The article examines the institutional dimensions of Russia's gas policy toward Northeast Asia (NEA 1 During the liberal economic reforms of the 1990s, development of natural gas deposits in the Russian Far East was made possible under the scheme of production sharing agreements (PSA). However, new PSAs were banned in Russia even before the advent of state capitalism in the early 2000s. This was, to a large extent, the result of strong anti-PSA lobbying led by the domestic energy business elite. Consequently, Russia's gas policy in the east began evolving from being project-specific toward being region-specific. Contemporary Russian gas policy toward NEA relies upon domestic (national and regional) and external institutions. In 2009, following the completion of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Sakhalin, Russia entered NEA gas markets. Transformations in the international gas markets facilitated the establishment of a two-pattern gas export policy in Russia in 2013. Under this policy, Russia's EU-oriented pipeline gas export remains monopolised by Gazprom, while Asia-oriented LNG export is partially liberalised. Russia has not been experiencing institutional discrepancy in NEA gas markets. However, as the markets evolve toward greater coordination, a rational option for Russia is to genuinely liberalise its gas policy.
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