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So Far, Russia's Oil and Gas Allow It to Act Badly - WSJ.com
By GERALD F. SEIB | April 22, 2014

Of all the lessons one might draw from Russia's bullying of Ukraine, this may be the most coldblooded of all: If you want to behave badly, it helps to have a lot of oil and gas. Much will be forgiven, or at least ignored.

European nations, international energy companies and China are all, in their own ways, driving home the point. The Europeans are afraid of pushing economic sanctions against Moscow too far lest they be cut off from the Russian natural gas that provides a significant share of their energy.

The international energy companies are busy reassuring the Russians that they will keep working to help develop Russian energy supplies, the Ukraine crisis notwithstanding.

And the Chinese—well, they may be on the verge of completing a deal that has been under negotiation for 10 years to begin buying a lot of Russian natural gas. Russian officials said last week that they expect the negotiations to be completed before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China in May.

For Mr. Putin, a China deal would amount to a multibillion-dollar strategic security blanket. If European nations to Russia's west don't want to buy his gas because of his annexation of Crimea and intimidation of Ukraine, never mind. He soon will have a large market for his gas to the east as an alternate.
natural_gas  oil_industry  Russia  Gerald_Seib  Ukraine  China  petro-politics  large_markets 
april 2014 by jerryking
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