Ukraine in the Membrane (March 07, 2014)
The recent developments in Ukraine serve as a stark reminder that crude oil and natural gas supply security for captive consumers are only as sure as their provider’s next false move. Russia and Saudi Arabia regularly interchange positions as the world’s largest oil producer, depending on OPEC production quotas, heightening market sensitivity to sabre-rattling of any sort. As tensions in Ukraine, Crimea and Russia mount, it is not yet clear the full extent to which the conflict will impact natural gas and oil supplies. To be sure, however, if trade barriers solidify, the ramifications for the oil and tanker markets will likely be significant.