Obama May Have Just Dealt A Crushing Blow To Russia’s Oil Exploration

Oil Well - Photo by Ryan Lackey

New U.S. sanctions handed down on Friday are designed to effectively “shut off” Russian oil conglomerates from oil exploration projects, U.S. officials said, in a move aimed squarely at Russia’s $425 billion-a-year petroleum industry.

The measures are “designed to effectively shut down this type of oil exploration and production activity by depriving these Russian companies of the goods, technology and services that they need to do this work,” a senior Obama administration official said Friday.

The official added the intention of the new sanctions is to ensure that “we have effectively shut off the capacity” of Russian oil companies to draw on U.S. expertise for deepwater, Arctic offshore, and/or shale oil exploration projects. The official stressed this was an important step because Russia’s companies do not possess the kind of technology needed to undertake the operations.

The new sanctions prohibit U.S. companies from exporting goods, services, or technology to support five Russian energy companies in exploration or production for Russian deepwater, Arctic offshore, or shale projects that have the potential to produce oil. The U.S. Treasury Department said companies have until Sept. 26 to wind down existing transactions affected by the new sanctions.

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