Over a Barrel: Where Russian Energy Policy Leaves Europe with Regards to Its Energy Security   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Within the last few years, Europe has witnessed several major disruptions in its supply of Russian energy. The recent 'gas wars' between Russia and Ukraine in early 2006, as well as the disruption of gas transiting Belarus in January 2007, posed serious implications for an already energy-deprived Europe. Russia's aging infrastructure, infamously inefficient domestic consumption, and current state of affairs, raises considerable doubts over its ability to supply consistent levels of energy to downstream markets. Consequently, can Europe truly depend upon Russia to supply energy when and where they promise? Despite President Vladimir Putin's claims to the contrary, Moscow uses energy as an instrument of national power, to influence, dictate and enforce its foreign policy with regards to the rest of the world. Russia's vast untapped resources are huge, and if harvested correctly could help to provide stability in a world that is starving for energy. Yet, Russia's actions seem to indicate that it is not willing to permit market forces to dictate what it can supply or even when and to whom it will supply energy. Nevertheless, energy security is and will continue to be, a primary factor in relationships between Europe, Russia and the rest of the world."

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