“The US has sought to work with Europe to lessen Europe's dependence on Russian energy and, particularly, gas supplies to weaken Russian leverage to use that gas supply for political purposes and has enjoyed some success, and this has been a cooperative venture. Three administrations working in the same direction, many of the same assumptions and people.”
In addition to Vietnam, Rosneft also has oil-producing assets in Venezuela and Canada. It has exploration prospects in several other countries, including in Mozambique and the US in partnership with ExxonMobil.
“The economy has held up surprisingly well when you consider the stresses on it” that include Western sanctions preventing banks and oil companies from issuing debt and imposing bans on high-tech oil equipment purchases, said Christopher Miller, Associate Director of the Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy Program at Yale ISS. “The reason is that government policies since 2008 have been relatively effective,” he said in a Feb. 18 presentation at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
LNG cannot reach every corner of Europe: there may be a lot of under-used capacity in import terminals in the Iberian peninsula but these are not useful for security of supply in mainland Europe except where they have reloading facilities. There is very little transport capacity overland into France.
In theory, the European Union is pursuing a single energy market, based on the needs of all 28 EU nations. It is also meant to be united against Russia as it seeks to defend the interests of Ukraine following Moscow's seizure of Crimea in March last year.
The Nord Stream II pipeline would stretch 1,200 kilometers across the Baltic Sea, from Vyborg on the Russian coast to Griefswald, Germany. Once completed, it would have the capacity to transport 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas directly to Germany, circumventing Ukraine and the Central and Eastern European states. Russia’s Gazprom would own 50% of the project, and France’s Engie, Austria’s OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany’s BASF and E.ON each would own a 10% share.
The additional volumes are roughly what Gazprom has been piping to the EU through Ukraine, raising concerns that the new route would allow Russia to strip Kiev of much of its remaining economic leverage and an important source of income.
Rosneft received advance payments for oil supplies worth more than $15bn in the third quarter — the first large-scale financing that the state-controlled Russian group has secured since western sanctions were imposed upon it.
The financing problems for the project stems from U.S.-led sanctions against Russia’s oil and natural gas sector over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2014. Also, in June the EU extended economic sanctions on Russia until January 3, in a move that media said at the time was “keeping up pressure on Moscow to help resolve the Ukraine conflict.”
Gazprom would need to bring spot gas prices below $4 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), versus around $5.65 per mmBtu now, to shut Europe off to U.S. imports - a level Goldman Sachs expects could be reached by 2018/2019.
Last month, the United States restricted exports, re-exports and transfers of technology and equipment to the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye field. The sanctions were imposed just weeks after media cited Shell officials as saying the firm was considering Yuzhno-Kirinskoye as part of an asset swap deal with Gazprom, announced in June.
China’s $40 billion Silk Road Fund said it would finance part of the project, a development Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné called “a clear commitment by China” in an interview Wednesday. The price paid for Silk Road’s 9.9% stake in Yamal wasn’t disclosed.
Together, these deals mean that Europe’s big energy companies want to return to business as usual with Russia, despite the continuing conflict in Ukraine and the EU’s continuing sanctions on Russia.
Russian oil firms are increasing their rouble profits and raising production as a weak currency protects their business, which has turned into one of the world's most profitable.
The U.S. declared one of Russia’s largest offshore oil and natural gas fields off limits to American tools and expertise, potentially disrupting Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s plans to liquefy the fossil fuel for export.