Russia expanding it’s strategic oil & gas capacity
Russia’s energy major, ‘Novatek’, has agreed to a long-term supply of LNG from the Arctic to China. Russia has further said that it will increase supplies of LNG to China over the next few years. Novatek is planning to build three LNG liquefaction trains, with each having 6.6 million tons capacity per annum. It will increase Novatek’s total LNG capacity by 19.8 million tons in the Arctic.
At the same time, Moscow has asked Lukoil, another Russian energy giant, to ramp up production from the West Qurna-2 oil field. This step comes as US’s ExxonMobil considers exiting West Qurna-1. Already, Russia has vastly expanded its presence in the Iraqi oil and gas sector.
These steps come as Igor Sechin, the chief of Russian oil major Rosneft, has warned that the world could face an oil shortage if investments continue to drop amid preference for alternative energy. It appears that Russia is expanding its strategic oil and gas capacity in the wake of this warning as demand for oil continues to rise despite the emergence of green energy options.
Biden government plans $715 billion defense budget to deter China
US Department of Defense, under the Biden administration, is planning for a $715 billion defense budget. Officials from US Defense headquarters, the Pentagon, believe it will deter Chinese aggression.
At the same time, the US Senate has passed the ‘U.S. Innovation and Competition Act,’ a $250 billion bill to counter China’s technological ambitions. The bill has a specific provision of $52 billion to fund semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing activities. In addition, the bill is aimed to finance scientific research, robotics, and an overhaul of the National Science Foundation that supports fundamental scientific research.
These steps come as earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called China the only single nation which has the ability to disturb the rules-based world order of the United States and its allies.
A global data intelligence company, ‘Morning Consult’, recently conducted a survey in the United States on the ‘Lab leak theory’. It emerged that around 50% of the people in the US believe that Covid leaked from Wuhan lab. With it, the Biden administration is in a fix over China strategy.