Russia's Gas Strategy

The course gives an idea about how gas markets work and explains Russia's gas strategies within economic and geopolitic contexts.

3 hours per week
Certificate Stepik

About this course

As of today, there is no global gas market; the role (or even power) of a gas exporter on an international scale is determined by its ability to supply different regional markets. Up until recently, Russia has been solely directing its gas exports toward Europe. The role of the key European gas supplier has meant both opportunities and difficulties for Russia: on the one hand, demand was secured via long-term contracts; on the other, geopolitical complications and concerns over the European security of supply induce the EU to find new ways to decrease its dependence on Russian supplies. The global economic crisis and the “shale revolution” have changed the landscape of the world gas markets, particularly in Europe, which is the core for Russia’s exports. Moreover, 2014 brought tensions between Russia and the West which has resulted into sanctions regime, some measures of which target the energy sector. The oil price was at its historical lows in 2015, while the Russian economy entered into a recession. All these conditions clearly demonstrate that the conditions for Russian gas exports are significantly different now than a decade ago. Is pivot to Asia a solution? To what extent can the companies adjust their strategies to the new context?

The course will look into the supply and demand balances (including historical perspectives) of the core target markets, the existing set-up in terms of the degree of market integration, market structure, regulation and governance features, competition and price setting mechanisms. Target markets for the purpose of this course will include Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Russian domestic market. The level of demand is determined by Russia’s regulation on gas exports and the specifics of the relations between Gazprom and domestic independent gas producers. Therefore, the set-up of the domestic gas sector in Russia will also be studied within the course.

The aim of the course is to provide students with the understanding of dynamic development of the gas markets; to place Russian exports within the wider context of the regional gas markets development trends; and ultimately to explain the issue of Russian gas strategies from an economic and geopolitical perspective.

Meet the Instructors

User picture
Irina Mironova
Lecturer at ENERPO Program at the European University at Saint Petersburg and PhD candidate (Energy Security and Economics) at the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow, Russia)
My research focuses on pricing mechanisms and contract structures in international gas markets. More broadly, fields of scientific interest include energy security and energy geopolitics; sustainable development and the role of energy; energy mix and energy transition; the role of gas in energy transition; companies in the energy sector and their interests, priorities and drivers in business strategies. I hold MA degree in International Relations from the University of Groningen (Groningen, the Netherlands) and BA degree in Oriental Studies from the Ural State University (Ekaterinburg, Russia). I have worked as the Deputy Editor-in Chief of ‘Security Index’, a peer-reviewed journal on international security published by the Russian Center for Policy Studies (Moscow, Russia; 2010-2012); done a research fellowship at the Energy Charter Secretariat (Brussels, Belgium; 2013); and several research internships, including an internship at Clingendael International Energy Programme (The Hague, the Netherlands; 2009-2010).

Course content

Introduction to Stepik
Gas Basics
Russia’s energy resource base
European Gas Market History
Asian gas market history
New developments and resulting challenges for Russia
Russian strategy


Certificate Stepik

Learners' reviews

Despite the fact that course itself is very interesting and educational apparently it is easier to be accepted to Harvard or Oxford than to receive certificate for this course. No wonder that statics of certificates issued is so low: 19 out of 1542 people enrolled. There are 3 reasons for that 1) you cannot get certificate without writing at least 1 essay 2) teacher takes forever to read essays 3) teacher has unreasonably high requirements to essays evaluation. Having received 99 point out of 100 required to get certificate and having waited 7 months in total for 2 reviews of my essays (2 months for the 1-st essay from March till May, and 5 months for the second from May and till 10 hours ago), I still have no certificated. A little of details here: At the time of 1 essay I used mobile version of Stepic app and was not even aware that there existed certain criteria to such essays, as mobile version does not show them. So, it caught me by surprise when the teacher was not happy neither with my personal opinion, no with the structure of my essay as the task only said “Provide with your own argumentation” which I did. Please find her review. "No factual background of argumentation was provided. The essay is extremely brief and fails to answer the question adequately". However, she gave me out of pity apparently 1 point. I would like to remind you that at that time I had 98 points out of 100 required to get certificate. So as the result 99 point out of 100 required. After scoring so poor for the first essay, I used PC version and carefully studied the requirements. The task was: "We thought it is time to give you guys an opportunity to share your ides. So here's a questions without a set of answers to choose from. Please write your 5-7 sentence mini-essay" It said nothing that the essay must be 100% authentic and cannot be based on other external sources but set requirements to the structure only. Please find them below 1. Content: explaining the factual background is important. 2. Structure and logic: please frame your answer in such a way that it has one sentence intro, then explanation, and a one sentence round-up. As apparently teacher was not happy with my personal opinion in the first essay, I decided to read up what experts in the field think. So I have analyzed number of different sources, and really liked one so neatly found after 9 month by the teacher. The ideas of "clingendaelenergy" I really liked so decided to base my essay on their research. I scored 0 point and got such a review: "The submission was plagiarised from the following source: http://www.clingendaelenergy.com/inc/upload/files/Geopolitics_and_natural_gas_KL_final_report.pdf" To summarize: I would like to ask the course author to be more precise with the requirements, more efficient with reviews and more objective, we are not in Oxford but rather on online platform created for people interested in self-education. It is better not to offer certificates at all than to make it impossible to get one.
Thank you. I would not like to hear: "But no, aunt, such a university!"

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