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Does the cancellation of South Stream signal a fundamental reorientation of Russian gas export policy? 22 janvier 2015

Posted by Acturca in Energy / Energie, EU / UE, Russia / Russie, Turkey / Turquie.
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Oxford Energy Comment (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies) January 2015

By Jonathan Stern, Simon Pirani, Katja Yafimava *

The cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea may signal a fundamental reorientation of Russian gas export policy. Its replacement by similar pipelines direct to Turkey, and the abandonment of Gazprom’s long time strategy of supplying gas directly to European customers, comes in the wake of financial sanctions and an inability to negotiate the construction of new pipelines within the EU due to Third Energy Package regulation. The signing a first major pipeline export contract with China in 2014, and the possibility of a second contract in 2015, is shifting the emphasis of future Russian gas exports away from Europe and towards Asia. The irony of this change, which has largely been forced on Russia following US and EU measures taken in response to the Ukraine crisis, is that it has pushed Gazprom into a much more logical commercial export strategy and one which it should have adopted some years previously. The principal problem is that financial sanctions may prevent the company from being able to simultaneously finance a number of very large pipeline export projects.

* Jonathan Stern founded the OIES Natural Gas Research Programme in 2003 and was its Director until October 2011 when he became its Chairman and a Senior Research Fellow. Simon Pirani, Senior Research Fellow on the Natural Gas Research Programme, joined the Institute in 2007. Katja Yafimava joined the OIES Natural Gas Research Programme in 2006. She holds a D.Phil. in Geography and an M.Phil. in Russian and East European Studies from Oxford University.

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