The Russia-China energy deal Wednesday, followed by Thursday’s tag-team veto of a UN draft resolution to refer Syria to the international criminal court, has the United States and Europe understandably peeved. On the energy deal, some initial reactions focused on a dramatic “what now for Europe?” question. The answer is unsatisfying for conflict hawks: not much. Russia and China certainly win, but Europe does not necessarily lose.
Looking at data from Eurostat and the US Energy Information Administration, it is clear that Europe is as important to Russia as Russia is to Europe. The first graph below, from Eurostat, outlines the sources of Europe’s gas imports. Russia leads, with Norway close behind.
This second graph, from US EIA, shows where Russia exports its gas to. Europe accounts for 81% of Russia’s exports.
The recent deal with China does not necessarily effect Russian gas trade with Europe. New fields in Siberia will supply China. As Julia Nanay of IHS said on PBS Newshour, the gas deal will ultimately “add to the world’s resources…” Russia benefits, eventually, by opening a new market. But Europe does not necessarily lose.