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AssessmentsNov 6, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
This photo from Feb. 25, 2017, shows the construction site of the second mooring facility of the Yamal LNG plant in the village of Sabetta.
Russia's Arctic Dreams Remain on Ice
The Russian Arctic is warming, but the Kremlin's dreams for the region remain in the deep freeze. Since planting its flag on the seafloor at the North Pole in 2007, Moscow has reinforced its territorial claims in the Arctic by increasing its military presence and bolstering its icebreaker fleet. But Russia's progress in making use of the Arctic's mineral and hydrocarbon resources and unlocking the rest of the region's economic potential is stalling. Strapped for cash, Moscow is putting the onus for developing Arctic infrastructure almost entirely on private and state-owned entities. Unsurprisingly, corporations have been reluctant to foot the bill for such large, upfront investments, meaning progress has become bogged down as the sides haggle over tax breaks or financial support. In the end, cost, feasibility and the like could well put paid to Russia's hopes of scoring an Arctic windfall.
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Contributor PerspectivesSep 12, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This June 29, 2015, file image shows the start of construction of the China-Russia east-route natural gas pipeline near Heihe, China.
In Russia's Pivot to Asia, Economic Attraction Lags Hard Power
Russia held the fifth Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok, its main Far Eastern city on its Pacific coast, on Sept. 4-6. The forum has been held annually since 2015 to showcase Moscow's commitment to the development of its vast Far Eastern areas and closer economic links with Asia. Russia's "turn to the East" began more than a decade ago. In December 2006, Putin convened a meeting of the Kremlin's Security Council, where it was decided to prioritize the development of the Russian Far East, a huge landmass stretching from the Trans-Baikal region to the Pacific Ocean. At this meeting, Putin invoked Russia's perennial fear of losing its Asian periphery, stressing that the underdevelopment of the country's sparsely populated but resource-rich Far East posed "a grave threat to our political and economic positions in Asia and the Pacific, and to the national security of Russia as a whole." The 2008 global financial crisis helped convince the Kremlin that the center of economic
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SITUATION REPORTSep 5, 2019 | 15:57 GMT
Russia: Shareholders Give Final Approval for LNG Development Project in the Arctic
Russian energy firm Novatek and other global oil companies have approved the final investment decision for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Russia's Gydan Peninsula, World Oil reported Sept. 5. Meanwhile, the shareholders of the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project are looking to construct an LNG plant in Russia's Far Eastern port of De-Kastri.
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On GeopoliticsAug 1, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The Yamal, a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker, clears the way in the Kara Sea.
What Russia Stands to Gain, and Lose, From the Thawing Arctic
Although the Arctic was a front line during the Cold War, the harsh climate and limited transit options also made it a relatively secure frontier in the post-Cold War era. And as a result, Russia's Arctic infrastructure and activity -- particularly in the security realm -- waned considerably as the country's priorities shifted elsewhere. But this has been changing in recent years, as the sea ice that has long barricaded Russia from the rest of the world begins to open up.  Moscow's renewed Arctic push, however, is less about allowing more transit through Arctic waters, but about exploiting mineral and energy reserves that will become more accessible as the climate shifts and technology advances. Upon its return to the Arctic, however, Russia will be forced to maneuver a landscape that has changed drastically since the Cold War -- one where "near-Arctic" China is advancing its own interests, and where the United
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AssessmentsFeb 22, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
Liquefied natural gas flows through an underwater pipeline to Israeli power plants.
The Eastern Mediterranean's New Great Game Over Natural Gas
For the energy industry today, few other places present such a complicated chessboard. The eastern Mediterranean has elicited more and more interest from major international oil companies, particularly in the wake of a series of discoveries crowned by the giant Zohr natural gas field off Egypt in 2015. Thanks to the sea's myriad riches, BP, Eni, ExxonMobil and Total have all descended upon the area, yet it has been less than plain sailing. In the past month, Italian oil and gas company Eni has found itself embroiled in two major political disputes -- one between Israel and Lebanon and another between Cyprus and Turkey -- over its activities in the region. With every country intent on using their resources for their own ends, the political challenges facing energy companies are part of the region's underlying complexity and challenges, all of which will likely stymie the development of much of the
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AssessmentsJan 3, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A Saudi Aramco oil facility in Dammam, about 450 kilometers east of Riyadh.
Will Saudi Aramco Fall Prey to a Prince's Politics?
It's no secret that the engine of Saudi Arabia's massive economy is its energy giant, the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The company produces nearly all of the kingdom's oil and natural gas, which accounted for 63 percent of the government's revenue last year even amid stubbornly low oil prices and an attempt to diversify away from the energy sector. But a lesser-known (and perhaps more interesting) aspect of the firm is its competence, efficiency and skilled internal management -- characteristics that are rarely found in most national oil companies. The firm may not retain these unique traits for much longer, though. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has begun driving fundamental changes in the kingdom's leadership and oil industry that could blunt Saudi Aramco's edge over its less effective peers in the long run, especially amid the new challenges arising as the company grows into an integrated multinational firm.
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SnapshotsDec 8, 2017 | 21:57 GMT
Russia: Key Energy Project Creates Hot Competition in the Arctic
In a move that many said would never happen, the biggest independent natural gas producer in Russia launched its much-hyped Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on Dec. 8. Russian President Vladimir Putin personally oversaw the first official loading of LNG at the Novatek facility on the Yamal Peninsula in the Siberian Arctic. Believed to hold the largest natural gas reserves in the world, some estimates claim that the Yamal's deposits could meet global demand for a decade. The $27 billion project brings online some 5.5 tonnes of LNG, which is predicted to expand to 17.5 metric tonnes over the next few years. China National Petroleum Corp., which owns 20 percent of the project, purchased the first cargo of LNG. Other key stakeholders include France's Total (with 20 percent ownership) and China's Silk Road Fund (9.9 percent). Novatek retains a 50.1 percent majority stake. In addition, Novatek is currently negotiating
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ReflectionsOct 5, 2017 | 21:45 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Saudi King Salman at the Kremlin in Moscow on Oct. 5, 2017. Saudi Arabia and Russia aren't on the friendliest of terms, but circumstances have aligned in such a way that each needs the other.
Saudi Arabia and Russia Negotiate From Opposite Sides of the Table
Saudi King Salman just made history as the first-ever Saudi king to visit Russia. Saudi Arabia and Russia aren't on the friendliest of terms, but circumstances have aligned in such a way that each needs the other. King Salman will spend four days in Moscow, meeting with high-ranking Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, mainly on energy and the economy. But the two sides will also try to find common ground on other more contentious issues, including Russia's involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts and Saudi Arabia's ties to Muslim regions in Russia.
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ReflectionsMar 3, 2016 | 01:00 GMT
In Russia, an Energy Freeze Comes With Strings Attached
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on March 2 that his country's major oil producers had reached an agreement to freeze production at January's levels -- confirming that Russia would cooperate with a general production freeze agreement made in February by major producers both in and outside OPEC. Although Putin's announcement was significant, global oil markets didn't react, highlighting the reality that Russia's production in January was already at a post-Soviet record 10.9 million barrels per day.
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AssessmentsOct 16, 2015 | 09:16 GMT
View of pipes and equipment near a trench of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline in Siberia, Russia.
A Rough Road Ahead for Russia's Energy Giants
Moscow's dependence on energy revenues -- which make up half of the government budget -- has made Rosneft and Gazprom the darlings of the Kremlin. This has given both firms great political status and utility, both within Russia and abroad. But the mounting difficulties for Rosneft and Gazprom are forcing them to change their behaviors in order to maintain their positions both politically and within the energy sector.
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Quarterly ForecastsApr 13, 2015 | 09:45 GMT
The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia.
2015 Second-Quarter Forecast
The foreign policy of the world's superpower is maturing. The United States is reducing its exposure in the Middle East while refocusing attention on the European borderlands with Russia. As the United States expands its options in these troubled spots, Eurasia will be in focus this quarter.
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