Rosneft: Arctic chill

THE close bond between Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s boss, and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, can work both ways. His seat in Mr Putin’s inner circle brings rebuke. Mr Sechin is on an American blacklist, and Rosneft is barred from seeking longer-term finance from American banks, over Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine. But it brings rewards too. This week an international arbitration court ordered Russia’s government to pay $50 billion to shareholders in Yukos, an oil company it destroyed (see article). The case was a reminder that Mr Putin handed most of Yukos’s assets to Rosneft, setting it on the way to becoming the world’s biggest stockmarket-listed oil company by output.If Mr Sechin were bothered by a travel ban and the threat of asset seizures, he has not let on. But this week’s fresh round of American and EU sanctions, partly aimed at Russia’s oil industry, threaten to do far more damage to Rosneft’s ambition of tightening its powerful grip on energy at home and Mr Putin’s aim of using energy to beef…

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