It’s the piss that gets the press, but the leaked intelligence dossier also claims that Trump was offered a 19% stake in the Russian oil company Rosneft in exchange for lifting sanctions as President

As we discussed yesterday, an intelligence report assembled by a former MI6 operative in Moscow concerning Trump’s extensive ties to the government of Vladimir Putin went public thanks to Buzzfeed and CNN. These documents, which you really should read in their entirety, paint a troubling portrait of our President-elect. According to the as-yet-verified claims made in the 40-some pages of intelligence memos that comprise the dossier, Trump had been developed as a Russian asset over the past several years through an intricate campaign involving both blackmail and financial incentives. While there’s some question as to the accuracy of the claims, we’re told that the former British intelligence officer who prepared the materials, Christopher Steele, is well-respected in the intelligence community. Not only that, but the the BBC has come out to say that a second source has confirmed the claims… Well, with all of that by way of background, I’d like to spend some time right now delving into one specific claim made at the end of the report involving Russia’s desire to see Trump installed as President in order to open up oil exploration in the Arctic.

As you may recall, I suggested some time ago that I thought that Putin was interested in seeing Trump become President not just because he would allow Russia to do what it wanted in the Baltic states, but because, as President, Trump could help lift sanctions against Russia, thereby allowing their $500 billion oil exploration deal with Exxon to move forward in the Arctic. Well, if you read to the very end of the intelligence document noted above, you will find the following mention of these sanctions and a financial offer that was apparently made to Trump on behalf of the largely state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 3.10.20 PM

Yes, you read that right. Trump emissary Carter Page, according to this intelligence dossier, met with representatives of Rosneft to discuss the lifting of sanctions against Russia which had stopped their plans to drill in the Arctic. In return for lifting these sanctions, according to the report, Trump would be given a 19 percent stake in Rosneft… Can someone please calculate 19 percent of $500 billion?

Here, by way of context, is a clip from something I’d written recently on the role of oil in all of this

FROM THE POST “OF COURSE IT’S ALL ABOUT OIL”:

…To put it simply, Russia, despite the bluster, has been failing under Putin. Here, from The Diplomat, is a clip a 2014 article titled “Russia is Doomed.” This section relates specifically to the country’s energy reserves – one of four “pillars of Russian power” the authors describe as “steadily declining.”

…Another source of modern Russian power has been its massive energy reserves. Indeed, high oil prices during the 1970s allowed the Soviet Union to flex its muscles abroad. However, as energy prices stabilized during the 1980s the artifice upon which the Soviet system began to crumble. Far from continuing to expand, the end of the decade saw the Soviet empire disintegrate, with Moscow powerless to stop it.

The so-called resurgence Russia has enjoyed since Putin first assumed power has also been built on high energy prices. And like the Soviet leaders before him, Putin has squandered the temporary respite provided by high energy prices instead of using it to reinvest in the country and its people. As the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development noted gloomily in December 2012, “Not only are Russian exports highly concentrated in natural resources, this concentration has increased over time: the shares of oil, gas and other minerals in Russia’s exports are higher today than they were 15 years ago.”

It went on to reflect: “In 2012 Russia remains highly dependent on its natural resources. Oil and gas now account for nearly 70 percent of total goods exports…. Oil and gas revenues also contribute around half of the federal budget. The non-oil fiscal deficit has averaged more than 11 per cent of GDP since 2009, while the oil price consistent with a balanced budget is now in the region of US$115 per barrel and rising.”

The problem with the Russian Federation’s economic model, much like that of the Soviet Union’s before it, is that it is only sustainable so long as energy prices remain artificially high. But, of course, energy prices are almost certainly going to decline over the coming years as a result of greater energy efficiency in the West, slowing growth in the East, and greater supply as a result of the energy revolutions being enjoyed in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere around the world. And as goes the price of oil so goes the Russian state…

Be sure to go back and read that last paragraph, in case you missed it… The Russian economic model is only sustainable “so long as energy prices remain artificially high.” And, more importantly, “energy prices are almost certainly going to decline over the coming years as a result of greater energy efficiency in the West.” So, as the world migrates to renewables, the Russian state, having not diversified, is going to suffer… Unless, of course, the West stops the migration to renewables.

In March 2014, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham summed it up rather well. Russia, he said, is merely “an oil and gas company masquerading as a country.” Some took offense at the comment. From what I’ve seen, though, most saw quite a bit of truth in it. The Carnegie organization, for instance, after saying that Graham’s assertion came across as absurd at first blush, essentially acquiesced, detailing in a 2014 report just how “ heavily dependent on oil” Russia’s economy was.

So, as solar and wind are beginning to outperform fossil fuels, we have this former super-power that has essentially put all of its eggs in the “oil and gas” basket, refusing to either invest in renewables, or, for that matter, diversify their economy in any way. Instead, they continue, as Sarah Palin would say, to “drill, baby, drill,” ignoring the reality of global climate change and the fact that wind and solar are growing more competitive by the day.

OK, so here’s where things get interesting… Once Trump was elected (thanks, in large part, to Russia’s help), he promptly named Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, a close collaborator with the Russians, to be his Secretary of State… Here, from CNN, is a clip about Tillerson’s deep economic ties to Russia.

…In 2013, Vladimir Putin awarded ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens…

The 64-year-old Tillerson, a lifetime Exxon employee, came up through the ranks by managing the company’s Russia account…

In fact, his close relationship with Russia is one of the major reasons Tillerson was selected to succeed Lee Raymond as CEO of Exxon (XOM) in 2006, according to Steve Coll’s book “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.”

Once he became CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia’s vast but notoriously-elusive oil resources through a bold partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft. Putin himself attended the 2011 signing ceremony for the deal with Rosneft, which is majority owned by Moscow.

Russia has already indicated it would welcome Tillerson being named America’s top diplomat.

“Trump continues to amaze,” Alexey Pushkov, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Russian parliament, said on Twitter. He said that selecting Tillerson would be a “sensation” and noted he has “a lot of experience working with Russia”…

Here are Tillerson and Putin together, sharing a laugh. Judging by how happy they look, I’d say it was taken either since Trump won, or prior to 2014, when sanctions levied by the Obama administration killed a $500 billion dollar oil joint exploration venture in the Arctic between Russia and Exxon.

tillersonputin

And that’s what I think all of this is really about, when you strip everything else away. This is about not just killing NATO, and allowing Russia to re-exert its dominance in Europe, but ensuring that oil remain our global currency.

Obama, to put it simply, was bad for big oil. And that’s a big reason why Trump is now our President-elect.

Obama killed a $500 billion dollar oil project in the Artic, so Putin invested in a candidate who would not only give him what he wanted in the Arctic, but also effectively stop research into alternative energy, global climate change, etc. [Relevant recent headlines: “Trump just proposed ending all federal clean energy development,” “Trump transition team for Energy Department seeks names of employees involved in climate meetings“] It’s difficult to imagine that Putin could have dreamed of a better scenario. Not only will Exxon be running the State Department, but the United States – the world’s largest market – will remain on the oil teat for the foreseeable future.

END QUOTE

And now, if this intelligence dossier is to be believed, we know just what it cost the Russian’s to get Trump to dismiss global warming, shut down climate research and open up the Arctic. Again, I think we have a good case for treason. Let’s hope our elected officials pursue it. The future of planet is at stake.

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18 Comments

  1. freeto
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Nice write-up Mark, another angle to challenge this relationship: https://medium.com/@AlexSteffen/trump-putin-and-the-pipelines-to-nowhere-742d745ce8fd#.ordc3hqki

  2. Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Dear Mark,

    I am convinced that there is a connection between the president-elect and Russia. My theory is based on his frequent pro-Russian stances that he articulated during the campaign, his denial of climate change, his denial of Russian hacking with its meddling into 2016 U.S. elections, his financial backing by Russian oligarchs close to President Putin as detailed in numerous publications like NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Times magazine, his hiring of pro Russian campaign workers like Paul Manafort as campaign mgr, Carter Page, as foreign policy advisor. Roger Stone is somehow associated with all of this because he is the one who influenced DT to hire Paul Manafort.

    Josh Rogan’ of the Washington Post wrote an article in mid July 2016 about DT’s surrogates deleting U.S. policy regarding Ukraine from the republican party platform which was the only change that was requested:

    “The Trump campaign worked behind the scenes last week to make sure the new Republican platform won’t call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Republican foreign policy leaders in Washington.”

    “Throughout the campaign, Trump has been dismissive of calls for supporting the Ukraine government as it fights an ongoing Russian-led intervention. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, worked for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych for more than a decade.”

    Carter Page is an investor with the Russian oil company Gazprom, and DT’s long time friend Roger Stone is known for his scorched earth/ dirty tricks type of campaigning.

    It was the pages 7 and 8 regarding Ukraine that caught my attention. The MI6 former agent had different sources, so while some parts are obviously false, some sections may be true and so the FBI still has to investigate this.

    As soon as DT is in office, hopefully there will be legal actions started regarding conflicts of interest issues, so that DT’s IRS tax returns can be subpoenaed.

    My speculation is that this document published by BuzzFeed was a CIA op because it was included in the daily briefing book in a 2 page format, shared with President Obama, delivered to the president-elect who eventually admitted that he read it, but it was also delivered to 8 U.S. house officials. A leak was inevitable. My suspicion is that this was a way to get DT’s full attention.

    Thanks for the blog, Gronda Morin

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Can someone please calculate 19 percent of $500 billion? $95 billion

  4. Lynne
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I think a lot of this is futile on Russia’s part. I dont think they can stop the progression to energy efficiency and renewables. The economic benefits to powerful corporations are just too high.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Russia is fucked economically. They have no new tech coming out of Russia. But they have a lot of nuclear hardware and serious espionage chops. So, that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t take the rest of the world down with them.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Office of Governmental Ethics speaks out re Trump conflicts of interest.

    https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2017/01/11/oge-director-warns-trumps-plan-insufficient/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=gs

  7. Lynne
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Why can’t they just use those espionage chops to steal renewable technology!

    It is frustrating too because Russia has some of the best scientists in the world so they should have all kinds of new technology blossoming.

  8. Eel
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Piss Trumps Oil in the U.S. press.

  9. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Lynne– energy insecurity in Russia has lead to some small scale innovations, but the State tends to give lip service to green tech, if people ask. But there’s really nothing. They are ill prepared for anything but adaptive measures.
    http://www.russialist.org/archives/russia-economy-green-technology-mar-535.php

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Lynne– energy insecurity in Russia has lead to some small scale innovations, but the State tends to give lip service to green tech, if people ask. But there’s really nothing. They are ill prepared for anything but adaptive measures.
    http://www.russialist.org/archives/russia-economy-green-technology-mar-535.php

  11. Meta
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Fortune questions the suggestion that Trump was offered a stake in Rosneft.

    The dossier also claims (on the basis of three separate sources) that Carter Page, a sometime Trump adviser with extensive past ties to gas giant Gazprom, met in July with Igor Sechin, the U.S.-sanctioned CEO of oil giant Rosneft. (Page insists that such claims are “complete garbage.”)

    The notion that Sechin, by most people’s reckoning the most powerful man in Russia after Putin, had sought the lifting of U.S. sanctions in return for a renewed energy partnership, is entirely logical. Sanctions have severely crimped Rosneft’s investment (notably in its joint venture drilling for oil in the Arctic with ExxonMobil), and lifting them would benefit no-one more than Rosneft.

    Less credible is the claim that Sechin offered the U.S. a sizeable stake in Rosneft in return. True, there was a stake in Rosneft for sale last year. But the state budget was due to receive the money from it by December, and there was never any chance of selling to a U.S. entity in that timeframe. It eventually went to a consortium of Qatar and Glencore, with financing by Italy’s Banca Intesa SanPaolo.

    Page, like Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, were withdrawn from Trump’s team after the spotlight on their Russian connections grew too intense, though even the dossier acknowledges there were other factors at work there, too. But one claim regarding Manafort stands out: That Putin refused to believe the reassurances of Viktor Yanukovych, the disgraced ex-president of Ukraine, that there was no paper trail confirming illicit payments made to Manafort that would discredit him in the U.S. Whatever the truth, and Manafort denies any wrongdoing, Putin’s exasperation at Yanukovych’s shortcomings is a matter of record.

    Read more:
    http://fortune.com/2017/01/11/donald-trump-intelligence-russian/

  12. Meta
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    From OilPrice.com, December 16, 2016: “Rosneft To Ramp Up Global Expansion Under Trump”

    A breakthrough in international strategy and the election of ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson as U.S. Secretary of State could stand to benefit Rosneft and Russia significantly.

    Valentina Kretzschmar, a Wood Mackenzie analyst, sees the recent privatization deal in which Glencore and the Qatar Investment authority bought a 19.5 percent stake in the Russian oil major as ‘’a tectonic shift in the way the country is perceived by investors’’.

    Wood Mac expects an acceleration in the foreign expansion of Rosneft, which has the ambition to become a major international player like ExxonMobil or Shell. The Russian oil giant has suffered from the international sanctions that have been imposed on Russia and some of its biggest companies and banks in the wake of its 2014 military campaign in Crimea.

    In specific, western imposed sanctions against Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and the restriction of transactions to and from Russian oil companies Rosneft and Novatek have stymied international growth.

    Unlike other oil majors, Rosneft produces almost every drop of oil in its home country and, according to Bloomberg, its market value has suffered massively from international sanctions, currently representing less than one-fifth of ExxonMobil’s $378 billion.

    As international sanctions significantly complicated international takeovers, 2014 and 2015 saw minimal takeover action on Rosneft’s part, but this all changed over the course of 2016, as the company struck several big acquisition deals, partnering up with international oil majors such as Eni, BP and Essaroil of India.

    As Oilprice.com’s Nick Cunningham noted on Sunday, the cooperation in the exploration and production of Arctic oil between U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil and Rosneft might resume as a result of Trump’s attitude towards Russia.

    In 2014 ExxonMobil and Rosneft, just ahead of the Western imposed sanctions, discovered as much as 700 million barrels of light oil in the Kara Sea, which depending on the stability of oil prices might be produced and added to the books of Rosneft and ExxonMobil. A much needed addition for both companies as they struggle to keep production up as capex falls.

    And although Rosneft has agreed to reduce oil production in order to comply with Russia’s 300,000 bpd output cut, the company is unlikely to feel the negative consequences of an oil production cut, as it expects a 150,000 – 200,000 bpd seasonal production decline this spring.

    U.S./E.U. sanctions might have slowed down Rosneft’s international expansion for the past few years, but the alleviation of sanctions could lead to a boost in international investment in the Russian Arctic and shale, such as the Bazhenov formation, dubbed to have at least 75 billion barrels of technically recoverable reserves. Enough to ensure Rosneft’s future as one of the world’s oil majors.

    Source:
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Rosneft-To-Ramp-Up-Global-Expansion-Under-Trump.html

  13. A Latvian
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good write-up. One edit suggestion:
    “Putin was interested in seeing Trump become President not just because he would allow Russia to do what it wanted in the Balkin states.” I believe you meant this point in reference to the Baltic states. The Balkins and Baltics are different things; Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are the Baltics. Though, I’m sure Trump would have no problem selling out the Balkins, too.

  14. site admin
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right. Baltic states. The edit has been made.

  15. Kim
    Posted January 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the report says Trump was offered a 19% stake in the company and they they sell 19% to another party. Strange coincidence.

  16. Frederik
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Check out http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-rosneft-privatisation-insight-idUSKBN1582OH
    Big chunk of the money is actually unaccounted for, via Cayman Islands shell construction.

  17. 734
    Posted January 30, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Medium is now on it…..

    Finally, I want to highlight a story that many people haven’t noticed. On Wednesday, Reuters reported (in great detail) how 19.5% of Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, has been sold to parties unknown. This was done through a dizzying array of shell companies, so that the most that can be said with certainty now is that the money “paying” for it was originally loaned out to the shell layers by VTB (the government’s official bank), even though it’s highly unclear who, if anyone, would be paying that loan back; and the recipients have been traced as far as some Cayman Islands shell companies.

    Why is this interesting? Because the much-maligned Steele Dossier (the one with the golden showers in it) included the statement that Putin had offered Trump 19% of Rosneft if he became president and removed sanctions. The reason this is so interesting is that the dossier said this in July, and the sale didn’t happen until early December. And 19.5% sounds an awful lot like “19% plus a brokerage commission.”

    Conclusive? No. But it raises some very interesting questions for journalists to investigate.

    https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/trial-balloon-for-a-coup-e024990891d5#.4wp73easd

  18. M
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Rex Tillerson is saying now he never wanted to be Secretary of State.

    “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “My wife told me I’m supposed to do this.”

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/325123-tillerson-i-didnt-want-this-job

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] long enough, I think it’ll be Carter Page, the man who, according to the Steele Dossier, brokered the deal between Trump and Putin to lift U.S. sanctions against Russia in exchange for a 19…. [One wonders if Vegas has odds on the life expectancy of Carter […]

  2. […] was in it for Trump other than the presidency. Could it be that, as the Steele dossier suggested, Trump had been offered a financial stake in the Russian oil company Rosneft? I guess we’ll have to wait and see as more of these secret meetings between Trump campaign […]

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