The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

In a shift that will have an impact in the near-term future, Russian oil firms YUKOS and Sibneft are pondering a merger, which would create the world's 5th or 6th-largest oil company. The move is mainly seen as a defensive maneuver to keep non-Russian companies from gaining any more of the market.

It's slowly dawning on the general population that Russia is turning into a major player in the world oil game, likely bigger than OPEC soon. In some ways, this new role will make up for losing the Cold War and put Russia squarely back into a position of influence. At least, that'll be the case as long as oil is so crucial; despite dwindling reserves, oil will be the world's main fuel source for most of this century, at least.

I wonder how long it'll take for the usual image of the oil merchant--the Arab--to be supplanted in most people's consciousnesses by that of a Russian...