Russia resurgent: Oil sees a turnaround in 2016

The year started poorly for Russia, but it has certainly ended well. In January, the price of oil was moldering — below $30/b on occasion. Given Russia’s dependence on oil and gas revenue, the budgetary outlook was bleak. Hillary Clinton was going to be elected as the next president of the United States. Sanctions against Russia, imposed over its role in the Ukraine conflict, would continue, and the EU would further frustrate Russian plans for major new gas pipelines and its goal of a total Ukrainian bypass. In addition, Russia’s Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, was under severe pressure not just from democratic rebels, but radical Islamist forces, a particular concern for Russia given its own problems in Chechnya. What a difference 12 months can make. In the US, the election of Donald Trump as president and his nomination of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state could not be better for Moscow. Tillerson is a noted critic of sanctions against Russia, where ExxonMobil has substantial oil interests, arguing that they hurt not so much the target country, but US companies trying to do business there. If nominated, he is expected to recommend their removal. Trump has also made

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Source: CTRM Center

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