Russia received unexpected support from overseas. As it turns out, the largest US oil companies are opposed to the introduction of new anti-Russian sanctions designed to hit the "North Stream - 2". However, upon closer inspection, it turns out that the oil companies are protecting not their own Moscow, but their own pocket.
American oilmen, in particular ExxonMobil and Chevron, like the White House, opposed the Senate bill on sanctions against Russia, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Energy companies are concerned that the draft law limits their opportunities to create partnerships with Russian counterparts. In its current form, the bill, in particular, could affect two Exxon projects with Rosneft outside of Russia - in the state of New Mexico and in the Canadian province of Alberta.
Back in 2011, Rosneft and ExxonMobil agreed on mutual participation in exploration and production projects in Russia and the United States. So, ExxonMobil took part in projects on the development of three East Prinovozemelsky subsoil plots in the Kara Sea, as well as in the Tuapse Trough in the Black Sea. And in 2013, seven more subsoil plots were added to the Russian shelf. Rosneft also entered the project to develop hard-to-recover reserves in the US. The subsidiary of the Russian company acquired 30% of ExxonMobil's stake in La Escalera in the Delaware Basin of West Texas. Plus, Rosneft received 30% of the share of the US company for the development of non-traditional mineral resources in Canada (the Harmatan section of the Cardium stratum in Alberta province).
New sanctions against Russia can prevent partnership with Russian companies, not only in the energy sector, but also in the financial and industrial spheres, adds WSJ. According to the sources of the newspaper, General Electric is closely monitoring the situation, as it is concerned that the law can put American firms at a disadvantage in comparison with global competitors.
The fate of the bill has not yet been determined. The US Senate approved it a couple of weeks ago with a majority vote. But the White House does not exclude that Donald Trump can veto. The oil lobby can also have an impact.
Why so scared American oil companies?
"I think that they are afraid more than even the sanctions that will be, but the fact that it will delay the lifting of previous sanctions. ExxonMobil suffered from the first sanction wave. She had joint ventures in Russia to develop the Arctic shelf, even drilled with Rosneft in the Kara Sea, where the Pobeda deposit was discovered. There was a project with Rosneft in the Black Sea and in Western Siberia to develop hard-to-recover oil. Chevron had only one project with Rosneft in the Black Sea. But the American oil companies had to freeze all this. And they are afraid that if they now take new sanctions, unlocking their projects in Russia will take a very long time, "said Igor Yushkov, a leading expert of the National Energy Security Fund and a professor at the Financial University.
At the same time, US oil companies use serious arguments against the introduction of anti-Russian sanctions. First, because of the new sanctions, money will not be invested in US and Canadian projects, and, accordingly, in the US, jobs will be closed. The second argument - the place of Americans in Russian projects will be taken by companies from other countries.
"Lack of jobs is a painful topic. And American companies must be exceptional, they must win in any competition. Therefore, accusations of politicians that they are playing against the American economy are very serious accusations, "Yushkov said. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, CE are large taxpayers, and American politicians will have to reckon with their interests, Alpari senior analyst Anna Bodrova is sure.
In the economic plan, the confrontation between the American oil lobby and American gas companies is being played out. Because the new sanctions will primarily hit the "North Stream - 2" and the positions of Gazprom in the European gas market. This should clear the way for a mass exit of American LNG to the European market.
"American gas companies, I think, will win. Because the expansion of LNG exports will create many more jobs if the US deport Russia from the gas market in Europe and the US LNG will flood there. This is a more priority project for the US economy than the preservation of individual ExxonMobil and Chevron projects, "Yushkov said.
Rosneft will lose a little from the exit of two projects with ExxonMobil in the US and Canada. "I think it was rather a curtsey from Russia. This was an attempt by Rosneft to demonstrate that we are not just letting American companies into Russian projects, but this is mutual integration. They are part of our projects, we are in theirs. But, in fact, it was for a tick, props. Rosneft, I think, and did not intend to invest significant funds in foreign projects, "- says Igor Yushkov.
The only thing that could interest the Russian company in projects overseas is new technologies. "It is possible that Rosneft's interests in projects for extracting hard-to-reach oil are linked with the acquisition of a new technological experience. It's just that big companies will not share their knowledge, but inside the syncretic cooperation it's very even, "says Anna Bodrova.
Finally, experts explain the motive for imposing new sanctions against which American oil companies are opposed. "New sanctions are generated by the internal political conflict in the United States. This is a blow, in fact, according to Trump. They want to force him to defend Russia, (thereby) giving them grounds to accuse him once again that he is an agent of the Kremlin and he must be removed from office, "concludes Yushkov.