Russia is considered one of the biggest oil and gas manufacturers global. The strategic significance of those assets turns them into a capacity foreign policy tool. While some argue that Russia is dependent on sales and treats energy as a commercial properly, others have recommended that the unavailability of opportunity most important producers within the place permits it to use oil and gas as gear for projecting impact internationally. Russia has historically acted as a reliable dealer. Yet, it has extensively utilized power to say its hobbies abroad on a number of occasions.

What are the advantages and downsides of oil and fuel for Russian foreign coverage and which elements have an effect on this? A various financial system mixed with an self sustaining strength enterprise are in all likelihood to turn non-renewables into leverage for Russian pursuits abroad. Conversely, the greater dependent the oil and fuel region is on other international locations for export, delivery and investment, the less possibly a manufacturer is to utilize power as a foreign policy tool.

Dependency on strength sales and purchaser states

In 2015 Russia changed into the biggest producer of crude oil and the second one biggest manufacturer of dry natural gas global. It has the largest natural gasoline reserves in the international (EIA, 2016, p. 1, p. 15). Producers depend to a varying extent on oil/gas revenues and on specific clients. From this attitude, oil and fuel reserves ought to pose a liability for Russian overseas policy. The u . S . Is considerably reliant on power earning. In 2015 oil and gasoline amounted to forty three% of the federal budget. EU and US sanctions and the fall of oil fees have led to a decline in oil and fuel sales and a growing price range deficit.

With regard to consumers, Russian gains from exports to former Soviet republics were disputed as it has continuously offered gasoline at decrease costs. Assessing Russia’s dependency on the EU is greater tough. In 2015, Europe accounted for nearly 60% of Russian crude exports and greater than seventy five% of its gas exports (EIA, 2016, p. 1). A approach for reducing dependency is diversification of clients. Russia should turn to new ones including China. However, growing a sustainable courting between the two international locations is challenging because of nearby dynamics. Russia is increasingly more involved with potential Chinese hegemony in the Caspian area. Nevertheless, after the sanctions in 2014 Russia signed two pipeline deals with China.

The electricity sector

Russia controls its strength exports – oil exports are ruled by using Transneft and fuel exports – by Gazprom. The electricity region is completely included. In addition to extraction activities and transportation, Russia has considered one of the most important refining capacities within the international. Despite diverging pastimes of the kingdom and the corporations on a number of issues, they seem to agree at the rejection of overseas involvement within the enterprise. After the fall of the united states, Russia allowed handiest one enterprise to go into West Siberia – the 50%-50% joint challenge TNK-BP, which become dissolved in 2012-2013 and nearly all of its assets – obtained by Rosneft (EIA, 2016, p. 8). Ever because the Nineteen Nineties the us of a has presented a sequence of headaches for foreign traders, which include negative herbal useful resource legislation.

However, this also poses huge troubles for Russia. Its electricity enterprise requires foreign direct investment (FDI) with a view to sustain production. Extraction fields in West Siberia are well evolved and funding in new exploration sports is lacking. Furthermore, law is fantastically inefficient and the arena is marked by way of corruption (Lazko and Nesterenko, 2012, pp. 12-14).

Energy hobbies

Russian kingdom pursuits and the pastimes of the actors inside the strength industry aren’t monolithic. For instance, regardless of the truth that Gazprom and Rosneft are both kingdom owned, they’re supported through special elite businesses with diverging pastimes. The interests of the authorities and the agencies also fluctuate at instances. Issues situation to disputes among Kremlin and Gazprom have concerned domestic fuel expenses and the use of revenues.


Natural gasoline requires a pipeline machine for transportation. The gas market isn’t always as globalized as the oil one and production has historically been nearby. For this purpose Russia goals at gaining independence from transit nations. Firstly, it increasingly buys shares in their infrastructure. The first one to sell parts of its transit community to Gazprom become Moldova, accompanied via Belarus. Secondly, Russia begins new pipeline initiatives. For instance, South Stream was seen as an answer to European tasks aiming at diversification, consisting of Nabucco. South Stream has been replaced with the aid of the TurkStream and Tesla pipeline projects.


Overall, oil and gas have the capability to play a huge function in Russian foreign policy because of their strategic importance for each the manufacturer and its purchasers. Yet, even though Russia could gain on certain occasions from using them as a foreign policy tool, non-renewable power sources can also represent a downside. The principal reasons for this consist of: the high dependency on oil/fuel revenues and, consequently, on intake; inefficient management of the power industry and absence of foreign investment; diverging home pastimes and the geopolitics of fuel transportation. Future choices on whether or not to apply oil and gas for political functions are in all likelihood to be knowledgeable as lots by using these factors as by way of Russian overseas coverage dreams.


Author: Liana Minkova, University of Cambridge, King’s College London, Expert Committee: International Relations


EIA (2013) ‘Russia,’ Independent Statistics & Analysis, US Energy Information and Administration, Available at: http://www.Eia.Gov/nations/analysisbriefs/Russia/russia.Pdf

EIA (2016) ‘Country Analysis Brief: Russia,’ Independent Statistics & Analysis, Available at: https://www.Eia.Gov/beta/worldwide/analysis_includes/countries_long/…

Lazko, E. And A. Nesterenko (2012) ‘An Overview of the Oil and Gas Sector inside the Russian Federation – 2012,’ Hydrocarbon World, 7: 1, pp. 12-14

Monaghan, A. (2007) ‘Russia’s Energy Diplomacy: A Political Idea Lacking a Strategy?,’ Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 7: 2, pp. 275-88

Pirani, S. (2009) Russian and CIS Gas Market and Their Impact on Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Yergin, D. (2011) The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World, London: Allen Lane

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