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21 Aug, 2008 02:54

Russia not using energy as a political tool despite McCain claim

Russia could use its energy wealth as a political tool. That’s according to US presidential candidate John McCain. But experts see no grounds for concern.

McCain insists the military conflict in South Ossetia has highlighted Russia's willingness to use its energy as a foreign policy tool.

Speaking in a radio address a few days ago, the Republican candidate said oil and gas have become, 

“A strategic weapon that Russia is clearly prepared to use, inflicting great harm on our economy and on America workers.”

Konstantin Simonov, from National Energy Security disagrees.

“I don't believe Russia can use energy as a weapon, because we earn money in European market, and Europe is our main consumer. We are not so crazy as to kill our main consumer. It’s very strange logic”
Russian hydro-carbons satisfy a quarter of Europe’s energy needs. It’s has recently overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer, while the United States is the world's largest oil consumer.