U.S. — Russia working group releases joint study on oil and gas
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Coauthored report assesses realities of energy markets, recommends fundamental change in attitudes to improve bilateral ties

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and MOSCOW, Russia, January 11, 2013—The Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations, a bilateral collective of rising experts from American and Russian institutions, announces the publication of its second joint report: “U.S.-Russia Relations and the Hydrocarbon Markets of Eurasia.” Coauthored by Rawi Abdelal (Harvard Business School) and Tatiana Mitrova (Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO Energy Center), the study sheds light on the realities of the international oil and gas markets and their role in shaping the bilateral relationship.
The authors argue that although virtually no sustained engagement exists between the United States and Russia on oil and gas, «energy issues…serve as an arena for conflict, even though neither country is directly threatened by the actions of the other.» The study examines key aspects of the energy markets—such as the forces driving foreign-direct-investment decisions of firms, the U.S. position on Gazprom’s relationships with its European and Eurasian energy customers, and Europe’s role as Russia’s primary gas export market—and recommends specific measures to promote «a more rational acceptance of international oil and gas realities.» The complete text of the report in both English and Rusian is accessible on the Working Group’s website: http://us-russiafuture.org.
“This latest report by Rawi Abdelal and Tatiana Mitrova provides a needed reality check about the nature of energy markets,” said Timothy Colton, the U.S. co-chair of the Working Group and Chair of the Department of Government at Harvard University. “It points out the simple yet frequently overlooked idea that antagonism between the U.S. and Russia need not be inevitable in the energy sphere. The authors’ insights from the business world can guide policy makers from both countries in fostering a climate more conducive to joint investments.”

The Working Group was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of overcoming the lingering mistrust that dominates policy debate about the bilateral relationship in both countries. The group’s 20 members meet twice a year, alternating between the United States and Russia. Each meeting is devoted to analysis of a single subject, with the results integrated into a paper coauthored by one American and one Russian. This truly bilateral approach allows the Working Group to generate path-breaking policy proposals that reflect the interests of both countries.
The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University is the U.S. anchor for the Working Group, and has been supported by the Carnegie Corporation, the Open Society Institute and Mr. John Cogan in this effort.
On the Russian side, the partner institutions are the National Research University—Higher School of Economics and the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
The Working Group’s next meeting will take place January 11–12 in Washington, DC.
The Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations convenes rising experts from leading American and Russian institutions to tackle the thorniest issues in the bilateral relationship. By engaging the latest generation of scholars in face-to-face discussion and debate, we aim to generate innovative analysis and policy recommendations that better reflect the common ground between the United States and Russia that is so often obscured by mistrust. We believe our unique, truly bilateral approach offers the best potential for breakthroughs in mutual understanding and reconciliation between our countries.
The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, established at Harvard University in 1948, supports graduate students, maintains research infrastructure for scholars of all disciplines who focus on Eurasia, hosts visitors from other domestic and foreign institutions, holds seminars and conferences, and organizes sponsored research projects. It is also a vehicle for the study and discussion of public policy topics.
The National Research University—Higher School of Economics (NRU–HSE) was established in 1992 on the initiative of renowned Russian economists and leading reformists from the Russian government in order to promote economic and social reforms. Today, NRU–HSE is one of the leading Russian universities, enjoying the respect of the academic, business and policy-making communities.
The Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (CFDP) is a Russian NGO established in 1992. It is a respected non-government analytical center including about 200 prominent and influential politicians, heads of business associations, business leaders, public and political activists, as well as representatives of defense and security ministries, defense companies, research centers and mass media. CFDP’s mission is to promote Russia’s development strategy and its foreign and defense policy, as well as to strengthen the state and civil society in Russia. CFDP works with a broad range of national and foreign analysts, leading research centers, state agencies, and political parties and organizations.

Contact: [email protected]