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Lavrov: US Sanction Against Russian Company Violates Int’l Law

teleSUR | March 12, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is criminalizing Russian companies for doing business with the Venezuelan state, saying they are violating U.S. imposed sanctions by making transactions with Venezuela’s sanctioned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

In a Monday press conference Pompeo said that the assets of Evrofinance Mosnarbank, a Russia-Venezuela states-owned financial organization would be frozen and U.S. citizens would be prohibited from doing business with the joint venture, according to Reuters.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that Evrofinance was violating a Trump decree because it is a “foreign financial institution that materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of (PDVSA).”

Pompeo also accused the major Russian oil company, Rosneft, of defying U.S. sanctions by buying oil from PDVSA.

According to Sputnik News, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Pompeo’s “accusations … contradict international law.” ​​​​​​​

Lavrov said Pompeo’s “accusations that Russian oil company Rosneft bought Venezuelan oil in violation of Washington sanctions contradicts international law.” ​​​​​​​

Talking to reporters the secretary of state included not only accused Russia but Cuba of trying to undermine democracy in Venezuela.

“This story is not complete without acknowledging the central role Cuba and Russia have played and continue to play in undermining the democratic dreams of the Venezuelan people and their welfare,” Pompeo said.

“Moscow, like Havana, continues to provide political cover to the Maduro regime,” added the U.S. official.

Meanwhile, Trump’s right hand in Venezuela, Elliot Abrams, says he is persuading and urging India to stop buying oil from Venezuela, from who it purchases approximately 366,000 oil barrels per day.

The current U.S. government began a soft coup against Maduro shortly after entering office by placing a slew of sanctions against the Venezuelan government and individuals.

As the list grew and intensified, the U.S. administration sent in Guaido in late January to take over the democratically elected Venezuelan government under Maduro. Most recently, last weekend the White House supported, if not masterminded, the cyber attack on the South American country that caused a nationwide blackout in an effort to create chaos and influence the overthrow of Maduro.

According to the Venezuelan government as of February of this year the country has lost US$38 billion in direct losses from U.S. financial sanctions alone.

For his part, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton announced over Twitter that Venezuela’s National Assembly, still in operation despite being in contempt of the country’s Supreme Court, “decreed the suspension of oil exports to Cuba.” Bolton added, “insurance companies and flag bearers who facilitate these deliveries to Cuba are now on notice,” signaling potential sanctions for those doing business with either country.

The Cuban government quickly responded to Bolton’s proclamation saying he has “long-time credentials … (as) a liar.”

Cuba’s foreign ministry office said in a statement: “The honest and informed people know the bilateral relationship between Cuba and Venezuela is based on mutual respect, true solidarity, fidelism and chavism—independent and sovereign.”​​​​​​​

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia-India oil deal at risk due to US sanctions – media

RT | August 26, 2016

US sanctions are threatening to derail Russian energy major Rosneft’s acquisition of a 49 percent stake in India’s Essar Oil, reports The Times of India.

The deal was curtailed by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, according to the daily.

In July 2014, the Department of the Treasury included Rosneft on the list of sanctioned Russian companies after Washington accused Moscow of involvement in the military conflict in Eastern Ukraine and of annexing Crimea.

Indian banks, which invested over $5 billion into Essar Oil and currently hold 17 percent, expressed concerns over the deal due to fears of the potential consequences.

“We may have to review our exposure to Essar Oil if Rosneft comes on board,” said a top banker with a state-run lender, as quoted by The Times of India.

However, Essar Oil will reportedly try to push the deal with Rosneft through, allowing the Russian company to enter the Indian energy market.

Searching to expand cooperation with Russia beyond the traditional defense buyer-supplier relationship, New Delhi has invested over $5 billion in the Russian energy sector.

The Essar-Rosneft deal aims to open up India’s retail energy business to the world’s largest oil producer.

The deal was planned to be sealed by June. The Indian company had to reduce the share intended for sale by 25 percent, but the measure failed to change the situation.

Moreover, the sale of a 25 percent stake to the Dutch multinational trader Trafigura Group risks collapse due to the close ties with Rosneft. Trafigura handles much of the crude exported by Russia.

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Oh Oil, where is thy peak?

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – October 9, 2015

There are two great myths used in recent years to convince the world of imminent catastrophe unless we drastically change our living style in the direction of austerity. Both myths are based on scientific fraud and uncritical propagation by sympathetic mainstream and even some alternative media. One is the idea that world climate is warming, or at least “changing,” owing almost solely to us, to our man-made emissions. The second great myth, launched first in 1956 in Houston Texas by an employee of one of the world’s largest oil companies, was dusted off some 15 years ago at the start of the Dick Cheney-George W. Bush Administration. It’s called the theory of Peak Oil.

The good news is our coastal cities are not about to be washed away by melting icebergs or rising oceans, nor is our supply of conventional oil and gas–hydrocarbons–likely to run out for centuries or more. It has nothing to do with the highly damaging and very costly extraction of tight oil from shale rocks, but with the abundance of conventional oil around the world, the vast part of which has yet to be discovered or even mapped.

The most dramatic discoveries of new oil and gas reserves in recent years has come from the Mediterranean in areas off Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and believed to be offshore Greece as well. In 2010 Israel and the Houston, Texas company, Noble Energy, discovered the largest offshore gas field, Leviathan. It was the world’s largest gas discovery in a decade, with enough gas to serve Israel for at least a century. The geophysics of the offshore areas around Greece suggest that that hapless country could also have more than enough undiscovered oil and gas to repay all foreign debt and more. Not surprisingly the Washington-led IMF demands that Greece privatize her state oil and gas companies, a near certainty that major Western oil firms would sit on their development as was done in past decades until leases expired in 2004 and reverted back to the Greek Government.

In 2006 Brazil’s Petrobras made the largest offshore oil discovery of the last 30 years, holding at least 8 billion barrels of oil in the Santos Basin 250 kilometers from Rio de Janiero. Then-President Lula da Silva proclaimed it would give the “second independence” for Brazil, that from Western oil imports. In 2008 nearby Petrobras, a state company, discovered an equally large natural gas field called Jupiter near their Santos oil discovery. Under Lula’s presidency, the Parliament passed measures to insure oil development would remain in Brazilian hands under Petrobras and not in those of the American and British or other foreign oil majors. In May 2013 after Lula retired and was succeeded by Dilma Rousseff as President, US Vice President Joe Biden flew to Brazil to meet with her and the heads of Petrobras. According to Brazilian sources, Biden demanded Rousseff remove the laws that kept American oil majors from controlling the huge oil and gas finds. She politely declined and soon after she was hit with a major US Color Revolution destabilization that continues to this day, not surprising, with a scandal around Petrobras at the center.

More recently, Iceland, recovering from her banking crisis, began seriously looking offshore for oil and gas in the Jan Mayen Ridge north of the Arctic Circle in 2012. The geophysics are the same as offshore North Sea and one Icelandic former senior government official told me during a visit some five years ago that a private geological survey indicated Iceland could be a new Norway. According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic could hold 90 billion barrels of oil, most of which is untapped. China made Iceland a key partner, and the two signed a free-trade agreement in 2013 after China’s CNOOC signed an offshore joint venture in 2012 to explore the offshore.

In April 2015 the energy exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments announced it had drilled near Gatwick Airport and found what they estimated could be up to 100 billion barrels of new oil. By comparison the entire North Sea has yielded some 45 billion barrels in 40 years. As well in May, UK oil company Rockhopper announced a new oil discovery in the disputed waters of the Falkland Islands offshore of Argentina believed to contain up to one billion barrels of oil.

Now in August, 2015 the Italian oil company ENI announced discovery of a supergiant gas field in the Egyptian offshore, the largest ever found in the Mediterranean Sea, larger than Israel’s Leviathan. The company announced the field could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place covering an area of about 100 square kilometres. Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea.

There are huge undeveloped oil and gas reserves in the Caribbean, the area of an impact crater that made numerous fissures and where three active tectonic plates come together and part. Haiti is one such region, as is Cuba. In May the Cuban government released a study that estimated Cuba’s offshore territorial waters held some 20 billion barrels of oil. Russia’s oil subsidiary, Gazprom Neft, has already invested in one section in Cuban waters, and during Russian President Putin’s July, 2014 visit to Havana in which Russia cancelled 90% of Cuban Soviet-era debt worth some $32 billion, Igor Sechin, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, the world’s largest oil company, signed an agreement with Cupet, the Cuban state oil company, to jointly explore the basin off Cuba’s northeast coast. That Russian participation in the huge Cuban oil search might explain the sudden rush of the Obama Administration to “warm up” relations with Cuba.

How oil is ‘born’

The accepted oil industry explanation holds that oil is a finite resource, a so-called fossil fuel, biological in origin, that was created hundreds of millions of years ago by the death of dinosaurs whose detritis by some yet-unidentified physical process transformed into hydrocarbons. The claim is that concentrated biological detritis somehow sank deep into the earth—the world’s deepest oil drilling in Russia’s Sakhalin region, drilled by Exxon, is more than 12 kilometers deep. There it supposedly flowed into underground pockets they call reservoirs. Others say also algae and tree leaves and other biological decayed matter added to the process.

In the 1950s a group of Soviet scientists was tasked with making the USSR self-sufficient in oil and gas as the Cold War heated up. The first step in their research was to critically investigate all known scientific literature on origins of hydrocarbons. As they looked closely at the so-called fossil fuel theory of oil, they were amazed how unscientific it was. One physicist estimated that for the huge oil that has come out of one giant well, Ghawar, in Saudi Arabia, it would require a block of dead dinosaurs, assuming 100% conversion of meat and bone to oil, that would reach 19 miles wide, deep and high. They soon looked for other explanations for the birth of oil.

They made exhaustive tests in the deep-earth research labs in Moscow of the Soviet military. They developed the brilliant hypothesis that oil was constantly being created deep in the bowels of the Earth below the mantle. It pushes upward towards the surface passing through beds of various elements such as ferrite. They did repeated laboratory experiments producing hydrocarbons under temperature and pressure imitating that in the mantle. These migration channels, as the Soviet scientists termed them, were fissures in the mantle caused over millions of years under the expanding of the earth and forced by the enormous temperatures and pressures inside the mantle. The path the initial methane gas takes upwards towards the surface determines whether it emerges and collects as oil or as gas, as coal, as bitumen as in Canada’s Athabasca Tar Sands, or even as diamonds which are also hydrocarbons. The Russian and Ukrainian scientists also discovered, not surprisingly, that every giant oilfield was “self-replenishing,” that is new oil or gas is being constantly pushed up from inside the mantle via the faults or migration channels to replace oil withdrawn. Old oil wells across Russia that were pumped far beyond their natural full rate during the end of the Soviet era when maximum production was considered highest priority, were then shut, considered exhausted. Twenty years later, according to Russian geophysicists I have spoken with, those “depleted” wells are being reopened and, lo and behold, completely refilled with new oil.

The Russians have tested their hypothesis to the present day, though with little support until now from their own government, whose oil companies perhaps feared that a glut of new oil would collapse oil prices. In the west, the last thing Exxon or other Anglo-American oil majors wanted was to lose their (once) iron grip on the world oil market. They had no interest in a theory that would contradict their Peak Oil theory.

‘War for Oil’ nonsense

Today a geopolitical decision by Saudi Arabia to wipe out the market-disturbing recent emergence of the United States as world’s largest oil producer owing to the major increase in shale oil production, has temporarily collapsed world oil prices from over $100 a barrel in July 2014 to around $43 today in the US market. That is leading to a dramatic cut-back in oil exploration around the world. In a fair world, oil or gas should be available at affordable prices to every nation to serve its own energy requirements and not the monopoly of a tiny cartel of British or American companies. Good to know is the fact that the oil and gas are there in super-abundance that we need not freeze in the dark or turn to windmills until the time mankind develops completely different forms of energy that are clean and earth-friendly. Wars to control oil or gas would become silly nonsense.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rosneft to take 30 percent stake in Norwegian driller

RT | August 22, 2014

Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft has agreed to purchase a stake in Norway’s North Atlantic Drilling (NADL) through an asset swap, which appears to show businesses remain undeterred by political sanctions.

Rosneft has agreed to take a 30 percent of North Atlantic in return for 150 onshore drilling assets in Russia, and some cash. The final terms of the deal, including the amount of investments in the Norwegian company, will be set after it passes due diligence, which is expected to be done by the end of the year, Rosneft said in a statement Friday.

Rune Magnus Lundetrae, Chief Financial Officer of Seadrill, which owns 70 percent of North Atlantic, told Bloomberg Rosneft would also buy 100 million new shares at $9.25 apiece.

The deal comes amidst sanctions tension between Russia and the West and shows that foreign businesses still want to cooperate with Russia, leaving politics aside.

“We’re very pleased with the execution of this important transaction and welcome Rosneft as an equity partner and to our board of directors,” Alf Ragnar Lovdal, CEO of North Atlantic, said in a statement.

“We’re not very worried” that the sanctions will affect any part of these deals, Lundetrae told Bloomberg by phone. “Rosneft is a very good and constructive partner for us.”

Friday’s deal marks the second step under a framework agreement signed in May. Last month, just days before the EU imposed tighter economic sanctions against Russia; the two companies completed the lease of offshore rigs. Under the July agreement, Rosneft and NADL will cooperate in shelf drilling, with the Norwegian company providing Rosneft with six sea drilling units till 2022 to conduct shelf drilling in harsh weather conditions.

ExxonMobil and Norway’s Statoil have also confirmed they would continue offshore Arctic drilling with Rosneft, despite politicians in the EU and the US seeking to make Russia change its policy over Ukraine by putting on economic pressure.

On Thursday, the Financial Times reported Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, was shelving its $2 billion deal with Rosneft.

August 22, 2014 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

ExxonMobil, Rosneft start joint Arctic drilling exempt from sanctions

RT | August 9, 2014

US oil giant ExxonMobil and Russia’s Rosneft will continue joint exploitation of the Russian Arctic despite Western sanctions, the American company said as the two giants launched exploration drilling in the Kara Sea.

“Our cooperation is a long-term one. We see great benefits here and are ready to continue working here with your agreement,” Glenn Waller, ExxonMobil’s lead manager in Russia, told President Vladimir Putin during a videoconference call.

The Russian leader hailed the exploration project as an example of mutually beneficial cooperation that strengthens global energy security.

Rosneft head Igor Sechin said the launch of the Universitetskaya-1 well drill is one of the most important events for the company this year.

“We hope that this work will discover a new oil reserve here in the Kara Sea. The development of the Arctic shelf would have a big and positive effect for the Russian economy,” he said.

Optimistic company forecasts put oil reserves in the Kara Sea as high as 13 billion tons, more than in the Gulf of Mexico, or the whole of Saudi Arabia.

The drilling is being done by the West Alpha oilrig, built by Norway’s North Atlantic Drilling. It has a deadweight of 30,700 tons and can drill wells in the shelf up to 7 km deep.

The rig was equipped with an advanced iceberg warning system, which tracks potentially dangerous icebergs, giving enough time for either support ships to tow them away, or for the rig itself to seal off the well and evacuate to safety.

Rosneft is one of the Russian companies targeted by Western nations, imposed to punish Moscow for its stance over the Ukrainian crisis. Russia’s retaliation so far has been to ban the import of foodstuffs from the countries that approved anti-Russian sanctions.

August 9, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Video | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Russia breaks oil output record

RT | November 2, 2013

Russian oil output, the largest in the world, reached 10.59 million bpd (barrels per day) in October, setting the record for the country’s post-Soviet period, Energy Ministry data showed.

The landmark was reached due to Rosneft increasing production at the Vankor field in the Krasnoyarsk Region, the Vedomosti paper reports.

The output at the field was 18.3 million tons last year, with the company planning Vankor reach 25 million tons annually.

Another influential factor is the larger amount of Gazprom-produced gas condensate, which has now reached 350,000 bpd.

The country’s total output in October reached 44,773 million tons, which is 1.3 percent higher than during the same period last year.

According to the International Energy Agency, Russia’s all-time production of black gold reached its peak at 11.41 million bpd in 1988, when it was still part of the Soviet Union.

The production of oil in Russia has been steadily growing since the setback caused by the global financial crisis in 2008, which saw output falling to about 9.8 million bpd.

In September 2009, it exceeded a monthly level of 10 million bpd, with the country overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer the next year.

Oil and gas remain the No.1 source of income for Russia, as hydrocarbons account for 80 percent of the country’s export.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

US Shale Gas No Threat to Russia’s Energy Dominance – Rosneft

RIA Novosti – October 6, 2013

MOSCOW – Russian state oil giant Rosneft has plans to extract oil in the next 100 years and sees no significant threat from the increase in shale gas production in the United States, CEO Igor Sechin told journalists Sunday.

“We have a 100 year work prospect,” Sechin said. “As for the shelf, we have no other alternative. In general, oil needs to be extracted,” he said adding that the US shale production is high-cost, which makes it impossible for export.

US media reports said this week the United States was expected to leapfrog Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas this year thanks to a surge in US fuel production driven by technology that allows energy companies to tap into oil and gas in underground shale rock formations.

As US energy extraction and production have gone up, imports of natural gas and crude oil have fallen by 32 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in the last five years, the Wall Street Journal said.

Sechin said Rosneft, which has 1.5 percent of world’s explored reserves, was interested in international partnership and would adhere to high environmental standards.

He has accused the activists of the non-profit environmental organization Greenpeace, who were detained last month by Russian authorities after staging a “peaceful protest” against oil drilling in the Russian Arctic, of pursuing commercial interests.

“Look at those who pay them, who is their sponsor,” Sechin told journalists.

Rosneft currently holds 46 licenses for Russian offshore deposits worth 42 billion tons of oil equivalent. The company has signed agreements on cooperation with US oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil, Italy’s Eni and Norway’s Statoil.

October 6, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , , | Leave a comment

Rosneft sets sights on Iraq and Venezuela

RT | April 24, 2013

Rosneft has announced joint ventures with ExxonMobil in Iraq, and with a Venezuelan national oil company. According to CEO the expansion will double the company’s share of the Russian gas market.

Igor Sechin told reporters on Tuesday that the company is considering teaming up with veteran business partner ExxonMobil in Iraq.

“We will work with anyone who offers good terms, we’ll work with ExxonMobil too,” Reuters reported Sechin as saying.

An Iraqi oil ministry delegation will arrive in Moscow on May 10 to further discuss the deal.

Since Sechin became CEO, Russia’s largest producer of oil Rosneft, has upped its game against state-controlled rival Gazprom which currently controls 70% of Russian gas exports.

His first big step was acquiring the Anglo-Russian company TNK-BP from BP for $55 billion on March 21 2013, which will give it an Arctic niche.

Sechin aims to chip away at the Gazprom monopoly, and to double Rosneft’s domestic gas market by 2020, from 9% to 19-22%, plans made clear at an investor meeting in London on Tuesday.

“We like to work with gas very much,” Sechin said at the meeting. “The domestic market is also attractive, and it suits us well.”

Sechin predicts the new mega company may reach a market capitalization of $120 billion in the next two years, which would trump Gazprom’s estimated value of $73-90 billion.

According to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, by 2013 Russia will even outperform its pre-crisis levels of 2008.

Rosneft expects to produce more than 40 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in 2013, over 60 by 2016 and 100 bcm in 2020, half of which will be produced in new projects.

The company is also on Gazprom’s heels in LNG development, as both companies are looking to expand their influence, particularly in exports to China.

Venezuelan vision

Just hours after the Iraq announcement, Venezuela’s government trumpeted a joint venture with Rosneft and PDVSA, the national oil company that dominates the Venezuelan market.

Rosneft will get a 40% share and the preliminary license is set for 25 years, and subject to extension.

The Venezuelan project will develop 342 kilometers in the Orinoco River basin, one of the richest oil reserves in the world, with an estimated 86.4 billion barrels, according to RIA Novosti.

Russian companies are involved in 5 oil projects in Venezuela, the world’s fifth largest oil exporter.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez has estimated the joint Russian-Venezuelan projects will be worth close to $50 billion by 2019.

April 25, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on Rosneft sets sights on Iraq and Venezuela