BRICS Economies and Energy: Competition and Cooperation

11 july 2017

In the coming decades, BRICS countries with a total population over 3 billion people will be determining the world's development agenda. Nevertheless, in order to reach the current level of social and economic development of Western countries they have a difficult and long way to go, solving one of their most important problems — high levels of social inequality," said Alexander Golyashev, expert of the Analytical Center, speaking at the All-Russian Academic Programme “BRICS School.”

At the moment, BRICS countries are going through a difficult period of development: the Indian and Chinese economies are slowing down, while Russia and Brazil faced severe socio-economic crises in 2015-16, Mr. Golyashev said. The world trade growth has slowed noticeably, with BRICS internal economic ties — foreign trade in particular — depending largely on China: more than 80 % of BRICS total commodity turnover are represented by the Chinese exports or imports.

"BRICS energy complexes, especially those of India and China, are actively growing. Although, there are significant differences between the countries in terms of the structure of energy production and consumption. China and India are major energy importers (oil and coal in particular), and Russia is the leading exporter of all hydrocarbon resources. Energy consumption in Russia is dominated by gas, in Brazil — by oil products, while coal consumption dominates the energy mix in India, China and South Africa," said Mr. Golyashev.

According to the expert, the key direction of BRICS energy cooperation is China's oil imports from Russia ($ 15 billion per year) and Brazil ($ 4 billion per year). Russian and Brazilian oil supplies to India, and Russian oil products and coal supplies to China are no less important. It is expected that Russian natural gas will be exported to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline by the end of 2019. Besides, as the country's production and export capacities develop, Russian LNG supplies to Asian countries (including China and India) will increase, Golyashev noted.