Author`s name Olga Savka

Summit in Houston: Big Hopes Remain Hopes

The Russian-American oil summit opened in Houston (USA) yesterday. As it is supposed, the Russian oil might take a completely different place in the structure of the American energetic import. The results of the summit might also make Russia a real global ally of the United States. As experience shows, big hopes remain only hopes, basically. Russia’s dreams do not make an exception either.

However, the staff of the Russian delegation testified to the intention of the Russian government to get positive results. Russia is represented by the Minister for Economic Development and Trade, German Gref, Minister for Energy, Igor Yusufov. The leaders of such giant oil companies as LUKOIL, Yukos, Rosneft, TNK, Gazprom are also in the staff of the Russian delegation.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov sent a welcoming note to the participants of the summit. In the note Kasyanov welcomed a new level of the dialogue between the USA and Russia in the field of energy. Kasyanov hopes that the efforts of the both countries will make the world market of energy carriers stable and predictable. The Russian premier also set out his hope that successful cooperation in the field of energy will lead to successful cooperation in other fields too.

Ok, everybody wants to hope for the best. Even a prime minister can have simple human feelings. Positive results of the summit in Houston would be a very good chance for Russia to get into the “family of civilized nations.” However, this does not mean that the USA needs that.

It is an open secret that the USA does not really hope much for the Russian oil. At the end of the day, the military operation is a lot cheaper than long-term unpredictable investments in the Russian petroleum production. Any war for the USA is like a powerful engine for the economic development. Military orders save American major high-tech companies from bankruptcy or mass staff reduction. It goes about rich Iraqi oil deposits here.

Reuters said on the threshold of the summit that Russia’s role as America’s major oil supplier was very unlikely in the nearest future. The reason why is very simple. Russia does not have the requisite infrastructure for the export of oil to the USA. Most importantly, Russia is not rich with excessive oil. A spokesman for the American department for energy stated that the USA was not a natural market for the Russian oil.

The Russian petroleum export to the USA has reached the level of 61 thousand barrels daily since the beginning of the year. The USA imports 8.9 million barrels of oil daily. Furthermore, foreign top managers that are employed for Russian oil companies are not being optimistic about it either. RusEnergy news agency cited Boris Misamor, the chief financial analyst of the Russian oil company Yukos. Mr.Misamor said that petroleum deliveries to the USA were likely to reach the level of five million tons a year by 2005. He also added that it was hard to make any further forecast.

According to the information from EIA, the Russian oil industry suffers from the exhaustion of deposits, transport infrastructure, and also from the strong lack of investments. The lack of investments is explained with incoherent tax and legal norms. In other words, Russia is simply not ready for becoming an energetic ally. What else can be said in this respect?

Nowadays, the USA has all opportunities to obtain the control over the Iraqi oil. The energetic “alliance” with Russia is being cynically played by the American administration as a way of open peer pressure on the Arab world. The Mideast oil is the best in the world. The increase of low-quality oil export from Russia will never change the situation on the world petroleum markets. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is capable of stabilizing both the market and the prices just within a week (with the help of oil output increase).

For the time being, large suppliers and consumers of oil negotiate their future relations. One may not doubt that Russia is not taken into consideration in this respect.

Dmitry Slobodanuk