Russia Expanding Energy Ties With Asian Giants

From the May 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Russia has been busy strengthening its energy ties with key countries in Asia since the beginning of this year.

First was a round of high-level talks between Moscow and Tokyo on energy and other strategic issues from January 23 to 25. Coinciding with these talks, the head of Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency Harufumi Mochizuki and the ceo of Russian gas giant Gazprom met on January 25, which resulted in their inking an energy cooperation agreement.

For Japan in particular, building a bridge to energy-laden Russia seems to be an emerging priority. For Russia, improved ties with Japan open up a new market for Russian energy and goods.

Tokyo’s immediate interest is developing a relationship with Russia to diversify its over-reliance on the Middle East, which presently supplies 90 percent of Japan’s oil imports. Japan could potentially receive up to 15 percent of its petroleum from the East Siberian oil fields.

Japan is also interested in the Russian-Chinese Pacific pipeline Russia plans to build from Siberia. Japan has lobbied hard for the second stage of the pipeline to include Japanese interests, such as running the pipeline to the Sea of Japan.

Russia is happy to see Beijing and Tokyo vie for Russian energy. It appears to be emerging as a real partner to both Asian countries.

Russia is also looking to strengthen its energy ties with India.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 25 during a two-day trip to New Delhi. The purpose of the meeting was to bolster ties between the two nations’ energy industries, interchange technology, and boost trade from $3.8 billion to $10 billion by 2010.

Russia, according to Prime Minister Singh, “remains indispensable to the core of India’s foreign-policy interests” (Financial Times, January 25). A survey of India’s energy dependence highlights just how true Singh’s statement is.

India’s economy is growing swiftly, a full 9 percent in the fiscal year ending March 2006. Now valued near $1 trillion, it is expected to pass South Korea as Asia’s third-largest economy this year. In sustaining this phenomenal growth, India has become the world’s fifth-largest oil consumer, importing 70 percent of its oil. While India does have 5.6 billion barrels of oil reserves, second only to China in the Asia-Pacific region, the Indian government has suggested those reserves will last less than a decade unless a new discovery is made.

India’s heavy dependence on energy imports underscores its need to diversify its supplier base and strengthen ties with energy-rich countries like Russia. As such, the same day as the top-level meeting, India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (its largest state-owned company) and Russia’s Rosneft announced joint plans to develop exploration and refining operations.

While New Delhi has much to gain, Moscow is the biggest winner of all. Russia is quickly becoming the holder of the balance of power with Asia. The largest Asian nations—China, Japan and India—have come, cap in hand, seeking to form energy partnerships with Russia.

Clearly, Russian energy is part of the glue beginning to bond Asia together. The scenario of such strategic partnerships follows the pattern of behavior outlined in end-time biblical prophecy. Request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy to prove how.