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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Russian Crude Imbroglio: Advantage India

The price cap of USD 60 for Russian crude is coming into force full steam, with EU countries joining the G-7 and American punitive measures aimed at squeezing out Moscow’s financial resources to force it to abandon the Ukraine war. A few countries, such as Poland, had initially refused to toe the line but prevailed over in the collective drive. The embargo prevents shipments of Russian crude by tanker vessels to the EU, which account for two-thirds of Russian crude imports, potentially depriving Russia's war chest of billions of Euros

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The price cap of USD 60 for Russian crude is coming into force full steam, with EU countries joining the G-7 and American punitive measures aimed at squeezing out Moscow’s financial resources to force it to abandon the Ukraine war. A few countries, such as Poland, had initially refused to toe the line but prevailed over in the collective drive. The embargo prevents shipments of Russian crude by tanker vessels to the EU, which account for two-thirds of Russian crude imports, potentially depriving Russia’s war chest of billions of Euros. The development has no immediate implications for India, which is now buying significantly large quantities of Russian crude, offered by Moscow at discounted rates. But the new squeeze will put further pressure on the Kremlin to protect current supplies, building a case for even more favorable discounts. India is one of the major takers of Russian oil as New Delhi has flouted calls for sanctions against Moscow on the ground that national energy security is the overriding concern for the country.

According to published accounts, Russian crude which amounted to hardly 1 percent of India’s import basket pre-Ukraine action has now increased to over 20 percent, more than what it used to import from Saudi Arabia and similar to imports from Iraq. The current supplies had been tied up at prices fixed much earlier. So, it will be some time before the new squeeze exerts influence on future prices. Russia rode out the western sanctions quite remarkably in the initial phase by finding alternative buyers, such as India and China. This more than made up for the disruptions in the Europe-bound offtakes, with the result that oil earnings had gone up. But the sanctions are now beginning to bite harder and the latest estimates speak of a possible plunge in Russia’s upstream investments. According to Rystad Energy research, the upstream investments are expected to fall to USD 35 billion in the current year, in contrast to earlier estimates of USD 50 billion. Investments last year totaled USD 45 billion, rebounding from USD 40 billion in the Covid-hit year of 2020. The investment stagnation is expected to hit project spending by major domestic players, including Gazprom and Rosneft.

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Gazprom recently approved its updated investment plan for 2022, showing capital expenditure increasing by 22.5 percent to USD 28.6 billion. It is estimated that about USD 10.4 billion of that spending will be funneled into upstream operations, a marginal drop from the USD 11 billion spent on upstream investments in 2021. Most of these investments will go towards developing its enormous gas-condensate reserves in the Russian Far East and the Yamal Peninsula. Although some of these discoveries were intended as feedstock for gas deliveries to Europe before the war with Ukraine and are now estimated to take longer to come on stream, Yamal is still positioned to be the next largest gas hub for the country in the coming years. Gazprom is still developing some of its major fields and building the infrastructure to connect the fields. Gas from the Yamal fields is predominantly used as feedstock for the European market, but once the pipelines are in place, these volumes can be redirected towards Asia, opening the market to more Russian gas flows.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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