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Moscow carefully assessing international energy scene

Russia’s long-term energy plan relies heavily on gas sectors in the Middle East and Eurasia as it struggles with low prices and sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks over the phone with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan while he inspects the work on the Turkish Stream gas pipeline project aboard the Pioneering Spirit pipeline-laying ship in the Black Sea near Anapa, Russia, June 23, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RTS18CTC
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As the Saudi-led sanctions against Qatar raise concerns about liquefied natural gas (LNG) export prospects, Russia is weighing its options. The Middle East is key to Russia’s Energy Strategy to 2030, adopted in 2009. The document calls not only for Russia to diversify its gas exports to decrease dependence on European consumers, but to create a Eurasian gas-trading network under Russian control.

The Qatar crisis, which began in early June, amends Russia’s approach to accessing the Middle East gas market. On the one hand, the Kremlin is trying to distance itself from the Saudi-Qatari rift, as picking sides might harm Russia’s relations with either party. On the other hand, Russian authorities are trying to flirt with both sides so they will continue to cooperate with Moscow in the oil and gas sphere.

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