I was interviewed (from Berlin) by Asharq (Bloomberg affiliate, Dubai) along with Jordanian oil and energy expert, Dr. Amer Al-Shobaki (from Amman) about OPEC leaders’ assertions that oil investment is urgently needed to meet an expected demand rebound, especially in Asia, in Q3-Q4 2023.
Investments have been precariously low for a long time, throughout COVID and even after 24 February 2022, with Russia’s full-on aggression against Ukraine. Now, OPEC warns later-2023 can bring big price spikes and deep economic problems.
I should note, this demand-and-price boost would be a boon to Russian oil prospects, complicating Ukrainian’s allies’ attempts to reduce Russian profits and limit the resale of Russian oil refined in India into the EU market. The G7/EU adoption of the USA-proposed price caps on Russian exports (enforced via constraints on oil-shipping insurance and banks financing of sales) instead of an “old fashioned” sanctions regime (such as specifically restricting Russian oil sales step-by-step via direct and secondary sanctions) has finally begun to significantly restrict the normally expected flow of oil-export-sales cash back into Moscow’s coffers, after a 2022 of high oil prices and big Russian profits.
EU foreign minister, EU Commission foreign relations chief, Josep Borell, has rightly asserted that the EU must do something to stop this resale, by adjusting present sanctions. However, unfortunately, the EU has now backed down substantially on this ambition.
On air, I referred to a report by Marianna Pàrrage, at Reuters, whose research has found that from January to April 2023, 1.69 million barrels per day (mbd), and 1.89 in May, went to India, now accounting for about 40% of India’s total. This has displaced India’s former Venezuelan, Middle East, African and USA suppliers.
Interestingly, Moscow has sold its oil, banned in the EU, USA and UK, in a very focused manner to India, China and Turkey, not Asia broadly, which could have market advantages for Moscow.Continue reading