This week I continue my analysis of the fall-out from the gas discovery in the Shah-Deniz deposit offshore on Azerbaijan, which, as explained earlier in this series, has led Turkmenistan to turn away from the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project.
Continue reading "How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation (4/9)" »
This week I resume my series on the fall-out from the discovery of vast natural gas resources at the Shah-Deniz deposit, located off the coast of Azerbaijan. That discovery put into question the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) from Turkmenistan to Turkey, though this project has recently been re-endorsed by Ashgabat. I will cover the latter development in a future column. For the present, however, I wish to focus on the neglected Turkmenistan-Ukraine-Russia energy triangle and discuss how TCGP politics have contributed to a political battle among elites in Kyiv.
Continue reading "How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation (5/9)" »
The Chinese National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) asserts that Xinjiang has 17.4 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves. However, it is not clear that they are all recoverable. The geology is frequently difficult and the depths are often extreme. It is more likely that this figure is for potential or estimated reserves. Indeed, several years ago western energy companies, encouraged by Beijing's touting of Xinjiang's natural energy resources, paid high fees to test-drill for oil, and they came up dry. Now, the 2,600-mile-long "West-East" pipeline is projected to carry gas from Xinjiang to Shanghai at a construction cost of $5 billion and to open in 2003.
Continue reading "China’s "Go West" Pipeline Projects: A "Great Leap Westward"?" »
In view of some movement in the dispute over the division of the Caspian Sea, I interrupt my series on "How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation" for a two-part analysis of these recent developments. I begin with a review of the background. Before 1992, the Caspian Sea was regulated by treaties signed by Persia and the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (not the USSR) in 1921, and between Iran and the USSR in 1935 and 1940. The latter two treaties defined the Caspian as a "Soviet and Iranian sea." None of these treaties established any maritime boundary between the two states.
Continue reading "Developments in the evolving Caspian legal regime (1/2)" »
I conclude the short series, on efforts to settle the international legal status of the Caspian Sea. Last week I addressed the inheritance from the Soviet period and surveyed the most salient events during the 1990s up to the end of 1997. I now pick up the thread at the beginning of 1998 and put the most recent developments into context.
Continue reading "Developments in the evolving Caspian legal regime (2/2)" »