Qatar’s decision to leave OPEC on December 3, marks the first case of an Arab nation’s withdrawal from the organization. Doha has been in OPEC for 57 years, almost since its inception. Qatar’s withdrawal from OPEC effective January 2019 will not put pressure on the oil market or prices, according to experts interviewed by Izvestia. The influence of this state on the global balance of supply and demand is minor, regardless of its participation in the cartel. According to experts, the trade war between the United States and China, which is slowing growth rates in the global economy, has a more powerful impact on oil. The market situation will become clearer after the OPEC+ summit in Vienna on December 6-7, the newspaper wrote.
Leading expert at the National Energy Security Fund Igor Yushkov told Izvestia that the reasons for Qatar’s pullout from OPEC are more political than economic. Doha has tense relations with the Saudis and does not want to work under their grip even formally. At the same time, Qatar’s decision will not affect business relations with Russia, Chairman of the Russian-Qatari Business Council Ahmet Palankoev told the newspaper. “Doha is interested in maintaining stable relations with our country. All recent Qatari investments in Russia indicate this positive attitude towards us,” he said.
Qatar’s exit from OPEC will not affect the global oil market, according to leading expert of the Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists of Russia Rustam Tankayev. OPEC’s decisions no longer matter, and Qatar retains its positions in the OPEC+ agreement. The OPEC+ deal controls 95-98% of the international oil trade and 70% in oil products, he told Izvestia.
Today, the bigger question is Qatar’s participation in OPEC+. “This is much more significant for today’s realities, since it is now possible to influence the market only in the format of OPEC+. This would be a significant political move,” Deputy General Director of the National Energy Institute Alexander Frolov told Izvestia.
Otkritie Broker analyst Timur Nigmatullin told the newspaper that the US-Chinese trade war has a much greater influence locally on the oil market than Qatar does, since it slows down the growth rates of world trade, and hence the global economy.
Russia has concurred to take part in another round of quadrilateral talks on Syria with the participation of Germany, France and Turkey, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Izvestia. The Federation Council clarified that the new conference is likely to be held in Turkey. Earlier, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to hold a second round of talks to resolve the Syrian crisis.
The meeting might be held in the near future. Which of the parties will act as its organizer does not matter, Peskov noted, answering a question from Izvestia about the summit’s venue. The main point is the very possibility of it. “Location is not important. The main thing is the format,” Peskov told the newspaper.
The participation of two influential European states – France and Germany – can play a positive role in the process of resolving the crisis in the Arab Republic, Senator Alexey Pushkov told Izvestia. In addition, the summit will be an excellent opportunity to establish contacts between the Russian leadership and leaders of the European Union on other issues, he added. “I believe that the meeting will be held in the near future, since all parties are interested in this dialogue,” he told the newspaper. According to the senator, the next summit is likely to be held in Istanbul, since the Turkish leader initiated the idea.
The meeting between countries whose approaches to settling the Syrian conflict differ is an excellent opportunity to hammer out a solution that would suit everyone, Russian orientalist Vyacheslav Matuzov told the newspaper, adding that only the negotiation process can lead to a de-escalation of the situation.
Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko submitted a bill on terminating the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and Russia to the Verkhovna Rada, according to the official website of the Ukrainian parliament. Head of the Ukrainian Policy Foundation, Konstantin Bondarenko told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the deal is virtually no longer valid, since Kiev had previously warned Moscow that it would not renew it in the spring of next year. Thus, renouncing the accord is just a statement of fact. Meanwhile, Russian political analyst Alexey Malashenko believes that Kiev has put the nail in the coffin of the post-Soviet space.
“A precedent was set in the post-Soviet space, when Georgia broke off relations with Russia. Now Ukraine is doing this as well. Will diplomatic relations with Russia be severed after the Verkhovna Rada votes for Poroshenko’s bill? I don’t think so. And there will be no visa regime yet. Visas are a separate deal. The termination of the friendship agreement can be seen as a formal step and an election campaign PR move by Poroshenko,” Bondarenko told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Associate Professor of the Russian State Humanitarian University, Expert of the Russian Council on International Affairs Alexander Gushchin told the newspaper, “For Russia, there will be no special consequences, because Ukraine practically did not fulfill the accord.” “I think this is a step aimed at maintaining the tension. Kiev is calculating how the West will react to it. It will not lead to serious consequences, but will cause a serious effect. As for the future, one cannot exclude a severing of diplomatic relations. Railway communication might be terminated, and a visa regime is possible. But not now,” he noted.
Chief Researcher at the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute Alexey Malashenko told Nezavisimaya Gazeta he sees the implications of the situation differently. “If you look at the post-Soviet space in general and Central Asia in particular, this can set some precedent for many people,” he said, adding, “In my opinion, this is the end of the post-Soviet space. This space is no more. You can only write about it in quotes.”
On Monday, the blastoff of the Soyuz MS-11 manned spacecraft was held at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, three crewmembers of which are expected to spend 194 days on the International Space Station (ISS). Despite the failed attempt in October, this time the lunch of the Soyuz-FG rocket was a success. At the same time sources told Kommersant that a couple of weeks ago Roscosmos replaced the Soyuz-FG originally intended for the launch with a similar one due to incompatibility of the configuration.
The launch on Monday was the first after the accident that happened on October 11. The Soyuz-FG rocket with the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft was launched from the first platform at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the carrier’s crew separated regularly, after that, the ship with its crew consisting of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut David St. Jacques, and American astronaut Anne McClain headed for the ISS.
According to Kommersant, initially it was planned to use the Soyuz-FG No.69 missile for the blastoff. “We began preparatory work with the rocket stages in late August. The ‘package’ was assembled before the accident on October 11,” a source at the Baikonur Cosmodrome told Kommersant. However, in mid-November, it was decided to assemble a “package” with the Soyuz-FG No.67 rocket. “This is not related to the causes of the October accident. Just the fact that a complete set was planned earlier does not correspond to the one needed to launch a manned spacecraft,” the source told the newspaper. The source did not specify why incorrect equipment was found so close to the launch date. “They probably forgot to take something into account when planning the launches and attaching rockets to certain payloads,” the source said.
The Progress Rocket Space Centre has already begun to manufacture three missiles, the first of which is expected to deliver the Soyuz MS-16 crew into orbit in the spring of 2020.
Russian Helicopters (part of Rostec) will receive $120 mln for the direct sale of 20 Ansat aircraft to the Chinese Association of Emergency Medicine, the company told Kommersant. The producer is negotiating the supplies of another 50 helicopters to state and private customers in Asia, with total sales reaching $500 mln. Russian Helicopters also intends to open a service center in Thailand in addition to those already operating in China and Vietnam.
The contract with the Association for the supply of helicopters with a medical module was signed at the International Air Show in Zhuhai, China in early November. The first deliveries will begin in 2019, and in 2020, the last aircraft will be delivered under the contract. The manufacturer noted that leasing companies are not participating in the deal. The aircraft was purchased directly.
The company also said that certified service centers for Russian helicopters were opened in China and Vietnam, and a similar aftersales center in Thailand together with the Datagate company is planned. “Singapore has a service center for PW207K engines used in the Ansat, and Vietnam has support facilities for VK-2500 engines mounted on the Mi-171A2 for the entire region,” the producer said, noting cooperation with the Airod SDN BHD company in Malaysia for aftersales services.
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