Western sanctions targeting Russia have stalled Russian-Chinese energy projects in the Arctic and stymied China’s attempts to establish a foothold in the region, according to a new report by WashU University College students Matt Jones and Seth Stevenson, in partnership with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Through the use of satellite imagery, Jones and Stevenson determined that China has been unable to move important infrastructure needed for two natural gas projects in far northern Russia. The report found that sanctions have “likely precluded many of the leading, western-based, heavy-lift companies contracted to transport the modules [… from] participating in the project.”
The report was produced as part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Tearline partnership with outside researchers and was published on the NGA’s Tearline website. Jones and Stevenson are working toward graduate degrees in international affairs at University College at Washington University.
The world’s leading oil and natural gas importer, China is eager to diversify its import sources.
“China seeks a closer economic partnership with Russia, particularly regarding access to Russia’s energy deposits above the Arctic Circle,” the report stated. “These investments come at a fortuitous time for Russia as Europe piles sanctions on Russian energy. Chinese (state-owned enterprises) are filling the funding gap that Europe is leaving behind.”