On Arctic and Pacific Shelf, Russia Caught Between Western Sanctions and Chinese Aspirations
November 9 – Western sanctions have already forced Russia to stop work on the
development of existing oil and gas fields on the Arctic and Pacific shelf and
to give up on plans to start others, and they have even led Moscow to think
about inviting China to come into this area, something that would give Beijing
another lever on Russia now and in the future.
the government hour yesterday in the Federation Council, Natural Resources Minister
Dmitry Kobylkin said that his ministry “was losing hope for the rapid mastery
of the Russian shelf under conditions of sanctions” even though developing it
remains the priority Vladimir Putin has declared (interfax.ru/russia/636808).
long as sanctions are in place, the minister said, there is no possibility that
Russia will be able to reverse this situation on its own. It lacks the
technology and the investment funds to go after often difficult to access oil
and gas on the shelf floor – and this at a time when exporting petroleum is key
to the development of the country’s economy.
it is a measure of just how desperate Russia now is to develop these fields,
that it appears ready to move ahead with a dramatically expanded Chinese role
in an area the Kremlin has repeatedly said is Russia’s patrimony. Now the big
question is whether the Chinese will agree – and on what conditions.
are no guarantees,” Censor.net reports, “that China will cross the US on
sanctions question.” It may simply say no to Moscow, something that would be
embarrassing as a confession of Russia’s weakness as a result of sanctions and
its increasing dependence on China for help.
“if China does agree to such cooperation,” the portal says, it is quite likely
that Beijing will insist on conditions extremely favorable to itself and thus extremely
unfavorable to Russia.But that may not
be the worst thing about all this, the analysts at this portal suggest. Chinese
ambitions with regard to Russian territory east of the Urals are well-known.
will give Beijing even greater leverage not just on the Russian shelf but on