How Russian sanctions could pinch Western companies

Logo of state-owned oil company Rosneft

The logo of state-owned oil company Rosneft is seen on the roof of gas-filling station near Stalin's time skyscraper in Moscow, 12 July 2006.

 

President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia today. The sanctions target 17 Russian companies and seven individuals. Among those individuals is Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s biggest oil company, Rosneft.

How will that affect Big Oil? Well, for starters, BP’s stock fell after the sanctions were announced. BP owns almost 20 percent of Rosneft. 

At its annual meeting earlier this month, BP said it’s committed to its investment in Rosneft, and will comply with any relevant sanctions. And if those sanctions really start to bite, will Moscow take a whack at BP or Exxon? Some oil analysts say no.

“Western oil companies and Russia are in bed together... they are strange bedfellows, but they are dependent on one another,” says Stephen Schork, of the Schork report.

So far, drilling is continuing as usual in Russia. But senior Obama administration officials say the sanctions could be ratcheted up.

 

 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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