Russia Charges Greenpeace Activists With Piracy

Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela from Finland (L) is escorted at a district court in Murmansk September 29, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Eshchenko

Since early last month, Russian officials have rounded up the workers for alleged violations of migration or employment rules, the New York-based human rights group said today in an e-mailed statement. Many have been kept in arbitrary and inhuman conditions and some expelled from Russia, it said. Its outrageous for the migrant workers who helped to build Sochis shiny new Olympic venues to be herded into detention and deported, said Jane Buchanan, associate director for Europe and Central Asia. Ilya Djous, a spokesman for Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, whos in charge of Olympic preparations, said by phone that there havent been any mass violations of labor or migration rules. Russia stages the competition in February and has spent about $50 billion, making these the most expensive Winter Games . The project has included road building and a train service to connect the coastal hub to be used for the opening ceremony and ice skating events and the mountains that will host the skiing and downhill competitions. Construction workers are being exploited and cheated out of their wages, Human Rights Watch said in February. Some employers demanded 12-hour shifts with few days off, withheld passports and work permits and refused to pay promised salaries, the group said. President Vladimir Putin has sought to attract large international events, including the 2018 soccer World Cup and last years Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net ; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net More News:

is now the worlds biggest oil and gas producer October 4, 2013, 1:12 PM By Claudia Assis The U.S. will end 2013 as the worlds largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Energy Information Administration said Friday. The EIA estimated combined U.S. petroleum and gas production this year will hit 50 quadrillion British thermal units, or 25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, outproducing Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu. Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, and biofuels. U.S. and Russian energy production over the past two years have been roughly equivalent. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota, the EIA said. U.S. natural gas production has risen 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, the agency said, while Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined petroleum and natural gas production by about 1 quadrillion Btu since 2008, the EIA said. The EIA data confirm an analysis by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, saying the U.S.

U.S. Is Overtaking Russia as Largest Oil-and-Gas Producer

The piracy charges, which Greenpeace said were absurd, are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The federal Investigative Committee said authorities had begun charging 30 people arrested after the protest last month, in which a Greenpeace icebreaker approached the Prirazlomnaya platform and two activists tried to scale the rig – a crucial part of Russia’s effort to mine Arctic resources. By midday, five people had been charged, Greenpeace said – Brazilian crew member Ana Paula Alminhana, Russian activist Roman Dolgov, Finnish activist Sini Saarela, British freelance videographer Kieron Bryan, and Dima Litvinov, an activist with Swedish and U.S. citizenship. “It is an extreme and disproportionate charge,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said. “A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest.” A court in the northern city of Murmansk last week ordered all 30 people from 18 countries who had been aboard the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise to be held in custody for two months pending further investigation. The Investigative Committee said authorities had begun to charge the activists on Wednesday but gave no details. The environmental group says the protest was peaceful and posed no threat, and that piracy charges have no merit in international or Russian law. President Vladimir Putin said last week the protesters were clearly not pirates but they had violated international law. The Investigative Committee said on Monday peaceful aims would not justify what it has called an “attack” that posed a threat to the platform and its personnel. Prirazlomnaya, Russia’s first offshore oil rig in the Arctic, is slated to start operating by the end of the year and is expected to reach peak production of 6 million tonnes per year (120,000 barrels per day) in 2019. Russia, whose slowing economy is heavily reliant on income from energy exports, hopes Arctic oil and gas will help fuel future growth.

Move over, Russia: U.S. is now the world’s biggest oil and gas producer

Other risk factors: a global economic contraction would depress oil and gas prices, leading companies to slow production. And drilling in shale is expensive and more complex than conventional exploration, leading to concerns that a market downturn could take a large bite out of U.S. output. So far, most companies aren’t dialing back, even though they need access to enormous amounts of capital to pay for the deep wells required to tap dense rock formations. Much of the growth in fossil-fuel production comes from companies that need to sell shares, take on debt or sell assets to plug a gap between spending and their revenue. According to an estimate by Barclays PLC, 50 major U.S. oil and gas explorers needed to raise $50.3 billion last year to close that gap. Plenty of private-equity funding and overseas investment remains available, industry experts say, and debt remains relatively cheap. “The dollars needed have never been larger,” said Maynard Holt, co-president of Houston-based investment bank Tudor, Pickering Holt & Co. “But the money is truly out there. The global energy capital river is flowing our way.” U.S. energy producers also are drilling more efficiently and cutting costs in other ways. Some companies have said that the amount of oil and gas produced by shale wells isn’t dropping as fast as predicted. Ken Hersh, chief executive of NGP Energy Capital Management LLC, a private-equity fund with $13 billion under management, said the immense amounts of oil and gas uncovered in recent years indicate that the U.S. energy boom could last a long time.