Futuribles Journal n° 337

Géopolitique - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Russia: the Energy Weapon?

A few weeks ahead of the Russian presidential elections and in the current context of hydrocarbon prices rises, Futuribles is publishing an article this month on the return of the state to the heart of the Russian energy sector.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian government has carried out an important restructuring of the national energy sector around major public and private companies. The main objectives of this reorganization were to sustain the economic growth of Russia and also - increasingly, in the view of Faouzi Bensebaa and Viviane du Castel - gain the country greater influence on the international scene.
In this article, the authors present an assessment of the Russian energy sector and turn the spotlight on a number of projects (Sakhalin 1 and 2, Khariaga) which particularly illustrate the Russian strategy of controlling hydrocarbon resources for economic and geopolitical ends. They show, in this way, how the state is gradually taking over control of national energy resources (including by going back on agreements struck with foreign partner companies) and using that control for political ends (particularly towards "nearby foreign countries"). At the end of their article, they nevertheless stress the factors militating against this renewed control of the energy sector: contradictions internal to the Russian regime, technological backwardness, international financial interlinkages...

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