Russian interests

In order to understand both sides we need to look at Russia as well and understand the rationality behind its policy. According to Dieter Helm, Russia’s interests are to maximise the economic and political leverage of its energy assets, and EU needs to come to terms with the fact that Russia will not adopt an open third-party access regime to its gas pipes and open up its oil and gas reserves to all comers.
According to Kęstutis Budrys, the main priority of the Russian energy strategists is to retain the markets they have now as well as increase exports to new ones, such as Eastern and South Asian or North American markets. This priority has also been expressed in the Russian energy strategy till the year 2020. Even though Russia might be interested to find new markets for exporting natural resources, this diversification should not take place at the expense of exports to Western Europe. Rather than looking for export diversification possibilities one of Russia’s interests is to limit the expansions of exports from other countries which have the potential to import natural resources to EU. Direct competitors for Russia are the Caspian Sea Basin and the Persian Gulf. Control of transit infrastructure through the territory of Russia is a direct expression of this limitation.
The second objective of Russia would be to secure long-term agreements for the supply of energy resources. And thirdly – Russia seeks to ensure stable transit by controlling the main transit routes. By engaging in the North European Pipeline project Russians have demonstrated the urge to supply directly to the countries in Western Europe and bypassing Central and Eastern countries. The last priority set out by K. Budrys is retaining of the autonomy in the energy sector without providing any concrete prerequisites for the establishment of foreign actors. This monopolistic approach provides conditions for a flexible use of the energy policy achieving internal and external policy goals. For this reason it is necessary to retain control over fields through the limiting of opportunities for foreign actors to take over production in “strategic” sectors and the further improvement of state-owned companies’ influence.