The Natural Gas Trade Between the Russian Federation and the European Union: Power Dynamics, Legal Challenges, and a Country Caught in the Middle

Justin Clune | January 1, 2014

The European energy sector is a fragile framework that requires foreign imports to support domestic production. Natural gas and petroleum imports from Russia are crucial to the vitality of the European Union’s economy. This Note addresses both the attempts made to secure the future of these imports as well as the mitigating factors that have occurred recently that have threatened the flow of trade. Assessing the legal challenges brought against Russian energy companies, expansion of the Russian natural gas trade to China, and the upheaval in Ukraine, this Note looks at the strategic interests in play and how the European Union and Russia have come to such a dramatic standoff. With the end result of many of these issues still uncertain as of this writing, this Note assesses possible tactics that Russia and the EU may employ moving forward and the consequences such tactics may have on the energy trade.