Russia’s Unexpected Advantage In The Oil Price War

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(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

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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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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

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(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

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(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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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

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(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

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(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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