28 Items

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

kees torn/Flickr

Paper - National Bureau of Asian Research

Russia's Energy Foray into Asia: Implications for U.S. Interests

This essay examines Russia’s growing role in Asia’s energy markets, assesses the implications for the U.S., and examines the claim that closer Sino-Russian energy ties are adding new incentives for a broader strategic alignment.

Uncovering the Domestic Factor in the Sino-Russian Energy Partnership

World Bank Photo Collection/Flikr

Journal Article - Geopolitics

Uncovering the Domestic Factor in the Sino-Russian Energy Partnership

| Oct. 15, 2018

The article outlines the role of national narratives in driving both Russia and China’s energy foreign policy and goes on to argue that the Sino-Russian gas breakthrough in 2014 was due to the peculiar way in which domestic factors paired with international circumstances to produce the outcome at that particular moment.

The Silk Road between a Rock and a Hard Place: Russian and Chinese Competition for Central Asia's Energy

kremlin.ru/Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Insight Turkey

The Silk Road between a Rock and a Hard Place: Russian and Chinese Competition for Central Asia's Energy

| Oct. 01, 2018

China’s displacement of Russian economic influence in Central Asia is generating great interest in Western academic and policy circles, but this research has, as yet, yielded few analytical nuances. This article attempts to shed light on the under-researched question of what explains Central Asian governments’ failure to more effectively capitalize on the growing Central Asian rivalry between Russia, China, the United States, Turkey, Iran, South Korea, Japan, and other regional powers that, since the early 1990s, has been overwhelmingly directed towards strategic energy considerations and hydrocarbon interests.

Transformed Gas Markets Fuel US-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too

Max Avdeev/Flikr

Analysis & Opinions - Russia Matters

Transformed Gas Markets Fuel US-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too

| May 30, 2018

This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid a trade war with Washington, while a senior U.S. diplomat warned that the project could be hit with U.S. sanctions; Russian President Vladimir Putin responded defiantly. This development, sadly, fuels the further politicization of the European gas market—a space that, in many ways, has reflected the triumphs of a depoliticized, pro-market technocracy, which has managed to stimulate competition and lower prices irrespective of changing political trends. Just last year, Trump called on European countries to buy American liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which, for now, remains more expensive than Russia’s pipeline gas. Certainly, the U.S. has much to gain on the global gas market, which has changed drastically over the past decade, as America rapidly transformed from an importer to an exporter. Europe’s gas market, meanwhile, has much to gain from additional supply. But Trump’s approach, especially if the latest reports are true, both alienates Western European partners and feeds into a sensationalist, simplistic portrayal of the new U.S. role’s effect on Russia—as a zero-sum game, in which these new, plentiful U.S. gas supplies serve as an antidote to Russia's “gas dominance” in Europe and hence to Moscow's political leverage.

Symbolic pipes with a sign that reads "Turkmenistan—China" on exhibit at the Bagtyyarlyk natural gas field, Turkmenistan, Aug. 29, 2007.

AP / Alexander Vershinin

Analysis & Opinions - World Politics Review

In the Race for Central Asia’s Gas, China’s Rise Comes at Russia’s Expense

| Jan. 26, 2018

Last week, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the first Central Asian head of state to visit President Donald Trump in the White House, in a likely effort to shore up ties. In an email interview, Morena Skalamera, an associate at the Geopolitics of Energy Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center, examines the competition over Central Asia’s gas resources and its geopolitical consequences. 

Vladimir Putin and President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping held talks in Beijing, June 25, 2016.

President of Russia

Journal Article - Europe-Asia Studies

Explaining the 2014 Sino–Russian Gas Breakthrough: The Primacy of Domestic Politics

| Jan. 22, 2018

On 21 May 2014, during a state visit by President Vladimir Putin to Beijing, China and Russia signed a $400 billion, 30-year gas deal. Under this agreement, China will import 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas from Russia’s Gazprom, beginning in 2018. Why, after 15 years of stalemated negotiations, did this breakthrough occur in 2014? Why did a natural, symbiotic gas relationship not develop earlier and more gradually? Most studies explain this by looking at Russia’s international isolation post Ukraine. Based on interviews with both Chinese and Russian officials this article argues the following: domestic incentives, rather than foreign-policy pressures, are the real force behind the timing of Sino–Russian energy breakthroughs in 2014.

Gazprom sign in Moscow.

Martin Griffiths

Journal Article - Post-Soviet Affairs

Understanding Russia’s energy turn to China: domestic narratives and national identity priorities

| Dec. 22, 2017

This study investigates whether, as part of a broader “Asian Energy Pivot,” Russia’s energy giant Gazprom refashioned its export strategy away from Europe, and what impact such a reorientation might have on the EU–Russia gas relationship. It uses four empirical cases to emphasize the domestic movers underlying Russia’s eastward shift in energy trade, developing a constructivist theory rooted in the dynamics of Russia’s dominant public narrative and the contours of domestic politics. It argues that Russia’s national interests changed as a result of how Russian policy-makers interpreted and reacted to the stand-off with Europe, in response to what they perceived as Europe’s attempt to isolate it economically and geopolitically. 

Gazprom sign in Moscow.

Martin Griffiths

Journal Article - E-International Relations (E-IR)

Getting Russian Gas to Europe: Old Relationships Sprout New Wings

| Sep. 20, 2017

In November, 2015, a crisis had erupted between Russia and Turkey after NATO-member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over the Syrian–Turkish border after it had ostensibly crossed into Turkish airspace (Financial Times, 2015). Although the sides managed to avoid further escalation of tensions, relations consequently suffered a major breakdown. Immediately after the Russian-Turkish fallout, many commentators were quick to argue that the Turkish stream pipeline was shelved for the foreseeable future (BBC News, 2015; Johnson, 2015). That seemed logical and in line with the theory, almost de rigueur, that equates authoritarianism at home and an adversarial foreign policy.