Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 08/08/14

Massenbach-Letter. News

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

· WATERINTAKE 09/2014 – 2014 Human Development Report

· “Men and women are not treated equally in health research.”


· Russia sanctions fail to block Norwegian deal with Rosneft

· Bulgaria confident South Stream will get EC approval – minister

· Cyprus and Greece included in the new defensive doctrine of Israel

· Cyprus starts exploratory drilling

Massenbach* WSJ: U.S. Oil Exports Ready to Sail*

*Tanker of Texas Oil Heading to South Korea in First Sale Since 1970s Embargo*

A tanker of oil from Texas set sail for South Korea late Wednesday night, the first unrestricted sale of unrefined American oil since the 1970s.

How that $40 million shipment avoided the nearly four-decade ban on exporting U.S. crude is a tale involving two determined energy companies, loophole-seeking lawyers, and an unprecedented boom in American drilling that could create a glut of ultralight oil.

The Singapore-flagged BW Zambesi is the first of many ships likely to carry U.S. oil abroad under a new interpretation of the federal law that bars most sales of American oil overseas. Analysts say future exports appear wide open: as much as 800,000 barrels a day come from just one of the many U.S. oil fields pumping light oil.

Though U.S. policy on oil exports hasn’t changed, production of this kind of oil, known as condensate, is surging. This early shipment "is the wedge that’s pushing the door open" for more ultralight oil exports, said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of consulting firm IHS.

Under rules Congress imposed after the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s, companies can export refined fuels like gasoline and diesel but not oil itself except in limited circumstances that require a special license. Such licenses, often for oil destined for Canada, are issued by the Bureau of Industry and Security, the unit inside the U.S. Commerce Department.


Until recently, domestic oil production had been declining and exporting oil wasn’t a hot issue. All that changed as new techniques for tapping oil from shale formations have sparked an oil boom in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere. Since the end of 2011, U.S. oil production has jumped by about 48%, to about 8.4 million barrels a day, according federal data.

That has been good news for companies including Enterprise Products Partners LP in Houston, a $47.7 billion company that processes, ships and stores oil and gas. Last summer, the company noticed a troubling trend: ultralight oil flowing from South Texas was flooding the market and pushing down prices. It predicted volumes would swell and prices could fall further as oil companies ramped up drilling and production.

Energy companies and lobbyists had started advocating for ending or at least relaxing the ban; Exxon Mobil Corp., the nation’s biggest oil company, openly supported lifting export restrictions in December.

But neither Congress nor the Obama administration appeared willing to do more than study a change, which some lawmakers fear would result in higher gasoline prices in the U.S.

Green-decked BW Zambesi is preparing to sail from Texas with an oil cargo destined for South Korea. DigitalGlobe/Microsoft

The industry embarked on a subtle, behind-the-scenes review of the regulations, discovering an opening for exports under existing definitions of the law. Enterprise and its lawyers found language that they believed would allow them to argue that the processing to remove some volatile elements from oil would be enough to make the resulting petroleum qualify as exportable fuel, even though it is a far cry from the traditional refining process.

The processing, which peels off fuels like propane and butane, is commonly done in oil fields across the U.S. Companies that manufacture the equipment involved say it costs between $500,000 and $5 million, a fraction of the expense of building a refinery.

When Enterprise made its case to the government, it said the equipment that its customers use to treat oil for shipment on its pipelines chemically alters the condensate in a way that makes it an exportable fuel. However, several industry executives say the equipment is not special.

"Early this year, we became very confident, extremely confident, that this was indeed a petroleum product that could be exported," Bill Ordemann, a senior vice president at Enterprise, said in an interview.

In late February, Enterprise representatives gave a private presentation to Commerce Department officials and answered a battery of questions.

Oil executives who have met with Commerce say five to 10 department officials are involved in the talks and decisions on export rulings. When energy companies began to plead their cases with the department in earnest, an official asked one company representative how to spell condensate, said a person at the meeting.

"I look for practical solutions. I looked over the regulations, said, ‚What is my client trying to do, what windows do we have?‘ " said Jacob Dweck, a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP hired by Enterprise to press its case.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. executives also were looking for a way around the ban. Pioneer, which drills across Texas, hired a former deputy secretary of the Commerce Department to represent it.

Ted Kassinger, a partner at law firm O’Melveny & Myers, zeroed in on existing oil field equipment and asked whether it might meet federal regulatory criteria. "We suddenly realized we had existing infrastructure that, at least in part, goes through a distillation process and is producing a product that’s not crude oil," he said.

Jeff Navin, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based policy consultants Boundary Stone Partners, said that the final decisions rested on specific language in the export ban that didn’t define a refined product but rather said oil had to pass through a "distillation tower," traditionally found at refineries, before it could be exported.

"So the question became, ‚What constitutes a distillation tower?‘ " said Mr. Navin, a former acting chief of staff to the Energy Secretary. "The more narrowly you define that question, the easier it is to get the administration to side with you."

Commerce gave Enterprise the green light for exports at the end of March and Pioneer received its ruling soon after. Both companies said their applications weren’t coordinated.

The decisions mean unrefined ultralight oil can now be exported from the U.S. in some cases, because the processed condensate that comes from field-level equipment is considered chemically altered enough to skirt the ban.

The White House was caught off guard by the news of the department’s actions, which weren’t coordinated with other parts of the administration, according to senior White House counselor John Podesta.

Pioneer said its ruling is narrowly drawn to fit its own operations. But Enterprise said its ruling isn’t specific to its own operations or processing equipment. Any company that processes condensate in a manner that adheres to Commerce’s ruling can sell it to Enterprise for export, the company said.

As many as 10 other companies have since applied for their own rulings on oil exports, according to people familiar with the matter. All those requests are on hold for now.

The 400,000 barrel shipment leaving the U.S. from Enterprise’s terminal in Texas City, south of Houston, was purchased by GS Caltex Corp., a South Korean refiner. Oil traders and executives say negotiations are already under way for additional sales to Asian buyers.


*US Energy Dept Approves Oregon Project To Export LNG*

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Energy Department on Thursday approved Oregon LNG to export liquefied natural gas, as the Obama administration works through applications to export fuel from the domestic drilling boom to markets in Asia and Europe.

Oregon LNG, which is controlled by Leucadia National Corp , has been authorized by the department to export up to 1.25 billion cubic feet per day of the fuel for 20 years. It hopes to begin exporting LNG in 2017.

The Astoria, Oregon-based project still needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which will review its environmental impact.

The DOE’s review of the Oregon project was initiated before the Obama administration shook up its LNG review process in May. Under its proposed revamp, the DOE will no longer issue conditional approvals of LNG projects. Instead, the DOE would decide whether a project is in the national interest only after the FERC issues a final environmental review.

The change is expected to benefit companies that have strong financial backing for their projects. The DOE has given the green light to three LNG projects this year, and Oregon LNG could be one of last to get initial approval from the department under the old system.

In March, as the Obama administration was under pressure to approve projects amid Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, the DOE approved Veresen Inc’s Jordan Cove plant. Weeks earlier it approved Sempra’s Cameron project. On Wednesday, the FERC approved construction of the Freeport LNG Development LP’s LNG project in Texas, the third project gaining full U.S. approval to ship the fuel to countries with which Washington does not have a free trade agreement.

The first of those, Cheniere’s Sabine Pass plant in Louisiana, is expected to begin shipping LNG next year. Senator Lisa Murkowski, from energy-producing state Alaska and the top Republican on the Energy Committee, welcomed both recent approvals. She said she would keep a "close eye" on the new review system to "make sure the progress we’ve seen doesn’t slip."


*Corpus Christi Crude Oil Shipments Hit Record 560,000 bopd in June*

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) – Crude oil shipments out of the Texas Port of Corpus Christi climbed to a record high in June as the Eagle Ford shale play pumped out ever more crude, port data showed on Monday, although outbound cargoes of condensate dipped.

More than 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil left the port, an increase of 61 percent from June 2013 and a rise of 5 percent from May’s 535,000 bpd, which was the previous record high. Eagle Ford’s gushing shale fields have yielded copious amounts of crude oil largely destined for refineries along the Gulf and East coasts, with some barrels going to Canadian refineries. The port data does not identify individual shipments or provide figures on shipments by destination.

Crude oil loadings averaged 340,000 bpd in 2013 and never topped 400,000 bpd in any given month. In 2014, they have averaged 451,000 bpd, climbing by about 100,000 bpd every two months, from 359,000 bpd in January to 437,000 in March. In June, more than 63,000 bpd of condensate left Corpus, down 9.5 percent from May’s 70,000 barrels but triple the June 2013 figure of 21,000.

Energy companies and traders such as Valero Energy Corp and Trafigura Beheer BV are scrambling to take advantage of the shale boom, leasing docking space at the port and expanding existing facilities for transloading and storing crude.



Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Rep. Cooper Bill Ensures Equality in Medical Research*

Studying women valuable; new legislation would require it* Women currently make up more than half the U.S. population, but most medical research focuses on men.*

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-1) today introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the inclusion and separate analysis of both male and female animals, tissues and cells in basic research conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Current law does not require researchers to study female animals when conducting basic medical research.

As researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently said, “Medical research that is either sex- or gender-neutral or skewed to male physiology puts women at risk for missed opportunities for prevention, incorrect diagnoses, misinformed treatments, sickness and even death.”

Cooper’s Research for All Act requires NIH to study female subjects and analyze sex differences in basic research. It also directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to guarantee that clinical drug trials for expedited drug products are sufficient to determine safety and effectiveness for both men and women.

“Men and women are not treated equally in health research,” Rep. Cooper said. “Science should not discriminate against women.”

“Medical research continues to progress, but as it does so, we need to ensure that we do not cut corners that could cost those being treated,” Rep. Lummis said. “Data tell us men and women react differently to varying medical treatments.”

Women currently make up more than half the U.S. population, but most medical research focuses on men. 60 Minutes recently featured the issue and explored the consequences.

For example, the unique way women metabolize drugs was ignored when researchers determined the dosage for Ambien sleeping pills; as a result, the initial recommended dosage was double what it should have been for women.

Additionally, cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of all Americans, but only one-third of subjects in cardiac clinical trials are women. Just 30 percent of cardiac studies that include women report outcomes by sex.

Cooper’s bill helps alleviate such disparities, and it promotes men’s health, too. A recent diabetes drug study suggested that the drug may lower women’s risk of heart failure but increase men’s risk. Meanwhile, evidence suggests common blood pressure and antibiotic medication are less effective for men.

“We should study both women and men throughout the scientific process, starting with the earliest levels of research,” Rep. Cooper said. “Better research leads to better outcomes.”

“The Research for All Act requires thorough research to ensure viable and effective medicines for both men and women,” Rep. Lummis said. “One sex should not be excluded from testing when it could mean the difference between effective treatment and harm to health.”

The Research for All Act is supported by numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, National Center for Health Research, National Women’s Health Network, NOW and the Society for Women’s Health Research.

American Heart Association
“Without diversity in research, questions about how cardiovascular disease affects women and other populations differently will remain unanswered,” said American Heart Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D. “This legislation will be a critical help in closing that gap.”

National Organization for Women
“The National Organization for Women is particularly supportive of the act’s widespread implications to improve the health and lives of women across the country,” NOW said in a statement. “Under the Research for All Act, more women will be enrolled in clinical trials, addressing the issues of drug effectiveness and appropriate dosage that best relate to women. With larger, well-designed trials in place to track how women and men react to different life-changing drugs, NOW is confident that women will be now able to access more effective treatments for health issues with disparate gender impacts.”

Society for Women’s Health Research
“This legislation represents a significant step forward towards addressing inequities in research that impact the healthcare of men and women,” said Phyllis Greenberger, President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research. “We are pleased to support the Research for All Act and thank Representatives Cooper and Lummis for their commitment to improving the health of all Americans through research.”

Read the summary of the bill and a section-by-section analysis.
Research for All Act One Pager.pdf
Research for All Act Section by Section.pdf

For a full list of supporters, please see below.

American Heart Association
American Lung Association
American Medical Student Association
American Medical Women’s Association
American Stroke Association
Annie Appleseed Project
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
Breast Cancer Action
Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists
Connecticut Center for Patient Safety
Consumers United for Evidence-based Healthcare (CUE)
Endocrine Society
Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, GWU
National Center for Health Research
National Organization for Women (NOW)
National Physicians Alliance
National Women’s Health Network
Northwestern University Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) on Sex Differences at the Feinberg School of Medicine
Our Bodies Ourselves
Ovarian Cancer Alliance of San Diego
Society for Women’s Health Research
The TMJ Association

Please contact Chris Carroll at 202-225-4311 to speak with experts at some of the organizations listed above.



Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* *WATERINTAKE 09/2014*

2014 Human Development Report

*Entitled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience*

… "Vulnerabilität" und "Resilienz" sind die zentralen Begriffe des diesjährigen Berichts über die menschliche Entwicklung 2014 … Um Fortschritte bei der menschlichen Entwicklung dauerhaft zu sichern, müssen verschiedene Arten von Anfälligkeiten und Verwundbarkeiten verringert werden. Die Widerstandsfähigkeit der Gesellschaften gegenüber Schocks und Krisen muss deutlich gestärkt werden … Dabei spielt die universelle soziale Grundversorgung eine zentrale Rolle, ebenso wie wirksamere Konzepte für soziale Sicherung und Vollbeschäftigung, durch die Entwicklungsfortschritte beschleunigt und abgesichert werden sollen … wie und wie sehr sich Finanzkrisen, schwankende Nahrungsmittelpreise oder Naturkatastrophen, der Klimawandel, gewaltsame Konflikte oder Flüchtlingsströme auswirken, kann sehr unterschiedlich sein. … Der Bericht plädiert für eine universelle soziale Grundversorgung, vor allem im Gesundheits- und Bildungsbereich, um die Widerstandsfähigkeit zu stärken. Er widerspricht der Vorstellung, dass dies nur für reiche Länder erschwinglich ist … Der Bericht geht von der Feststellung aus, dass Risiken, die grenzüberschreitender Natur sind, kollektives Handeln erfordern….





Middle East

*Cyprus and Greece included in the new defensive doctrine of Israel*

Cyprus and Greece are the countries with which Israel should promote alliances. This position is recorded in the new defense doctrine of Israel, which diversifies taking into consideration the energy reserves, but also the wider developments in the Middle East.

According to a report in the newspaper “Phileleutheros” it is noteworthy that while Cyprus and Greece are mentioned, there is nothing for Turkey, with which Israel a few years ago had special military cooperation and even progressed to joint arms programs.

Instead, Turkey is presented as one of the sources of problems for Israel. In the new defense doctrine of Israel it is noted that this is necessary because the situation has changed dramatically over the last 60 years, i.e. since the first designed corresponding doctrine for the Jewish state.

It is noted that “the threats and challenges posed by the regional turmoil, the crisis in Israel’s relations with Turkey and the complex reality that emerged after the events of the Arab Spring, require Israel to try and look for new opportunities to building alliances with other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Balkans and Eastern Africa”.

It goes on to clearly recorded three strategic factors, for which Israel may seek allies. It states: “three strategic factors can be identified for which Israel would be interested to promote formal and informal alliances”.

In Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Cyprus and other Balkan countries. In the Middle East – Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries. Finally, in East Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda (Christian East African countries threatened by radical Islamists). ”

As to the degree of importance, Israel gives to the development of its relations with Cyprus and Greece, it is recorded elsewhere in the study on the new defense doctrine of the country: “ The Mediterranean Sea is the lifeline that connects Israel with Europe and America. ”

There is also a reference to the new circumstances that have arisen in recent years with the discovery of hydrocarbons. Specifically, it is noted that these new developments “require a revision of the maritime region in relation to the defense of Israel.”

It is emphasized that the discovery of gas reserves in the sea region of Israel and the setting of the Exclusive Economic Zone requires the protection of these strategic reserves. At this point is added the importance of the Red Sea as a trade corridor to the Asian powerhouses of China, India and Japan. It is further noted that apart from the ability of Israel to defend its ground and protect its state, it now needs an additional powerful element that is the development of strategic relations. In these relations regional alliances have a prominent place, in which – as mentioned above – both Cyprus and Greece are included.


*Cyprus starts exploratory drilling*

Energy Minister of Cyprus, George Lakkotrypis announced that before the end of summer, exploratory drilling will start in the “Onasagoras’ area, located in block 9 of the Cypriot EEZ.

He also announced that for this as well as five other deposits, the signs are encouraging. Moreover, today the Republic of Cyprus and the Italian-Korean consortium Eni/KOGAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This is a preliminary agreement, aimed at investigating ways of exploiting the potential gas reserves in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with priority given to the terrestrial station liquefaction of natural gas. The Italian Eni is Manager of blocks 2, 3 and 9 of the Cyprus EEZ, with a stake of 80%. The Korean KOGAS is a partner in Units 2, 3 and 9 of the Cyprus EEZ, with a stake of 20%.





*Russia’s Rosneft, North Atlantic Drilling In $4.25B Drilling Deal*

by Reuters – Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rosneft and North Atlantic Drilling enter a drilling agreement worth up to $4.25B,

in line with a previous agreement and despite Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine

MOSCOW, July 30 (Reuters) – Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft and North Atlantic Drilling have entered into a drilling agreement worth up to $4.25 billion, in line with a previous agreement and despite Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukraine.

Rosneft said the deal foresaw the employment of six offshore drilling rigs until 2022. North Atlantic Drilling is a subsidiary of Seadrill, the world’s largest offshore driller.

In a separate statement, North Atlantic Drilling said total revenue potential for the six contracts "exclusive of mobilization" was approximately $4.25 billion.

Rosneft has first signed a cooperation agreement with North Atlantic Drilling in May with a view to start drilling two offshore wells in the Russian Arctic in 2014 and 2015. "We are very pleased with the execution of these contracts, which is in line with the timetable agreed earlier this year," Alf Ragnar Lovdal, North Atlantic Drilling’s chief executive officer said a statement.

Rosneft plans to start drilling an exploration well jointly with ExxonMobil in Kara Sea next month.

The United States and the European Union have imposed a number of sanctions against Russian individuals and companies, including Rosneft, in attempt to spot violence in eastern Ukraine where pro-Moscow rebels are fighting against the government forces. On Tuesday, European diplomats said ambassadors from the 28-member European Union agreed restrictions on the trade of equipment for the oil and defence sectors, and "dual use" technology with both defence and civilian purposes.

This may hamper Rosneft’s ambitions to tap the vast offshore Arctic riches.

North Atlantic Drilling is based in Oslo, Norway, which is not a part of the EU and has not announced any sanctions against Russia. However its shares were listed its NYSE in January. Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said in the statement the deal with North Atlantic Drilling "will allow Rosneft to ensure implementation of exploration and development of its harsh environment offshore license areas."

Igor Setschin ist kein Oligarch. Ganz im Gegenteil: Lange wurde der gewiefte Politstratege „Schreck der Oligarchen“ genannt, weil er an Putins Kampf gegen die mächtigen Reichen in dessen erster Amtszeit, der mit der Verurteilung von Michail Chodorkowski endete, entscheidend mitgearbeitet haben soll. Inzwischen ist Setschin, der mit Putin bereits zu dessen Zeit als Vizebürgermeister in St. Petersburg zusammenarbeitete, aber zu einem der wichtigsten Wirtschaftsführer Russlands aufgestiegen, denn er leitet den staatlichen Ölkonzern Rosneft. 2012 übernahm Rosneft das Öl­unternehmen TNK-BP und wurde damit zum größten Energie­konzern der Welt. Allein deswegen hat Setschin Macht, vor allem aber, weil Erdöl das wichtigste Produkt der russischen Wirtschaft ist. Setschin sieht seine Funktion bei Rosneft weiterhin politisch. Für ihn ist der weltgrößte Energiekonzern ein verlängerter Arm des Kremls, der vor allem die politischen und wirtschaftlichen Interessen der russischen Regierung durchsetzen soll.

Gennadij Timtschenko schafft es mit einem Vermögen von 15,2 Milliarden Dollar auf Platz 6 der Liste der reichsten Russen. Er wuchs in Armenien, Ostdeutschland und im ukrainischen Odessa auf, schloss ein Ingenieurstudium in St. Petersburg ab und arbeitete dann bei einer staatlichen Raffinerie. Mit 45 Jahren gründete er die Gunvor-Gruppe mit, die zu den weltweit größten Energiehändlern zählt. Im März verkaufte er seinen 43-prozentigen Anteil an seinen Geschäftspartner Torbjorn Tornquivst – genau einen Tag bevor das US-Finanzministerium Sanktionen gegen ihn verhängte. Allerdings hält er nach wie vor Beteiligungen an mehreren Gas-, Transport- und Bauunternehmen wie zum Beispiel Novatek, dem größten privaten Gasförderunternehmen Russlands. Timtschenko gehört seit seiner Petersburger Zeit zu den engsten Vertrauten Putins; in dem von ihm gegründeten Judoklub ist der Kreml­chef Ehrenpräsident. „Wir kennen uns schon seit Jahren, und wir treffen uns auch von Zeit zu Zeit“, sagte er dem Magazin Forbes. Allerdings streitet Timtschenko vehement ab, jemals geschäftlich von dieser Beziehung profitiert zu haben und verklagte nach entsprechenden Vorwürfen 2009 den Economist. Der medienscheue 61-Jährige lebt heute mit seiner Frau und drei Kindern in der Schweiz.

Alischer Usmanow ist der Reichste der Reichen. Mit einem Vermögen von mehr als 18,6 Milliarden Dollar führt er die aktuelle Forbes-Liste für Russland an, und das schon seit drei Jahren. Der 1953 in Usbekistan Geborene hat sein Geld zunächst im Gazprom-Konzern verdient, später kamen zahlreiche Beteiligungen vor allem in der Metallindustrie sowie bei Telekommunikations- und Internet­unternehmen hinzu. So ist er seit 2009 Aktionär bei Facebook. Nach dem Börsengang des Sozialen Netzwerks 2012 hat Usmanow seine Facebook-Aktien nach und nach verkauft und dabei einen ordentlichen Gewinn eingestrichen. Ebenfalls zu seinem Imperium gehört ein Teil des Londoner Fußballclubs FC Arsenal, an dem er zusammen mit Farhad Moshiri rund 30 Prozent hält. In Großbritannien besitzt Usmanow, der eng mit dem Oligarchen und FC-Chelsea-Eigner Roman Abramowitsch befreundet ist, das Anwesen Sutton Place in der Grafschaft Surrey, das einst dem US-Milliardär J. Paul Getty gehörte. Usmanow ist zudem Eigentümer der russischen Wirtschaftszeitung Kommersant. Lange Zeit konnten die Kommersant-Journalisten relativ frei berichten. Als sie nach der Präsidentschaftswahl 2012 jedoch einen kritischen Artikel über Wladimir Putin und angebliche Wahlfälschungen veröffentlichten, entließ Usmanow sofort den Chefredakteur. An einem Image als Vorkämpfer für die Pressefreiheit liegt Usmanow nichts. Sein Draht zur Macht ist ihm bedeutend wichtiger.

Wiktor Wekselberg hatte bereits in der Sowjetunion seine ersten geschäftlichen Erfolge, als er Kupferreste und Computer verkaufte. Seine große Zeit begann aber wie bei so vielen Oligarchen in den wilden neunziger Jahren, als er sich lukrative Stücke aus dem ehemaligen Staatseigentum sichern konnte. Darunter war auch der Ölkonzern TNK, der ihm in den kommenden Jahren große Gewinne, aber auch viel Ärger bescherte. Wekselberg führte TNK mit dem britischen Ölkonzern BP in einem Joint Venture zusammen, in dem es 2008 zu einem erbitterten Machtkampf zwischen Wekselberg und zwei anderen Oligarchen auf der einen und dem britischen TNK-BP-Chef Robert Dudley auf der anderen Seite kam. Die Oligarchen nutzten ihre Verbindungen in die Politik, um ihren Willen durchzusetzen. Inzwischen gehört TNK-BP dem staatlichen Ölkonzern Rosneft, und Wekselberg konzentriert sich auf seine anderen Unternehmen, vor allen den riesigen Mischkonzern Renova. Wekselberg ist zudem Koordinierungsdirektor des Technologieparks und Hightech-Forschungszentrums „Skolkowo“, das momentan in der Nähe von Moskau entsteht. Der 57-Jährige gilt als eher zurückhaltend, für Eskapaden ist er nicht bekannt. Spektakulär war allerdings sein Kauf einer Sammlung von Fabergé-Eiern für 100 Millionen Dollar im Jahr 2004.



Relevant sections

** Preamble paragraph (4)

It is also appropriate to apply restrictions on the sale, supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, of certain technologies for the oil industry in Russia in the form of a prior authorisation requirement.

** Article 3

A prior authorisation shall be required for the sale, supply, transfer or export, directly or indirectly, of technologies as listed in Annex II, whether or not originating in the Union, to any natural or legal person, entity or body in Russia or in any other country, if such equipment or technology is for use in Russia. 2.For all sales, supplies, transfers or exports for which an authorisation is required under this Article, such authorisation shall be granted by the competent authorities of the Member State where the exporter is established and shall be in accordance with the detailed rules laid down in Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 428/2009. The authorisation shall be valid throughout the Union. 3.Annex II shall include certain technologies suited to the oil industry for use in deep water oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production, or shale oil projects in Russia. 4.Exporters shall supply the competent authorities with all relevant information required for their application for an export authorisation. 5.The competent authorities shall not grant any authorisation for any sale, supply, transfer or export of the technologies included in Annex II, if they have reasonable grounds to determine that the sale, supply, transfer or export of the technologies is for projects pertaining to deep water oil exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production, or shale oil projects in Russia. The competent authorities may, however, grant an authorisation where the export concerns the execution of an obligation arising from a contract or an agreement concluded before 1 August 2014.

** Annex II

Items requiring prior authorization appear to be mostly steel pipelines, drilling tools, pressure pumping equipment, drilling derricks, production platforms, and certain sea-going vessels.


*COLUMN-EU energy restrictions on Russia are mostly "sanctions theatre": Kemp*

(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

LONDON, Aug 4 (Reuters) – EU sanctions on Russia’s oil sector will not seriously hamper the development of new oil resources in either the short or the long term, though they leave open the possibility of further escalation if relations with Russia deteriorate in future.

Taken as a whole, the restrictions announced on July 31 are best viewed as a piece of "sanctions theatre" designed to show the public and Washington that the EU is doing something in response to the downing of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine while keeping the costs to EU energy firms as low as possible.

Sanctions will be enforced in the form of a "prior authorisation" requirement before certain oil-related goods and services can be exported for use in Russia, according to the EU Official Journal ("Council Regulation 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine" July 31).

Restrictions apply to the "sale, supply, transfer or export" of certain technologies "suited to the oil industry for use in deep water exploration and production, Arctic oil exploration and production, or shale oil projects" (Article 3 paragraphs 1 and 3).

Covered technologies are set out in a list which consists mostly of steel pipe and casings used for the construction of pipelines and oil wells, as well as drilling and pressure pumping equipment, and some floating or semi-submersible production platforms (Annex 2).

Technical assistance, brokerage services and financing linked to the same items and technologies are subject to the same prior authorisation requirement (Article 4 paragraph 3).

Enforcement of the sanctions is left to individual EU member states, though there are basic information and consultation requirements.

In theory, member states "shall not" grant authorisation for any technology transfers or technical assistance related to deepwater, Arctic and shale projects.

But the ban contains several important exclusions which should ensure that most if not all existing and future projects are exempted:

(1) Sanctions apply only to oil production, not gas.

(2) Export authorisation "may" be granted for equipment, technical advice or financing "arising from a contract or an agreement" concluded before August 1 (Article 3 paragraph 5 second part).

(3) Sanctions apply only to deepwater, Arctic and shale developments, not to conventional oil fields.

In combination, these exclusions apply to all current and announced projects, and cover billions of barrels of potential oil and gas production over the next few decades.

For example, agreements between Exxon, BP, Shell, Total and Russian companies to develop Arctic, offshore and shale formations in Russia are either exempt because they were concluded before Aug 1, or because they are principally drilling for gas, or can be classified as conventional oil production.

The language of the regulation is very permissive. The concept of a "contract or an agreement" concluded before the deadline is particularly stretchy since it is not limited to a final investment agreement but seems to encompass plans which are still only at the provisional stage.

Most major oil and gas companies, as well as service companies, should have no difficulty in arguing the provision of equipment and technical advice is linked to the execution of existing obligations for contracts or agreements which are already in place.

In addition, most wells produce a mix of oil, gas and condensate, in varying proportions. The regulations only prohibit the export of equipment and advice for oil projects. Gas projects are clearly allowed. And the regulations are silent about condensates (otherwise known as natural gas liquids).

It should not be too hard to argue that equipment and advice is being exported for gas rather than oil. Get ready for a sudden increase in the number of projects looking for "gas," "wet gas" and "condensate" in future.


National authorities have been left to determine precisely how to apply the sanctions and the generous exemptions. Everything will depend on how they decide to interpret the restrictions and exclusions.

In the hands of national governments, the energy sanctions could be a flexible instrument for escalating or de-escalating pressure on the Russian government in response to events in Ukraine.

If the relationship continues to worsen, EU governments can easily tighten the sanctions by employing a more expansive view of the sanctions and a more restrictive view of the exclusions, or take the opposite view if relations improve.

The EU promised "these measures will be kept under review and may be suspended or withdrawn, or supplemented by other restrictive measures, in light of developments on the ground."

But access to the Russian oil and gas sector is vital for a number of large EU energy companies, which will lobby hard behind the scenes for the most permissive interpretation in order to safeguard their own supplies and investments.

If a strict interpretation of the sanctions is enforced, Russia is likely to turn to other suppliers, notably its own firms and China, for the capital and expertise needed to develop new oil resources, which would harm western energy companies without necessarily doing much to reduce Russia’s production potential.

The sanctions are also intended to send a signal about the political acceptability of doing business with Russia’s oil and gas companies.

For advocates, the hope is that many companies will end or at least scale back deals even where they would be allowed under certain readings of the regulations.

"The more this looks like the (U.S.) administration is using pages from the Iranian financial sanctions playbook, the greater the likelihood that market players will voluntarily cut their business ties to stay ahead of potential penalties," Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told the Wall Street Journal ("Recent history suggests tougher Russia sanctions are needed" July 30).

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies has been a prominent advocate for sanctions on Iran, and now Russia.

"Sanctions are as much about psychology as legalities," Dubowitz told the Journal.

But while it is possible companies will adopt a restrictive reading of the new regulations, it seems more likely they will push for a permissive one, and try to continue with business as usual as much as possible.

Oil and gas companies have lots of experience dealing with complicated political and legal environments.

As drafted, the export restrictions contain enough exclusions and ambiguity that most projects should be able to proceed, at least in the next few years, when much of the preparatory work will be small scale.

For most deepwater, Arctic and shale developments, large-scale production was years away, even before the sanctions announcement.

Oil and gas producers and service companies will hope to continue with enough work to protect their projects in the short term, while hoping for a medium-term thaw in political relations. (Editing by William Hardy)


*Russia sanctions fail to block Norwegian deal with Rosneft*

Sanctions on the oil sector in Russia are “unfortunate” as there are big opportunities for western companies in the development of the Arctic, according to the world’s largest offshore drilling group, which this week signed a $4.25bn contract with Rosneft.

North Atlantic Drilling signed contracts with Rosneft, the Russian state oil group with close ties to president Vladimir Putin, for the use of six offshore drilling rigs up to 2022 worth $4.25bn “exclusive of mobilisation”.

Rune Magnus Lundetrae, chief financial officer of SeaDrill, the parent company of North Atlantic, told the Financial Times on Thursday: “These contracts are the beginning to a very interesting partnership with Rosneft. The timing of the sanctions is unfortunate. It’s more about future opportunities.”

SeaDrill believes the contracts circumvent the latest EU sanctions on Russia – which specifically target the offshore oil industry – as they were signed before the restrictions come into force.

Other executives in Norway – outside the EU but likely to follow the latest sanctions – have expressed their displeasure with the crackdown.

Greger Mannsverk, chief executive of the Kimek shipyard that does about half of its business with Russia, told Norwegian media: “Decades of good co-operation with Russia can be destroyed overnight . . . It’s easy enough for EU countries that don’t have a border with Russia to do this. But we are their neighbours. It’s more dramatic.”

Politicians urged companies to rethink their relationships with Russian companies.

Ola Elvestuen, deputy leader of the centre-right Liberals, one of two smaller parties the government relies on for support, said: “If Russia does not change its policy in eastern Ukraine it will have negative consequences for them. Norwegian companies should avoid Rosneft in the current situation.”

The drilling rig contracts represent a deepening of the relationship between the two companies. SeaDrill already has one rig on its way to the Kara Sea, in the Russian Arctic, to explore for oil for a joint venture between Rosneft and ExxonMobil of the US.

Rosneft said in May that it would become a big shareholder in North Atlantic Drilling, currently 70 per cent owned by SeaDrill, as part of the co-operation.

Both SeaDrill and North Atlantic Drilling have complicated corporate structures with their top companies registered in Bermuda but listings in New York. Seadrill’s management sits in London but it also has a listing in Oslo while North Atlantic Drilling’s management is in Norway. Nonetheless, the EU sanctions are expected to apply.

“There is geopolitical risk. But we are doing what we can do to avoid being affected too much,” Mr Lundetrae explained.

He added that SeaDrill, whose biggest shareholder is Norway’s richest man John Fredriksen, was. “It’s difficult to understand the full implications yet. How long will the sanctions be effective, for instance?”

He said that Russia offered big opportunities for Norwegian oil services companies used to dealing with harsh environments but who had hitherto concentrated on other countries. “The risk is more related to future business than existing business in our view. For now most of the harsh environment players have been more focused on the Norwegian and the UK sectors,” Mr Lundetrae added.

Many Nordic companies – particularly in Finland and Norway – have tried to boost their business in Russia in recent years, making them vulnerable to sanctions but also privately angry at their likely impact.

Mr Lundetrae said: “Norway and many other countries do a lot of business with Russia and it seems a bit unrealistic to cut all ties overnight. Norway has made a lot of diplomatic efforts to increase trade with Russia.”

Mr Mannsverk expressed doubts that sanctions would help defuse the situation with Russia. “Is peace achieved if we get a new cold war? In other parts of the world we want dialogue. I have little faith that it works to push people into a corner.”



*Bulgaria confident South Stream will get EC approval – minister*

(Photo of South Stream ceremonial first welding in Bulgaria:

Bulgaria’s outgoing economy minister Dragomir Stoynev said on August 1 that the controversial decision to sell state land to the South Stream project company was predicated on the assumption that the European Commission would approve the construction of the gas pipeline.

Bulgaria’s Agriculture Ministry sold, last week, 35.86 hectares of state forest lands to South Stream Bulgaria, the company that will build and operate the Bulgarian stretch of the pipeline, for 20.6 million leva.

The deal was not made public, but was leaked and reported by Bulgarian media this week, prompting accusations from critics of the outgoing Plamen Oresharski administration that the government was nudging the project on despite its official stance of halting work on the pipeline.

Bulgaria said it froze work on South Stream following criticism from the European Commission that South Stream breached the regulations of the Third energy package regulations, which ban gas trading companies – like Russia’s Gazprom – from owning and operating pipelines. Russia, which is heavily promoting South Stream as an alternative transit route to Ukraine, disputes the EU’s right to impose such regulations, arguing that intergovernmental agreements superseded EU law, and has lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organisation.

Stoynev, who has been among the most ardent supporters of South Stream in recent months, told Bulgarian National Television that no new contracts have been signed on South Stream since Oresharski announced that the project was being suspended on June 8.

Asked about the land sale, Stoynev said that “we must be prepared, once the European Commission gives its approval, to start work.” If the EC planned to stop the pipeline’s construction altogether, it would have communicated that to the other EU member states involved in the project – Austria, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia – but the Commission has not done so, Stoynev said.

“We are awaiting the European Commission’s statement to start the construction on this project. It is no secret that there are 65 000 tonnes of pipes in Bourgas,” he said.



see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat



Council Regulation -EU- No 833-2014 of 31 July 2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine.pdf