No, this is not a “war for oil,” to cite the old cliche. But behind all the maneuvering, speculation and strategizing in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the West, oil and gas reserves and the pipelines that turn them into cash lie in the background, just a step behind the principal action.
Russia’s vast hydrocarbon stocks figure into the calculations of the major players, who worry Moscow may deploy them once again as a weapon.
Oil has played a decisive role in the arsenal of geopolitical disputes. And Russia has proved willing to use its massive exports of natural gas as political ammunition several times in recent years.