EU-Russia Gas Relations: Challenges and Possible Solutions.
By Ekaterina Ananyeva (M.A. Peace and Conflict Studies student, Philipps University Marburg)
Focus of this work is on Gazprom, the biggest gas company in Russia and main trade partner of the EU. The main question is: are EU-Gazprom gas relations politicised and by how far? Working with the empirical data proved that EU-Gazprom trade relations are politicised due to the decisive role the Kremlin has in this energy company. The way it works on the internal market as well as its relations with foreign investors to major Russian production fields allows speaking of general behavioural trends that ought to be taken into account.
The problem of politicised relations with Gazprom and a need to find a way to negotiate for more liberal and market-oriented relations urges either to look for other trade partners, or to resolve existing disagreements with Gazprom and the Kremlin.
As gas and oil production in the EU reduces, imports from other countries, and Russia above all, tend to have a greater role. Statistically speaking, energy usage has risen on about 60% from 1988, while energy production has fallen on the same percentage to the 2010 level. Moreover, in order to reduce CO2 and avoid Fukushima`s tragedy in Europe, it was decided to turn to renewable sources of energy.  Gas became a transitional solution, given the mentioned circumstances. Due to its being a “regional commodity” for the EU, it is the aim of Brussels to secure possibly a high number of providers with as numerous chains of supply as possible.
Gas disputes between Russia and transit-countries (especially Ukraine) are becoming more and more frequent, thus raising EU attention to the problem of energy security. Recent events in Ukraine (the Maidan uprising, annexation of Crimea, and the war in eastern Ukraine) antagonized the situation and triggered the discussion around future Russian gas exports to Europe.
This work is aimed to answer the question if the EU is still highly dependent on Russian exports, and if yes, is there any way to change it? The hypothesis answers both these questions positively and argues for demonopolization of the energy market. In order to prove this necessity, the biggest Russian exporting organization, Gazprom, is analyzed. The focus is given to its internal organization and value on the Russian energy market.