Ivan Steps On Shell

You have to give Putin credit for knowing what Russia’s cards are these days and for not being afraid to play them

Shell is being forced by the Russian government to hand over its controlling stake in the world’s biggest liquefied gas project, provoking fresh fears about the Kremlin’s willingness to use the country’s growing strength in natural resources as a political weapon.
After months of relentless pressure from Moscow, the Anglo-Dutch company has to cut its stake in the $20bn Sakhalin-2 scheme in the far east of Russia in favour of the state-owned energy group Gazprom.
The Russian authorities are also threatening BP over alleged environmental violations on a Siberian field in what is seen as a wider attempt to seize back assets handed over to foreign companies when energy prices were low.

Now that’s a good joke, the Russians seizing the oil fields to ‘defend the environment.’ But the bigger political move is scary for Western Europe, and it should be. Russia showed last winter that they’re not afraid to shut off oil and natural gas pipelines for political reasons, and this is a warning shot to the Euroappeasers that Ivan wants a big chair at the table. Unfortunately, this will also drive the Euroappeasers closer to Iran as a way to try and counter the Russian move, which means any hope of firm action against Iran is even more of a fantasy than before. Frankly, you’d think the Russians would support sanctions against Iran, as that would raise the value of their holdings…but would also lead to increased tensions with the muslim elements in their southern regions. Moscow’s trying to juggle a couple of chainsaws here. Honestly, I can see Putin gaining control of the foreign oil assets in Russia, then supporting a tougher stance vis a vis Iran, which would provoke unrest in the southern Russian republics, which would allow him to really crack down on them, and pay for it with the much higher energy prices he’d be getting. Ugly and bloody, but there’s going to be a housecleaning over there eventually and I’m sure he would prefer it to be somewhat on his terms.

5 Responses to “Ivan Steps On Shell”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    If I owned a company that had its refineries nationalized by a two bit government, I’d sure as hell make sure that those refineries never worked again.

  2. John says:

    Even back in the days of Gorby (when I lived on the other side of the Iron Curtain) there were concerns that Russia would turn off the natural gas tap on the EU when it wanted to keep them in line.
    I actually hope that they do, just so the Euroweenies can come running, crying to us, and we can tell them to kiss off.

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, but they won’t. They’ll run to Iran and Chavez.

  4. Nightfly says:

    Between Russia hoping we never find the bills of lading for all that stuff Saddam had and the EU trying to suck up to Iran to couterbalance, it’s no wonder we’re having all this world of trouble. What’s worse, half of the Congress is currently held by the EU Party (and half of the remainder are eunuchs for the sake of the Squishy Marshmallow).
    We’d have done better just to conquer the Middle East one country at a time than this half-assery. The ONLY damned reason we’re losing the Iraqi War is a decided shortage of nerve. Dammit I’m starting to sound like Derbyshire now.

  5. This is gonna raise hell with the stock price.
    And all those folks squawking about record oil company profits probably won’t even notice.

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