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Background on Russia’s Oil

In the wake of an intense political conflict between Russia and Georgia, the Western world has to stop and think about their relationship with Russia, particularly in regards to oil.

With high levels of Europe’s daily oil consumption originating from Russia, a new level of doubt and scrutiny has risen over the appropriate relationship the west should have with the former Soviet Union.

Russia’s Oil Power

In the past, when Russia was meet with opposition from former Russian territories, Russia responded by

Courtesy of ABC News

Courtesy of ABC News

cutting off oil supplies without warning. According to The Independent, in 2007 Russia halted supplies to several eastern countries, after a dispute with Belarus over exports through the Druzhba pipeline.

This forceful demonstration of power has sent a strong shockwave through Europe and the rest of the west- saying Russia is resolved to remain independent of pressures from the outside world.

However, since the conflict in Georgia began, questions have arisen about the possibility of political sanctions. If the west because truly intolerant of Russia and one day imposed sanctions on the nation, would they retaliate and withdraw their supply of oil?

Strengthening the Global Community

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the chairman of Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft, suggests that the energy relationship will continue, despite the possibility of a rocky relationship. “Even during the Cold War, regardless of political or any other circumstances, the Soviet Union always fulfilled its contractual obligations to supply Europe with energy, and Russia, a responsible and reliable partner, adheres to the same principle”.

Although Russian oil companies may seek to reassure Europe of their strong energy commitments to the west, perhaps it is logical for the EU to evaluate with some caution, the depth of their future relationship and energy agreements with Russia and increasingly look into alternative energy options.

Right now, it is in the best interest of the west to continue supporting positive relations with Russia and other eastern nations, in hopes of continuing in this time of peace. Anti- Russian sentiment seems to be low in Europe, however this can only last if ongoing conflicts are handled with care and political differences are to some degree respected.

By Chai C, c.collins@my.westminster.ac.uk

Sources:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/europe/2008/georgia_russia_conflict/default.stm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/merkel-attacks-cuts-in-russian-oil-supply-431487.html

http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=151728


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October 15, 2008 Posted by | Chai- Int'l Current Affairs | , , , , , | Leave a comment