Pursuing Its National Interest in the New Multipolar World: India to Boost Sakhalin-1 Oil Output

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

This week brought yet another key development in India’s pursuit of its national interest in the emerging multipolar world. Russia is nationalizing the interests of U.S. and Japanese shareholders in its Sakhalin-1 oil project, but making an exception to allow India’s OVL to maintain its stake and continue with further work. In addition, there’s speculation that other Indian companies may be invited in to replace the departing U.S. and Japanese concerns.

As The Economic Times – India’s pink paper – reported yesterday in India explores to expand footprints in oil fields in far East Russia:

[Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)] is deploying additional manpower to play a bigger role in operating the Sakhalin-1 oil field following ExxonMobil’s withdrawal, according to news reports.

The company has a 20% stake in this energy project, located in Russia’s Far East.

According to reports, ONGC’s overseas investment arm OVL has offered to send more personnel with suitable expertise to partially fill the void, after US energy giant ExxonMobil announced in March its intention to exit oil and gas operations in Russia due to Western sanctions.

ONGC also expressed hopes that its stake in the Russian project will not be affected in case of the possible re-organization of Sakhalin-1 by Moscow, just as had happened with the neighboring Sakhalin-2 project.

Thus, as the heat and hot water get switched off out across Europe and gas prices climb upward just in time for November’s mid-terms, Indian companies are poised to benefit further from the cackhanded sanctions policy of the U.S.-led alliance. The West is facing the prospect of shuttering businesses while meanwhile Indian companies are jumping in – supported by the Modi government –  to take advantage of new opportunities now opening up.

Yves has written extensively about the U.S. alliance’ own goal sanctions policies so I’ll not cover any of that same ground here, but instead refer you to her posts (see, e.g., The Coming Sanctions-Induced Economic Tsunami?)

Instead, in this post, I’ll hew closely to M.K. Bhadrakumar’s first-rate analysis in his Indian Punchline blog of the latest  Sakhalin-1 developments. There’s no one better writing about Indian foreign policy at the moment – especially as Dr. S. Jaishankar is now India’s  external affairs and restricted in what he can say.

Yet as I wrote in India: Pursuing its National Interest in the Multipolar World in April,  Jaishankar broadly outlined in a 2020 book, The India Way, the foreign policy strategy of multi-alignment to pursue in a multipolar world that India is now pursuing. Details of the latest policy shift and modify in response to changing world conditions. But the broader shape of India’s foreign policy was in place well before Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine..

I’ve found Bhadrakumar’s blog posts to be must-reads. His deep diplomatic experience is apparent in each of his posts. From his About Me section:

Roughly half of the 3 decades of my diplomatic career was devoted to assignments on the territories of the former Soviet Union and to Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Other overseas postings included South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, and Turkey. I write mainly on Indian foreign policy and the affairs of the Middle East, Eurasia, Central Asia, South Asia and the Asia-Pacific.

Let me turn now to Bhadrakumar’s Sunday post, India to boost Sakhalin-1 oil output.

After Sakhalin-2, Moscow also plans to nationalise Sakhalin-1 oil and gas development project by ousting US and Japanese shareholders. But Moscow will make an exception for India so that OVL which holds 20% stake will remain & continue to work. Moscow grapevine is that while Rosneft will continue to hold controlling share, more Indian companies may be inducted to replace US & Japan and thereby also ensure a sales market in India.

The Sakhalin-1 is located off the coast of Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. It comprises three offshore fields — namely, Chayvo, Odoptu, and Arkutun-Dagi. Until recently, the Sakhalin-1 project was operated by a Russian subsidiary of the American major ExxonMobil known as Exxon Neftegaz, which owns 30% of the shares. In addition, 20% is owned by the Russian state, 30% by the Japanese company Sodeco, and 20% by the Indian ONGC Videsh. Whereas Sakhalin-2 specialises in the export of liquefied natural gas, Sakhalin-1 is in the export of Sokol oil.

The capacity of Sakhalin -1 is vast – even though at present, production is only at fraction of what’s possible, due to the abrupt departure of the Americans. But they’ll soon be replaced and Indian company ONGC Videsh is central to that further vision. According to Bhadrakumar:

The capacity of Sakhalin-1 is quite impressive. There was a time before OPEC+ set limits on production level, when Russia extracted as much as 400,000 barrels per day, but the recent production level has been about 220,000 barrels per day. The abrupt departure of the Americans following the US sanctions against Russia has caused theproduction to plummet to just 10,000 barrels. Russians hope that with the replacement by more Indian companies, the production level can be restored to the previous level. Indeed, the hope is that Indian ONGC Videsh will pull up the production level of Sakhalin-1 project relatively quickly by bringing in own technologies.

The overall trend of nationalising the holdings of American, British, Japanese and European capital in Russia’s strategic sectors of economy is crystallising as the new policy — the Russian version of India’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat (“Self-reliant India” campaign.) The cleansing of Russian economy, freed of Western capital, is expected to accelerate in the period ahead. India has seamless opportunities here to make investments and reap windfall profits. In strategic terms, India’s energy security will also be guaranteed for decades to come. [Jerri-Lynn here: my emphasis]

The Sakhalin-1 operation is only one example, from the oil and gas sector, in which Indian firms are reaping the benefits of ignoring the West’s economic sanctions. Per this June FT account, Ambani’s Reliance among Indian refiners targeting diesel exports using cheap Russian crude:

Indian refiners including Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries are using cheap Russian crude to try to boost diesel exports, including to destinations such as the EU with sanctions on Russian oil.

Russia in May replaced Saudi Arabia as India’s second-largest supplier of oil behind Iraq. Russian crude exports to India are expected to increase to over 1mn barrels a day in June, according to commodities data and analytics firm Kpler.

The shift means that Indian refiners could effectively replace some of the diesel Europe once bought direct from Russia or from refining Russian crude.

They are earning outsized profits both from the discount on Russian oil, which is more than $25 a barrel for the main Urals grade, and from sky-high margins on diesel in Europe created by the sanctions on Russian supplies. [Jerri-Lynn here: my emphasis.]

The Ambani’s are India’s richest family and didn’t get to their place at the top of India’s economic heap by being timid in their business dealings. Mukesh Ambani is the world’s ninth richest man and India’s richest;  he and his family live in their own ostentatious skyscraper in Mumbai (Bombay).  (See this article in Business Insider,  An Indian businessman just became the first Asian member of the world’s 10 richest people. Meet the Ambanis, who live in a $1 billion skyscraper and mingle with royals and Bollywood stars)

I’ve ridden past their 40-story home, Antalia,  in the back of a taxi. It cost between one and two billion dollars to build and contains six floors of parking for 168 cars and three helipads – no Ambani nor any guest has to queue up for a slot – and huge outdoor hanging gardens (See this Firstpost article,   Helipads to ballrooms: All that you wanted to know about Mukesh Ambani’s Antilia, for further details about this conspicuous consumption, Indian-style..

Mukesh Ambani is also a prime BJP supporter, so you can be sure that what Reliance is doing with respect to Russian oil aligns with Modi government policy.

The key question: how long can Reliance and other Indian companies continue to profit from their Russian business dealings before the sanctioning countries take steps to make India stop? Per the FT:

“If western governments see that a third of India’s crude slate is Russian, they can make a broad assumption that some of the diesel coming to Europe contains Russian molecules,” said Neil Crosby, an analyst at data company OilX.

Crosby said this could complicate what is otherwise a very profitable moment for Indian refiners, as Washington puts pressure on New Delhi to restrain Russian oil purchases.

Crosby said: “Will they run into some kind of political wall where it becomes too conspicuous and cut this type of activity?”

Indian executives argue that they are responding to strong international demand for diesel and other products during an energy crunch.

Washington, Brussels, and London have already attempted to pressure India to see things their way, sending various ministers, diplomats, and other personnel  to hector, threaten, or cajole.  India’s response: to emphasize that the Western way isn’t India’s, and that the Modi government has no intention of kowtowing to anyone. Jaishankar is a forceful and eloquent spokesperson for his country’s multi-alignment policy. (For more background and context, in addition to my post I cited above, see  India: Pursuing its National Interest in the Multipolar World, see External Affairs Minister Jaishankar: India Has Concerns About U.S. Human Rights Record, Jaishankar Calls Out Europe’s Selective Concern on Rules-Based Order, Pursuing India’s Multi-Aligned Foreign Policy in a Multipolar World: Time for a Sister Souljah Moment?

India’s policy isn’t going to change any time soon, particularly as most of the global South agrees with India and the failure of the sanctions policy becomes even more apparent. Not to mention the considerable profits to be made by continuing to trade with Russia, which in addition to the fossil fuels and raw materials it exports, is also the world’s largest source for fertilizers and their components, as well as a leading grain producer.

Meanwhile, demand for Indian fuel products is high, with Reliance the key player. Per the FT.

Ajay Sahai, chief executive at the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said that “there have been a lot of inquiries that have flowed to India, particularly for import of diesels from India. Those came from European countries.”


Reliance is responsible for “95 per cent plus” of India’s refined oil product exports to Europe, said Janiv Shah, downstream analyst at Rystad Energy. With Europe’s diesel shortage “here to stay” Reliance is “currently one of a shortlist” of potential refiners that could fill the vacuum left by Russia, said Shah.

Once the oil is processed, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to distinguish what came from where. And Reliance enjoys especial advantages. According to the FT:

“Once the barrels come into the refining system and are processed, there is every type of grade from every different country in the world, so it is very hard to distinguish that this one molecule of diesel came from ‘this’ source in ‘this’ country,” said Shah. “It’s basically impossible to distinguish.”

Reliance’s refinery, which can process 1.24mn barrels of crude per day, is positioned well to profit from Russian crude, said Harshavardhan Dole, an analyst at brokerage IIFL whose coverage includes Reliance.

“Reliance is actually in the sweetest of the sweet spots because the complexity of RIL’s refinery is actually one of the highest,” said Dole. [Jerri-Lynn here: my emphasis.]

I’m so pleased to hear this. I mean, think of the maintenance and the upkeep costs on Antalia alone.  As long as India maintains its current independent foreign policy – including trade with Russia – Reliance will prosper – and the Ambani’s need not worry about whether they have to rent out any spare parking spots.

Putin takes Russia’s Revenge for the Worst of Yeltsin-Enabled Grifting

Let’s turn away from lifestyles of the rich and famous back to Indian Punchline. Bhadrakumar is much more measured in his language, than I. Permit me to summarize the gist of the following passage in tabloid terms: the West’s self-inflicted sanctions wounds allow Russia to take revenge and recoup some of what Western grifters have spirited out of the country since the Yeltsin period. Per Indian Punchline;

Moscow was well aware of the predatory character of Western capital in Russia’s oil sector — a legacy of the Boris Yeltsin era — but had to live with the exploitation as it didn’t want to antagonise other potential western investors. But that is history now. The souring of relations with the West to almost breaking point rids Moscow of such archaic inhibitions.

Indeed, the new policy to replace western capital from the commanding heights of Russian economy is not without risks, but Moscow is confident that it is on the right track and must do what it takes. Also, the decrease in production in the Sakhalin-1, unless addressed soon, may negatively affect the very characteristics of the oil fields in the Russian Far East, if the oil recovery factor decreases over time and a lot of oil is left to remain in the reservoirs.

There’s another possible opportunity for agile Indian firms. Now that Russia no longer has easy access to Western technology, it will be forced to develop more of its own, and Indian companies can also position themselves to  insert themselves into these projects. According to Indian Punchline:

The development of the fields had depended on Western equipment and technologies. Now Russia has lost both. On the other hand, the departure of the Americans will leave Russia with no easy route but to have its own technologies.

At one level, the sanctions might appear to represent a crisis for Russia – although in reality, it’s the West that has suffered more from them, relatively speaking. And returning to Bhadrakumar’s earlier point, sanctions also provide Putin the opportunity  to redress long-simmering past grievances – to hit the reset button, so to speak:

On balance, however, Americans stand to lose heavily too, as the production sharing arrangements dating back to the Yeltsin era had been forced out of Russian government when it was in dire economic straits during the transition from the Soviet period and was in no position to negotiate optimal deals. Come to think of it, something like 262 such so-called production sharing agreements (PSAs) were squeezed out of the Russian government by western oil companies by the time Yeltsin retired.

After coming to power in 1999, President Vladimir Putin set about the mammoth task of cleaning up the Aegean stables of Russia’s foreign collaboration in the oil sector. The “decolonisation” process was excruciatingly difficult, but Putin pulled it through and got rid of as many as 260 (out of 262) PSAs. In fact, Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 are the very last remaining two PSAs harking back to post-Soviet Russia’s decade of humiliation under Yeltsin.

Any surprises why the Biden Administration hates Putin so much and wants him out of power in Moscow? [Jerri-Lynn here: My emphasis.]

India lived through centuries of colonial domination. So unsurprisingly, its leaders well understand what it means to dance to another’s tune and the relief one feels when that’s no longer necessary. There’s a long history of symbiosis between Russia needs and those of India. By taking advantage of the considerable opportunities in the oil and gas sector, at a time when Western firms are hamstrung by sanctions policy, Indian firms have opportunity to earn tremendous profits. These opportunities aren’t limited to Russia’s  oil and gas alone, but extend to high-tech sectors, as Russia seeks other sources of supply or partnership not constrained by sanctions. Per Indian Punchline:

Legend is that when the Soviet Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev paid his pathbreaking visit to India in 1955, then Prime Minister Nehru, amongst other “talking points”, referred to Soviet Union’s great reservoir of expertise in the oil sector, while complaining that the West refused help for anything in India’s state sector.

The folklore is that Khrushchev instinctively reacted in positive terms to Nehru’s request for help and no sooner than his return to Moscow, deputed a famous Soviet expert / geologist to India to prospect for oil — whose fame was such that he could apparently smell oil lying untapped deep in the bowels of the earth! Thus was born the ONGC in 1956, which is now heading for Sakhalin Island on a similar mission!

We live in interesting times, with the consequences of sanctions providing opportunity for some to earn or increase  vast fortunes.

By contrast, for many ordinary Europeans and Americans, prospects are bleak, with sanctions leaving people cold and hungry, and causing businesses to fail, taking with them the livelihoods of many.

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  1. jo6pac

    By contrast, for many ordinary Europeans and Americans, prospects are bleak, with sanctions leaving people cold and hungry, and causing businesses to fail, taking with them the livelihoods of many.

    Yes Amerikas leaders are good at backing us into a corner with no idea what to do next.that I don’t see this improving any time soon and the other countries that do what told to do instead what right for their citizens time is not on our side.

    Russia, China, and their friends are the winners and I do hope they treat the world better than Amerika

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Prospects will be even bleaker for big city urbanites than for detached housing suburbanites and semi-burbanites. Suburbanites and semi-burbanites can at least collapse down into a kind of neo-peasant chronic hunger squalor. They will be able to grow some of their own food, harvest their own roofwater, etc.

      What will happen when supply chains collapse to zero and The Urban Sheep Look Up and Are Not Fed?

  2. RobertC

    I too was excited about the Sakhalin-1 news.

    I noted that Russia-to-India oil transport takes three weeks vice Gulf-to-India’s one week.

    But the key aspect of that transport is the route taken: past China through the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca.

    India has consistently emphasized the regional economic benefit aspects of the Quad frustrating Japan, Australia and especially US efforts to emphasize the militarized Chinese containment aspects.

    With Indian oil [1] flowing through the SCS and Malacca Straits, India will be re-oriented on freedom-of-navigation with China as a partner not a foe. Suddenly joint security activities in Sri Lanka, Nicobar Islands, etc are a likelihood with the string-of-pearls a source of mutual benefit not conflict.

    WRT These opportunities aren’t limited to Russia’s oil and gas alone, but extend to high-tech sectors, as Russia seeks other sources of supply or partnership not constrained by sanctions certainly India is a source of supply for high- and medium-tech services and manufactures (eg, India is a major source for automobile, etc spare parts). But Modi has the problem of a huge under-employed, marginally-educated, increasingly-restive population. As I’ve asserted before this population needs to be sent to Russia to repair and rebuild the infrastructure damaged and lost to melting permafrost.

    The problem I see with India achieving the plethora of benefits presented to it is its stiff-necked “foreign policy strategy of multi-alignment to pursue in a multipolar world” resulting in an inability to achieve agreements and commitments expected by potential partners.

    One example being RCEP.

    Another being border relationships with China. China wants to resolve the border conflicts just like it did with Russia in parallel with other negotiations. India says border first and maybe then negotiations without really demonstrating an ability for resolution due to internal politics.

    China won the trifecta and is moving on. With or without India.

    [1] Because Indian corporations are Sakhalin owners, the oil is owned by India bypassing sanctions and easing insurance difficulties.

  3. drumlin woodchuckles

    In the short run boosting Sakhalin-1 is boosting India’s national interest.

    In the long run, boosting Sakhalin-1 means yet more carbon skyflooding which means bringing yet closer and sooner the onrushing approach of physical non-viability and un-inhabitability of large parts of the Indian Subcontinent.

    Probably Chindia ( China plus India ) will attempt to short-circuit the ongoing heatup by surrounding the earth with a high-atmosphere sulfates shroud. And who is going to physically stop them from doing it?

  4. NN Cassandra

    Logic would dictate that EU will make some noises while being glad someone will resell Russian oil to it. But western rulers seem intent to prove they take dictates from no one, and especially not from logic, so who knows…

  5. Oh

    J-L-S, thank you for this post. My 2 cents:
    It looks like the sanctions are helping one of India’s premier rogues, Mukesh Ambani who stole prime real estate in Bombay with the help of PM Modi who looked away as Ambani drove out the poor to grab land for his multi-billion dollar showcase mansion. His refining company, is a gift from Modi who conveniently spun off Indian Oil Company’s refining assets for Ambani.

    Indian refiner Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries1 is using cheap Russian crude to profiteer from diesel exports taking advantage of sanctions. The US looking away at this may be convenient because it helps another oligarch, this time in India, while appearing tough on his policy towards Russia. After all, the sanctions are a boon to oligarchs as is often the case.

    If one wants to learn about India’s oligarchs please read “The Billionaire Raj” 2

    While it’s somewhat pleasing to see Russia working around the sanctions and raising a middle finger to the US, in the long run helping these oligarch lowlife is not in the best interest of the people in the world, let alone the poor people of India.

    1 “Reliance is responsible for “95 per cent plus” of India’s refined oil product exports to Europe, said Janiv Shah, downstream analyst at Rystad Energy.”
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Billionaire_Raj

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for highlighting these details. I haven’t read The Billionaire Raj but I’ll look out for it.

    2. Akash

      But didn’t the current Indian (Modi) government enact a windfall tax on oil revenues?


      From the article:

      Companies affected by the taxes include Reliance Industries, India’s biggest fuel exporter, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, and state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), which produces crude domestically.

      The impact has already been reflected in the companies’ share prices. Since the move came into effect on July 1, Reliance’s share price fell about 8 per cent to 2,391.40 rupees

      That is not to say Mukesh Ambani doesn’t have Modi’s ear, and isn’t a privileged Indian oligarch, but at least the Indian government has shown the will and foresight to apply some necessary restraint to excessive profit seeking in this instance, which is much better than the government here in the US has exhibited for as long as I can remember.

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author


        Thanks for calling attention to the Modi windfall tax policy; I probably should have mentioned it in my post.

        Instead, I’ll build upon your final point here. The Modi government has been careful to ensure that ordinary citizens don’t suffer when Indian producers chase higher profits in export markets – which they’re now able to do, b/c the sanctions have so distorted so many world markets

        Some specifics: in the case of wheat and sugar, the government has flat out banned exports of those commodities, instead reserving Indian wheat and sugar for domestic use.

        With oil, the government hasn’t banned exports outright, but has instead imposed windfall taxes on petrol, diesel, and aviation fuel exports, as well as on domestic oil production. Meaning that producers can still chase their export profits, but they have to share them with the Indian government. Revenue production is only one aim of the tax; the other is to ensure domestic supplies and to stop refiners from abandoning the Indian domestic market.

        How about the Ambanis, e.g. Reliance? Well, the current share price – although it indeed dipped after these taxes were imposed – is still higher than it was in March (after the Russian invasion) and also higher than it was a year ago.

        Thanks for sharing this excellent link. I don’t read The National’s business coverage as a matter of course, even though I’ve written travel articles for the paper.

        1. Arul

          “Some specifics: in the case of wheat and sugar, the government has flat out banned exports of those commodities, instead reserving Indian wheat and sugar for domestic use.”

          Um, not really. I have to blame the Indian government’s PR machinery and media on this one. They banned the export in open market, to prevent hoarding and price speculation profiteering (of the Chicago exchange type.) Instead, they are allowing exports to specific countries on the basis of government-to-government requests. So in effect, India is effectively rationing wheat to needy countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, Yemen and other Arab nations. (I am disappointed that the self-anointed global leaders US & EU have done nothing of this sort.) They even coordinated this move with the UAE to prevent UAE being used as a cutout for laundering wheat.




          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            Thanks for these links and details, which I’ll be sure to reflect in any future posts. I’d also like to chase down just how many of these government requests India is honoring.

            This post is about the Sakhalin-1situation. There’s lots going on worldwide w/ respect to wheat exports since I last examined the situation closely. Perhaps time for an update?

    3. Paul Art

      Good point. Dhirubai Ambani was the father of Mukesh and Anil Ambani. Legend has it that he was a petroleum clerk in Aden who found favor with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and got a license for the original Reliance refinery. Mukesh is a Stanford alumnus. The brothers feuded and split the business many years back with Anil getting the bad deal.

    4. Arul

      “His refining company, is a gift from Modi who conveniently spun off Indian Oil Company’s refining assets for Ambani.” – Do you have a source for this? Indian here. AFAIK nothing like this happened.

  6. The Rev Kev

    ‘M.K. Bhadrakumar’s first-rate analysis in his Indian Punchline blog of the latest Sakhalin-1 developments. There’s no one better writing about Indian foreign policy at the moment’

    Thoroughly agree. First came across his work in Asia Times a coupla years ago which led me to his original postings in Indian Punchline. He uses cool reason with an insider’s experience to distinguish what is important and what is not, particularly from an Indian viewpoint.

    The only reason that India hasn’t been sanctioned yet but only threatened is because Washington still has hopes to use it like the Ukraine of the far east against China – but with Indian blood and treasure. I think though that through Russian diplomacy that they are waking up to the fact that immense wealth awaits them if they play nice in their part of the world, particularly with China. If India comes together with China, Russia and Iran plus a lot of smaller countries, then it will be a whole new world that we will be living in – for better or worse.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Indeed it is. Thanks for the amazing historical details going back to Khrushchev and Nehru. The Biden-Blinken destructive-duo will go down in history as accelerant catalysts of US hegemony demise. There’s the sheer hubris of believing in belligerence as foreign policy; add to that a total lack of understanding of history, as you so deftly pointed out; and finally, complete ignorance of what constitutes the foundation of US/Western hegemony – that countries on the outside the super-power center would gladly accept US dollars, and benefit from its possession and use; all now being undone. By the time the last domino falls, the BRICS will be more than a fab five, and we may have a new, non-Western reserve currency. I cannot to wait to see it all unfold. #Inshallah

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        India’s leaders also appreciate the USSR’s support in 1971, when India under the leadership of PM Indira Gandhi intervened on the side of what became Bangladesh in the civil war with (West) – now simply known as – Pakistan. I discussed these events in my April post, Jaishankar Calls Out Europe’s Selective Concern on Rules-Based Order.

        I doubt U.S. leaders are aware of this history; you can be sure, however, that most Indians who were alive at that time and politically informed haven’t forgotten about these events.

          1. Arul

            If that came across as being nitpicking, I regret that. I really enjoy your insightful, well-researched analysis posts. Thank you for that.

            Let me try something that may be more relevant to the topic of this post.
            India and Russia started operating a sea trade route from Vladivostok in the Russian Far East to Chennai in India’s eastern coast. Chennai is major petroleum hub, with an oil refinery and fertilizer plants. I expect that this route will become a major shipping lane for India and Russia.


            1. RobertC

              As I said above:

              With Indian oil flowing through the SCS and Malacca Straits, India will be re-oriented on freedom-of-navigation with China as a partner not a foe. Suddenly joint security activities in Sri Lanka, Nicobar Islands, etc are a likelihood with the string-of-pearls a source of mutual benefit not conflict.

              Arul — what do you think are chances of these India-China relationship changes?

              1. Arul

                I doubt whether the India-China relationship will go that far anytime soon. China has certainly toned down the saber-rattling in the border with India, and it looks like they are relieved that India has taken some of the heat for trading with Russia.
                The core issue is India and China are competing for much of the same globally – fossil fuels, minerals, food supply, consumer markets of the developed world, modern technology and weapons. China uses its massive economic size to just buy stuff, but it is being increasingly pushed away by the west (Huawei sanctions, microchip technology being denied). At the same time, India plays everyone against everyone else, and is trying to insert itself into the gap (however small) left by China – in sectors like Pharma, Electronics, Manufacturing.
                This will play out over the next decade or two. In this dynamics, there is little incentive for either country to closely cooperate with each other. They are both huge, so one can’t simply crush the other. At best, they can tolerate each other, and just get along.(That is the gist of it.The issue is obviously more complex but I want to limit my answer.)

            2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author


              Not at all nitpicky. I appreciate when someone reads my work carefully and suggests ideas, details, clarifications, further thoughts, corrections, etc. It means you’re taking my work seriously and is one reason why I posted this material here, rather than published it as a standalone piece in an Indian publication that lacks a lively, knowledgeable commentariat. So, thanks!

              As to the Vladivostok-Chennai link, I see it’s from 2019. I wonder what’s been happening since, particularly with respect to ramping up more domestic Indian capacity to produce fertilizers.

  7. Anton Yashin

    Technically this is not nationalization. Project moved to Russian jurisdiction with same shares of shareholders. Shareholders must confirm if they accept that. If not their shares will be sold and shareholders can obtain rubles on type c bank account in Gazprombank for their shares. ;-)

    Just confirm that you going to work in Russia or get rubles. Easy ;-)

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Thanks for the clarification. ’Tis good to drill down to precise details, if possible.

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