Localizing governance of systemic risks: A case study of the Power of Siberia pipeline in Russia

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For the past three decades, risk has occupied center stage in the energy discourse. Systemic risks have proven particularly challenging for government energy planners and corporate executives, as they are characterized by their complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity, and ability to causing ripple effects throughout economic, social, and political structures. In this article we analyze two approaches to governing systemic risks arising out of energy megaprojects, one mandated under the Russian legal and regulatory regime and one employed by the largely indigenous hunters, fishermen, and reindeer herders residing in the Sakha Republic. Our study focuses on the 4000-km-long natural gas transmission system ``Power of Siberia'' to be constructed in the sub-Arctic part of the region. We employ a complimentary and corroborative analysis of legal texts, fieldwork observations, semi-structured interviews, and transcripts of official meetings. We establish that the approach to risk taken by the people who occupy the land that the Power of Siberia traverses could provide a useful insight for handling systemic risks in connection with pipeline transportation systems. We also determine that the current Russian legal and regulatory regime fails to provide an adequate basis for governing such risks. We conclude the article by identifying four pathways for integrating valuable elements of the indigenous approach into the current legal and regulatory framework. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Risk governance
  • Russian energy law and policy
  • Energy megaprojects
  • Indigenous peoples of the Arctic

Field of science

  • Social anthropology
  • Political science

Citation for this output