- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

2018 Energy Security Workshop

The Emerging Russia-Asia Energy Axis

On July 17, NBR and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars co-hosted the fourteenth annual Energy Security Workshop, "The Emerging Russia-Asia Energy Axis."

Russia possesses enormous oil, gas, and coal reserves and also neighbors some of the world’s largest energy importers. Japan, China, and South Korea, among other Asian energy importers, have long sought greater access to these immense resources. Russia could significantly reduce these countries’ heavy dependence on imports from the Middle East and sea lanes that pass through the contested waters of East Asia.

While the results of prior efforts to strengthen Russia-Asia energy ties have been modest, this dynamic has begun to shift in ways that are creating opportunities for deepening ties and expanding trade. Shifts in Russia’s energy industry are opening new avenues for investment in energy projects, and Russia’s role in Northeast Asia and elsewhere in the region has been quietly growing. The country’s rising energy presence in Asia is now contributing to closer Sino-Russian strategic alignment and is increasingly undermining the effectiveness of Western sanctions. This trend has important implications for energy security and the broader strategic outlook for the United States and Asia that are not yet well understood by senior U.S. policymakers.

With these concerns in mind, the 2018 Energy Security Workshop examined:

  • Russia’s evolving energy industry, with a focus on the key players and industry strategies dominating the country’s “pivot” to Asia.
  • Perspectives from the region’s major energy importers, including China, Japan, and South Korea, on the economic and geopolitical implications of growing Russia-Asia ties.
  • The implications of Russia’s growing role in Asian energy markets for U.S. strategic interests in the region.

Kindly note that the Energy Security Workshop is held under Chatham House Rule.


Edward C. Chow
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Erica Downs
CNA Corporation

Jonathan Elkind
Columbia University, Center on Global Energy Policy

Clara Gillispie
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Samantha Gross
The Brookings Institution

James Henderson
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Mikkal E. Herberg
The National Bureau of Asian Research

Shoichi Itoh
Institute for Energy Economics, Japan

Younkyoo Kim
Hanyang University

Michael Kugelman
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Meghan O’Sullivan
Harvard Kennedy School

Morena Skalamera
Harvard Kennedy School; Institute of Applied Research at Narxoz University

Additional speakers to be announced

Event Co-Hosts

Background: Energy Security Program

Now in its fourteenth year, NBR's Energy Security Program convenes top energy and geopolitical experts from industry, research, and policy for an assessment of the developments taking place in Asian energy markets and their implications for geopolitics. To inform and strengthen the public policy dialogue, experts share insights and recommendations through a number of channels, including an invitation-only workshop, the annual Energy Security Report, and a public launch event in the fall.

Learn more about NBR's Energy Security Program.

"Asia’s Energy Security and China’s Belt and Road Initiative" shows the enormous range of China’s activities under the Belt and Road Initiative and analyzes the implications for the Eurasian continental and maritime energy environment.