Rosneft asks for $49bn: Russia’s state-owned oil company has asked for a RUB 2 trillion ($49 billion) bailout from Russia’s National Welfare Fund to help pay off debts it can no longer use the international capital markets to service. It is just one of several major Russian companies and banks that have been forced to seek such financial aid since sanctions imposed on Moscow began denying them access to long-term credit, leaving many of the with multi-billion-dollar debts that they cannot roll over. The Moscow Times
Be careful what you wish for
Rosneft’s dilemma will be seen by many in the West as a vindication of the decision to impose sanctions on Putin and his inner circle and they are having an increasingly damaging effect on the country’s economy in general and its upstream oil and gas sector in particular. With a large proportion of Russia’s unproven hydrocarbon reserves lying beneath the icy waters of the Arctic, companies like Rosneft are increasingly reliant on western companies to provide them with the technology to extract it. Exxon Mobil is just one of Russia’s several Western partners who have now decided to freeze operations under pressure from the US government.
All of which has played into China’s hands. Since signing a $400 bn, 30-year gas deal with China this May, Russia has been increasingly looking to its eastern neighbour to fund its infrastructure programmes. The state-owned conglomerate Rostec has signed multi-billion dollar deals with both Shenhua (coal mining) and Sinomach (civil engineering); and Chinese investors are involved in a number of strategically significant projects ranging from Siberia’s electricity network to the Moscow-Kazan section of the Moscow-Beijing rail link. They have also, ironically been holding talks about the construction of a new deep-sea port south of of the city of Yevpatoria on the west coast of Crimea.
With sanctions on its exports adding to Germany’s woes – and therefore those of the whole eurozone – China may prove to be the biggest winner of all out of the Ukrainian crisis.