The possibility that Russia may soon own refineries in the U.S. if Venezuela’s PDVSA defaults on its loans from Rosneft has pushed the risks of foreign-owned energy assets in the U.S. into the spotlight. As of now, some 30 percent of U.S. refining capacity is owned by foreign companies.
In the event that Venezuela defaults on its loan to Rosneft, the Russians would assume control of critical U.S. energy infrastructure.
In the aftermath of the 2014 price fall, producer countries have had to reevaluate policy and economic strategy while contending with a persistent glut that may dampen prices for some time, further undermine their budgets, and possibly cause domestic strife.
Likely with window dressing.
More and more market watchers are making the case that OPEC should just leave well enough alone and let the free market set the price. While trying to influence sentiment and fundamentals, on nearly a daily basis, OPEC has already destabilized the market and guarantees more uncertainty ahead.
Markets are shrugging off OPEC headlines, with prices weakening and hedge funds liquidating long positions. The cartel may be missing the mark on its stated longer-term goal of stabilizing the market and preventing a catastrophic correction.
The Arctic’s strategic importance to Moscow helps explain why Russia is moving ahead so aggressively in the region while the economic case for doing so is questionable
Between now and OPEC's next meeting in May, much more must be done in order to make sure the cuts are fairly distributed, slackers come around, and non-OPEC members stick to the deal.
The biggest questions at CERAWeek this year is whether OPEC and its non-OPEC counterparts will recommit to throttling back in May and whether U.S. shale can fully offset these cuts and push down prices.
Despite baggage old and new, the Saudis and the greater GCC are ready and willing to do business with Russia even if their visions for the Middle East don’t align.