On Tuesday 14 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an updated version of the country’s energy security doctrine.
The document, which has been updated for the first time since the shale shock on the oil market and the sharp deterioration of Russia’s relations with the West, states that one of the primary risks to the Russian energy sector is its technological underdevelopment and dependence on foreign equipment.
“The disparity between the technological level of Russian energy companies and the modern global requirements, as well as their extreme dependence on the importation of several types of equipment, technologies, materials, and software are exacerbated by the monopoly status of their suppliers,” notes the document, which is meant to become the basis of Russia’s energy strategy until 2035.
The doctrine states that the “inadequate innovation activity” of energy companies and their “orientation towards importing technologies instead of developing their scientific and technological potential” are among the primary risks to Russia’s energy security, alongside acts of terrorism against energy infrastructure.
The situation is also aggravated by the severe depreciation of the primary production funds and the economic sanctions imposed by various foreign states which limit Russian companies’ access to important modern technologies and equipment.
To add insult to injury, the quality of the natural resource base is deteriorating: the present deposits are being depleted, and the newly opened ones are increasingly small and poor in resource quality.
An additional problem is posed by foreign economic challenges, such as the slowdown of the global demand for energy resources, the gradual move away from oil products and the simultaneous growth in the global hydrocarbon resource base, the emergence of new exporters, and the increased production of liquefied natural gas and renewable energy.
In response to these challenges, the strategy document stresses the need to “develop the domestic scientific and technical potential” and “master advanced technologies in the energy sphere”.
Furthermore, Russia’s “critical lag in the development of digital and intellectual technologies” in the energy sphere must be corrected, and support must be given to the development of the electrical, instrumentation, and power plant engineering industries.
The doctrine states that the Russian government is responsible for addressing these challenges. The secretary of the Security Council will have to report on the results annually to the president.