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Chinese Energy Companies’ Relations with Russia and Kazakhstan

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This article concerns Chinese energy relations with Kazakhstan and Russia, surveying the foreign direct investment (fdi) behavior of Chinese National Oil Companies (nocs) in Kazakhstan and Russia. The first section provides a schematic overview of the general development of Chinese fdi strategy and behavior from the disintegration of the Soviet Union up until the present day. It systematically explains how that development occurred in three phases and gives some key indicators for distinguishing among the phases and the transition between successive phases. The second section looks more closely at the fdi strategy and behavior of the Chinese nocs specifically regarding Kazakhstan and Russia, periodizing it according to the first two of the three chronological phases distinguished in the first section. The third section of the article examines still more closely the phenomenon regarding Kazakhstan and Russia from the end of the last decade up until the present day, dividing the third above-mentioned phase into three subphases and inspecting the first two, of which the second is still ongoing. The fourth section of the article evaluates the conduct of Chinese nocs with regard to Kazakhstan and Russia from the standpoint of motives of corporate behavior and comparative incentive structures. The fifth section of the article concludes by introducing some caveats on the basis of a glance at recent behavior with respect to another large resource-rich country, Canada, where Chinese nocs have made massive fdi for some years now, but which has a rather different economic and social structure from Kazakhstan and Russia. The last section of the conclusion also includes a few final comments on the prospects for Chinese energy and Chinese nocs during the remainder of the decade and into the 2020s, on the basis of the analytical framework employed to structure the narrative analysis in the body of the article.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Carleton


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