Andreas Goldthau

Rhetoric versus reality: Russian threats to European energy supply

Rhetoric versus reality: Russian threats to European energy supply. 2008. Energy Policy, Vol. 36, 686-692


European gas demand will rise from presently 540 billion cubic meters (bcm) to around 800 bcm in 2030. As more than 50 percent of overall European imports originate from Russia, fears have been expressed that the Kremlin could use energy resources as a foreign policy tool. A thorough assessment of domestic consumption, production and investment volumes however reveals that Russian supply will have difficulties in matching growing domestic and European demand. Hence, as the author argues, the threat to European gas supply does not lie in geopolitics, but rather in a lack of investment in the Russian upstream sector. Higher domestic Russian gas prices, enhanced energy efficiency and increases in non-Gazprom production would however make it possible for Russia to meet domestic demand and its export commitments for natural gas.

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