Here's what the US presidential election could mean for Russia and Iran's oil sectors

With fewer than 20 days left until the US presidential election, it’s worth taking a look at what the outcome could mean for energy and geopolitics.

More concretely, here’s what both candidates’ positions on Russia and Iran could mean for those countries’ oil sectors.

First up, Russia

Throughout the election season, Republican nominee Donald Trump has advocated improving relations with Russia, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has positioned herself as someone who would take a tougher stand in dealing with the country.

As such, “…a Trump victory could result in the lifting of the US Treasury sanctions that prohibit investment in and technology transfers meant to assist in the development of Russian arctic shale and deep-water projects,” argued Helima Croft, the head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets in a note.

“However, more sanctions on Russia could be looming in the event of a Clinton win, especially in light of Russia’s alleged involvement in hacking DNC emails and bombing campaign in Aleppo,” she added.

And next, Iran

Clinton supports the Iran nuclear deal, which suggests that, should she win the presidency, the congressional sanctions on oil sector investment will remain waived — assuming there’s no major breach of the deal.

On the flip side, Trump has called the Iran deal “one of the worst deals ever negotiated.” As such, the RBC Capital Markets team argues that “there is a real risk that he refuses to certify Iranian compliance, likely resulting in extraterritorial congressional sanctions snapping back, which could curb the enthusiasm of foreign companies looking to invest in Iran’s energy sector.”

Finally, oil and energy overall

As an end note, here’s a useful guide for how both candidates stand on various issues that will likely affect the energy industry over the next several years, via the RBC Capital Markets team:

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