Less demand for gas and the need to reduce production are also having a positive impact – the Russian company is likely to avoid the difficulties in meeting all of its export commitments which, only a year or so ago, it was expected to experience.
Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia consistently and systematically expanded its activity in Asia, establishing closer political contacts with key countries in the region, rebuilding relations with former allies from Soviet times, and strengthening its presence in the Asian markets, in the energy sphere also. These activities were accompanied by intensive Russian propaganda, the message of which was that relations with the West can be restricted in favour of developing closer relations with Asian states.
The energy sector, especially with regard to natural gas trade, is one of the key areas of co-operation between the EU and Russia. However, the character of this co-operation has given rise to increasing doubts both in Brussels and among the EU member states. The questions have emerged whether this co-operation does not make the EU excessively dependent on Russian energy supplies, and whether Gazprom's presence in the EU will not allow Moscow to interfere in the proces of devising the EU energy policy.
When interpreting the "Yukos affair", it is hard to focus on any single particular motive or explanation that would easily rationalise the government's actions against the company. The "Yukos affair" is a multi-layered process with a number of different reasons for its cause. When one scrutinises the events around the company, the impression may be obtained that the Kremlin seemed at first not to have had any ultimate strategy; the authorities' position evolved as time went by. At first, the conflict was mainly of a political nature; economic factors did not arise until later, when the oil sector was undergoing changes in ownership.
The energy security of countries importing energy resources depends largely on the shape and quality of operational transport connections. This is particularly important in the case of natural gas supplies. Natural gas is transported mostly by gas pipelines which permanently connect gas producers and consumers. Thus Europe as a consumer is "tied" to certain gas suppliers for anywhere between a dozen and several tens of years. As their own resources are becoming depleted, the EU Member States get increasingly dependent on import of natural gas.
The priority of Ankara's energy policy is to make Turkey an important transit corridor for energy resources transported to the EU. Turkey wishes to play an active role in the distribution and sale of gas and oil flowing across its territory.
The former USSR area plays a great role in the international oil and gas market. Russia is a real gas giant, with the richest deposits of this material in the world. Russia is also the main exporter of natural gas to many European countries. Keeping a strong position in this market remains a priority for the Russian Federation's economic policy
This study is an overview of the current condition and principles on which the Russian power sector has been functioning so far. This analysis has been carried out against the background of the changes that have been taking place in the sector since the beginning of the 1990s. This text also contains a description of guidelines and progress made so far in implementing the reform of the Russian power industry, the draft of which was adopted by the government of the Russian Federation in summer 2001.
The current condition of the gas industry is one of the most crucial factors influencing the Russian state·s functioning, internal situation and international position. Not only is gas the principal energy resource in Russia, it also subsidises other sectors of the economy. Status of the main European gas exporter strengthens also Russia's importance in the international arena.