After the West turned away from Russian oil and gas, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, sees Russia permanently weakened. "Russia has lost the energy battle," Birol told the French newspaper Liberation in Paris.
Oil and gas exports have fallen by 40 percent since the start of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. And that's just the beginning, because the Russian oil and gas fields are technically and geologically complex. They needed the technological support of international experts. "However, they withdrew from Russia." Since the fields did not receive the necessary technological support, production will decrease in the medium term.
Russia cannot simply replace Europe, once the largest customer, with Asia, said the IEA boss. "Trading energy is not the same as selling onions. If you lose your biggest customer overnight, you have to find others to compensate, but you also need new infrastructure to transport the energy. " It will take years to build pipelines from western Siberia to China. "Russia's role in international energy affairs will be far less important in the future," Birol said.
Europe has made two strategic mistakes in its energy supply in recent decades. One was to become so dependent on a country, and worse on a country like Russia. "The second mistake, in my opinion, is that several European countries wanted to abandon nuclear energy even though it is a national source of electricity generation." The energy crisis has given a boost to renewable energies in Europe, and not just for climate reasons. "Today, governments have understood well that they also enable security of supply and independence."