The main obstacle to energy negotiations between Russia and the EU is the clash between their perceptions of energy security. Moscow claims that the biggest threat to European energy security is Ukraine’s unreliability as a gas transit country, while Brussels believes the construction of new Russian pipelines circumventing Ukraine will do nothing to improve the EU’s energy security.
Unlike Russian gas pumped via Ukraine and Germany, that flowing through Turkey will face tough competition from Azerbaijani, Iranian, Iraqi, and possibly even Turkmen and Israeli gas. Gazprom’s rivals won’t need to ship their gas as far, and they will have much lower pipeline construction costs. The gas market in southeastern Europe is not that big and doesn’t have a lot of room for growth.
Why is Gazprom selling gas to Europe below cost? So that companies from the United States and other countries do the same, fall into a price war, and eventually go broke.
The construction of a new pipeline that will send Caspian natural gas to southern Europe is making Gazprom executives uneasy. Once the pipeline is completed, Gazprom will lose its monopoly in southern Europe and may have to resort to price dumping to stay competitive.
The conversation addressed the overlapping national interests of Moscow and Tokyo in the Arctic, possible opportunities and roadblocks for Japanese investment in the development of the Northern Sea Route, and business projects in the Russian Arctic, as well as security challenges and ways to mitigate them.
A recent slight increase in Russia’s oil output is likely to be short-lived. Oil production may start to decline by the end of the year, falling almost twofold by 2035 due to a lack of financing for new field exploration and development.
Ukrainian political activists have stepped up their campaign to isolate Crimea by sabotaging its electricity supply. Ordinary residents of Crimea are hostages of a hybrid political struggle between Ukraine and Russia.
Russia’s oil and gas industry faces long-term systemic problems, even in the unlikely scenario that the price of oil rises sharply again. This has severe implications for the country’s economic prospects.
Official statistics suggest that Russia’s oil and gas industry accounts for only a quarter of the country’s GDP. However, when other factors are factored in, the economy is seen to be much more heavily dependent on hydrocarbons. With oil prices looking set to stay low for a long time, this is bad news for the Russian economy.
The Armenian protesters are motivated by socio-economic issues and the desire for social justice—not larger notions of democracy that constitute international human rights advocacy.