtual OPEC+ meeting where Russia and Saudi Arabia were to discuss output cuts to end the oil price war delayed Monday, oil prices took a huge beating–but Russian stocks are still hanging on. While state-backed companies saw their share prices shredded on March 9th, including major banks Sberbank and VTB […]

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Relief On The Horizon? Trump And Putin Discuss Oil Markets

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Oilprice.com – Julianne Geiger – March 30, 2020) U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday to have energy officials from both countries discuss the dire state of the global oil market, the Kremlin said, according to Reuters. Trump and Putin discussed the matter over the phone on Monday. “Opinions on the current state of the […]

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The Oil Price War of 2020: Winners, Losers and Ways Forward

Oil Well file photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Li-Chen Sim – March 25, 2020) Li-Chen Sim, an assistant professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, is an expert on the political economy of energy in Russia and in the Middle East. Two broad themes have dominated analyses about the failure of OPEC+ to arrive at a new consensus on oil production […]

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The Cost Of The Oil Price War Is Growing For Russia

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – March 25, 2020) Russia’s economy needs about a trillion rubles, or roughly $12.7 billion a month over the next few months to emerge stable from the coronavirus pandemic and the oil price crash Russia’s economy needs about a trillion rubles, or roughly $12.7 billion a month over the next few months to emerge stable from […]

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Russia’s Unexpected Advantage In The Oil Price War

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – March 25, 2020) While the ruble is now at its lowest level against the dollar in four years, the cheaper ruble has a silver lining for Russia’s oil producers in the oil price war for market share with Saudi Arabia. The collapse of the OPEC+ deal and oil prices has hit Russia’s financial markets and […]

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

Gas Flame file photo

(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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The Inevitable Outcome Of The Oil Price War

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Simon Watkins – March 19, 2020) One might reasonably posit that when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) signalled that Saudi Arabia was once again going to produce oil to the maximum to crash oil prices in a full-scale oil price war, Russian President Vladimir Putin probably fell off the horse he was riding bare-chested somewhere in Siberia […]

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Russia Makes Move On Antarctica’s 513 Billion Barrels Of Oil

Antarctica Map

(Oilprice.com – Simon Watkins – March 16, 2020) Rosgeologia’s seismic surveys and other related work since the 70s to now indicate that there is at least 513 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent in Antarctica, and Moscow has now set its sights on the world’s most underexplored continent Given the march that it has stolen on everyone else in […]

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Why Didn’t Russia Just Cut Oil Production?

Oil Wells File Photo

(Oilprice.com – Robert Rapier – March 15, 2020) Last week OPEC conducted meetings with a coalition of partners that have worked together to limit oil production since 2016. It was widely reported that the group hoped to come to an agreement to reduce oil production by an additional 1.5 million barrels per day (BPD). The meetings came in the wake […]

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Kremlin’s Fiscal Strength Put To The Test By Plummeting Oil Prices

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(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 12, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/kremlin-fiscal-strength-put-to-the-test-by-plummeting-oil-prices/30484158.html?withmediaplayer=1) Earlier this month, Russia’s finance minister had this to say about the health of the government’s budget and the global benchmark for oil prices, which was trading at around $50 a barrel: Even if prices dropped to $30 […]

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The Reasons And Risks Behind Russia’s Big Oil Bet

Oil Wells File Photo

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Todd Prince – March 10, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/failed-talks-a-fit-of-anger-a-plot-to-sink-u-s-shale-the-reasons-and-risks-behind-russia-s-big-oil-bet/30480151.html) For years now, Russia has been laser-focused on insulating itself from an external economic shock. It may have just sparked one. In an unexpected move on March 6, Russia rejected a call by OPEC countries […]

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Russia Can Live With $25 Oil For Years

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – March 9, 2020) After oil prices collapsed in the worst drop in nearly three decades-courtesy of the renewed Saudi-Russia rivalry on the oil market – Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Monday that Moscow had enough resources to cover budget shortfalls amid oil prices at $25-30 a barrel for six to ten years. The price of […]

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Ruble, Oil Prices Tumble Amid Market Chaos After OPEC-Russia Deal Collapses

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 9, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ruble-oil-prices-tumble-after-opec-deal-collapses-amid-coronavirus-fears/30476938.html) The Russian ruble fell to a four-year low after oil prices collapsed following a breakup of talks between OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and Moscow. The ruble tumbled on March 9 by more than 7 percent to nearly 74 […]

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Russia Looks To Lure Citizens To Energy-Rich But Foreboding Arctic Regions

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

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – March 6, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-lures-citizens-energy-rich-arctic-regions/30471435.html) Russia is seeking to persuade more people to live in its energy-rich Arctic regions as part of a 15-year strategy plan signed by President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin plan, titled Foundations Of State Policy In The Arctic To […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Falling oil prices threaten to derail Putin’s spending promises” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, Henry Foy, Nastassia Astrasheuskaya

Oil Wells File Photo

Kremlin’s bid to boost economy relies on Russian budget surplus and national wealth fund “… Putin’s spending promises are under threat from falling oil prices that could hurt the savings the Kremlin is tapping to rekindle growth. The coronavirus outbreak … pushed Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, down 10 per cent to a year-low … close to $50 a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S., Britain Double Russian Oil Purchases” – Moscow Times

Oil Well file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 27, 2020) The United States and Britain have more than doubled their crude oil purchases from Russia due to Iran and Venezuela sanctions, the RBC news website reported Friday, citing customs data. Russia exported more than 267 million metric tons of crude oil worth $121 billion in 2019, RBC cited Federal Customs Service data […]

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Russia Is Defeating The U.S. In The Middle East Oil Game

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Simon Watkins – February 18, 2020) Historically, Russia goes to great lengths to hide or disguise its strategic intentions but it clearly feels empowered enough in the Middle East to very obviously stake its claim in the region – excluding, for the time being only, Saudi Arabia – by stating that a slew of Russian companies are to […]

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