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Russian energy exports to China. A strategic approach and its impact on China, Europe and Russia (DIEEEO54-2015)

The XXI century is characterized by change, political multi-polarity and economic interdependence when a need to ensure national energy security has arisen as a new factor in forming relationships. In this context, the relationship between Russia and China stands out by its decision to create energy partnership and diversify the energy sector of their economies. Based on their experience in cooperation at government and business level both countries manifest similar geopolitical interests and economic needs in the energy sector and therefore the cooperation in this field is beneficial for both sides.
The approach in the field of energy between these two countries began long time ago but has been volatile and changes depending on the international stage. At present, the geopolitical situation makes seek and find compromises in this approach which from Russian side is exacerbated by the context of Western sanctions and prolonged economic crisis forcing the business sector to seek new opportunities in Asia. Its main focus is based on China - one of the world's largest economies and Russia’s close political partner.
The EU, the current biggest consumer of Russian energy, is adopting a tougher policy on Russia that includes severe economic sanctions. In this way China may become the essential partner of Russian energy exports leaving Europe with less. For Europe that will not be good news as its dependency on Russia is real and it may be forced to accept conditions more favorable to Russia.
For China such energy agreements allow to diversify its energy sources, improve the environment protection policy and reassure its growing need for oil and gas. Moreover, Russia may become its stable partner on the international stage in energy sector with a possibility to create a military alliance in future. The only risk for China exists if the government decides to focus solely on Russian energy which would mean greater influence of Russia in Chinese policy.
For Russia risks are many, as well as benefits. On the one hand, China represents a huge market for its raw material and makes counterweight to Europe. In addition to that, these contracts will improve infrastructure and create jobs in the border regions. On the other hand, Russia may lose important Western investments and be dependent on Chinese in the same way as now it depends on Europe in gas and oil export.

Author: Jekaterina Grigorjeva


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