Americans don't think that Russian oil will ever replace Mideast oil
The Russian-American oil summit opened in Houston (USA) yesterday. As is supposed, Russian oil might take a completely different place in the structure of the American imports. The results of the summit might also make Russia a real global ally of the United States. As experience shows, big hopes remain only hopes, basically. Russia’s dreams do not make an exception either.
However, the staff of the Russian delegation testified to the intention of the Russian government to obtain positive results. Russia is represented by the Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref and Minister for Energy Igor Yusufov. The leaders of such giant oil companies as LUKOIL, Yukos, Rosneft, TNK, and Gazprom are also members of the Russian delegation.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov sent a welcoming note to the participants of the summit. In the note, Kasyanov welcomed a new level of dialogue between the USA and Russia in the energy field. Kasyanov hopes that the efforts of the both countries will make the world market of energy carriers stable and predictable. The Russian premier also expressed his hope that successful cooperation in the field of energy will lead to successful cooperation in other fields as well.
Everybody wants to hope for the best. Even a prime minister can have simple human feelings. Positive results of the summit in Houston would be a very good chance for Russia to get into the “family of civilized nations.” However, this does not mean that the USA needs Russia.
It is an open secret that the USA does not really hope want Russian oil. At the end of the day, a military operation is a lot cheaper than long-term unpredictable investments in Russian petroleum production. Any war for the USA is like a powerful engine for economic development. Military orders save American high-tech companies from bankruptcy or mass staff reduction. Here, we are speaking of the rich Iraqi oil deposits.
Reuters said on the threshold of the summit that Russia’s role as America’s major oil supplier was very unlikely in the nearest future. The reason is very simple. Russia does not have the requisite infrastructure to export oil to the USA. Most importantly, Russia is not rich with excessive oil. A spokesman for the American Department for Energy stated that the USA was not a natural market for Russian oil.
Russian petroleum exports to the USA have reached the level of 61 thousand barrels daily since the beginning of the year. The USA imports 8.9 million barrels of oil daily. Furthermore, foreign top managers who are employed by Russian oil companies are not optimistic about it either. The RusEnergy news agency cited Boris Misamor, the chief financial analyst of the Russian oil company Yukos. Mr.Misamor said that petroleum deliveries to the USA were likely to reach the level of five million tons a year by 2005. He also added that it was hard to make any further forecasts.
According to information from EIA, the Russian oil industry suffers from the exhaustion of deposits, transport infrastructure, and also from the strong lack of investment. The lack of investment is explained by incoherent tax and legal norms. In other words, Russia is simply not ready to become an ally. What else can be said in this respect?
Nowadays, the USA has all the opportunities to obtain control over Iraqi oil. The energy “alliance” with Russia is being cynically played by the American administration as a way to create peer pressure on the Arab world. Mideast oil is the best in the world. An increase in low-quality oil exports from Russia will never change the situation in the world of petroleum markets. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is capable of stabilizing both the market and prices within a week.
For the time being, large suppliers and consumers of oil negotiate their future relations. One may not doubt that Russia is not taken into consideration in this respect.
Dmitry Slobodanuk PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969