VIDEO: Russia’s Global Energy Role: War, Sanctions, and the Energy Transition

April 26, 2024 Topic: Economics Region: Europe Tags: EnergyRussiaNatural GasOilNuclear EnergySanctions

VIDEO: Russia’s Global Energy Role: War, Sanctions, and the Energy Transition

How has the Russian energy sector adapted to Western sanctions, and what does that mean for the future of the global economy and security?


The United States and its allies have imposed wide-ranging financial and technological sanctions on Russia’s energy sector in an effort to impose high costs and to stall or slow new energy projects—all in the hopes that this would apply political pressure to the Kremlin to end President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. These sanctions and Russia’s adaptation to them are changing Russia’s role in the global energy system even as many governments seek to transition their economies away from fossil fuel consumption. Yet, Russia contributes to global energy in other ways, too, as the world’s leading exporter of nuclear reactors, the top supplier of enriched uranium, and an important source of nickel and other minerals and metals important in manufacturing clean energy systems. And Moscow has found various means to adapt to sanctions, including by assembling the so-called shadow fleet of oil tankers and pursuing creative payment arrangements.

Looking ahead, the evolution of Russia’s global energy role can have important implications for the United States and for U.S. policy. Can energy-related sanctions destabilize Russia’s political system? How long might this take? How do changes in Russia’s energy role affect its relations with China and India—now its top oil export destinations? How does this affect U.S. allies in Europe and in Asia? Can Russia get all the technology it needs? What can the United States do? On April 26, the Center for the National Interest and Energy Innovation Reform Project hosted three experts in a joint panel to discuss these and other important questions:


Craig Kennedy, a Center Associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, has worked for two decades in banking, including as Vice Chairman of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In the early 1990s, he opened the Cambridge Energy Research Associates office in Moscow.

Tatiana Mitrova, a Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, has worked on Russia’s energy sector for twenty-five years, including as Executive Director of the Energy Centre at the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO and as Head of Research in the Oil and Gas Department in the Energy Research institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Paul Saunders, President of the Center for the National Interest, has studied Russia and its foreign policy for over thirty years. In his work at Energy Innovation Reform Project, he has written a major new report, “Russia’s Future Global Energy Role: War, Sanctions, and the Energy Transition.”

The Hon. J. Robinson West moderated the discussion. Mr. West is Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Center for Energy Impact, former founder and chairman of PFC Energy, and former chairman of both the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the United States Institute of Peace.