The Geopolitics of Russian energy

Authors:

  • Niklas Rossbach

Publish date: 2018-11-06

Report number: FOI-R--4623--SE

Pages: 86

Written in: English

Keywords:

  • energy
  • energy security
  • Europe
  • gas
  • GECF
  • geopolitics
  • LNG
  • oil
  • OPEC
  • pipelines
  • NATO
  • Russia

Abstract

The risks of freezing in the dead of winter and the global economy crashing both have a lot to do with gas and oil - and with Russia. While its economy is only three times that of Sweden Russia is one of the world's top exporters of both oil and gas. The income from energy exports is crucial for Russia's defence spending and the country's great power role. The exports also underpin Russia's global influence. This underlines that energy has a lot to do with geopolitics. Europe is dependent on Russian gas and fears it will be cut off in a future worstcase scenario. The unexpected increase in US oil production following the shale revolution have brought Russia and Saudi Arabia together and made OPEC revert to its traditional role of increasing the oil price. However, the end of fossil fuels may be on the horizon, to the distress of all authoritarian energy export dependent countries. Russia has to adapt its energy dependent economy accordingly but has at the same time upset the international rules-based order, with its annexation of Crimea. Now, for example, Russia is deepening its energy axis with China. This report provides a geopolitical analysis of Russian energy.

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