Russia expects oil between $45 and $80 by 2035

Crude oil prices will trade in a range between $45 a barrel and $80 a barrel in the period until 2035, under a set of scenarios developed by the Russian energy ministry in a draft general plan for the gas industry.

“Scenario conditions [imply] the range of oil prices from the lower to the upper limit – from $45 to $80 per barrel. This is a very significant range that allows us to see the boundary conditions in order to determine the measures, our actions in a particular scenario,” said the director of the Oil Refining and Gas Processing Department at the Ministry of Energy, Anton Rubtsov, as quoted by TASS.

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Oil prices are important for gas development plans of this sort because long-term gas supply deals are calculated based on international oil prices. Yet long-term oil price forecasts are notoriously unreliable because of the sheer number of unforeseen events that can occur during that time.

Right now, oil is once again on the rise, as the US Energy Information Administration reported a substantial crude oil inventory draw for last week and as new Covid-19 case numbers in the United States finally begin to decline. A move by President Joe Biden to temporarily ban oil and gas drilling on federal land contributed to the bullish sentiment. Yet the rally has been tempered by worry about the resurgence of the coronavirus in China, highlighting yet again the central importance of China for international oil markets.

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Banks, meanwhile, are also getting optimistic about the oil industry: lenders expect further price improvement as the pandemic subsides this year, which would, in turn, boost oil and gas revenues and reduce the number of loans in distress, Natural Gas Intel reported earlier this week.

Of course, any further price recovery hinges on OPEC+ keeping the lid on production growth at least over the short term as much as it hinges on the hoped-for improvement in fuel demand after the pandemic.

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Israel to send 5,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine to Palestinians, overturning its much-criticized refusal

Israel, currently the leading country in Covid-19 immunization, has finally agreed to deliver some vaccines to Palestinians. The disparity had been condemned by the UN, which said it violated international law.

The office of Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed on Sunday that the Jewish state is to transfer 5,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine to Palestinians. The drug will be used to immunize frontline medical workers, the statement said, offering no further details.

Israel is the world leader in rolling out its Covid-19 vaccines, with over three million of its 9.3 million inhabitants already having received at least one dose. However, it had refused to cover the West Bank and Gaza – the territories internationally recognized as being under Israeli occupation – with the exception of Israel’s Arab citizens and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem.

Israel cited the Oslo Accords from the 90s, which give the Palestinian Authority oversight of public health, to argue that it has no obligation to protect Palestinians from Covid-19.

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The refusal was criticized by medics and international organizations. Two weeks ago, UN human rights body OHCHR reiterated that, as an occupying power, Israel is obligated under the Geneva Conventions to maintain Palestinian health services, including “to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.”

The keystone document states that if necessary, Israel should involve third parties to provide relief, the UN said, adding that the Geneva Conventions have more power that Israel’s peace agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which is outlined in the Oslo Accords. Israel denies being an occupying power in the Palestinian territories.

Israel controls many aspects of life in the West Bank, the territory under the Palestinian Authority, and together with Egypt it maintains a decade-old blockade of the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas movement is in charge. It means all international supplies to both places depend on Israel’s goodwill.

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The Palestinian Authority said it hoped to receive Covid-19 vaccines through the international program COVAX, which aims to balance access by supplying poorer nations. It has also negotiated to receive Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, though the first shipment of 5,000 doses is expected only in mid-February, after “technical issues” postponed the delivery from the initial scheduled date of January 14. The UN warned that, due to the current situation, vaccines ordered by the Palestinian Authority “may not be delivered en masse to the West Bank and Gaza for many weeks.”

UN figures put the number of Covid-19 cases in Palestinian territories it designates as occupied, including in East Jerusalem, at over 176,000, with almost 2,000 deaths linked to the virus.

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Boxing great Manny Pacquiao’s manager slams ‘shady characters’ for spreading ‘false rumors’ about Filipino star’s next fight

Manny Pacquiao’s manager has moved to shut down talk from the Filipino boxing legend’s past representatives as he prepares to announce the former eight-division boxing superstar’s next bout.

Audie Attar, head of sports management company Paradigm Sports, issued a statement appearing to distance Pacquiao and his management team from recent comments from Sean Gibbons stating that the Filipino star is no longer interested in a fight with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who is also a Paradigm client.

“The boxing industry has a history of shady characters being involved. These individuals introduce confusion and spread false rumors solely for their own interests,” said Attar, via a statement published on social media.

“Unfortunately, this only ends up hurting the fighters. It has come to our attention that some of these individuals are once again spreading false and inaccurate rumors that are self-serving without the authority of Senator Pacquiao or Paradigm Sports.

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“Senator Pacquiao engaged Paradigm Sports as his exclusive representatives last year because he wants to close out the final chapters of his historic boxing career in a meaningful way.

“No one outside of Paradigm Sports is involved in any way with the management of Senator Pacquiao’s boxing career at this time.

“Anyone falsely representing themselves as Senator Pacquiao’s manager or representative as it relates to his remaining fight career may face legal repercussions.

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“Paradigm Sports has a reputation in the combat sports industry for operating with integrity, professionalism and transparency fighting for our clients, and we look forward to producing an incredible event with Senator Pacquiao in early 2021.”

The statement may also have been made in reaction to rumors linking Pacquiao with a bout against world champion Ryan Garcia, who shared a fan-made poster on his Instagram page and hinted that a fight between the pair could be imminent.

But given the tone of the statement, it seems Attar is keen to shut down any negative talk regarding a potential Pacquiao-McGregor bout, which could leave the door open for the matchup to still be made.

Attar closed his statement by saying that he would announce Pacquiao’s bout in the near future. “I am working closely with Senator Pacquiao and his legal team in Manila on plans for his next fight,” he revealed. “We will be sharing the details of this event in the coming weeks.”

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Russian policeman draws gun as pro-Navalny protesters clash with officers on streets of St. Petersburg (VIDEO)

Russia’s second-largest city has seen a tense standoff between police and supporters of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny on Sunday, as footage emerged of violence and arrests for a second consecutive weekend.

In one clip, an officer can be seen drawing his service pistol after being punched and kicked by demonstrators, who were chasing a small group of policemen down a street just off Sennaya Square in St. Petersburg. The unverified video, published by the opposition-leaning Fontanka news site, has been shared widely online. 

Another recording, obtained by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, appears to show an unconscious man being carried onto a bus in the historic city center as police could be seen making arrests outside.

The opposition-leaning news outlet also reported that journalists wearing identifying yellow vests were detained by officers in riot gear. A video shows one being carried by their arms and legs to an awaiting van. There were also reports that a loud bang had been heard around one of the columns pushing against a line of police officers. Some local outlets claimed the police had deployed a flashbang grenade, while others said it was a firecracker.

St. Petersburg was the scene of some of the most violent clashes during the protests last weekend. Images of an elderly woman being kicked in the stomach by a policeman after she attempted to stop him making an arrest went viral online. Officials have since launched an inquiry into the incident. 

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Demonstrators have taken to the streets in cities across the country for a second consecutive weekend to demand Navalny’s release. The anti-corruption campaigner was jailed after landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport earlier in January. He had flown home from Berlin, where he had been transferred in a comatose state after what his supporters, and some international observers, allege was a state-sponsored poisoning with the nerve agent Novichok.

The opposition figure is accused of violating the terms of a three-and-a-half-year suspended sentence for fraud. He is due to stand trial over the charges in early February.

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Anti-lockdown protesters stage torch-lit march in Denmark (VIDEOS)

Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters have hit Denmark’s streets condemning the government’s coronavirus-induced restrictions during a fiery torch-lit march.

The fiery protest was staged overnight in Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark. The march was organized by a group, calling themselves the ‘Men in Black’, who oppose the country’s enduring anti-coronavirus measures.

Many protesters showed up for the march with lit torches and flares. Some of the protesters got rowdy and launched several fireworks at the police who closely monitored the gathering.

At least one person was arrested during the protest, while several others were briefly held by the police for questioning and “educational” talks.

Several large banners were displayed at the event, taking jabs at the government’s anti-coronavirus policies. ‘Close Christiansborg, open society’ one of the banners read, referring to the government building in Copenhagen.

Denmark has recently toughened its anti-coronavirus restrictions, reducing gatherings’ limit to five from 10 people. Entertainment venues, as well as restaurants and bars, remain closed across the country.

Another banner was aimed personally at the country’s PM, reading ‘Better a dead mink as a playmate than Mette Frederiksen’. The ‘Men in Black’ group appears to hold a strong grudge against Frederiksen and last Sunday it went as far as burning an effigy of the PM during a protest.

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The mink reference apparently poked fun at the country’s mink disaster, which unfolded late in 2020. After the animals at multiple farms contracted coronavirus – passing it back to humans afterwards – Denmark’s government took an unprecedented move and ordered extermination of the entire stock.

Mass graves of the minks, which dotted the country, have prompted widespread concerns about groundwater pollution. Moreover, several burial sites have seen mink literally rising from their graves due to corpse gases and had to be reburied, while tons of animal corpses were left unaccounted for.

So far, Denmark has registered nearly 200,000 cases of coronavirus including more than 2,100 deaths. While figures remain relatively low compared to the worst Сovid-hit countries, they are still quite sizable for the 5.8 million Nordic nation.

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