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Friday, March 23, 2018

Russia News

Russia Ramps up Fuel Exports in Fight for European Market

© Mikhail Perfilov / Adobe Stock

Russia plans to sharply increase fuel exports and carve out a larger share of the European market following an extensive $55 billion modernisation of its refineries, companies' plans and analysts' reports show. Russia embarked on a modernisation of its biggest refineries in 2011 following a fuel shortage crisis. It also changed its tax system to favour production of cleaner and higher-quality fuel. The modernisation, which has not been completed yet, led to a surge in output of light products and exports, which has hurt European refineries' margins.

Russia to Restrict US Imports in Response to Tariffs

© amadeustx / Adobe Stock

Russia's Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Friday it was preparing to impose restrictions on U.S. imports in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium, the Interfax news agency reported.     (Reporting by Polina Ivanova Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber Editing by Andrew Osborn)

LNG Tanker Boris Vilkitsky to Arrive at Rotterdam on March 29

Photo courtesy of EDF

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker Boris Vilkitsky is due to arrive at the Dutch port of Rotterdam on March 29, Reuters shipping data showed on Thursday. The tanker, which has a capacity for about 170,000 cubic metres of gas, is arriving from Russia.   Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

Hamburg 2015 Port Forecasts Revised Downward

Photo: Port of Hamburg

The Port of Hamburg Marketing Association has slashed its forecast for container volumes at Hamburg's port, a hub for eastern European trade, due to weakening growth in China and shrinking trade with Russia. The association said on Monday it now expects container volumes to fall 7 percent to 9 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit containers) this year, compared with a previous forecast for 3 percent growth to 10 million TEUs. China is by far the biggest trade partner for the Hamburg port, accounting for almost 3 million TEUs in 2014.

McDermott and CB&I Conclude Merger

Image: CB&I

McDermott International and CB&I announced that the companies have received antitrust clearance in Russia for their proposed combination. With this clearance, McDermott and CB&I have received all the required competition authority approvals for the transaction. As previously announced on December 18, 2017, McDermott and CB&I agreed to combine in an all-stock transaction to create a premier vertically integrated onshore-offshore company with an enterprise value of approximately $6 billion.

Exxon Quits Some Rosneft Joint Ventures Citing Sanctions

Exxon's exit from projects will not affect the Sakhalin project off the eastern coast of Russia, Exxon and Rosneft spokesmen said. (Photo: Rosneft)

Exxon Mobil Corp will exit some joint ventures with Russia's Rosneft, citing Western sanctions first imposed in 2014, while the Russian company said the pullout will result in serious losses for its U.S. partner. The move is an about-face for Exxon, which had opposed the sanctions over Russia's invasion of Crimea and argued they unfairly penalized U.S. companies while allowing foreign energy rivals to operate in the country, the world's largest oil producer. Yet the sanctions…

Russian Partners Agree Icebreaking OSV Constructions

Arctic drillship: File photo

Sakhalin Energy and Sovcomflot (SCF) inform they have agreed to extend their co-operation having signed a number of agreements for construction and long-term operation of support vessels for the Sakhalin-2 project. SCF explain that the vessels will be used as year-round personnel carriers and also as supply vessela for offshore platforms in the Sea of Okhotsk. In case of emergency, they will be deployed for personnel evacuation and oil spill response. It is intended that Russian…

Russia's TMK Says U.S. Tariffs to Benefit U.S. Unit

Photo: TMK

TMK, Russia's largest of steel pipes for the oil and gas industry, said on Friday it expected new U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminium to benefit its U.S. unit IPSCO. TMK said IPSCO did not import steel, so should benefit from President Trump's move. The company had yet to finish evaluating how the import duties would affect other parts of its business, it said in a written reply to a Reuters request. TMK also said an initial public offering of IPSCO, announced this year but put on hold due to volatility on global markets, was "postponed but not cancelled".

U.S. Navy Assesses Fleet Structure

 The guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) fires a Mark 45 5-inch gun during a live-fire exercise.   (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Morgan K. Nall/Released)

Following the release of new national security and defense strategies, the Navy is undertaking a new Fleet Structure Assessment that could alter its stated goal of a 355-ship fleet, senior service officials told Congress this week. A new FSA would take a look at the mix of surface ships and submarine in the service and could change assumptions on the look and size of the future fleet, Vice Adm. Bill Merz, deputy chief of naval operations for warfare systems (OPNAV N9), told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee on Tuesday.

Novatek, Marubeni, Mitsui agree on LNG hub in Kamchatka

Russia's Novatek said on Tuesday it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan's Marubeni and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines to explore options for a liquefied natural gas complex in Russia's Kamchatka region.   Novatek added that the action plan was to explore opportunities to establish an LNG transshipment and marketing complex at Kamchatka in Russia's far east.   Novatek plans to launch its first LNG plant on Russia's Yamal peninsula next month, to export supercooled gas both to Europe and Asia. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Dmitry Solovyov)

HMM, FESCO and CMA CGM Launch Joint CRS Loop

The Hyundai Unity, which was deployed to the new service, crossing the ocean. Photo HMM

Prior to the launch, HMM has been jointly operating two services ‘KRS (Korea Russia Service)’ and ‘KR2 (Korea Russia Service 2)’ with FESCO. HMM merged the two joint loops and broaden its service coverage to the South China and the Middle China, and changed the service name to CRS, which was also joined by a French carrier CMA CGM. The new weekly service turns in three weeks with three ships of 2,700-4,600 teus those were provided by each company. The service calls at Hong Kong, Chiwan, Xiamen, Ningbo, Shanghai, Busan, Vladivostok (Commercial Port), Vostochny, Busan, Hong Kong.

Greenpeace Russia Vessel Detention: Dutch Government Bond Ready

Outside Russian detention building: Photo credit Greenpeace

The Dutch Foreign Ministry has finalised a bank guarantee of 3.6 million euros in compliance with a binding ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ordering Russia to release the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and the Arctic 30 protesters. "The Netherlands has now fulfilled its part of the Tribunal's binding order and Russia is obligated to also comply by releasing the ship and the Arctic 30, as the Tribunal so ordered. The Tribunal has ordered both Russia and the Netherlands to report back on progress with their compliance by December 2.

CaroTrans Adds Direct New York-St. Petersburg Service

CaroTrans, a leading global NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier) and ocean freight consolidator, announced a direct, all-water LCL service from New York to St. Petersburg, Russia. This fortnightly service will commence on November 23 and has a 21 day transit. Russia is a major global trade growth market with over 140 million consumers, many in an expanding middle class, making it an important U.S. export location. When shipping to St. Petersburg, the largest container port in Russia, exporters eliminate transshipment hub delays and the associated costs. CaroTrans’ team on the ground in St. Petersburg provides reliable, secure support and facilitates timely cargo availability, and the company’s U.S.-based Russia Trade Manager is positioned to coordinate dependable cargo moves.

Ukraine Suspends Gas Payments to Russia

Ukraine Suspends Gas Payments to Russia

Ukraine is suspending payments to Russia for gas deliveries until the conclusion of price talks, chief executive Andriy Kobolev said on Saturday. State-run Naftogaz has suspended payments to Russia amid increasing tensions in a standoff that has the potential to leave European Union states cut off from the Russian gas supplies on which they depend, according to international media reports. Russia has raised the gas price for Ukraine and claimed it owed Moscow USD 2.2B in unpaid bills.

Russian Application to Extend its National Arctic Boundaries

In 2014, Russia plans to submit an application for extension of the boundaries of the continental Arctic Shelf to the special UN Commission after modifying and reinforcing the application by the results of additional research, reports 'Arctic info'. Citing remarks by Denis Khramov, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of Russia, 'Arctic info' says that Russia had already applied for extension of the territories in the Barents, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as in the Central Arctic Ocean. The Commission generally recognized the application as meeting the requirements but requested the Russian Federation to provide an additional proof that the ranges of Lomonosov and Mendeleev…

HMM New Service in North China, Korea and Russia

Photo: Hyundai Merchant Marine

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) announces the launch of a new North China-Korea-Russia weekly service, under the name of ‘CRN (China Russia North Service)’. The CRN service covers the ports of ‘Qingdao-Shanhai-Ningbo-Pusan-Vladivostok-Vostochny-Pusan-Qingdao’ and will begin on March 31. HMM will deploy one container ship on the route, and FESCO will place two vessels on the route. HMM has been offering CRS (China Russia South Service) services on South China-Middle China-Korea-Russia in cooperation with FESCO and CMA-CGM.

World’s First Ice-breaking LNG Carrier Christened

File Photo: DSME

The world`s first icebreaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier was named Christophe de Margerie in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, South Korea’s Ambassador to Russia Park Dae-bong and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) CEO Jung Sung-leep attended the naming ceremony for the country’s new carrier. The ship will be deployed for Russia’s national Far East resource development in the Yamal Peninsula, in the western part of Siberia. The icebreaking LNG carrier, 299 meters long and 50 meters wide, can carry 173,600 cubic meters of LNG.

Greenpeace Arctic Protest: Opposing Views

Moscow repeatedly called on the Netherlands in the past 18 months to stop the unlawful actions of  Greenpeace's 'Arctic Sunrise' reports Arctic Info (Russia) citing  the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Aleksey Meshkov. The diplomat was commenting on the proceedings initiated by the Netherlands against Russia at the International Tribunal for the law of the sea of the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea regarding the case against crew members of the Arctic Sunrise. According to 'Arctic info', assessments of other interested parties is ambiguous. A few days ago, the President of Finland noted that while he does not consider the accusation of piracy for the offenders to be right…

US Closer to Imposing More Sanctions on Russia

US Secretary of State John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested on Thursday that the United States is drawing closer to imposing more sanctions on Russia by saying time was running out for Moscow to change its course in Ukraine. "The window to change course is closing," he told reporters. "(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia face a choice. If Russia chooses the path of de-escalation ... all of us will welcome it. But if Russia does not, the world will make sure that the costs for Russia will only grow." (Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Russia Says Will React if U.S. Imposes New Sanctions

Russia will take counter measures if Washington imposes new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday. The U.S. Congress has readied new sanctions on Russian weapons companies and investors in the country's high-tech oil projects, but U.S. President Barack Obama has yet to sign a corresponding bill into law. "We will not be able to leave that without an answer," Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying. He did not say what form of counter-measure Moscow might take. Relations between Russia and the United States are at their lowest since the Cold War because of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March and its support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Russia Plans Fuel Shipments to Syria from Crimea

Russia plans to supply Syria with 200,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per year via the Crimean port of Kerch, two trading sources told Reuters. The plans are a further sign of cooperation between the two countries despite hopes in the West that Russia might stop shielding President Bashar al-Assad from pressure to step aside. Moscow had been shipping significantly lower volumes of LPG to Syria via Kerch before Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014. The United States and the European Union, which say the seizure of Crimea violates international law, have imposed sanctions on individuals and business in Crimea, which include restrictions on use of the Kerch port. Russia is a staunch ally of Syria and an exporter of arms to Damascus.

Ukrainian Formin Wants Tougher Sanctions On Russia

Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia

The West should impose tougher sanctions on Russia, which is waging a "hidden war" in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt. The United States and the European Union have already imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and some companies, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of stoking the eastern rebellions, a charge Putin has denied. "The West should impose more severe sanctions that hit specific economic sectors such as banking and target Russian decision makers…

Kalmar Backs Suomen Satamatekniikka Oy

Photo: Cargotec

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has signed a Kalmar Care service agreement with Suomen Satamatekniikka, a subsidiary of Steveco, covering the maintenance and service of 16 Kalmar straddle carriers at the Port of Helsinki, Finland. The order was booked in Cargotec's 2017 fourth quarter order intake and the agreement comes into effect from the beginning of February 2018. Steveco, a leading port operator in Finland, employs approximately 850 people and has annual revenues of close to EUR 160 million.

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