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Russian energy focus pivots to China

Sept. 19, 2013 at 8:00 AM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The Russian focus on Asian economies suggests energy trade between Moscow and Beijing will quadruple by 2025, Wood Mackenzie said Thursday.

Wood Mackenzie, a global energy research company, published a report Thursday on Russia's "pivot" to energy-hungry China.

"As legacy West Siberian oil production declines, Russia is undergoing a period of renewed interest in exploring and developing the energy resources of its Far East and East Siberia regions," Ian Thom, director of the company's Russian research division, said in a statement Thursday. "These key provinces are sparsely populated, highly resource rich and adjacent to a large and resource-hungry Chinese population, and their development is a major priority for the Russian government."

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expected Chinese oil demand to increase because of steady economic growth. Wood Mackenzie said in an August report Beijing should spend about $500 billion on crude oil by 2020.

Its report Thursday said China should quadruple its uptake from Russian suppliers to more than 100 million tons of oil equivalent by 2025.

For natural gas, the report added Russia is getting sidelined from its traditional European base because of lower demand and alternative suppliers.

"Exploiting the mineral and hydrocarbon wealth of the Far East and East Siberia allows Russia to diversify markets, maintain energy production levels, develop industry and increase local incomes," Thom said.

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