Russia and Regional Energy Links in Northeast Asia
Ivanov, Vladimir I.
The main purpose of this paper is to clarify the prospects for energy links between Russia and the Asia Pacific region (primarily Northeast Asia).  Russia is important for Northeast Asia as a sizable potential supplier of oil and natural gas. The future of Russia’s energy links with this large energy consuming area is assessed in the context of the nation’s domestic priorities, its potential to fulfill the role of a massive energy supplier and Russia’s long-term plans to export oil and gas and diversity markets. The most important among the topics discussed in this paper is the capacity of Russia to deliver energy to Asian regional markets on a large scale. Russia’s Eastern neighbors generally underestimate this capacity. This paper begins with a brief overview of the energy links between Russia and Europe, as well as an interview of oil production dynamics in recent years. There are certain misconceptions concerning plans to construct an export-oriented delivery infrastructure for oil transportation in Eastern Russia. More specifically, the pipeline routes to Nakhodka and Daqing are commonly seen as mutually exclusive projects. Initially, Russia’s state oil transportation monopoly, Transneft, proposed a 3,765 km-long pipeline with a capacity of 1 million barrels per day (b/d) from Angarsk to Nakhodka only, including a deep-water port and an oil terminal with storage tanks.  Later, a pipeline to China was added to this plan, as a replacement for the project backed by Russia’s Yukos and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). This paper provides more details on the routes of these pipelines and some background information related to the design of the integrated system. Detailed and balanced information on Russia’s long-term plans to export oil and gas to Northeast Asia is often missing. In this regard, the Energy Storage to 2020  adopted in 2003 proposes important changes in Russia’s long-term production and export plans for oil and natural gas projects in Eastern Siberia and the Far Eastern region. The plan specifies that towards the end of the projected period, oil and natural gas exports to Asia should respectively amount to one-third and one-sixth of their total cross-border supplies. This paper addresses some issues related to natural gas projects in Eastern Siberia and prospects for the available gas reserves to be monetized, utilized domestically and exported. Finally, this paper examines the problem of dealing with Russia as a major supplier of oil by the oil importing economies in the context of their policies towards the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).