No. 55

  USRCC Business Newsletter

Happy International Women's Day from the USRCC!

Senior Executive Speaker Series h onoring Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee, Gazprom
February 25, 2016

The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce hosted a breakfast reception  honoring Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee, Gazprom. More than 35 executives attended the breakfast event, showcasing the continued interest in U.S.-Russia trade and investment. 

Alexander Medvedev stated, "Russia and the United States share a history of pioneering... and we have revolutionized the oil and gas industry." He ended the presentation by emphasizing, "We still have a lot to do." More information about Mr. Medvedev is available here

Guests included C-level executives from Baker Hughes, Chevron, Emerson, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, KPMG, Macquarie Energy, Mitsui, Parker Drilling, Saipem, Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., and more.

This event would not have been possible without the support, partnership and sponsorship from Gazprom Marketing and Trading USA.

To view the event photos 

The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce 
The 7th Annual Reception honoring delegations from Russia and Kazakhstan to the Offshore Technology Conference  (OTC 2016)

The USRCC is pleased to invite you to our 7th Annual OTC  reception - one of our largest events, attended by oil and gas industry leaders from around the world. 

Offshore Technology Conference is the largest oil and gas sector trade show in the world. This conference provides  energy professionals the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Hotel ZaZa
5701 Main Street
Fountain Room
Houston, TX 77005


For sponsorship information click here or 
                                       U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce                                        2900 Wilcrest Dr., Suite 133
 USRCC Trade Mission to Russia
 June 2016

With a population of more than 143 million people and rapidly growing infrastructure, Russia presents U.S. companies with promising opportunity. The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce (USRCC) invites you to participate in a Trade mission to the  St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and Moscow. Participants will have an opportunity to meet Russian government officials and some of the most influential leaders in U.S.-Russia trade and investment relations. The USRCC will coordinate private meetings, an exclusive CEO Roundtable and introductions, in addition to attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPEIF).
Participating companies will gain market insights, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, find business partners, and advance specific projects with the goal of increasing U.S. trade and investment to Russia. 

For more details about the Trade Mission please click here or  contact us
USRCC 2016 Membership

Renew your 2016 membership or join for the first time today! 

For more information  click here.  
Member News
VOLGA-DNEPR TRANSPORTS BREEZE-M BOOSTER FOR EXOMARS MISSION SPACE VEHICLES, March 10, 2016: Volga-Dnepr Airlines is continuing to support the ExoMars mission organised jointly by the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, by delivering a Breeze-M booster to Baikonur in preparation for the space vehicles' scheduled launch on 14 March 2016.
Carried from Moscow to Kazakhstan onboard one of Volga-Dnepr's An-124 freighters, the booster was protected by a special transportation container to maintain the integrity of its sensitive equipment. The 16-ton payload was loaded into the aircraft using the An-124's own overhead cranes. After the safe arrival and unloading of the booster at Baikonur, Volga-Dnepr returned the transport container to Moscow.   Read more...
VTB will provide "Roscosmos" a loan of 10 billion rubles, March 9, 2016: MOSCOW, March 9. VTB Bank signed a loan agreement with the state Corporation "Roscosmos" in the amount of 10 billion rubles for a period of 2 years.
"Roskosmos" approved a draft of the first private reusable rockets for space tourism.
As reported in the press release of the Russian Bank, the funds will be used to Finance current activity of the company.
"VTB is one of the major systemic banks serving the missile and space industry. Our cooperation with the Russian Roscosmos space Agency is strategic in nature", - the press service quoted the words of a management Board member Valery Lukyanenko.
Provided by the Bank the borrowed funds will contribute to the priorities of the space industry, he added.  Read more...
Russian steel pipe maker bidding to supply Iran's energy industry, March 10, 2016: Russia's largest manufacturer of steel pipes for the energy sector is in talks with Iran to supply the country's expanding oil and gas industry, the company announced on Wednesday.
TMK wants more and bigger contracts as Iran's energy industry revives following the lifting of international sanctions.
"We have a program underway to supply some pipes through spot sales and are working on a longer-term contract which could include pipes to transport oil and gas as well as produce it," said Vladimir Shmatovich, senior vice president for strategy and business development at TMK in an interview with the WSJ.  Read more...
ExxonMobil lets you buy gas using Apple Pay at the pump, March 8, 2016: The wind picked up and rain started to fall just as I got to the San Mateo gas station. The thought of fumbling with my wallet while standing in the cold made me shudder.
Fortunately, I was getting a demo of how  Apple Pay works at ExxonMobil gas pumps. I now can pay for gas or a  car wash from the comfort of my car with ExxonMobil's Speedpass+ app, cutting down the amount of time I have to stand outside in the cold.
The world's biggest oil and gas company on Tuesday rolled out the new feature, which uses Apple Pay or a credit, debit or checking account stored on the app.  
ExxonMobil is the latest company to embrace mobile payments, or the concept of using your phone to pay for goods and services. It's been slow to take off until recently, with Apple, Google and Samsung all pushing their own mobile-payment systems.  Read more...
The Week in Review 
Russia to Hold St. Petersburg International Legal 
Forum on May 18-21, March 9, 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order approving the holding of the 6th St. Petersburg International Legal Forum on May 18-21, a copy of the document published on the official portal of legal information on Wednesday confirmed.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian Judicial Minister Alexander Konovalov is responsible for organizing the event. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the St. Petersburg administration are expected to provide assistance in organizing the forum.
The last St. Petersburg International Legal Forum took place on May 18-21, 2015. Over 3,500 people from 84 countries participated in the event, according to data from public sources. 
Russia becomes world's largest buyer of gold, March 1, 2016: The IMF could not but pay attention to recent actions of the Russian authorities. It turned out that the Bank of Russia became the world's largest buyer of gold among all central banks of the planet as of January 2016. International Monetary Fund experts said that the Bank of Russia acquired 688,000 ounces of gold. 
The statistics did not include China. Reportedly, the Chinese central bank purchased about 520,000 ounces of gold in January. 
Spokespeople for the Bank of Russia said that Russia's gold and currency reserves increased by $3.2 billion to $368.3 billion." Gold thus accounts for 52 billion dollars in  Russia's gold and currency reserves .   Read more...
Russian banks look to attract Chinese investors, March 11, 2016: A Central Bank of Russia source told RBC that the bank intends to encourage Chinese financial institutions to invest in Russian banks.
"The Central Bank's draft regulation, which will include the Yuan as a capital reserve currency for Russian banks, was approved at a board meeting," the source said. Now, the document is being reviewed by the Ministry of Justice.
The draft was prepared keeping in mind Russia and China's goal to abandon the use of the U.S. dollar as a currency for trade settlements, a market participant said.
Under current legislation, banks are allowed to hold their capital reserves in rubles and some foreign currencies, such as U.S. dollars, Euros, Swiss francs, pounds and yen.  Read more...
Wood pulp exports from Russia up 10 percent in 2015, March 9, 2016: In 2015, total volume of wood pulp exports from Russia  increased by 10% year-over-year, to 2.068 million tons in 2014, according to new figures fromFederal Customs Service  of Russia. The volume of Russian exports of newsprint for the reporting period amounted to 1.106 million tons, 6.3% lower than in 2014. Exports of wood pulp from Russia increased by 0.8% in value and amounted to $1.048 billion; exports of newsprint decreased by 28.8% to $443.5 million.
1.998 million tons of wood pulp (+11%) worth $1.01 billion (+1%) were shipped to other countries in 2015; to CIS countries - 70.6 thousand tons (-4.2%) worth $37.6 million (-13.2%).   Read more...
3 Big Stock Charts for Wednesday: Bank of America Corp (BAC), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Explore & Prod. (ETF) (XOP), March 9, 2016: The bulls suffered a setback on Tuesday, with stocks falling to end a five-day winning streak. Weakness like this has been rare since stocks bottomed on Feb. 11 on rumors of an  OPEC-Russia supply freeze deal  and have been sustained by hopes of a delay to any further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
Yet a combination of profit taking, weak export data out of China, and an ongoing crude oil inventory build weighed on sentiment. That has been a rarity lately. But I don't think it's the start of a new, downward trend.
Bank stocks like BAC have been weighed down since late last year on worries over energy sector defaults and the drag from negative interest rates in Europe and Asia - which directly translates into less net interest margin and thus, lower profitability.   Read more...
Battered Russian Stocks Post Best Risk-Adjusted Returns in 2016, March 6, 2016: Equity investors who have shunned Russia as tumbling oil prices and international sanctions drove wild price swings may have a good reason to take a fresh look at the cheapest stocks in developing nations.
On a risk-adjusted basis, Russian equities have risen the most this year among the top 10 markets represented in MSCI Inc.'s developing-nation stock gauge, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That performance, measured by how much of a return investors made relative to the risk they took, comes as the Micex Index trades at 5.2 times the projected earnings of its members, the lowest multiple among emerging-markets benchmarks.  Read more...
Gazprom Neft acquires controlling interest in high-technology bitumens facility, March 4, 2016: Gazprom Neft Bitumen Materials, operator of the Gazprom Neft bitumens business, has acquired a 75-percent participating interest in the charter capital of NOVA-Brit LLC; the company's interests include a high-technology bitumen materials plant in Vyazma, Russia. Acquisition of this interest will allow the company to enter what is, for Gazprom Neft, a new market in high-technology bitumen products for road and airfield construction.
The plant, specialising in the production of of road, bridge and airfield mastics, sealants, emulsions and bitumen coupling strips, offers facilities unique to the Russian market. With a total production capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year, the plant's product range covers 30 different branded items.
Increasing Influence: Russia Could Soon Control 
73% of Global Oil Supply, March 10, 2016: Russia's role in the current oil crisis is increasingly changing. Since the influence of Saudi Arabia has been gradually weakening, Russia has started to play an important role in determining oil prices, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) reported.
In the context of the ongoing oil crisis Russia has now assumed a decisive role in the formation of a new cartel, which could lead to a new geopolitical order,  the newspaper wrote.
After the first meeting between Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela in February, a new round of talks will be held again in mid-March, but this time with a larger group. Should Russia be able to reach consensus during the meeting, it would strengthen its leading role on the oil market and even help it control most of the global oil supply, the article said.  Read more...
US to buy eight more Russian RD-181 engines for Antares rocket - manufacturer, March 9, 2016: MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. The US Orbital Sciences corporation will buy from Russia's NPO Energomash research and production association eight more RD-181 engines for the US carrier rocket Antares, the Russian manufacturer reported on its website on Wednesday.
"The option has been exercised within the framework of the 2014 contract on the supply of the RD-181 liquid propellant engines for the first stages of the Antares carrier rockets," the report says.
Last year, NPO Energomash supplied four RD-181 engines to the foreign partners.
The company said previously it intended to produce four more RD-181 engines in 2016. 
Zoom to Mars in 6 weeks with new Russian nuclear-fission engine, March 3, 2016: A nuclear power propulsion system could propel a spacecraft to Mars in just over a month, a huge step forward from the current 18 months required. Russia might test a nuclear engine as early as 2018, the head of the Rosatom nuclear corporation revealed.
Another advantage of a nuclear engine is that it enables a spacecraft to maneuver throughout the flight, whereas existing technology only makes a defined trajectory flight possible.
"A nuclear power unit makes it possible to reach Mars in a matter of one to one and a half months, providing capability for maneuvering and acceleration," the head of Rosatom Sergey Kirienko said. "Today's engines can only reach Mars in a year and a half, without the possibility of return," Kirienko said.  Read more...
Russia rejoins space tourism race, March 9, 2016: The Russian space agency Roscosmos has approved the first private project aimed at ferrying wealthy tourists into space. The company KosmoKurs has been licensed to develop a reusable system for space tourism flights, according to company CEO Pavel Pushkin.
"Our technical specification was approved by Roscosmos. The system's preliminary design will be created in accordance with the proposal," the CEO said as quoted by TASS.
The system includes a suborbital launch vehicle and spacecraft that could transport tourists at an altitude of 200 kilometers above the Earth.    Read more...
Space Buddies: Mission to Mars Brings Russia 
and Europe Together, March 8, 2016: Despite the current tensions between Europe and Russia, its business as usual for Roscosmos and ESA on their joint Martian endeavor.
Despite the current troubled political situation, Russia's Roscosmos and the European Space Agency (ESA) work side by side attempting to find signs of life on Mars.
A Russian Proton-M rocket carrying Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) orbital module and Schiaparelli lander module is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur cosmodrome on March 14 as part of the ExoMars project,  according to Kronen Zeitung.
When the rocket reaches Mars after a seven-month voyage, TGO will be deployed in orbit and take on the role of a scientific satellite, scanning the planet's atmosphere for traces of methane that were previously detected by a Mars Express satellite in 2004. 
Read more..
Meet the real ironman of spaceflight: Valery Polyakov, March 7, 2016: When Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko returned from space last week after 340 days, they showed few outward signs of fatigue. Moreover, they had the self-satisfaction of putting in nearly a year of very hard work on the International Space Station. Their efforts, along with those of hundreds of scientists on Earth, will undoubtedly advance our knowledge of the effect of long-duration spaceflight on human health.
But to call Kelly and Kornienko pioneers in the truest sense of the word, as those who ventured into the truly unknown, would be a disservice to the Russian cosmonauts who did so much more than two decades ago in more cramped, less comfortable conditions aboard the Mir space station.
Moscow Festival Ballet in "Giselle", March 8, 2016: Buffalo, NY-  The Center for the Arts, University at Buffalo will present Moscow Festival Ballet in Giselle  on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 7:30pm  in the Mainstage Theatre, located at the Center for the Arts, North Campus. The performance is sponsored by M&T Bank.
The Moscow Festival Ballet (MFB) was founded in 1989 when legendary principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet Sergei Radchenko sought to realize his vision of a company which would bring together the highest classical elements of the great Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in an independent new company within the framework of Russian classic ballet. Leading dancers from across Russia have forged under Radchenko's direction an exciting new company staging new productions of timeless classics. Read more...
Russia has largest number of female business leaders - US study, March 9, 2016: Russia tops the list of countries with the highest number of female board members, says a new report by a US-based audit firm. While Baltic states show similar stats, in G7 countries some 40 percent of businesses have no women in senior positions at all.
The new  report titled Women in Business was  published by the firm Grant Thornton on Tuesday. It conducted its research by carrying out surveys at over 5,000 businesses in 36 countries.
In Russia, 45 percent of senior management positions are held by women, according to the report. Japan ranks lowest with only 7 percent of business executive roles held by females. 
On a global scale, women are said to hold only a quarter of senior management positions.
The issue of male-domination in senior management has long been on the minds of companies.
US-Russia Related News in Russian
Новости недели
Exxon Mobil впервые более чем за 40 лет начала экспорт нефти из США, 9 марта, 2016: Первая из крупнейших нефтяных компаний США начала отправлять нефть за границу, пытаясь разгрузить внутренний рынок, где предложение превышает спрос.
Вслед за мелкими независимыми нефтетрейдерами экспорт нефти за пределы США после снятия действовавшего более 40 лет запрета начинают крупные нефтедобытчики. Первой из них экспортные поставки нефти запустила компания Exxon Mobil, сообщает  Bloomberg.
В агентстве объясняют изменение политики Exxon попыткой найти новых покупателей за пределами внутреннего рынка США, на котором предложение превышает спрос, а запасы сырой нефти достигли максимального за почти 90 лет уровня. Читать далее...
«Газпром» и 17 регионов подписали дорожные карты импортозамещения, 4 марта, 2016: В 2015 г. затраты ПАО «Газпром» на импорт могут составить порядка 4 млрд долл. В перспективных проектах компания стремится максимально заместить около 400 иностранных поставщиков из 20 стран отечественными, поэтому в четвертом квартале 2014 г. принята программа импортозамещения. Согласно этой программе, изделия из металла и продукция машиностроения будут закупаться преимущественно у российских производителей. В частности, в рамках проекта «Сила Сибири» «Газпром» планирует добиться минимальной доли импорта в затратах (не более 10%), для этого сформирован перечень из 50 видов продукции (системы связи, передвижные пункты управления, радиолокация и проч.), которые будут использоваться при строительстве газопровода.  Читать далее...
Китай стал крупнейшим импортером российской нефти, 11 марта, 2016: ЛУКОЙЛ получил лицензию на разведку и добычу нефти на месторождении D33 в Балтийском море
Роснедра  выдали  ЛУКОЙЛу  лицензию на право пользования  недрами с целью разведки и добычи углеводородного сырья в пределах участка недр федерального значения, включающего нефтяное месторождение D33 в Балтийском море.
Об этом пресс-служба ЛУКОЙЛа сообщила 11 марта 2016 г.
Лицензия выдана на основании распоряжения Правительства Российской Федерации от 18.02.2016   Напомним, что согласно этому постановлению, ЛУКОЙЛ-Калининградморнефть   получила  право пользования участком недр федерального значения, который включает в себя нефтяное месторождение D33 в Балтийском море.  Читать далее...
USRCC Executive Partners


The USRCC is looking for new team members!

The USRCC is now looking for interns for its Houston, Chicago and  New York Office s.  To learn more about the position please click here or contact us directly at or call 713.429.4680
The information contained in this newsletter is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. USRCC does not accept any responsibility for any loss that may arise from reliance on information contained in this newsletter. The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the USRCC or its members.  Links within this newsletter lead to other websites, including those operated and maintained by third parties. The linked sites are not part of the USRCC newsletter. USRCC includes these links solely as a convenience to the newsletter subscribers, and the presence of such links does not imply a responsibility for the linked site and its operator. USRCC cannot certify the accuracy of the material provided by the original  source .
The U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce (USRCC)  is  a 501(c)(6) no t for  profit  corporation with its headquarters  in Houston, Texas,  and offices in the Midwest and the Northeast. The USRCC  was established in 2009 to promote  trade and investment  between  the  Russia n Federation  and the U.S. A.