The agreement concerning Nord Stream-2 represents a success for Russia; it accomplishes the strategic goals of Russian gas policy in Europe (main - ceasing gas exports through Ukraine), despite the difficult political relations with the EU, the Western sanctions regime, and Brussels’ declaration that it will diversify the EU’s sources of supply and reduce its dependence on Russian gas.
Although unrestricted exports of U.S. crude oil would leave global crude prices either unchanged or falling slightly compared to parallel cases that maintain current restrictions on crude oil exports, other factors affecting global supply and demand will largely determine whether global crude prices remain close to their current level, as in EIA's Low Oil Price case, or rise along a path closer to the Reference case trajectory. Global price drivers, as well as resource and technology outcomes, will affect growth in U.S. crude oil production regardless of decisions about future U.S. crude oil export policies.
Issues have emerged in Russia that could delay or prevent Schlumberger Limited. (NYSE:SLB) from closing a deal with Eurasia. Earlier this year, Schlumberger made a $1.7 billion offer to take a stake in Eurasia, also expressing willingness to acquire the rest of the company. Eurasia is Russia’s largest oil-services company. However, as it turns out, Russia’s Federal Security Service, also known as FSB, is expressing some reservations over the deal.
Continued growth in global production of petroleum and other liquids has outpaced consumption growth since August 2014, resulting in rising global liquids stocks. Total global liquids inventories are estimated to have grown by 2.3 million barrels per day (b/d) through the first seven months of 2015, the highest level of inventory builds through July of any year since 1998. These strong inventory builds have put significant downward pressure on near-term crude oil prices: North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices have averaged $58/barrel through July of this year compared to $109/b over the same period in 2014, responding to growth in global inventories.
Plunging oil prices have substantially reduced Saudi revenues. With Brent prices averaging roughly $100 per barrel in 2014, Saudi oil exports of 6.31 million barrels per day would have generated roughly $631 million in revenues daily. In the first quarter, with Brent prices averaging $53.92, the same output would have generated roughly $340 million daily, $291 million less per day than oil at $100 per barrel.
US LNG export projects face an uncertain future despite continued discoveries and production growth, a Brookings Institution analyst said. “More liquefaction capacity may be coming than markets can absorb,” warned Tim Boersma, acting director of Brookings’s Energy Security and Climate Initiative.
In May 2008, the company’s market capitalization reached $367.27 billion, making it one of world’s most valuable companies, according to a survey compiled by the Financial Times. Gazprom’s deputy chair, Alexander Medvedev, repeatedly predicted at the time that within a decade the Russian energy giant could be worth $1 trillion.
Gazprom is first and foremost a tool of Russian foreign policy, which Putin is not shy about wielding to pursue Russian interests. During Putin’s years in power, the Kremlin has used its control over Gazprom — increasing or decreasing the cost of energy — to maintain influence over Russia’s neighbors. Putin once described Gazprom as “a powerful political and economic lever of influence over the rest of the world,” and a team of Russian foreign policy experts noted that “if the leaders of this or that country decide to show good will towards the Russian Federation, then the situation with gas deliveries, pricing policy and former debts changes on a far more favorable note to the buyer.”
“Shale was the biggest event to happen in the past decade. As shale gas production increases every year, LNG import levels have dropped drastically in the United States. In 2014, they imported only 1.6 bcm compared to 200 bcm of their total import capacity. Now, it’s expected to become an LNG exporter by the end of this year at the earliest.”
Pipelines do not determine flows: infrastructure is necessary, but flows depend on market realities. Nord Stream, for instance, expanded Russia’s export capacity by a third in 2012, yet Russia’s exports are still far below their pre-crisis levels. Exports from Algeria have suffered the same fate: in 2011, Algeria inaugurated a new pipeline to Spain, but Algeria’s pipeline exports to Europe were 35 percent lower in 2014 than in 2010. By contrast, Norway is not building new pipelines but its exports are steady and its market share is growing (since demand, the denominator, is falling).