Russia is in recession, hit by mounting inflation and a nearly 40% plunge in the value of the ruble. Hoping to shore up its struggling, energy-dependent economy, the government has invited three Asian countries -- China, India and Vietnam -- to participate in Arctic energy projects. However, they are likely to decline the offers.
The Ukrainian crisis -- and the U.S. and European sanctions it triggered -- has prompted several Western energy giants to pull out of Russian-led Arctic oil and gas projects, causing a financial crunch and technological problems for the operators. The sanctions specifically targeted two companies, Rosneft and Gazprom, state-owned energy giants that have a combined 112 projects in the Arctic.