>> If new stronger US sanctions hit Russia's oil sector, then ultimately some of that cost may bounce back onto Western oil companies, big names such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell. It's because BP, Shell, and others are all customers of Russia's national oil company, Rosneft, right across the street from the Kremlin.
And according to industry sources, Rosneft now wants certain insurance if their sales get disrupted. Reuters' Dmitry Zhdannikov in Moscow broke the story.>> It's looking very, very strange, we've never seen it before. So what's effectively happening is that Rosneft is telling its big oil buyers that if they fail to buy oil from Rosneft because of new US or any other sanctions, those companies will have to pay penalties to Rosneft.
Well, that's unheard of in the oil industry. It's like a kid telling his father he wants a protection to continue getting sweets and candies even if their mom decides that his behavior is unacceptable. So it comes as no surprise that buyers are resisting. It means that if BP, or Shell, or any other big oil company cannot buy a cargo from Rosneft, it may have to pay 70, $80 million, because this is how a cargo oil costs these days, according to market prices.
>> It's not clear exactly what new terms Rosneft wants. Neither Rosneft nor any of its Western clients responded to our questions. Rosneft is already under some sanctions, but the big threat is if Washington puts it on what's called a special designated nationals list. When a Russian aluminium company was put on that list, for example, it ground to a halt.
>> This is a completely different game. When you are put on an SDN list, effectively that means that you are being put on the same list together with Mexican drug dealers or North Korean generals. So any Western companies will really struggle to do business with you, and that's what makes Rosneft so scared.
>> United States imported 142 million barrels of Russian petroleum products last year, according to US government data.