(The Soufan Group, April 3, 2014, provides strategic security intelligence services to governments and multinational organizations, The Soufan Group, “THE GAS BLOC: RUSSIA’S SPHERE OF ENERGY INFLUENCE”, http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-the-gas-bloc-russias-sphere-of-energy-influence/, Accessed 7/9/14, AA)
A petro-dependent country such as Russia—with oil/gas exports providing over 50% of its GDP—will be less aggressive towards clients who seek alternatives to Russian gas supplies if those supplies become too fickle, politicized, or weaponized. Russia can’t afford to spurn its highest-paying customers, and attempts to diversify away from Europe and towards Asia will take years as well. Provided they develop the necessary infrastructure, countries in Western Europe will have plenty of other options from which they can import LNG in the near future, including the US, Qatar, and Norway. Even Germany, Russia’s largest client in Western Europe, is increasingly transitioning to more renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power. For Eastern Europe, however, alternative options are limited.