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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: abdulruff
Full Name: Dr.Abdul Ruff Colachal
User since: 15/Mar/2008
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Energy Politics: Russia loses Europe, China looks to Central Asia

-By DR. ABDUL RUFF COLACHAL

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Energy politics today dominates the world scene where the western powers invade and destabilize energy rich and route providing Muslim nations, killing millions of people and causing serious damage to climate stability. Regional powers like Israel do their anti-humanity and anti-climate destructions in their own ways by suing the terror goods of the western powers.

Like Mideast and central Asia, Russia is also a top energy supplier, mainly to Europe through Ukraine.  Russia holds the world's largest share of combined oil and gas production, at 15 percent of global output. Moscow remained the world's largest exporter of natural gas, producing 22 percent of global output.

However, in a global context, Russian gas market is in trouble as Russia's troubles start coming to light. The fallout from the Crimean annexation, in terms of sanctions and market reassessment, Russia’s loss has been not substantial but affected Russian economy.

 

Annexation of Crimea by the Kremlin and Russia’s blockage of gas flow into Ukraine seem to have impacted the economy of EU but also influenced the regional politics to some extent.

Russia and China, the two veto members of the notorious UNSC, have strong economic, military and energy relations for years now, particularly since the onset of Cold War.  However, there have been upset in bilateral ties owing to some geopolitical reasons.

Russia has been one of the prime providers of gas quenching Beijing's ever increasing thirst for energy. As Russia is facing supply deficit in Europe, it expects China to increase its energy intakes from Moscow. But China looks to central Asia for its energy needs. Instead of turning to Siberian sources for energy needs, China has recruited Central Asia to provide the lion's share of its natural gas demands.

China now receives nearly half of its natural gas supply from Central Asia. Turkmenistan currently supplies nearly 25 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually, with an additional 2.9 bcm from Uzbekistan and 0.1 bcm from Kazakhstan. The total represented 45 percent of China's gas imports last year and looks set to expand in the months ahead.

Moscow's focus on the European market allowed China to co-opt Central Asian supplies and become an influential regional player.

While Russia remained focused on the European market for the past decade, China began constructing and expanding pipelines through all five Central Asian states, which had traditionally been Russian strongholds.

China has also become Central Asia's largest trade partner, and the region presents arguably the only friendly front to China's expansionist policies.

The EU continues its divestment from Russia, with new emphasis on shale exploration, renewable expansion and imports from North America. With North America and Europe turning to non-Russian sources for their energy needs, China accounts for 22.4 percent of the world's energy consumption would be able to help Moscow stomach the loss of Western business.

While Russia did sign a $400 million, 38 bcm deal with China recently, the amount remains well below the 65 bcm Turkmenistan has agreed to provide China by 2020, and looks to be less than the total that a pair of new pipelines coming online this year will transit from Central Asia to China. This shift toward Central Asian gas production has been one of the less publicized aspects of China's expansion over the past decade and appears to undermine Russia's regional and economic influence.

And where the Chinese market has proven a boon to Central Asian economies, it's also provided Central Asian nations a means of maneuvering beyond Russia's reach. Turkmenistan seeking to free itself from the Kremlin clutches and began supplying gas to China in 2009, sums up this new reality perfectly. Turkmenistan was once nearly entirely dependent on Russia for both exports and infrastructure, but now it has swiftly become a regional heavyweight in gas exports. Continually calling for a trans-Caspian line, potentially contributing to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, and pushing for a transit route through India, Turkmenistan has morphed from a Russian dependency to an important regional actor. And with plans to triple its production over the next two decades, Turkmenistan's weight stands only to grow.

 

 

Notes: weak damage control

 

Russia is looking potential avenues to remedy its expected drop in supply and imports. New entreaties to Azerbaijan to join the Eurasian Economic Union could theoretically allow Russia greater access to influencing Baku's energy output, though Baku likes to increase transit cooperation with Turkmenistan. The Kremlin’s recent decision to forgive North Korean debt paves a way to access the South Korean market a long-term project.  Central Asia will likely play a notable role in US ally Seoul's energy needs, too.

 

Meanwhile, the United States saw the most rapid energy production growth of any nation and now stands as the world's largest producer of natural gas. Likewise, the EU's gas storage units, following a mild winter, are currently at record-high 65 percent capacity.

 

The Kremlin's unabated aggression surrounding Ukraine is likely to intensify the EU's search for alternatives to Russian energy, while sanctions, both potential and realized, continue to bite.

 

Moscow's motivations in cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine last month seemed far more political than economic, trying to make Ukraine a neutral nation in Europe, if not a pro-Russian ally. .

 

It seems the clout and constancy of Moscow diplomats in Brussels and Washington would determine the future energy policy of Russia. .

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