The oil and gas sector is currently one of the most important sectors of the Russian economy, and Russian oil and gas is vital for many other economies including in Western Europe. There are many contentious issues surrounding Russian oil and gas, including the degree of state control, the extent of foreign participation allowed, the international strategic significance of oil and gas and its potential use as an international political weapon, and environmental problems.
All of these issues are in fact not new. Oil and gas have been significant and highly profitable products in the Russian economy of at least three hundred years, and many of the laws and structures governing the sector were established long ago. This book explores the historical development of oil and gas in Russia showing the importance of the sector to Russia historically and outlining the antecedents of present day issues.