By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The head of Russia’s largest state-owned oil company has claimed the United States is using sanctions against energy-producing countries to find markets for growing output from Texas.
Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin made the comments on June 6 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a major investors conference being held in the northern Russian city.
“The continued increased in Texas production may require a new sanctions victim and the victim could be any oil-producing country,” Sechin said.
Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, referred to the U.S. decision in 2015 to lift a four-decade ban on oil exports as U.S. domestic oil production surged with shale oil and gas technologies.
U.S. sanctions “would not have been possible”’ without the end to the oil export ban, Sechin said.
Earlier this year, U.S. oil production exceeded 12 million barrels a day, a record that surpasses Russia’s output. Texas production alone will reach 5 million barrels a day this year, a volume that surpasses the combined oil production of Iran, Venezuela, and Libya, Sechin told the audience.
Washington has hit Iran and Venezuela — both members of the OPEC oil cartel and both among the world’s largest oil producers — with oil industry-related sanctions over the past year.
The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.