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Strength Through Appeasement… Obama to Share US Missile Secrets With Russia

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Posted by Jim Hoft

Despite giving away nuclear secrets and implementing a policy of appeasement, the Russians announced in November that they will deploy new missiles aimed at U.S. missile defense sites.

But that didn’t divert President Obama from his mission of appeasement.

President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is planning on providing Moscow with US missile defense secrets.
The Washington Times reported:

President Obama signaled Congress this week that he is prepared to share U.S. missile defense secrets with Russia.

In the president’s signing statement issued Saturday in passing into law the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, Mr. Obama said restrictions aimed at protecting top-secret technical data on U.S. Standard Missile-3 velocity burnout parameters might impinge on his constitutional foreign policy authority.

As first disclosed in this space several weeks ago, U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with the SM-3 data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal.

There are also concerns that Russia could share the secret data with China and rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to help their missile programs defeat U.S. missile defenses.

Hat Tip Maria

For the record… Obama met secretly with Gorbachev in March 2009 where they discussed ways of reducing their countries’ respective nuclear arsenals.
Hat Tip Chris

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Russian drilling rig sinks off Sakhalin, 51 missing

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MOSCOW | Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:37am EST

(Reuters) – An oil drilling rig with 67 crew on board capsized and sank off the Russian Far East island of Sakhalin when it ran into a storm while being towed, and 51 of the crew were unaccounted for, Russian news agencies reported on Sunday.

Fourteen crew members were rescued alive from the ‘Kolskaya’ jack-up rig, operated by Russian exploration company Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka, two bodies were recovered and the rest of the crew were missing.

“According to reports from the scene of the rescue operation, the Kolskaya platform has sunk completely,” the local head of the Emergencies Ministry, Taimuraz Kasayev, told a news briefing in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Agencies quoted officials as saying the rig capsized at about 0200 GMT on Sunday around 200 km (125 miles) off the coast of Sakhalin as it was being towed from the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka.

It appeared that the vessel had not been doing drilling work, so no oil spill was likely. The rig’s destination was not immediately clear.

While less serious that BP’s Macondo disaster, when a blowout caused oil to spew for months into the Gulf of Mexico, the fatal accident will deal a blow to Russia‘s efforts to step up offshore oil and gas exploration.

Russia has two major offshore projects that are already producing oil off Sakhalin – Sakhalin-1, operated by Exxonmobil and Sakhalin-2, in which state-controlled gas export monopoly Gazprom has a controlling stake.

State-controlled Rosneft this year reached a major deal with Exxon to explore for oil and gas in the Arctic Kara Sea.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; editing by Tim Pearce)

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The Russian Market Is Getting Reduced To Rubble Today

Dec. 6, 2011, 10:44 AM
by Joe Weisenthal

Today’s geopolitical hotspot?

Russia.

There are massive protests in Russia today, associated with the election. Suddenly Putin‘s grip on power looks much less steady.

And so stocks are tanking. The MICEX 10 — their Dow Jones — is cratering, getting reduced to rubble. It’s off over 4%, with heavy selling late in the day.

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Polarcus Nadia Set for West Africa Work

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UAE based company specializing in high-end towed streamer data acquisition, Polarcus Limited, has signed a Letter of Intent with an undisclosed client for a 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa.

The project, to be acquired by ULSTEIN SX124 design vessel, Polarcus Nadia, will start this month and is expected to run for approximately 30 days.

Delivered in 2009 Polarcus Nadia is an ultra-modern 12 streamer 3D/4D seismic vessel. Built to the ULSTEIN SX124 design and incorporating the innovative ULSTEIN X-BOW® hull, this vessel combines the latest developments in maritime  systems with the most advanced seismic technology commercially available. The vessel is also amongst the most environmentally sound seismic vessels in the market with diesel-electric propulsion, high specification catalytic convertors, double hull, and advanced bilge water cleaning system. This vessel complies with the stringent DNV CLEAN DESIGN notation.

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Russia Delivers Anti-Ship Missiles To Syria Regime

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Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov

Russia‘s Interfax news agency, quoting what it describes as a diplomatic source in Moscow, has reported that Russia has delivered anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria‘s regime.

No official confirmation or denial of the report was immediately available. The report quotes the source as saying Russia had supplied to Syria Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, as part of Bastion mobile coastal missile systems.

The report does not say when the deliveries took place or how many missiles have been delivered, but says the contract was worth around $300 million.

It says Russia believes the weapons will allow Syria to protect its entire coast from a potential seaborne attack.

The report quotes Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as saying in February that Moscow intended to fulfill the contract, despite opposition to the deal from Israel and its ally the United States.

The United Nations says that more than 4,000 people have been killed since protests against Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid-March, and that the conflict has now evolved into a “civil war.”

Russia, a traditional ally of the Syrian regime, has helped block moves for UN sanctions targeting Syria over the bloodshed.

compiled from agency reports

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Tensions Brew In The Caspian Sea With Russia’s Latest Move

Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the nations that border the Caspian Sea – namely Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan – have quarreled over how to properly divide its waters. With as much as 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil, 200 billion barrels of potential reserves and 9.2 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas, at stake, tensions have risen over recent moves by Russia to develop its offshore resources.

Tensions Brew In The Caspian Sea With Russia’s Latest Move

A Geo-Political Storm Could Be Brewing Over The Caspian Sea’s Energy Resources
Photo Credit: mwanasimba

On 16 November in Astrakhan Lukoil president, Vagit Alekperov told journalists that his company will spend over $16 billion over the next decade to develop the country’s Caspian offshore Korchagin and Filanovskii oil and natural gas fields in the Caspian, at the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Astrakhan Region.

An equitable division of the Caspian’s offshore resources have bedeviled the region since the December 1991 implosion of the USSR, putting the Soviet Union’s previous cozy arrangements with the Shah’s Iran “into the dustbin of history,” to quote Leon Trotsky.

Related: Russia Oil and Gas Industry

Related: Iran Oil and Gas Industry

Before the collapse of the USSR, the Soviet Union and Iran effectively divided the inland sea amongst themselves, according to the terms of the 1940 Soviet-Iranian treaty, which replaced the 1921 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries, which awarded each signatory an “exclusive right of fishing in its coastal waters up to a limit of 10 nautical miles.” The treaty further declared that the “parties hold the Caspian to belong to Iran and to the Soviet Union.”

Since 1991 three new nations have arisen in the Caspian basin to contest this bilateral arrangement – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. For the past two decades the five nations have wrangled about how to divide the Caspian offshore waters, and little has been achieved.

Amidst the disagreements Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have tentatively moved cautiously to develop their offshore reserves in sectors that they believe would be indisputably within their future assignations under an eventual five-state agreement.

Even within these cautious offshore margins, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have increased their output in the last 15 years by 70 percent.

Related: Azerbaijan Oil and Gas Industry

Related: Kazakhstan Oil and Gas Industry

Related: Turkmenistan Export, Import and Trade

But at issue are the diametrically opposed positions of Iran and the Russian Federation about how to develop an international Caspian consensus beyond the now moribund 1921 and 1940 treaties. Iran insists that all Caspian nations should receive an equitable 20 percent of the Caspian, while the Russia Federation has consistently maintained that the five Caspian riverine nations should receive their portion based on the length of their coastline. Under the Russian formula, Iran’s sector would consist of 12 percent to 14 percent of the Caspian’s waters and seabed.

 

The stakes are high – in 2009 the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration estimated that the Caspian could contain as much as 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil along with an additional 200 billion barrels of potential reserves, in addition to up to 9.2 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas.

Accordingly, all five Caspian nations have been delicately developing their offshore Caspian reserves in areas that will undoubtedly remain theirs whatever eventual agreement is hammered out between Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan. The Russian Federation and Iran are the last two nations to move “offshore.”

Alekperov said, “Five hundred billion rubles ($16 billion) will be invested in development. This huge amount will provide an opportunity for sustainable development in the region.”

Astrakhan Region Governor Aleksandr Zhilkin waxed lyrical on the importance of the agreement for the long-term development of Astrakhan’s shipbuilding industry, situated on the lower Volga, the Russian Federation’s major river emptying into the Caspian.

Zhilkin commented, “All shipyards in Astrakhan Region will have work for the next ten years. Vagit Yusufovich (Alekperov) mentioned that Lukoil is investing more than 500 billion rubles ($16 billion) over the decade.

Zhilkin’s remarks to reporters are hardly an idle boast, as he stated that Lukoil had paid more than $16.1 million in taxes last year to Astrakhan’s regional budget.

So, the Russian Federation, like its four Caspian neighbors, is now beginning to tiptoe into its offshore waters, all the while insisting that its vision of divvying the inland sea prevails.

Related: The New “Great Game” in Central Asia

Related: Energy: Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – Linked and Divided by Oil Pipelines

Related: The Nabucco Pipeline: Turkey, Russia and Petro-politics

The last two decades have seen an apparent pragmatism slowly evolve over the Caspian offshore resources, first in Baku, followed by Astana, Ashgabat and more recently and reluctantly, Tehran and Moscow. While the issue of a final disposition of the Caspian’s offshore waters remains significant if for no other reason than the various proposed undersea pipelines such as Turkmenistan-Baku, which could be an influential element in the European Union’s projected $15 billion Nabucco natural gas pipeline reverie, all five nations seem to be moving cautiously towards planting their offshore flags in areas unlikely to arouse their neighbours.

It will be interesting to see if they meet in the middle.

By John C.K. Daly, OilPrice.com

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