Chapter 9: ‘They Went East, They Went West…’: The Global Expansion of Russian Oil Companies
Nina Poussenkova INTRODUCTION In any state, governmental and big business actors are inextricably linked, particularly when it comes to the management of strategic resources such as oil and gas. In the case of Russian energy policy, the two actors are so close as to be at times indistinguishable. This symbiotic relationship is particularly strong in the global expansion of Russian oil companies guided by an intricate network of business and political power interests. In other words, to successfully pursue their global expansion, Russian energy companies not only have to pay close attention to features of resource geography – the type of natural resources available beyond Russian territory and the related infrastructure needed to exploit those resources – they also need to carefully assess the features that characterize the financial and institutional dimensions of the policy environment (or structure) in which they find themselves (see Chapter 2). In this chapter I focus on the global expansion of Russian oil companies, which has been much less often examined than, for example, the power of Russian actors in gas markets and operations throughout the world. I will argue that the relative importance of the three dimensions – resource geographic, financial and institutional – has varied throughout the history of Russia’s oil sector. I will first briefly reflect on the situation under socialism, and then analyse the 1990s and the 2000s in greater detail (for pre-Soviet history, see Goldman, 2008). Throughout the 2000s actors regulating the institutional dimension strengthened their role, with the result that the oil and...
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