The global energy landscape behind the Russia-Ukraine war


As the recent Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to heat up, the world energy market is experiencing huge tensions. The author points out the stark reality of the global energy landscape behind the war and the urgency for developing countries to build a united community in order to address the issues of global energy equity and justice and the race for influence in the sector.

The Gazprom PJSC Slavyanskaya compressor station, the starting point of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, in Ust-Luga, Russia.Photographer: Andrey Rudakov

Key Points

  • Within the previous global framework, capital flowed from rich to poor countries while resources moved in the opposite direction. However, the flow of energy is reversing due to the growth of emerging economies. BP, amajor Western oil industry company, estimates that developing countries are expected to account for over 90% of global energy demand by 2030.
  • The disruption in the global energy market has created more challenges for developing countries. Both surging energy costs and consequent labor cost increases have negatively impacted their market price advantages.
  • The developed countries, led by the United States, are leveraging their superiority in global affairs to set new rules for their energy security. Meanwhile, although developing countries have become richer, they have yet to find a voice in the international arena.
  • Developed countries have transferred sunset and energy-intensive industries to developing countries, which have improved their living conditions, but have also put developing countries under increased environmental and energy pressure.
  • Energy security is based on the political and military power that a state can exercise. International negotiations and consultations feature political elites whose views are not likely to be reconciled with the situation of the poorest and the most vulnerable.
  • People might verbally support environmental protection, but such moral persuasion would weaken when it comes to their survival and developmental interests. The right to subsistence is prominent in this dilemma.


The author believes that while globalization is intended to “integrate resources and markets,” it has instead created resource nationalism and developing countries lack the right to speak in international trade. Globalization is about coercing developing countries to join in and play by the rules of the game of developed countries. Local justice must prevail before global justice is possible, and a united community should be built to give voice to the developing countries.

Source: Chinese Voices, No.37, 20.03.2022.
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Author: Bi Jingyue (毕竞悦) is an economist and researcher at China Energy Investment Corporation (China Energy)

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