Russia Bans Lithuanian Dairy Amid Eu Tensions

is now the worlds biggest oil and gas producer October 4, 2013, 1:12 PM By Claudia Assis The U.S. will end 2013 as the worlds largest producer of petroleum and natural gas, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia, the Energy Information Administration said Friday. The EIA estimated combined U.S. petroleum and gas production this year will hit 50 quadrillion British thermal units, or 25 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, outproducing Russia by 5 quadrillion Btu. Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, and biofuels. U.S. and Russian energy production over the past two years have been roughly equivalent. Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota, the EIA said. U.S. natural gas production has risen 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, the agency said, while Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined petroleum and natural gas production by about 1 quadrillion Btu since 2008, the EIA said.

Russia has responded by imposing detailed customs inspections on Ukrainian products over the summer and spreading those to Lithuanian goods three weeks ago. The trade row prompted Lithuania to warn Moscow this month that it risked souring ties with the 28-nation bloc if such checks continued. Lithuania also pointed out that it could — but would not — impose the same sanctions on goods travelling over its territory to and from Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad. The veiled warning outraged Russian officials, who on Saturday vowed to ban some Lithuanian dairy imports effective Monday. “There is every likelihood that Russia will begin limiting the admission of individual groups of dairy products on October 7,” news agencies quoted Russia’s public health inspector Gennady Onishchenko as saying. “At the start of next week, we will launch a series of measures aimed at halting the admission… of Lithuanian products that do not meet Russian legal requirements aimed at protecting consumer rights.” ITAR-TASS said Russia has already imposed some import restrictions on Lithuania’s top cheese producer Pieno Zvaigzdes. Russia first warned it may ban Lithuanian dairy imports on Wednesday due to “sanitary and epidemiological risks”. Tests on Lithuanian food products had “yielded unsatisfactory results”, Onishchenko said at the time. The dairy industry, which is responsible for about one-fifth of Lithuania’s agricultural production, is a vital source of export revenue. Moscow’s restrictions would be especially painful because the Russian market accounts for about 85 percent of Lithuania’s total dairy exports. The nation of three million, which hopes to swap its currency for the euro by 2015, is keen to avoid any economic shocks that may derail those plans. It has also sought the defence of larger European countries by promoting a united EU stance against Russia’s trade bans. Moscow has frequently been accused of using import restrictions as a weapon against ex-Soviet countries seeking greater independence or warmer relations with the West. Russia has slapped trade sanctions on Moldova and Georgia during those countries’ attempts to set up a process for their eventual membership in the European Union.