A great interview with Rusmininfo where we learn what is really going on in the Russian Oil & Gas world. To reach out to Rhod direct email him at: rodmac@rusmininfo.com and to learn more about Rusmininfo click here.


Mark: Hey, folks let’s learning something new about the oil and gas industry.

Today, I have a very special guest I have Rhod MacKenzie, he’s the CEO of Rusmininfo. Did I pronounce it right, Rhod?

Rhod: Yeah, Rusmininfo is fine.

Mark:  Yeah. And, Rhod and I cannot get in the same city at the same time, so we’re doing this via Skype, but Rhod has an incredible story. So, Rhod before we get into what your company does, how did you end up in Russia, how did you end up in the former Soviet Union?

Rhod: Well, I came here in 1991, I had some introduction by a Russian academic who’d been teaching at Harvard University. And she said, why don’t you go and have a look at what’s happening. And Europe was just coming out particularly UK out of recession and my business had suffered a bit and I thought why not. So, I went to Russia for – initially for two weeks, I found the people fascinating, the whole place was just so interesting. I wrote a few articles and it got level of interest and I came back again and after that I just invented reasons to stay. And twenty four years later, I’m here.

Mark: Yeah. That’s an awesome story. So, let’s talk a little bit about your company because if – at a high level you had every bit of information I’ve ever seen in Russia and in the surrounding countries all in your site and it’s all translated to English. Is that – am I overestimating that?

Rhod:No, that’s absolutely correct and it was back six years and you can search it by company, country, or sector by hour, by day, by week, by month, or by year.

Mark: Yeah. And so not only do you cover oil and gas which is our sweet spot, but you cover seems like everything; mining, hydroelectricity, I mean a topic will – yeah.

Rhod: Yeah. Basically, we cover all of former Soviet Union except the Baltic state, so we cover the gas sector in Ukraine for example, but mainly as metallurgical sector because that’s the biggest sector or at least was in the Ukraine. We cover Azerbaijan, the oil and gas sector because inextricably linked to Russia as is Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and of course [Afghanistan].

We’ve actually started to improve our coverage in Iran because there’s a lot of that moving into the sphere. And of course we covered China because of the high level of cooperation between China and Russia recently. So, basically, yeah, we cover everything from finding it to refining it and on the energy sector from producing it to selling it.

Mark:  Right. And the thing that I found fascinating for our business is you have some very good facts, so if I wanted to know which project was being kickoff in southern Ukraine or which – where is the new oil well being developed or where is the new refinery, you have that information in your site?

Rhod: Absolutely. We cover literally every single new event, we also do financial results. I mean our clients want to know everything about our company, I mean I have a number of research analyst who take my stuff and actually I can see direct lifts in the analyst reports where they just lifted the whole most concept. But I don’t mind, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Mark: Right. So, let’s talk a little bit about some of your clients because you had some interesting stories between the guided builds of big trucks and the coal conveyor belt companies. Just talk about what company your clients and how they use you?

Rhod: Yeah. I mean Terex Trucks, they make huge dumper trucks that basically are used in open cast mines. These are the things with wheels bigger than us, you know, in height. And he wants to know every new mine that’s happening, every mining company that’s currently making money, so he takes the financial results and the plans of that extraction, so when there’s a new deposit discovered how long is it going to be before it’s put into operation, so he takes that.

The German coal conveyor belt company for underground lines and all he’s interested in again is coal mining information and finding out who’s doing what and who’s got money. Some of the oil majors they take me because I basically give them all the information they need to know for example Shell, chemicals [they apply in], they want to know what’s happening in the chemical sector.

A lot of my clients are the major international banks. Now, they’ve lent a large amount of money to a lot of Russian companies, Rosneft for example has net debt currently of about $45 billion which was basically to finance the takeover of BP-TNK.

Mark: Right.

Rhod: So, all that gangs and the syndicates that lent them money would have know on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis the likelihood of getting the money back.

Mark: Right.

Rhod:  Everybody who has that has a different reason for subscribing, but only gets the information they want because of the way we structured everything which is like an ala carte menu you take as many courses or as few and as many side dishes as you want.

Mark: Yeah. So, these companies use  I’m sure using it for business development, right? To see where to focus their sales and marketing, but the nice thing about what you do is that instead of having reading a whole bunch of information that doesn’t apply to you depending on your choices, it feeds you exactly the information that you want to set?

Rhod: In bite size pieces.

Mark: Yeah. That’s great. But you also service smaller companies too, right?

Rhod: Absolutely. I mean a lot of my new clients are smaller companies who are looking to enter the market, people who make drilling equipment for example. You know the Europe and the North American market is suffering, but Russia is still moving forward, it’s still looking to develop, I mean both Lukoil and Rosneft have increased their production in the last six months and Rosneft just sold 30% of the Vanko field to the Indian ONGC company that’s going to be further developed with more cash.

So, there are still lots and lots of opportunities for companies. This is actually a very good time to get in and we’ll go write about sanctions and etc, but they don’t really affect the mainstream oil and gas, they’re actually only affecting the arctic shells deposits which are going to be quite difficult to do and need high levels of technology. But some of the basic freely available technology from some of the smaller companies, there are great opportunities here for them.

Mark:  And so, it’s interesting you brought up the sanctions because we’ve talked about that bunch in our show. So, from your side and you’re actually there and you’re actually interfacing all the different business entities in Russia, the sanctions have not – are you saying the sanctions have not had a major effect?

Rhod:  Not really. I mean the gas sector for example is exempt from the – the sanctions. And oil as I said it’s only a high level technology for drilling the arctic oil shore, the shallow water stuff, you know, up to 150 meters is still available and of course, but 60% of Russia’s oil extraction at the moment is on land.

Mark: Right.

Rhod:  And there are particularly opportunities for hard to develop fields, you know, scavenger fields. So, the companies with experience of doing projects in that area know the time to come knocking on the door.

Mark: Yes. So, if anybody wants to learn more about what you do, have an interest in maybe doing business in Russia, where should they go?

Rhod: They just go to Rusmininfo.com, send me an e-mail, I’m happy to give people an introduction and let them have wander through the site. They can ask me specific questions, they’ll be able to find the information accurately, accurate information quickly and then come and have a look, they’ll find Moscow a very welcoming city.

Mark: Yeah. I would love to get a chance to go up there because I had this thing for Russian food like real authentic Russian food which is very hard to find here in the States.

So, folks we’ll put a links in the show notes, so you don’t need to be writing the website. We’ll also put a link to Rhod’s e-mail address.

Rhod, thank you so much for your time today.

Rhod: Great.

Mark:  Folks, I hope that helped, we will see you next time.