.

Blogs

Casing Point

02 march
2014
Igor Ossipov

Energy Outlook 2035 - BP

To borrow the words of Christof Ruehl, Group Chief Economist and Vice President of BP, this time around the multinational oil supermajor aimed to “shake-up the crystal ball” by recalibrating some of its old formulas in the bid to provide a fresh outlook on the way global energy markets will evolve. In this post Casing Point explores to what results this recalibration leads and what is in store for us in the world of energy; at the end should we anticipate major shifts or expect much of the same as in the last several years?

08 january
2014
Igor Ossipov

Breaking the Ice: The Northern Sea Route

“Every government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship's captain has to avoid a shipwreck.”

Guy de Maupassant

 

In our highly unstable world there are but a few places which can be deemed close to being tranquil. In the preceding post Casing Point outlined that the Arctic is amongst such areas. Still, it is not utterly free from certain caveats. In particularly, the allure of Arctic’s natural wealth may become too temping – even though acquiring it cannot be achieved by a lone state in the foreseeable future. In addition, external events could undermine already frail relationships and doom cooperation in this region. In essence, to overcome these caveats political predilections need to be broken with real political willingness. In all, these are the issues discussed in the earlier post, whereas here we go beyond diplomatic ice by focusing on breaking down physical obstacles, which up to recently sealed the world’s shortest route between Europe and Asia.

11 december
2013
Igor Ossipov

The Arctic Frontier - Armed with Cooperation

 
In the midst of the 20th century the Arctic resembled a geopolitical playground where two superpowers tested each other’s nerves with their burgeoning nuclear arsenals, as submarines plied deep beneath icy waters. What changed? In the 21st century bipolarity has ended and memories of the Cold War are withdrawing deeper into history books, whilst people slowly desert countless dated yet seemingly inherent dispositions. It seems stories about latent conflict or sparks beside a fuse only exist in the press, which cannot go without an impeding Armageddon almost by nature. Hence, this post will dwell into an Arctic from a pragmatic stance of promising potential and a need for stakeholders to cooperate, as certain waters cannot be crossed alone. As customary Casing Point will take an energy based angle and to assist analysis will draw from the recent conference hosted by RIAC. Enjoy & Feel Free to Comment! 
 
25 october
2013
Igor Ossipov

Euro League: EU vs Russia

 

For the past decade Ukraine has been in the midst of a political tussle, or metaphorically a 'Geopolitical Football Championship'. Though, in all fairness, it is hard to see it as a unified team. As it appears more like a political trophy for two major sides. On one side, the EU aims to win Ukraine to make sure its gas is supposedly more secured and to continue its enlargement policy for both rational and questionable reasons. On the other, Russia aims to make sure it achieves its goal of restoring 80% of the defunct USSR’s market for likewise a myriad of reasons; with Ukraine being the final element in the formation, as Kazakhstan and Belarus are already sitting in the dugout. In this post we will explore this contest with fresh insight from this week’s MGIMO experts’ discussion, which could not be timelier as next month we could see a key playoff at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. In all, Please Enjoy & Feel Free to Comment! 

08 october
2013
Igor Ossipov

A Hazardous Game – The Strait of Malacca

 

In the last decade our portrayal of high seas has been encapsulated by a steady line of Hollywood blockbusters, which focused on damsels in distress and merry pirates that came to their salvation. But as with most modern films, reality is far from fiction. If Jack Sparrow was around today he would ditch the balmy Caribbean and sail to Asia. As in Asia, an economic marvel has transpired along an explosion of vast riches for opportunists. However, aside from meeting other pirates, Jack would soon learn that he has entered one of the most vital and fiercely contested waters of the seven seas. He would grasp he has been embroiled into one of the biggest geopolitical chess games, except all the pieces are real and the consequences of a checkmate are colossal. Hence, in this post we explore what makes these waters so crucial and potentially volatile. Please Enjoy & Feel Free to Comment! 

13 september
2013
Igor Ossipov

Who Governs Global Oil Prices?

 

If we agree that diamonds, malachite and tantalite are a curse for D.R. Congo, then oil must be the penultimate stained Holy Grail of the entire world. It aids Middle Eastern dictators in their bids to be the last man on their thrones, causes thirsty states to indulge in most sinful actions, pushes profit-driven corporations to exploit an entire array of stakeholders and entices individuals towards corruption beyond all forms of humanity just so they attain a small nugget of this black gold. A successful gamble on the virtual roulette can grant ecstasy to a lucky few, but potentially cause misery for millions, as shifts in oil prices can adjudge the fate of an entire nation, as the invisible hand ushers across the modern oil bazaar. In all, in this post we explore the major question of the 20th and 21st century – “who manipulates the global oil prices?

22 august
2013
Igor Ossipov

Social Sciences in the Mist

“The man of logical training will only seek such a degree of certainty in each branch of study as the character of the objects studied permits.”

― Aristotle

 

In our modern world, it appears like there are as many experts as there are opinions, with many of these being driven by impulsive reactions rather than actual simmered thought. In all fairness, one can forgive average folks, who are burdened by their busy everyday lives. I can recall a discussion I partook in with my coursemates after our thesis defence, in it everyone realised we could no longer keep up the same level of political acuity as we held during our long studies, unless we continue our academic voyage. It is however, worrying, to see a similar trend of impulsive and poorly constructed thought spilling over to tenured academia. Hence, this post explores the degree of certainty and validity in social sciences from my own personal experiences as well as from academic literature 'that is' wielding an indispensible torch through the dim caverns of modern day social sciences. 

25 july
2013
Igor Ossipov

Oil and Gas Markets to 2025 - LUKoil

While on the one side of the planet, people are ardently buying new helmets along with bright yellow ribbons for their dusty bicycles, on the other side, people are busily exchanging their iconic means of transportation for new cars. As this shift is occurring, under the breeze of economic prosperity across Asia, South America and even Africa, the global energy balance is tipping, particularly as the new economic frontiers are moving at unprecedented pace. LUKoil's 2025 report focuses on these shifts with regards to demographics, motorization, OPEC policy and changes in exploration and production of hydrocarbons. This report is the first of its kind for LUKoil, allowing one to peek at the global energy landscape via the lens of a Russian oil major. As usual, I also add extra weblinks and other interesting information. Hence, please feel free to comment and most importantly - enjoy! 

01 july
2013
Igor Ossipov

Wary Bear and Shrewd Dragon

"Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera"

Napoleon Bonaparte

 

The awakening of this old sleeping giant, or more accurately its re-awakening, has led much ink to be spilled and many keys to be worn-down. For many, this phenomenon was of great interest naturally due to China’s huge size and its equally large potential, especially in contrast to the economically and politically stagnating West. However, for Russia, this re-emergence plays an exceptional role which stirs much uncertainty and mistrust, as once this giant wipes of the rheum around its eyes and springs back full of energy, its only natural room to manoeuvre is northwards. Even if the world does not tremble, Russia fears that at the least, Eurasia will shake. As promised, this is the second post in this special series and once again I am joined by the Head of Oil and Gas at the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of SciencesDr. Tatiana Mitrova. We discuss: Sinicisation, geopolitical mistrustenergy deals, the Central Asian "Ace" and more! Please, feel free to comment & enjoy!

14 june
2013
Igor Ossipov

European Energy Woes

Euro-Russian relations have strained over the recent years in energy matters as certain vested interests shifted perceptions into the realm of what I would express as logical fallacies – technically making sense to a degree, but only when numerous caveats are applied. In this post issues like energy weaponry (enormous logical fallacy in my opinion), market reforms, looming contract litigation, energy security, shale revolution and domestic challenges will be discussed. In this post I am joined by the Head of Oil and Gas at the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Tatiana Mitrova. This is the first of two posts from this special series, so keep tuned, please feel free to comment and enjoy!

01 may
2013
Igor Ossipov

Wild World – Dr. Adrian Pabst Interview

Dr. Adrian Pabst is a political theorist and a theologian. He is a lecturer in Politics at the University of Kent and a visiting professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Lille (Sciences Po). His research concerns capitalism, religion, ethics, civil economy, European Union and wider Europe like Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. Today we discuss the crisis of capitalism, ethics, morality and identity, and as usual there is a section for those who are interested in the Russian-European energy matters. Please feel free to comment, like & most importantly - Enjoy! 

 

Interviewer: Igor Ossipov / Date: 30/04/2013

12 april
2013
Igor Ossipov

Route-2030

"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand or more perilous to conduct… than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." 

 – Niccolò Machiavelli 

 

Machiavelli's quote stresses three things. Firstly, it underlines that any new route will likely be perilous. Secondly, it highlights that someone must take the responsibility to direct the nation's path. Lastly, it grants me the chance to include Machiavelli into my blog, for those that know me, would quickly recall my keen interest in the Renaissance's jack of all trades. However, on a serious note, Russia is facing perhaps one of the biggest challenges in the upcoming decade as its economy is overly dependent upon natural wealth, but our main European market is quickly becoming less accessible raising the question: where to go? Aside from long-term diversification from energy export dependence, Russia has a more relatively shorter-term option - to expand into Asia, but this option is far from easy and requires tricky manoeuvres.

02 april
2013
Igor Ossipov

Oil and Gas Digest

Internet like Steam Engine, is a Technological Breakthrough that Changed the World

Peter Singer


Up to recently, I was sceptical about Singer's quote. As my economic background reminded me that the light bulb was more revolutionary for growth, and as I am quite a social person, I avoided too much online interaction; but my (belated) discovery of Twitter altered my views. I was never going to tweet about futile things, like 'how good was my sandwich', but rather form it into a serious research and database tool. I also realised that I could share further, thus I am introducing my First RIAC Monthly Digest. My aim here is to recap, analyse, and offer links to top: Oil&Gas News, Videos & Pictures, from media outlets, experts & institutions I follow. Enjoy & Feel Free to Comment!

15 march
2013
Igor Ossipov

Shale Revolution – Full Steam Ahead!

Alongside my typical journalistic duties at ‘Oil & Gas Eurasia Magazine’, I tend to daily scan both Russian and Western media outlets, news stands, twitter profiles, oil companies press releases and alike - for major news, interesting articles and possible leads within the energy industry. Today, I want to share with you some of the findings in a liberal leaning The New Times (2013) article: “Shale Klondike” (March Edition, 2nd Week, №8, 277) – which I heard about from the radio and decided to buy. If statistics outlined in the article stand up to the test of time, the US shale fever could substantially impact the energy league table. I also include some personal insight and pictures for clarity as I go along, please feel free to leave a comment – lets make these blogs interactive!

18 february
2013
Igor Ossipov

Central Asia: Energy Meadow – Dr. Rico Isaacs Interview

Dr. Rico Isaacs is an expert in Central Asian politics and a senior lecturer in International Studies at the Oxford Brookes University. His research concerns the political sociology of Central Asia in particular the interaction between formal and informal politics, institutions and practices and the discursive construction and interpretation of power and authority in the region. Dr Isaacs is the author of Party System Formation in Kazakhstan: Between Formal and Informal Politics (2011, Routledge) and has published numerous articles in journals such as Democratization, Europe-Asia Studies, Electoral Studies and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism. Rico has undertaken media work commenting on Central Asian politics and often consults companies on political risk in the region.

 

*Interviewer: Igor Ossipov / Date: 12/02/2013 / Time: 12:00-12:45 (GMT) (Skype)

18 february
2013
Igor Ossipov

«Global & Russian Energy Outlook 2035» ERIRAS

During the process of preparing and researching for my dissertation «The Role of Eastern Energy Strategy in the Russian Foreign Policy: Opportunities and Threats» at the HSE, I was introduced to this insightful publication «Energy Outlook Until 2035». Today I wish to share its findings and conclusions with anyone who is interested in the oil and gas industry. Before commencing, I just want to give all the appropriate credits and the report link. Please Feel Free to Comment to Discuss!

14 february
2013
Igor Ossipov

«Oil & Gas Dialogue» IMEMO RAN

As the world continues to scuffle against the most severe economic crisis, optimism remains thin in the air, conceivably as uncertainty is easier to sell. The IMEMO RAN forum was no different, as industry specialists pleaded for more assistance whilst the government officials naturally attempted to ignite market confidence. At the end, one could not ignore the sense that the both sides were exaggerating for their own vested interests. There will be no immediate Mayan apocalypse as some may have felt, but in today’s world things change quickly making one ponder – what must be done to stop any changes, how to adapt to them if they occur and what if sceptics are right?

 

05 february
2013
Igor Ossipov

«Eastern Siberia Oil & Gas Conference»

The 3rd International Conference coincided with a fairly damp economic climate and unstable political atmosphere across many energy exporting states, thus in all building up naturally not overly optimistic mood. However, in respect to the Russia situation it was far from bleak as instability was actually playing into its favour.