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US using energy as political weapon for new colonialism: Russia’s oil giant

US using energy as political weapon for new colonialism: Russia’s oil giant

US using energy as political weapon for new colonialism: Russia’s oil giant
June 06
21:58 2019

The United States is using energy as a political weapon, says the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, describing the US shale oil push as an “era of energy colonialism” for other countries.

“A number of commentators like to accuse Russia of using energy as a political tool, but indisputably the reality today is that the United States uses energy as a political weapon on a mass scale,” said Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft and one of Russia's top oil executives, on Thursday.

Sechin, who was speaking at an economic forum in St Petersburg, warned that “sanctions, or even the threat of their imposition, have a destructive effect on the global energy market ecosystem.”

He said Washington has restricted a third of global oil reserves through imposing sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and that the White House is losing moral ground as a self-styled leader of open markets.

In April, US President Donald Trump called on buyers of Iranian oil to stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.

The announcement ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers — Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — to continue importing limited volumes.

In the same month, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions on 34 vessels that are owned or operated by Venezuelan state-run oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A, or PDVSA. It also imposed sanctions on two companies, one in Greece and the other in Liberia, that ship crude to Cuba.

Over the last decade, the US has enjoyed an oil and gas boom that has turned the world’s biggest oil user and importer into one of the largest producers. 

Growing energy independence has enabled the US to place tight embargoes on countries such as Venezuela and Iran for geopolitical reasons.

'US administration's policies main troublemaker'

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sechin said Washington sought to ban supplies of cheap Russian gas to Europe, not only to undermine Moscow but to slow Europe’s economy.

“The main troublemaker today is the policies of the US administration. It’s not just the countries which the US describes as pariah states which are coming under fire from sanctions and trade restrictions, but also traditional US partners and allies,” he added.

Sechin also said the US launched its campaign against telecoms giant Huawei due to concerns about China’s fast growth. 

“Oppression of competitors has become the dominant theme of US economic and foreign policy,” he said, predicting that the sanctions-hit part of global oil output would increase this year to 2.5 million bpd from 1.5 million last year.

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