Energy News Today

The World Economy No Longer Needs Russia

For much of the past year, and since his invasion of Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been riding high on his supposed energy omnipotence, holding the global economy hostage to his whims. Since last summer, Putin has choked off natural gas supplies to Europe, hoping that Europeans, shivering and without heat during the winter, would turn on their leaders and make it politically infeasible to continue support for Ukraine.

The threat was potent: In 2021, a whopping 83 percent of Russian gas was exported to Europe. Russia’s total global exports of 7 million barrels of oil a day and 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) of piped gas a year accounted for about half of its federal revenue. Even more importantly, Russia’s commodities exports played a crucial role in global supply chains: Europe was reliant on Russia for 46 percent of its total gas supply, with comparable levels of dependence on other Russian products including metals and fertilizer.

Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Putin’s invasion, it is apparent that Russia has permanently forfeited its erstwhile economic might in the global marketplace.

For much of the past year, and since his invasion of Ukraine last February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been riding high on his supposed energy omnipotence, holding the global economy hostage to his whims. Since last summer, Putin has choked off natural gas supplies to Europe, hoping that Europeans, shivering and without heat during the winter, would turn on their leaders and make it politically infeasible to continue support for Ukraine.

The threat was potent: In 2021, a whopping 83 percent of Russian gas was exported to Europe. Russia’s total global exports of 7 million barrels of oil a day and 200 billion cubic meters (bcm) of piped gas a year accounted for about half of its federal revenue. Even more importantly, Russia’s commodities exports played a crucial role in global supply chains: Europe was reliant on Russia for 46 percent of its total gas supply, with comparable levels of dependence on other Russian products including metals and fertilizer.

Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary of Putin’s invasion, it is apparent that Russia has permanently forfeited its erstwhile economic might in the global marketplace.

Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter in Europe, Putin’s moment of maximum leverage has passed uneventfully, and, as we correctly forecast last October, the biggest victim of Putin’s gas gambit was Russia itself. Putin’s natural gas leverage is now nonexistent, as the world—and, most importantly, Europe—no longer needs Russian gas.

Far from freezing to death, Europe quickly secured alternative gas supplies by pivoting to global liquefied natural gas (LNG). This included an estimated 55 bcm from the United States, two-and-a-half times more than prewar U.S. exports of LNG to Europe. Coupled with increases in supply from renewable sources,…

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2023-01-20 04:54:37

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