Friday, February 11, 2005

Them darn Ruskies.

Yesterday, the Russian government announced that henceforth only majority (51%) Russian owned companies would be allowed to bid on major oil fields this year. Since Russia is, er, was considered one of the few areas that oil majors might have been able to find some breathing room in terms of promising new reserves, this isn't a favorable development.

WSJ quotes a Western industry official as saying "This sets a bad precedent." (Apparently they found the one gentleman in the industry who lay in a coma as Russia dismantled OAO Yukos.)

Oil prices jumped, as did oil stocks. Looks like them Russians caught on that this oil stuff was worth a few bucks. Interestingly, Russian growth in oil production appears to be trending lower.

As an aside, I've read that if Russia's economy hadn't been a train wreck through most of the 90's, their internal oil needs would be a lot higher and their oil exports subsequently lower with the supply/demand equation in the oil market consequently much tighter.