New Rosneft-Transneft Conflict Demonstrates Chronic Challenges Of Russian Oil Industry

Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft and the state-owned oil pipeline monopoly Transneft added another page to their long-running confrontation when Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, complained to President Vladimir Putin, on May 12, about the high transportation fees being charged by the pipeline operator (, May 12). Transneft rebuked the allegations immediately, although that did not […]

Europe Must Prepare For Life After Oil

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to leave the fossil fuel era behind. Europe needs to begin preparing for what comes next. Oil prices have crashed. The most visible cause has been the measures taken to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, which have triggered record lows in global oil demand.  Yet the crisis also exposes structural […]

Globalization: Good-Bye To The Hype

Globalisation has resulted in the interdependence of nations through the largely unimpeded transmission of investment capital and information, and integrated business operations. The leading beneficiaries have been the global 1%, and China. While it is too late and not possible to roll back an interconnected world order, globalization as we know it will recede, as […]

Will US Shale Survive If Oil Hits $40?

Within a month, the U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate recorded two first-of-a-kind events. First, it fell below zero on April 20. Then, it soared up so high it is about to book its best month ever, CNBC’s Pippa Stevens noted in a recent commentary. Still, many analysts and other observers remain wary of any […]

Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great.  You are at risk from droplet-filled babblers, dribblers and gibbering colleagues.  Good ventilation and a hyper-vigorous sanitation […]

How Did We End Up Here?

Every day, all day long, we are bombarded with updates and analyses about COVID-19, a virus that has stopped our one and only planet from “turning.” The whole world is on lockdown and almost everything has been shut down: businesses, cultural centers, religious institutions, etc. In the early 80s, I was walking down a Paris […]

Doing business amid plague: Kremlin sends ventilators to U.S., while Russian regions lack such equipment

I believe everyone remembers the recent tirades by U.S. President Donald Trump about Russia sending “humanitarian aid” to America with lots very useful equipment. And when Donald Trump claimed it was humanitarian aid, I noted to myself that we should better wait for details about the actual nature of its cargo, bearing in mind the […]

Russia’s Discreet Satisfaction Over Georgia’s Anaklia Port Debacle

Since the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991, a perpetual high priority for the Russian Federation has been to maintain or extend Moscow’s influence over the other former Soviet republics as far as possible, particularly in the military sphere. This is especially notable in the Black Sea region, where post-Soviet […]

As Global Oil Market Gets Into Turmoil, Russian Currency Fall Intensifies, Frustrating Putin’s Ambitions

The rouble – the Russian national currency, is weakening more and more against the dollar and the euro as well as plummeting oil price as the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar has exceeded R75 for the first time since February 2016. The dollar exchange rate for “tomorrow” jumped R2.14 to R75.0950, and the single […]