Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Weaponizing Natural Gas: Analyzing Russia’s Exports in the Lead-Up to the 2022 Invasion of Ukraine
Authors: Kruse, Katie
Advisors: Reichman, Nancy
Department: Economics
Certificate Program: Sustainable Energy Program
Class Year: 2023
Abstract: On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting a global energy crisis that has had economic, social, and political consequences, not only for Ukraine, but for the world (IEA, 2023a). In the months leading up to the invasion, the volumes of natural gas that Russia exported to Europe dropped substantially, particularly the volume of natural gas transited through Ukraine (ENTSOG, 2023a). Although Russia claimed to be only observing the political situation in Ukraine defensively, allegations soon emerged that it was weaponizing natural gas and sending a warning to Europe not to interfere, should it take further action in Ukraine (Ray, 2023; Putin, 2021; Riley, 2022; Milov, 2022). These allegations align with previous research, which has found that in times of geopolitical tension, Russia has limited (or cut off) its natural gas exports to specific countries (Stegen, 2011; Grigas, 2017). However, no quantitative studies using econometric methods have been undertaken to analyze the volume of natural gas exported from Russia through Ukraine during the period leading up to the 2022 invasion. This paper seeks to fill that gap in scholarly literature by using a linear regression model and several sensitivity analyses to investigate whether the volume of natural gas flows during the four-month period leading up to the Russian invasion deviated from historical trends. This paper finds that the four-month period leading up to the Russian invasion saw a 44.79% decrease in Russian natural gas flows through Ukraine. The results of the sensitivity analyses indicate that this drop in natural gas flows extends back to 12 months prior to the Russian invasion, but is no longer present 24 months before the invasion, nor in other calendar years during the same season. The inclusion of relevant controls based on previous economic research in the linear regression model, as well as the use of several sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of the results, strengthens the validity of these findings. The findings of this paper indicate that during the period when Russia was amassing troops on Ukraine’s border under the guise of “military exercises,” there was also a significant drop in their exportation of natural gas through Ukraine, which factors that are traditionally understood to drive natural gas markets cannot explain (Congressional Research Service, 2022a, p. 1). This supports previous research which has found that Russia has a tendency to limit or cut off natural gas exports in politically tense situations (Stegen, 2011; Yermakov, 2023; Pescatori and & Stuemer, 2022). However, this paper extends this body of literature by bringing it up to date with the geopolitical tensions leading up to the current war in Ukraine, and also by using quantitative methods to show that the decrease significantly deviated from historical trends and cannot be explained solely by factors that have historically driven the volume of Russia’s natural gas exports.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Economics, 1927-2023

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
KRUSE-KATIE-THESIS.pdf10.48 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.