Oil bomb: can the USA bring down oil prices
Material posted: Publication date: 24-03-2014

Sale of part of the us strategic oil reserves on the world market will become one of the most serious sanctions against Russia, said the American financier George Soros. According to him, this may cause a fall in oil prices, and for a balanced budget, Russia requires a price not below $ 100. per barrel.

To hit the oligarchs

"Effective sanctions against Russia at first should be only a deterrent. If the threat is effective, it should not be applied," — said Soros in an interview with Spiegel. According to him, freezing assets of wealthy Russians and government officials abroad is not a smart move. Russian oligarchs, bringing money abroad, weaken the economy of Russia, said Soros.

For the first time on the oil response to the President Vladimir Putin for his actions in Crimea mentioned in the beginning of March, the American economist Philip Verleger, in the 1970s, who worked in the White house and the U.S. Treasury. In his review for customers for March 3 Verleger wrote, the U.S. has a powerful impact on Russia — strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). Now it holds almost 700 million barrels. oil, which has ceased to be relevant to national security due to the shale boom. "Without any direct cost USA could reduce oil prices and cause significant damage to Russia and Russian oligarchs through oil sales from the SPR," said the economist.

According to the calculations of Verleger, if the US in 2013 sold daily on 500 thousand Barr. from SPR, the price of Brent (in relation to it is quoted the Russian oil Urals) to the end of the year would have been $ 12. below the actual values. According to the analyst, the decline of oil prices at $ 10. a barrel is equivalent to a reduction of export revenues in Russia for 40 billion dollars. "Russia's GDP could fall by 4%," — said Verleger. He pointed out that half of these losses would be associated with a decrease in export gas prices: long-term contracts "Gazprom" with European buyers contain reference to prices for oil and oil products.

Dress rehearsal

In mid-March the US, in fact, have tested the proposals of Verleger, for the first time in 2.5 years printing SPR. The Department of energy has announced that it will sell 5 million barrels. oil from SPR. The Ministry claimed that this step is nothing more than a verification system readiness in the event of unforeseen disruptions on the domestic market. But many market participants took this as a warning signal to Moscow.

The announcement of a "test" sale of oil from SPR coincided with the visit to Washington by the acting Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk. "We should not make friends with logic, so as not to see the connection here," wrote the Director of the news division Platts, John Kingston. The U.S. Department of energy specified that the selling of 5 million SPR barrels. "sulfurous oil", which is comparable with the Russian Urals, draws the attention of Kingston. Offer 5 million barrels. — a drop in the bucket for the global market (the amount of oil consumed in the world in 1.5 hours). However, the market on the signal responded: Brent futures on the day of raskurivanie SPR fell by 53 cents to $ 108,02.

In 2013, imports of Russian oil in the United States was $ 16.3 million barrels. (13-e a place in the list of oil suppliers to the United States), according to the energy information Administration of the country.

The last time a "test" sale of oil from the SPR was made in August 1990, immediately after Iraq invaded Kuwait and a few months before US military operations in Iraq. In June 2011, the US dumped on the market to 30.6 million barrels. from SPR, in coordination with the International energy Agency, in order to compensate for the loss of production in Libya due to the civil war.

Verleger RBC stated that he sees no direct connection between the "test" sale of oil from the SPR and the events in Ukraine. But he hinted that the time for the announcement could be chosen by chance. "We had to wait for over 23 years to hear about the second "test" sale, and it so happened that it coincided with the visit of the new Prime Minister of Ukraine to the White house," said Verleger.

The head of analytical Department of national energy security Fund Alexander Pasechnik not agree that printing USA SPR will put pressure on oil prices. According to him, Washington has other tools of influence on the oil market. "They (USA) can withdraw the investment banks with futures market and deeply "squander" quotes of the barrel. But in reality, to be willing to take such steps akin to madness. After all, such an initiative simply semiliquidambar all of their national achievements in the development of the shale gas revolution. A combination of factors in favor of the increased cost of energy prevails over the arguments in favor of collapse", — quotes "Finam" Alexander Pasechnik.

Ivan Tkachev, Vladimir Pavlov

Source: http://rbcdaily.ru/world/562949990932896

Tags: assessment , USA , resources , oil