Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and Igor Sechin Photo: AFP
- The US Treasury blacklisted Igor Sechin, the mastermind of the Kremlin’s energy strategy and Russia’s second most powerful man
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
29 April 2014
The US has tightened the noose yet further on the Russian economy, imposing sanctions on the kingpin of Russia’s oil industry in a move that could have serious consequences.
The US Treasury blacklisted Igor Sechin, chairman of Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft and a former KGB official from the inner circle of Russian president Vladimir Putin. He is thought to be the mastermind of the Kremlin’s energy strategy and Russia’s second most powerful man. It also targeted his deputy.
Rosneft is the world’s biggest traded oil company, producing 2.5m barrels a day and paying $75bn a year in taxes to the Russian state. The move by Washington creates a legal and political tangle for BP, which owns 19.75pc of Rosneft’s shares under a legacy deal from the TNK-BP venture.
Market reaction to the news was muted. Rosneft’s shares fell to a 10-month low in Moscow, while yields on its benchmark 2022 bond spiked to a record high, but damage was light by the end of the day.
Russia’s MICEX index of equities rallied as the package of US sanctions was dismissed as thin gruel by traders. The list excluded major banks, instead targeting 17 corporate bosses, companies and political operatives at the Kremlin, as well as an export ban on hi-tech defence goods.