Russian oil industry will endure low commodity prices due to Russia’s weakened national currency, Moody’s Investors Service said in a press release on Monday.
“Russia’s weak ruble will help the country’s national oil companies withstand low oil prices, but economic sanctions limit access to long-term external financing from US and EU financial and capital markets for the Russian giant Rosneft (Ba1 stable),” the release stated.
In December 2015, prices for Brent oil fell below $37 per barrel, reaching a level last seen in December 2008. Following the decline, the value of Russia’s ruble, which is traditionally dependent on the price of oil, fell to a 3.5-month minimum against the dollar, exceeding 71 rubles per dollar.
Moody’s argued that the global oil and gas industry will have to reduce spending in 2016 in the face of decreasing oil prices. The rating agency added that excess supply will continue to influence the oil sector, which will likely see a rise in defaults in 2016.
Moody’s also noted that national oil companies in Latin America will likely face high refinancing risk, while China’s three national oil companies — China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation and China National Offshore Oil Corporation — will have to confront deteriorating credit metrics through 2017.
The strength of the Russian currency against the US dollar has declined twofold since the beginning of 2014 amid the Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine crisis as well as the global collapse in oil prices. Russia has repeatedly refuted any involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs.