Russia’s Natural Gas Export Policy in Asia Pacific in the 1990s: Unfulfilled Potential

by Olga Gerasmichuk


In the early 1990s, the economic and technological rise of Asia Pacific countries generated a growing demand for Russian hydrocarbons, particularly for natural gas. To benefit fully from such a situation, Russia, historically oriented towards European gas markets, decided to develop the Asian dimension of its gas policy from its gas fields in East Siberia and the Far East. Their focus has been mainly on three key countries in the region, namely Japan, China and South Korea. Russia and the Asian countries, understanding that their geographical proximity and economic considerations foster a mutually beneficial relationship, cooperated to create the Kovykta project, which consisted of the construction of a transnational gas pipeline for subsequent gas deliveries to the countries of the region. However, the hardening of the Russian government’s position vis à vis the project, and Gazprom’s gradual takeover of gas resources in the Irkutsk region, and more generally of the Eastern Siberia, significantly reduced the efforts made by Russia Petroleum and its Asian partners in this direction. This article discusses Russian attempts throughout the 1990ies to involve Asia Pacific countries in close gas cooperation, with a particular emphasis on the Kovykta project development, and the construction of a long-distance natural gas pipeline connecting Russia, China, and South Korea.

Key words: Russia; Eastern Siberia and Far East; Irkutsk project; Kovykta gas deposit; Gazprom; China; South Korea; Asian energy markets;

“The Asia Pacific region occupies a particular place in the system of Russia’s long-term energy policy priorities. This region constitutes a very promising energy market, constantly growing, in which Russia could become a major player. Given the role that energy plays in the economy of the countries of the region, one can assume with certainty, that the expansion of the cooperation in the energy field will become the mainstay of Russia’s relations with the countries of the region and will give a new life to the stable economic development of Russian Eastern Siberia and Far East”[1].

Elena Telegina – Deputy Ministry of Energy of Russian Federation (1998-99)


Despite the Russian Federation’s hopes to increase cooperation with Asian countries in the field of natural gas, at least in contrast to its business with European countries, the late 1990s proved disappointing. Gazprom succeeded in adapting to Europe’s new geopolitical and economic constraints, and therefore was able to preserve its position as Europe’s main natural gas supplier. At the end of the decade in Asia, however, Gazprom’s business in Asia ultimately failed to achieve concrete results or bring any substantial profits, not for Russia nor for its Asian partners. However, these decisions made at the turn of the century had wider implications for Russia’s gas export policy, led by President Vladimir Putin, and Alexei Miller, the new CEO of Gazprom. Expectations of growing cooperation with Asia is evidenced by the energy projects, such as the construction of a LNG liquefaction plant on Sakhalin Island in February 2009, as well beginning development of the “Power of Siberia” gas pipeline in September 2014 after a long awaited commercial contract was signed in Moscow. These developments gave Russia the means to finally be present, although modestly, in Asian energy markets.

This article discusses Russian attempts throughout the 1990s to involve Asia Pacific countries in close gas cooperation, specifically the development of the Kovykta project and the construction of a long-distance natural gas pipeline connecting Russia, China, and South Korea.

The first Russian energy projects in the East

Throughout the 1990s, Russian cooperation with Asia Pacific countries was limited to numerous feasibility studies in the Eastern Siberia and Far East regions, as well as studies to estimate the transportation costs of these resources for export. Many natural gas export routes were proposed, ranging from bilateral projects between Russia and China to multilateral projects such as the construction of the Irkutsk pipeline (Russia, China and South Korea) or the transnational gas pipeline that linked Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea and Japan. This period will be remembered for many long negotiations, inter-governmental exchanges, and cooperation agreements. However, none of these projects materialized with a signed commercial contract.

First drafts of energy projects in the Russian East were made prior to the break-up of the USSR. In 1989, a group of Russian gas sector researchers, including Soviet academician Mikhail Styrikovich wrote “The development of natural gas production and use in Far East and profitability of such exports to Japan, China and South Korea in the 2000s and beyond”[2]. This paper examined the possible options for the large-scale development of gas deposits in Yakutia and offshore in Sakhalin Island. Moreover, it estimated the costs of natural gas exports both in liquefied form and via pipeline network towards Asian Pacific countries. Based on this document, the Soviet Ministry of Geology, the Soviet Ministry of the Oil and Gas Industry, the State Gas Consortium Gazprom, the Soviet Academy of Science and the Technological Academy prepared the concept of natural gas development in Yakutia and on Sakhalin, as well as the development of mineral resources. The project is better known as the “Vostok Plan”.[3] The project expected that the region could produce about 15.7 million tonnes (Mt) (21.35 billion cubic meters[4]) of gas per year by 2005 to meet domestic needs, and possibly an additional 13.3 Mt (18.09 bcm) of gas for export to Asia.

Interestingly, Russian and Western experts have diverging views regarding natural gas exports routes proposed in the Vostok project. Alexei Mastepanov indicates that one of the proposed gas export routes could deliver gas deposits in Yakutia and Sakhalin Island to the Northeast regions of China and further to the Korean peninsula.[5] Alternatively, Keun-Wook Paik insists that the People’s Republic of China did not participate in this project. According to Paik, the gas pipeline would deliver Sakhalin deposits to South Korea through the territory of North Korea. Thus, according to Paik, 13.3 Mt (18.09 bcm) of natural gas foreseen for the exports were to be distributed in the following way: 6 Mt (8.16 bcm) were to be delivered to Japan, 6 Mt (8.16 bcm) to South Korea and 1.3 Mt (1.76 bcm) to North Korea[6]. Tsuneo Akaha, in his book titled “Politics and Economics in the Russian Far East: Changing Ties with Asia-Pacific”, discusses the other export route proposed in the “Vostok Plan”: thus, a gas pipeline project delivering Yakutia deposits through North and South Korea to supply natural gas to Japan[7]. However, none of the aforementioned export projects materialized; the dissolution of the Soviet Union tabled the Vostok project.

The cooperation advances but faces thorny political issues

Despite the collapse of the USSR, Asian countries have not lost interest in Russian gas. On the contrary, rapid economic and technological advancement, coupled with their lack of domestic resources, make attaining new sources of supply essential for Asian countries, and the new energy projects in the Russian Far East are attractive. However, many of the initiated projects were being developed slowly due to tense political relations inherited from Soviet times, and to an imprecise and fluctuating Russian legislative and regulatory framework. Furthermore, as these projects were conducted by a small group of independent energy companies supported mainly by local administrations, and not by Moscow, they did not benefit from the same magnitude of financial aid that major companies such as Gazprom enjoyed. As Table 1 shows, this strategy is entirely oriented to European gas markets since the late 1960s, and Asian markets are virtually absent until the negotiations in the second half of the 1990s.

The territorial conflict that exists between Russia and Japan from the end of the Second World War is perhaps one of the best illustrations of a political issue repeatedly impeding the progress of energy projects. The unresolved question of the Northern Territories[8] and the inability of both sides to finally sign a peaceful agreement have remained a serious stumbling block in the relations between two countries. In fact, Tokyo refused to separate political issues from those within the economic field, and pushed a deal to exchange capital, which Russia desperately needed at the time, in exchange for the return of Kuril Islands. In 1992, Moscow’s official position hardened, and is evidenced when Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s cancelled his visit to Japan, originally scheduled in September. The Russian government explained that Yeltsin’s cancelled visit was due to the rigidity and stiffness on the part of Japanese partners on the Kuril issue. However, many Russian experts explain Russia’s tightened position by the fact that Yeltsin wanted at any price to avoid the risk of opening negotiations with the Japanese on the eve of parliamentary elections or give the Communists and Ultra-nationalists the pretext of a possible restitution of Kuril Islands.[9] This situation resulted in a cooling of relations between Tokyo and Moscow, compelling Russia to shift its focus instead on China and South Korea, partners that the Kremlin qualified as less difficult.[10]




September 1993



China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) via its 100% subsidiary, Daqing oil field, in partnership with Canada’s MacDonald Petroleum entered into negotiations to explore oil and gas fields in the Irkutsk region. Consequently, Daqing oil field had gained permission to drill some exploratory wells in two virgin fields.


June 1994



The Russian government and the Administration of the Sakhalin region signed with « Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd. » a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) to develop Piltun-Astokhskoie and Lunskoie gas fields within the Sakhalin-2 LNG project.


November 1994


CNPC and MINTOPENERGA signed an agreement, aiming to construct a transnational long-distance natural gas pipeline running through Inner Mongolia and Hebei Province, and terminating in Shandong Province


July 1995



Gazprom proposed to CNPC two routes of natural gas export to China 1. From gas fields in Western Siberia to western provinces in China via Xinjiang (Altai Project)

2. From gas fields in East Siberia, and notably, from Kovykta gas field, to China’s northeastern provinces (Baikal Project)  



December 1996




The Consortium of South Korea’s energy companies conducted a preliminary feasibility study (FS) on the Kovykta gas field to prove if the project would be economically profitable to South Korea.


June 1997



Russia and China signed a governmental agreement to export natural gas and electricity from East Siberia to China. This agreement envisaged 25 bcm per year of gas export to China over 30 years.


August 1997



Gazprom and CNPC signed a cooperation agreement, to study the possibility of natural gas supply from Russia to China, notably from Western Siberia through the western section of Russian-Chinese border, as well as at the implementation of relevant projects.


December 1997



A multilateral memorandum between 5 countries (Russia, South Korea, China, Japan and Mongolia) was signed in Moscow, calling for a coordinated approach to improving reserve estimates, further developing fields, defining the market for produced gas, and carrying out a feasibility study on natural gas fields in Siberia and for the transnational pipeline project.


February 1999



Russia Petroleum and CNPC signed two general agreements in gas sector:

1. A feasibility study on the Irkutsk region’s natural gas export to north-eastern provinces in China via a long-distance pipeline;

2. A preliminary FS on western Siberia’s gas export to Shanghai via a transnational pipeline passing through the Xinjiang Autonomous Region


October 1999


Gazprom and CNPC signed a Protocol calling for the joint research in the field of underground gas storage facilities (UGS).


November 1999


KOGAS joined the Russia Petroleum-CNPC agreement on carrying out a FS on the Kovykta gas project in Irkutsk region.


November 2000



Russia Petroleum, CNPC and KOGAS signed in Beijing a new trilateral agreement for a feasibility study. The projected total production volume was around 30-50 bcm, and gas output and exports to China and South Korea amounted to 20 bcm and 10 bcm respectively.

Table 1. A Brief Review of Russia and Asia Pacific Countries Gas Cooperation in the 1990s   Sources: Paik (2012), Mastepanov (2014), different issues of Moscow Times

The development of the Kovykta gas deposit and the construction of the Irkutsk-China-South Korea gas pipeline

The early 1990s saw the emergence of some energy projects in the Russian Far East, where China played a central role.

In November 1994, the Russian energy company Mintopenergo signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the construction of a long distance gas pipeline with China’s CNPC (China National Petroleum Corporation), to link gas fields of the Irkutsk region in Eastern Siberia to the Chinese Shandong province, through the territories of Inner Mongolia and the Hebei region. According to this document, Russia committed to supply gas to the coastal cities of Eastern China, by exporting 20 bcm of natural gas per year.[11] Two years later, Russia and China established a Joint Commission, responsible for the development of bilateral cooperation in the energy field. On June 27, 1997, during the visit of Viktor Chernomyrdin to Beijing, the two countries signed a range of energy agreements, including an intergovernmental agreement on natural gas and electricity exports from the Irkutsk region to China[12]. This agreement focused on the possibility of building a 3,000 km gas pipeline, which would transport 25 bcm of gas annually for a period of 25-30 years.

China’s eagerness to take an active part in the development of resources in Russia’s East Siberia, explains its interest in exploiting the Kovykta gas deposit. Other countries of the region, such as South Korea, have subsequently joined this project, although the level of their participation remains profoundly unclear.[13] In December 1996, the Consortium of South Korean energy companies, including KOGAS, proceeded on an eight-month feasibility study on the Kovykta gas field, which proved that the project would be economically viable for South Korea.[14]

The Kovykta deposit is one of the largest natural gas deposits in the Irkutsk region, qualified by local authorities as a “hope for the Eastern Siberia’s revival”[15]. In 1997, its reserves were estimated at 869.6 bcm of gas and 400 Mt of condensate[16]. These estimates have gradually increased with time, reaching 1.596 trillion cubic meters of gas in 2001.


Figure1. Kovykta gas field[17] Source: Olga Gerasimchuk

 The development of the Kovykta gas deposit was at the core of the project, but the plan later envisaged the construction of a plant to separate natural gas from condensate, as well as the construction of a gas pipeline starting from Irkutsk and running to China, and then via Yellow Sea to the coast of South Korea. This pipeline would have a total distance of 4,500 km and an estimated cost of 7-8 billion USD.[18]

It should be noted that this trilateral partnership finds its roots in the political will of Russia, China and South Korea to mutually benefit from their individual economic needs and geographical proximity.

The dynamic South Korean economy transformed Seoul into a trading partner far more attractive than Pyongyang. Indeed, Russian interests in South Korea were not solely driven by a certain synergy between the energy abundant Russian Siberia and the highly industrialized South Korea, but also from its experience and potential in both financial and technological terms. As for China, the main importer of Kovykta gas, it had the most to gain from the success of the project. In fact, in 1997 China had become a net importer of natural gas and was seeking a broader diversification of its supply portfolio with the aim to keep more control over its energy dependence. Moreover, China was looking for a more environmentally friendly energy source. It was driven by the dramatic deterioration of its environment, provoked by a massive use of cheap but poor quality coal that was inducing growing health risks for its population. Such pragmatism was further strengthened by the thaw in Russia-China political relations. Indeed, the break-up of the USSR led to a situation where the old ideological clashes ceased to poison Moscow-Beijing relations, and therefore they agreed to seek cooperation rather than confrontation.[19]

In 1996, the three countries focused their efforts primarily on assessment studies aiming to prove the profitability of the Irkutsk project. Following the feasibility study conducted by CNPC, Chinese geologists came to the conclusion that East Siberian gas reserves appeared to be less significant than previously claimed by the Russians, taking into the account the amount that would be absorbed by Russia’s domestic consumption. CNPC then began to explore the possibilities of combining gas resources of the Irkutsk region with those of Sakha Republic.

Since the 2nd half of the 1990s, the Irkutsk project acquired international dimension for two reasons. First, Russian energy strategy underwent a significant evolution, and gradually shifted from its exclusively European orientation. Indeed, Moscow seeks for wider integration with Asia Pacific countries in the development of its projects in the East.[20] Secondly, there was growing interest from Japanese energy companies concerning the project. In fact, Tokyo undertook a dynamic policy of energy supply diversification, aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on Middle Eastern imports to the fullest extent possible, prompting Japanese JNOC and Sumitomo to join the project. This is how the multinational consortium was created and gathered Russia, China, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan into the Irkutsk project. The Irkutsk gas pipeline route underwent some modifications accordingly. It would now pass through the territory of Mongolia and, after crossing China and South Korea under the Yellow Sea, end up in Japan (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Proposed gas pipeline routes from Eastern Sibera to Asia Pacific countries. Source: The Geopolitics of Energy into the 21st Century, CSIS Strategic Energy Initiative (2000) 

In December 1997, the five-country consortium agreed to conduct a joint feasibility study of the Kovykta deposit. However, this initiative broke down on December 24, 1998. One reason was that China was opposed to Mongolia’s participation as a transit country, although this export route was presented as the most competitive one in terms of prices. As Se Hyun Ahn explains, “Chinese leadership was concerned that, along with Mongolia, the Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia could also benefit from substantial transit fees, and that members of the Mongolian minority might seek broader autonomous rights, which could lead to unrest. The Chinese were also concerned that the Mongolians would cut gas supply transiting to China.”[21] Some friction existed within Russian-Japanese relations. Japan preferred to play a dominant role by offering to finance a large part of the project’s feasibility study. Russia and China expressed their concerns against this coordinating role of Tokyo, who was finally left without leverage, mainly because the country was not able to provide a more important outlet market for Russian gas. Faced with numerous disputes between the members, the multinational consortium finally shattered and the transnational gas pipeline project was abandoned.

In the early 2000s, South Korean KOGAS proposed to Russia that a future pipeline pass through the territory of North Korea. Seoul believed that if the gas pipeline crossed North Korea, the latter could benefit from important transit fees. This would in turn contribute to promoting economic prosperity and political stability on the Korean peninsula. However, this proposal was also unsuccessful. Russia strongly opposed it due to the high political risks. As a result, Russia, China and South Korea returned to the original pipeline export route: Irkutsk-China-South Korea.

Gazprom defines its gas strategy in the East

The international attention that the project had acquired towards the end of the 1990s, coupled with the enormous, still untapped gas potential of the region, generated a growing interest from major Russian energy companies, such as the Tyumen National Company (TNK), Surgutneftegaz and Gazprom. Since, the conquest of Asia Pacific energy markets was a strategic task for all of these companies, the competition grew.[22]

For Gazprom, the question of control over the Kovykta deposit became a key objective in its attempts to get a foothold in Asia Pacific markets. Indeed, virtually absent until the 2nd half of the 1990s in the East, Gazprom decided to develop an Asian component to its energy export strategy. This was the point when Gazprom began to delineate the contours of its strategy in the region. In June 1997, Rem Vyakhirev, CEO of Gazprom, announced, “Natural gas demand in Asia Pacific region is estimated to grow at 2.6% per year, and will be met, to a large extent by liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the Middle East, Australia and Indonesia. But gas deliveries by ship are expensive and less competitive compared to those made by pipelines. From this perspective, it would be more advantageous to develop gas fields . . . and to transport Russian gas via pipelines to China, South Korea and other importers”[23].

In order to meet the growing demand for natural gas from the countries of the region, Rem Vyakhirev envisaged to see the great Eurasian landmass connected by a gas pipeline grid. The same year, he announced Gazprom’s intentions to continue the development of an Eurasian transcontinental gas pipeline system calling it an “unprecedented system in terms of length and flow, that will be launched by the construction of pipelines in the south of Eastern Siberia from polar fields of the Tumen region, linking the east and west pipeline systems of Russia”[24]. It was expected that such a powerful system of arteries with the heart of pumping in Western Siberia would enable Gazprom to thwart other suppliers of the region, such as Australia and Indonesia, by providing a cheaper alternative to LNG.

Gazprom’s leadership did not, however specify how and when such a project would be materialized, but announced its intention to promote both gas exports from Western and Eastern Siberia to China. Beginning in late 1998, two gas export projects have emerged: the Altai project, aiming for gas exports from fields in Western Siberia to the east coast of China, via Xinjiang region; and the Baikal project, which planned to export gas from Eastern Siberia and, more precisely, from the Kovykta deposit to the northeastern regions of China (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Altai and Baikal gas export projects. Source: Ekho Rossii Journal (2015), adapted by the author

  Gazprom’s first steps in attaining control over the Kovykta gas field

During this period, many problems arose between the companies involved in the region.

Russia Petroleum and its main stakeholder British Petroleum Amoco (30% of shares), which was granted an exploitation license over the Kovykta deposit, were at the core of various controversies.

The first issue related to the authority, empowered to grant this license. In fact, in 1993 it was the local Geology Commission and not the Ministry of Natural Resources, which issued a license for exploitation. The second issue concerned the extent of the concession area granted. According to Viktor Kaluzhnyi, energy minister at that time, the license issued by the local geology commission to Russia Petroleum gave it the right to exploit the resources in a territory of 2,000 square kilometers, but afterwards was ostensibly expanded to 9,000 square kilometers. The competent authorities of the Ministry of Natural Resources were therefore expected to check whether this enlargement was legal.[25] In this respect, the Ministry of Energy did not rule out the possibility of withdrawing the license. In addition, the company was accused of inefficient management, leading to significant delays in development of the Irkutsk region’s production.

The main struggle between Russian energy companies centered on the takeover of the Kovykta deposit, as well as some other important surrounding gas fields. In 1998, Russia Petroleum addressed the Ministry of Natural Resources to obtain additional licenses for carrying out geological assessment studies on the Khanginskoye and Ust-Kutskoye gas condensate fields, located close to Kovykta. Thus, Russia Petroleum aimed for an extension of its initially granted concession area by 3,040 square kilometers to the east. The acquisition of supplement licenses would enable the company to respect both its commitments towards domestic consumers (as for gasification of the region), and its contractual obligations with its Asian partners regarding Siberian gas exports. However, the local administration preferred to grant these two promising gas fields one of its competitors, the Tyumen National Company. This decision is symptomatic of interference of the Ministry of Energy and other bodies close to the Russian government in a project of such a magnitude, with the main objective to allow a Russian state company to supplant Western firms, or those using Western capital.

In his interview to Nezavisimaia Gazeta on June 20, 2000, Howard Meyson, CEO of BP Amoco’s Russian division said, “We understand that business and power in your country are closely linked. And we consider that if a major Russian energy company was present in Russia Petroleum’s capital, this would be, of course, very helpful in resolving the issues related to Russian side.”[26]

In the early 2000s, the Irkutsk project began to take concrete shape. On November 2, 2000, Russia, China and South Korea signed an agreement on natural gas exports from the Kovykta field to China and South Korea for an annual amount of 20 bcm and 10 bcm respectively. This agreement did not exclude gas exports to the other countries in the region.

In 2003, TNK and BP created the new company TNK-BP, which acquired 62% control of Russia Petroleum’s capital. In 2004, the company began to prepare the Kovykta gas deposit for commercial exploitation and further exports beyond Russian confines. However, the problems were not over. In September 2004, the Ministry of Natural Resources announced its firm intention to withdraw Russia Petroleum’s exploitation license over Kovykta. The company was namely accused for considerable delays in the gas fields’ development. Rumors circulated, attributing the numerous troubles of TNK-BP to Gazprom’s plans to take over entire control of the project.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Gazprom was granted a coordinator status of the Program for Eastern Siberia and Far East energy fields’ development, and had an alternative vision on how to use Kovykta gas.[27] It namely proposed to use it primarily for the domestic needs of the Irkutsk region, and in case of surplus, to export excess quantities to European markets. For this purpose, Gazprom proposed to connect the existing gas pipeline network to the Unified Gas Supply System (UGSS). Gazprom proposed to build natural gas processing plants with the aim of separating various valuable products from natural gas produced in this region, such as helium, and then exporting all of these products instead of unprocessed natural gas. Such a bold and extensive change in strategy increased the project cost from 12 billion USD (2005 estimates) to 17-25 billion USD. In addition, Gazprom senior executives were convinced that the existing Russia Petroleum Consortium could not realize a project of such magnitude.

The gasification of the Irkutsk region was finally set up, thus illustrating a strong willingness of Russia to use Kovykta natural gas essentially for domestic consumption. Consequently, the Irkutsk export project of gas residual capacities to Asia Pacific was suspended in 2004.[28]


The collapse of the Irkutsk project with its insufficient resource base, as well as the Russian governments’ financial and legislative difficulties put an end to Russia’s plans to enter Asian markets in the beginning of the 2000s. Competition between Russian energy companies for access to Kovykta gas field and a right to export towards northeast Asian countries constituted a bright example of an incoherent policy, where the short-term considerations outweighed a long-term vision on how to enter and strengthen Russian positions in new, quickly growing energy markets.

During the 2000s, Gazprom failed to bring any significant shift in its Asian gas policy, although such potential existed. In March 2011, Gazprom finally won the rights to the Kovykta gas field; the acquisition of the exploitation license over the deposit gave it the right to geological assessment studies and subsequent commercial gas production. It is expected that natural gas from Kovykta deposit would supply, from 2022, Russian Far East regions and China. The combination of two gas production centers, with gas pumping from Kovykta and Chayanda fields, should constitute a serious resource base for future exports to China, providing a chance to broaden Russia’s presence in Asian gas markets, provided that Gazprom will take into account the lessons from the past.

Olga Gerasimchuk is pursuing her PhD degree in Economics and Society at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) at Paris. Her thesis revolves around global LNG expansion and Russia’s adaptation to a new natural gas market. Olga has previously earned her MA degree in Contemporary History from the University of Sorbonne (Paris IV), and a BA degree in International Relations at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow. Since January 2016 she has been the co-editor at French geopolitical review « Les Yeux du Monde », contributing with weekly editorial analysis on energy related issues with a particular focus on LNG and shale gas projects. Address for correspondence:


[1] Telegina, E., 1999. Геополитические интересы России в свете энергетической безопасности (Russia’s Geopolitical Interests in Light of Energy Security), Нефть России (Neft Rossii) [online] November. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 January 2016].

[2] Mastepanov, A., 2013. Энергопартнерство в Северо-Восточной Азии (Energy partnership in Northeast Asia), Независимая Газета (Independent Newspaper) [online] 12 February [Accessed 5 August 2016].

[3] Ibid

[4] billion cubic meters. All units converted to billion cubic meters with BP conversion factors

[5] Mastepanov, A., 2014. О диверсификации экспортных поставок российского газа и восточной энергетической политике России (On the diversification of Russian gas export markets and Russia’s eastern energy policy), Russian Institute of Energy Strategy [pdf] Available at: [Accessed 05 August 2016]. p.35

[6] Paik, K.W., 2012. Sino-Russian Oil and Gas Cooperation: The Reality and Implications, OIES Paper: WPM 59, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, [pdf] April. Available at: [Accessed 10 August 2016].

[7] Akaha, T., 2002. Politics and Economics in the Russian Far East: Changing Ties with Asia-Pacific, London: Routledge, p. 116

[8] Northern Territories is the Japanese term used to refer to the South Kuril Islands (Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai), specifically the territories disputed with the Russian Federation, dating back to the end of WWII, after the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, when Russian forces annexed the islands. They were incorporated into the USSR and today remain part of Russia. The islands are still a matter of disagreement between Moscow and Tokyo

[9] Kimura, H., 1996. The Russian Decision-Making Process Toward Japan. Japan Review, 7, 61-81.

[10] Eggert, K., 1992. Москва делает ставку на сближение с Сеулом и Пекином (Moscow bets on closer ties with Seoul and Beijing, Известия (Izvestia), 15 September [Accessed 05 December 2015].

[11] Paik, K.W., 2012. Sino-Russian Oil and Gas Cooperation: The Reality and Implications, OIES Paper: WPM 59, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, [pdf] April. Available at: [Accessed 10 August 2016].

[12] Коммерсант (Kommersant), 1997. Особая привилегия Виктора Черномырдина (Viktor Chernomyrdin’s special privilege) Газета Коммерсант (Kommersant), [online] 01 July. Available at: [Accessed: 01 February 2016].

[13] Финансовые известия (Financial News), 1995. Сеул станет участником проекта освоения газового месторождения в сибири (Seoul will participate in the development of a gas field project), 65 (194), 14 September, p. 8 [Accessed: 05 December 2015].

[14] Ahn, S.H., 2010. Framing Energy Security Between Russia and South Korea? Progress, Problems and Prospects. Asian Survey, 50 (3), 592.

[15] Chernobilets, A., & Kuznetsova, D., 2005. Ковыкта под газом (Kovykta under gas). Эксперт (Expert), [online] 18 April. Available at: [Accessed 03 February 2016].

[16] Скважина (Skvazhina), 2000. Независимое нефтяное обозрение: Ковыктинское газоконденсатное месторождение (An independent oil review: Kovykta gas condensate field). Скважина (Skvazhina) [online] Available at: [Accessed 05 July 2016].

[17] referred to as both Kovykta and Kovyktinskoye in Russian

[18] Российский нефтяной бюллетень (Russian Oil Bulletin), 1997. Проблемы Ковыкты: 3 большие 2 средние и одна маленькая (Kovykta’s problems: 3 big, 2 medium, and 1 small), 83, [Accessed 05 December 2015].

[19] Skosirev, V. 1992. Оттепель по-китайски :идеологические разнагласия перестали играть ключевую роль в отношениях между Пекином и Москвой (Thawing relations with China: Ideological differences becoming less significant in Beijing-Moscow relations, Известия (Izvestia), 272, 17 December, p. 4 [Accessed 05 December 2015].

[20] Zhiznin, S., 1999. Формирование энергетической дипломатии России (Creating Energy Diplomacy in Russia), Дипломатический Вестник (The Diplomatic Newspaper) [online] Available at:!OpenDocument [Accessed 29 March 2016].

[21] Ahn, S.H., 2010. Framing Energy Security Between Russia and South Korea? Progress, Problems and Prospects. Asian Survey, 50 (3), 592.

[22] Perez, I., 2000. Чужие здесь не ходят: “Газпром”, “Сургутнефтегаз” и ТНК схватились друг с другом в Забайкалье (Strangers do not go here: Gazprom, Surgutnefegaz and TNK grappled with each other in the Trans-Baikal region), Скважина (Skvazhina) [online] 27 March. Available at: [Accessed 05 July 2016].

[23] Peach, G., 1997. No Gas: Gazprom is Great, The Moscow Times [online] 17 June. [Accessed 27 January 2016].

[24] Paik, K.W., 2012. Sino-Russian Oil and Gas Cooperation: The Reality and Implications, OIES Paper: WPM 59, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, [pdf] April. Available at: [Accessed 10 August 2016].

[25] Drozdov, E., 2000. Экспансия “БиПи” на Ковыкте (BP’s expanding in Kovykta), Независимая Газета (Independent Newspaper) [online] 05 April. Available at: [Accessed 05 July 2016].

[26] Pravosudov, S., 2000. Ховард Мейсон: “Мы понимаем, что в вашей стране бизнес и власть тесно связаны (Interview with Howard Meyson: “We understand that in your country, business and government are closely linked”), Независимая Газета (Independent Newspaper) [online] 20 June. Available at: [Accessed 05 December 2015].

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[28] Yun, J.W., 2015. International Cooperation for the Construction of South Korea – North Korea – Russia Pipeline Natural Gas (PNG): Effectiveness and Restrictions. The Journal of East Asian Affairs, 29(1), 72.

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