U.S. Returns Fire in Saudi Arabia’s Oil War

One day after Saudi Arabia declared war on U.S. oil producers by lowering prices in an attempt to dump cheap crude in the United States (US) market, the White House and private oil companies responded.  White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the U.S. is monitoring the global oil supply and demand situation but has no comment on whether it might look at replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Then, later in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that BP is going to export ultra-light crude without the permission of the U.S. government in a move that not only starts to breakdown the US export ban, but also is a direct challenge to OPEC and other producers for market share.  Both of these developments temporarily gave support to the petroleum complex, but it still was not enough to overcome the perception of overwhelming supply and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda’ s prescription against the disease deflation. Continue reading

South Stream ‘Plan B’ opts for route through Greece and Turkey

A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.

On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.

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U.S. Sanctions Push Putin Toward His Dream of A New Financial System

Although Monday’s sanctions will hurt Russia in the short term, they will also force Putin to step up his efforts to weaken U.S. influence over the global economy, which so far has been “little more than wishful thinking because of the difficult reforms it would require”

A little over a year ago, in early March 2013, the Russian state energy czar Igor Sechin made his American debut at an oil summit in Houston, Texas, reportedly accompanied by armed guards equipped with a K-9 unit. The speech he gave that day at the СERAWeek conference, an annual gathering of energy titans from around the world, was part of a pit stop for Sechin. He was on his way to a more high profile event, the funeral of his old friend Hugo Chavez, the truculently anti-American President of oil-rich Venezuela. But since he was passing through the Western hemisphere anyway, Sechin clearly felt it was worthwhile to court some American investors. “I call for us to work together,” he told the audience that day, according to Russia’s Vedomosti daily, “to drive our business for mutual benefit.” Continue reading

World Entering “Golden Age of Gas”

Bloomberg published a lengthy article on the proliferation of shale gas drilling around the world, with interviews from top oil and gas executives. Drillers are trying to replicate the U.S. shale gas revolution in places such as China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, the U.K, and Poland, among other places, according to the report. For example, Shell is working with Sinopec to tap the world’s largest shale gas reserves in China; Chevron teamed up with YPF SA to drill the massive Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina; and oil and gas companies are lining up to move into Mexico to drill the Mexican side of the Eagle Ford shale. Continue reading

Russian gas pipeline could doom Europe’s Nabucco plan

Europe’s grand plan for the gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea was derailed with the 2008 Soviet invasion of Georgia. That was the true intention behind the war and not a handful of unruly politicians or military provocations from a nation not much bigger than Israel, with half the capability. Putin himself said the war was pre-planned (Additional source here). Create the crisis and provide the solution — energy dependancy on Russia in this case. That was (and still is) the aim.

  • Europe, U.S. support for Nabucco weakened
  • Azeri consortium expected to pick winner in June
  • Gas due to flow to European Union from 2019

VIENNA/BRUSSELS, May 28 (Reuters) – Europe’s grand plan for a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea that would make its eastern states less reliant on Russia may have been fatally undermined by Russia’s even bigger project.

As Azerbaijan nears a decision on which pipeline to choose for its future exports, the Nabucco plan that was long the European Union favourite could lose out to the more modest Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) across Greece to southern Italy. Continue reading

Russia’s Stranglehold on European Energy

Meet Rosneft—Russia’s third-largest oil conglomerate that is about to buy out tnk-bp. This strategic move will not only propel Rosneft to the top of Russia’s oil industry, but it will also make both of the nation’s largest oil and gas companies state owned.

tnk-bp is currently co-owned by British oil firm BP and a Russian group of billionaire investors called aar. According to Marin Katusa of Casey Research, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s oil company Rosneft is about to purchase BP’s 50 percent stake in tnk-bp. The move will cost Rosneft approximately $27 billion in cash and stock. At the same time, Rosneft is trying to purchase the other 50 percent stake from aar, although this deal is yet to be finalized. In the end, according to Reuters, the deal as a whole will be worth $55 billion.

If the deal succeeds, it will be the largest purchase since Exxon bought out Mobil over a decade ago. Continue reading