An energy superpower by definition is a country that delivers huge amounts of energy resources to several other countries. This allows the potential to influence global markets to gain a political advantage. Many countries in the world have been described as energy superpower – Iran, Venezuela, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. However no country is know more for using its oil and natural gas resources in its diplomacy then Russia is.
Russia is a text book example of an energy superpower and one of the reasons the the sanctions over the Ukraine War have been less than effective. They can use this power, for instance, by withholding supplies or influencing/controlling the price of valuable resources on a global scale. Russia is a prime example of this. Russia is known for using its oil and natural gas resources in its diplomacy.
What Makes Russia an Energy Superpower?
Russia is one of the largest economies in the world. It is an energy and commodity superpower. It is a major coal, gas, and uranium exporter. Media attention has focused on the role of Russia as a major supplier of natural gas and oil. However it also exports many other products and commodities.
The biggest export of Russia is crude oil. Refined petroleum is next on the list. This includes things like diesel and petrol. It is also one of the biggest exporters of semi-finished iron and the largest exporter of wheat in the world. Last but not least, it is a large supplier of nickel and fertilizers based on nitrogen.
Who Buys Russia’s Exports?
China is one of the leading countries that import from Russia. Netherlands is next, with its large share of gas and oil imports. Other major energy and commodity export markets for Russia include the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belarus.
How Russia Uses Oil and Natural Gas in its Diplomacy
Dependence on Russian energy reserves is not evenly distributed. Russia is the primary supplier of crude oil for the European Union. It provides a large percentage of Europe’s everyday consumption of natural gas and about half of its solid fuels. Russia can easily limit the exports of these resources, the results of which will be global and widespread.
A decrease in Russian exports will certainly be strongly felt in Europe. This explains why, despite increasing demand to do so, Europe has time and again refused to join the United States in a ban of Russian gas and oil imports.
Russian Energy as a Weapon
Another example is the Russia’s announcement in April that it would cut off deliveries of natural gas to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused pay for the exports in national Russian currency, rubles. Some consider it to be Russia’s maneuver to retaliate against Western efforts to wane the influence the country has because of its vast exports.
Despite Western sanctions, Russia has been able to maintain diplomatic relationships with India and China mainly because of being an energy superpower. An important thing to note is that a country’s status of being energy superpower comes with the availability of energy resources supported by its military potential.