Quantcast
Popular

Trump Signs Russia Sanctions Bill. Will It Impact Oil and Gas Development?

By Andy Rowell

As U.S. President Donald Trump reluctantly signs new legislation imposing sweeping new sanctions on Russia, it has been revealed that existing sanctions on the country, designed to prevent frontier oil and gas exploration, are not working.

On Wednesday, Trump was forced to sign a new sanctions bill. As Congress had voted for the bill in such large numbers, the president could not veto it.


Therefore Trump grudgingly signed signed the bi-partisan bill "for the sake of national unity," while attacking it as "seriously flawed" and "unconstitutional."

The president attempted to argue that it violated the Constitution and previous Supreme Court. He said, "The bill remains seriously flawed—particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking."

The president added, "By limiting the Executive's flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together."

In typical Trump fashion, he also bragged, "I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress."

But Trump was not the only one who criticized the legislation, according to the Financial Times. The Russians also attacked Trump as demonstrating "complete impotence, in the most humiliating manner."

The oil and gas industry was not happy, either. The paper noted, "International oil and gas companies have warned that the new sanctions, if signed into law, could cause unintended harm to billions of dollars worth of projects, due to the potentially broad interpretation of some clauses in the bill."

The decision to expand sanctions to cover oil and gas export pipelines could now undermine some $4.75 billion worth of funding for projects, such as Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, and Chevron's $37 billion expansion of the Tengiz project in Kazakhstan, whose oil flows through Russia to the Black Sea, according to the FT.

But are sanctions really as effective as we think at stopping oil and gas development in Russia?

According to a new Reuters investigation, "A gap in U.S. sanctions allows Western companies to help Russia develop some of its most technically challenging oil reserves."

Back in 2014, when Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow, the U.S. Treasury said it wanted to "impede Russia's ability to develop so-called frontier or unconventional oil resources." But it explicitly mentioned "shale reservoirs," not other forms of unconventional oil and gas.

Therefore, the sanctions are not working, as there is a serious loophole to exploit.

According to Reuters, "Three years on, however, Norway's Statoil is helping Kremlin oil giant Rosneft develop unconventional resources, while British major BP is considering a similar project."

Although Statoil is not officially breaching sanctions, "the cooperation highlights how sanctions have only been partially effective in curbing Western energy investment."

All these companies are not exploring for shale, but the deeper reservoirs that lie beneath shale oil in limestone.

Reuters pointed out that "Geologists are unanimous, though, that even though shale and limestone formations are different geological structures, they both constitute unconventional oil resources. Both are extracted through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking."

In this case, they should be banned.

But once again the oil industry seems to have found enough wriggle room to avoid accountability and culpability and carry on as business as usual.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Holiday Shoppers, the Planet Needs You to Take It Easy With Next-Day Shipping

By Jeff Turrentine

Back in 1966, the editors of Time indulged in a long-honored magazine tradition and published an essay in which experts made predictions about the future—in this case, the year 2000. By then, these experts prognosticated, a typical shopper "should be able to switch on to the local supermarket on the video phone, examine grapefruit and price them, all without stirring from her living room." But even so, they predicted, "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Why? Because shoppers "like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
The Russia pavilion at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report

The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle raising; green groups are concerned Brazil's new environment minister will prioritize agriculture over conservation. Luiz Claudio Marigo / Nature Picture Library / Getty Images

Brazil’s New Environment Minister Is Bad News for the Amazon and the Climate

When right-wing Congressman Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil in October, environmental groups raised concerns about what his presidency could mean for the future of the Amazon rainforest and the global fight against climate change.

Now, Bolsonaro's choice for environment minister appears to justify those concerns. In a tweet Sunday, Bolsonaro announced he would appoint pro-business lawyer Ricardo de Aquino Salles to the role, Reuters reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!