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Foreign Policy: Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Has Big Implications for Asia's Energy Future

Author: Keith Johnson
March 21, 2014

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"In a nutshell, Asia's biggest economies think they are becoming even more of a buyer's market for Russian energy, and hope to use Moscow's current turmoil to buy more gas for lower prices. If they're right, countries like China and South Korea would gain a longer-term, cheaper source of energy, while Moscow would be able to keep tapping its mineral wealth for decades to come."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean peninsula has clearly riled Europe and thrown into question the old continent's energy strategy. But some of the biggest aftershocks of Russia's land grab will be felt thousands of miles away, among Asia's biggest economies.

At issue is Russia's own energy pivot to Asia, part of its long-standing goal of diversifying away from excessive reliance on a slow-growing and increasingly testy European market for natural gas; Europe's interest in Russian gas waxes and wanes with politics, environmental goals, and concerns about energy security. The crisis in Ukraine, which has stoked fears in Europe that Moscow will again use its energy weapon to bludgeon recalcitrant neighbors, is only accelerating Europe's urge to find alternatives to Russian gas -- and accelerating Russia's desire to find new buyers. Many of them could come from Asia.

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