Marcel Salikhov, President of the Institute for Energy and Finance, gave an interview to the RIA Novosti news agency on the situation in the oil and gas sector.
- Is it realistic for Europe to squeeze Russia out of the global market with the help of an embargo and a price ceiling for oil and oil products?
– This, of course, is not so. By definition, it is impossible to force Russia out of the world energy market. Not in a year, not in two, not in the long run. Let me remind you that in 2021 our country provided about 17% of world oil trade and 25% of world natural gas trade, plus, by the way, Russia is the third largest coal supplier in the world. These are quite significant numbers. Yes, we are not the only players in this field, but no other oil and gas power can replace such volumes. However, in the long term, Russia's share may decline due to the fact that deliveries to alternative markets involve more expensive logistics. Another thing is that the embargo has affected our energy resources, which were sent to Europe, where until recently about 30% of both oil and gas went.
– The price at which oil fell in February is even lower than the ceiling of $60 per barrel set in December last year. Now it's on sale for $50. But the federal budget of the Russian Federation for the coming years was drawn up based on a price of $ 70 per barrel ...
- For the budget, I will say right away, do not worry. Despite the fact that at a price of, say, the same $50 per barrel, it will not receive about two trillion rubles in oil and gas revenues, this will definitely not affect pensions, public sector salaries, other social programs, not to mention the defense industry. In general, oil and gas revenues make up a third of Russia's budget revenues. You see, on the scale of the huge Russian economy, such an amount is not a threatening problem. The Ministry of Finance may well exist in such a situation for a long time. Not surprisingly, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak calls the current oil price "acceptable."
- And what price can be critical for the country?
– It is difficult to answer, I can only say that in the 2020 covid year, the price of Urals oil fell for several months below $20 per barrel, and nothing. You see, the important thing is not to what level the price of oil can fall, but how long this fall can last. Since it is unthinkable to knock Russia out of the world energy market, the West, by setting a ceiling on our oil and oil products, is trying to do everything possible to limit the country's oil and gas revenues. This is its purpose.
– Where do you see these potential buyers of Russian energy resources? China, India, Türkiye - it is clear, who else?
- In principle, these are all countries that Russia considers friendly, and there are more than a hundred of them around the world - who will refuse oil and gas, especially if they are sold at a discount. It is not worth relying only on China, India and Turkey.
– By the way, what about all the equipment at Russian oil and gas wells? The departure of Western companies is having an effect, are there any problems?
- I think no. In any case, they obviously won't be in the near future. Among, for example, oilfield service companies operating in the country, only 15% are foreign, the remaining 85% are Russian, respectively.
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