Energy Resources, Human Resources, and Co-operative Energy Security
Invited Speech to the Plenary Session "Caspian Sea Resources", Monaco Summit on Energy (Crans Montana Forum in Monaco sponsored by UNIDO).
Invited Speech to the Plenary Session "Caspian Sea Resources", Monaco Summit on Energy (Crans Montana Forum in Monaco sponsored by UNIDO).
Iran, Iraq, and Turkey continue to dominate energy developments in Southwest Asia. Current events make it imperative to assess the state of play in the region as a whole. This week's column analyzes the significance of recent developments for the former Soviet area.
The problem the AIOC has in the short term is the opposite of the one that everyone has been talking about in the long term. In the long term, the general opinion is that there will be a problem is finding enough oil to fill the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline if it is built. In the short term, the problem is finding enough pipelines to take its oil production exported from Baku.
Three weeks ago, the first article in this series discussed how the economic and physical geography of Kazakhstan has constrained and conditioned President Nursultan Nazarbaev's choices for export routes for Tengiz oil. It gave a series of reasons why the once highly-touted route to Xinjiang province in western China was unlikely to be constructed. It also observed that although earlier this year Almaty set this autumn as a time by which a definitive choice of an export route should be made, it was just as likely that no such decision would be in fact taken. Events over the last three weeks appear to confirm that no definitive choice will soon be made. The principal reason is the opening of new possible export routes. The present article discuses these developments and why have occurred.
The first article in this series discussed how the economic and physical geography of Kazakhstan has constrained and conditioned President Nursultan Nazarbaev's choice of export routes for Tengiz oil. The second analyzed recent events leading to the multiplication of export route possibilities despite the Asian financial crisis and the temporary fall in the price of oil. This week, I take a broader view to inspect the problems behind the expansion of Kazakhstani oil exports.
Part one of this series, published after BP-Amoco made an announcement in support of the Baku-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline (MEP), reviewed the background to that decision and its implications with regard to the four agreements being negotiated between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It also discussed what the MEP agreement and the cost guarantee agreement might look like. Part two began the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states. This week's column is being written on the weekend preceding the November 18-19 meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Istanbul. It is expected that a set of framework agreements will be signed at that meeting, at least by Turkey and Azerbaijan. In anticipation of that event, the discussion of the agreement between investors and transit states will continue here, with special attention to Georgia. First, however, will come a few necessary preliminary remarks about BP-Amoco and the Istanbul conference.
The signing of the Istanbul Protocol on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline at the recent OSCE meeting was highly important politically to the leaders who signed it. But the project will in the long run be more important to the peoples of the region than to those leaders who expended so much effort bringing it about. The pipeline deal presents regional leaders with a fateful decision. Should they fail to use local suppliers and train local labor for its construction, current disparities in income distribution will become aggravated. This could create civil unrest, leading to political instability that would threaten the pipeline project itself. But by using local NGOs to train a capable workforce, individual workers would experience the decision-making autonomy necessary to foster democratic institutions, build civil society, and perhaps also lead to civil unrest.
For much of the period since the November 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul, this column has principally discussed developments concerning the Baku-Ceyhan main export pipeline (MEP). I wish to shift gears here for an extended review of recent events related to Turkmenistani gas exports. The first two sections of this article address, respectively, the background and current prospects of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP). The next two do the same for the "Blue Stream" project from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkey. Then I set out some broad geopolitical considerations, focusing on European and American misperceptions of each other and of Turkey. After that, I briefly discuss the Iran factor as it affects Turkey's geopolitical considerations and conclude with Turkey's stake in the TCGP.
This article continues a series begun late last year as an analysis of the then-accelerating negotiations that led to the initialling of agreements on the Baku-Ceyhan main export pipeline (MEP) at the OSCE's mid-November summit in Istanbul. There were four such agreements: a cost guarantee accord, an accord between investors and the transit states, the MEP accord itself and the construction contract. The first four articles in this series addressed the four agreements and the role played by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), including its component companies and BP-Amoco in particular, in the talks. The fifth looked at Georgia's demands, which by then were the main obstacles holding up to the talks. In late March, the talks were brought to a successful conclusion, with all of Georgia's demands receiving satisfaction. Therefore, it is appropriate to bring this series to a conclusion, although future columns will undoubtedly revisit the MEP and related issues. The present column traces the negotiations from early January until their conclusion, with special attention paid to Georgia's demands and how they were satisfied.
Ceded by Turkey under the 1921 Treaty of Kars, Ajaria under the Soviet regime enjoyed the status of Autonomous Republic inside Georgia. As the USSR withered away, the modern Georgian state was established as a unitary political entity without autonomous sub-units, but Ajaria retained de facto autonomy after 1991. After Eduard Shevardnadze was re-elected President of Georgia last month [April 2000], the parliament in Tbilisi voted to change the constitution, transforming the administrative region of Ajaria into the Ajarian Republic. This federal precedent may help resolve the status of South Ossetia, but it will not satisfy Abkhazian demands. To establish Javakhetia as a federal entity could create more problems than it solves.
Three weeks ago I began describing part of the industrial infrastructure problem in the Caspian region. Limitations of physical geography require relative self-sufficiency in the development of basic infrastructure and installation of production facilities. The amount of investment required to build up the infrastructure capacity also limits the pace of the region's development. Steel fabrication capacity is especially key.
One of the properties of increasingly networked relationships is that they seem to begin to take on a life of their own. The word "self-organization" is used for describing this. In the evolution of networks, events can occur that seem insignificant at the time but which, in retrospect, stand out as crucial markers of qualitative development. (The technical name for this phenomenon is a "bifurcation point.") In this column, I will explore—without using the technical jargon—the question of whether we are approaching such a bifurcation point in the self-organization of the emerging network of Caspian energy pipelines.
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.
The article examines once more the results of the Shah-Deniz find for the Russia-Turkmenistan-Ukraine triangle. It first dissects the most recent developments in their interactions over energy supplies and policy. It then examines the question of what the Russian contract for an additional 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) means for Turkmenistan, for the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, for the Shah-Deniz project and for the TCGP itself.
The beginning of the year 2001 has seen a re-inauguration of economic and political warfare over the production, distribution and consumption of natural gas in the greater Caspian region. On the first day of the year, Turkmenistan stopped exporting gas to Russia because of a failure to agree with the energy-transport company Itera on prices for the year to come. On the very same day, for the second time in a month, Russia cut off gas supplies to Georgia, in abrogation of existing contracts.
Armenia has suffered severe energy shortages since 1991 and has long been looking to Iran to relieve its energy needs. Last year the European Commission decided to back a project for construction of a pipeline from Iran into Armenia. Discussions have now begun with Ukraine concerning the possibility of Iranian natural gas transiting Armenia and Georgia, then travelling either overland through Russia or under the Black Sea into Ukraine and onward to European markets. However, it is unlikely that the gas will get any further than Armenia. Nevertheless, Turkmenistan's President Niyazov must now face Russia and Iran as potential competitors for the European market. Unless Niyazov decides to build the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP), both Russia and Iran will have a stranglehold on Turkmenistan's gas and oil exports.
The current, contradictory phase of events around the Caspian is captured by the difficult realism of Viktor Kalyuzhnyi, Russia's deputy foreign minister, who also serves as President Vladimir Putin's special envoy on Caspian affairs. As developments continue to accelerate, Russia is seeking to trace a course between the Scylla of hardball Realpolitik, which could alienate neighboring states, and the Charybdis of exclusively economic gain to the possible detriment of state interests. This contradiction is clearest in Russian policy towards Iran, which includes the question of influence over the choice of export pipelines for Kazakhstan's now undeniably significant energy resources.
The selection several weeks ago of Italy's ENI as operator of the Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC), which is exploring the vast Kashagan deposit offshore from Kazakhstan, came as a surprise to most observers. Eni was a dark horse in OKIOC and not one of the front-runners to become operator.
The opening, or at least the beginning of the filling, of the oil pipeline of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), from the Tengiz field in northwest Kazakhstan to Novorossiisk on the Russian Black Sea coast, received deserved if extended—indeed sensational—publicity several weeks ago. The CPC line is, after all, the first new pipeline to be built from the Caspian region since the demise of the Soviet Union. The pumping of oil into the pipeline began belatedly, but it is now expected that the first tanker will be filled in Novorossiisk in June.
All the attention paid to western Kazakhstan makes it difficult for most observers to gain an understanding of the overall energy balance in Central Asia. For example, sight is often lost of Uzbekistan's regional role as an energy producer because of its two better-endowed neighbors, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Yet as explained below, Turkmenistan does not really come into play although it is certainly a regional actor; rather, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are the main players on the scene. This article calls attention to overlooked aspects of the Central Asian energy balance, with special attention paid to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and the contrasts between them and the significance of those contrasts.
In one of the generally less remarked-upon recent political earthquakes, the reform-oriented government of Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine has lost a no-confidence vote in the Ukrainian Rada (parliament) but will stay on at the head of a caretaker government for up to 60 days. The column analyses the significance of the political crisis in Ukraine for energy questions in Europe and Eurasia.
The recent summit of Turkic-language countries in Ankara provided Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov with the opportunity to insist yet again that his country and his person are central, if not key, to the resolution of major problems in the region. His suggestion that the next Turkic summit be held in Ashgabat inevitably recalls his plan for a summit of the Caspian Sea states in the port city of Turkmenbashi.
A sensational report has arrived that Moscow may be altering its policy on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) export pipeline, so as to permit Russian companies to participate in its construction and operation. Russia's foreign minister Ivan Ivanov is said to have stated a few days ago in late May, that although in his judgment BTC will not be economically viable, Russian companies would not be blocked from participating in it. However, now that Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) from Kazakhstan is scheduled to arrive later this year in Novorossiisk, it is clear that high-ranking Russian officials are take seriously the environmental objections from Turkey concerning the flow of excessive quantities of oil through the Straits.
In late March, Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev turned the tap at the Tengiz field to begin filling a pipeline built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC). This 1,580-kilometer pipeline was built to take oil from Tengiz (estimated to hold between 6 and 9 billion barrels in recoverable reserves) from western Kazakhstan to the coast of the Black Sea. The Tengiz deposit is being developed by TengizChevrOil (TCO), a consortium led by the US oil major Chevron (50%) and also including ExxonMobil (25%), LUKArco (5%) and the government of Kazakhstan (20%).
Oil from the Tengiz deposit in western Kazakhstan is being pumped westward through a pipeline through southern Russia. The pipeline, built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), has cost $2.6 million to construct: twice the originally estimated cost. It will have an initial capacity of somewhat less than 600,000 barrels per day (bpd). Its eventual full capacity will range from 1 to 1.5 million bpd. The date for loading the first tanker in Novorossiisk has been postponed several times, now likely to take place to be sometime in September.
The significance of the agreements on energy cooperation achieved during Russian President Vladimir Putin's recently completed visit to Kazakhstan is only an indicator of the consolidation of deeper tectonic shifts in Eurasian security and economic affairs. A new triangle is emerging in East Central Eurasian geo-economics among Russia, Kazakhstan and China. (It is being complemented by the emergence of another such triangle in West Central Eurasia among Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.) Energy cooperation is a linchpin of each of the emerging triangular ententes, but the ententes themselves go far beyond energy.
В Евразии происходят глубинные тектонические сдвиги в области обеспечения безопасности и экономического сотрудничества.
Public speech invited at the International Symposium Examination of the Regions of Crisis from the Perspectives of Turkey, NATO and the European Union, and the Impacts of These Crises on the Security of Turkey, organized by the Strategic Research and Study Center (SAREM), Turkish General Staff, Istanbul, 27–28 May 2004.
Since the end of the Cold War, global international relations are more clearly a "complex system," a self-organizing network rather than a top-down hierarchy. Superpowers (or at least one), great powers, and regional powers still exist, but middle-level phenomena have become important drivers in a world that now self-organizes from bottom up.
India's rise to sustained attention on the global world energy agenda has happened sooner than at least some observers expected it to happen. An RFE/RL article earlier this year gives background to relatively recent developments concerning (and threats to the realization of) the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.
A geopolitical and geo-economic inventory of Turkey's assets in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century reveals such strengths, beyond its military capa-bilities and other state institutions, as industry, population, and, above all, geographic lo-cation. These are foremost among the instruments of the country’s national power that may be mobilized or put to the projection of national power and defense of national inter-est. The territory of the Turkish Republic, in comparison with that of its neighbors, does not hold vast quantities of energy resources (with the exception of coal). However, the country’s well-known geographic situation as a crossroads of continents makes it espe-cially well suited to pursue a policy as a facilitator of energy transport. This strategic di-mension of Turkey's new geopolitical environment provides unique opportunities for en-gagement in response to new policy challenges. It should become a central, indeed defin-ing feature of Turkish diplomacy in years to come.
The key issue identified in this essay, relating to the changes in Turkey's neighborhood and how Turkey might respond to them, is therefore energy security, both national and international. The “change in Turkey's neighborhood” (to adopt the lan-guage of the Call) that make this issue especially salient for Turkey is the increased sig-nificance of Eurasian energy resources towards the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, when world energy demand is growing faster than expected and prices have risen as a reflection of tighter supplies. This change holds implications for the whole of Turkey's immediate as well as extended neighborhood. It has already affected and will only affect more deeply Turkey's relations with the European Union, Russia, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Middle Eastern neighbors, and Central Asia, as well as Turkey's potential role in transatlantic relations.
Just as neighboring states are the regional international environment for the for-eign conduct of the Turkish Republic, so is Turkey a component of the international environment of other states in the neighborhood. The discussion here, of how Turkey might respond to these changes, sets out Turkey not just as a reactive but pro-active agent in both its immediate and extended neighborhood, an international actor not only respond-ing to changes but also capable of influencing their development by creating trends based upon Turkey's own elements of national power and its capacity to employ them not only for Turkey's benefit but also for that of its partners.
The first section of this essay reviews the evolution of Turkey's geo-economic situation in the changing regional and international environment over the past fifteen years, i.e., since the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The second section examines in greater detail Turkey's situation at the center of the compass of the Eurasian geo-economic envi-ronment. The third section draws policy recommendations on the basis of the preceding analysis. The concluding section of the essay ties the threads together and summarizes the argument.
New prospects for a Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan have been receiving deserved attention in recent months. However, another project to pipe energy resources from the western to the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea also demands attention, with implications that loom as large as those of the TCGP. This is an overland oil pipeline that Kazakhstan intends to build from the Tengiz field, in the northwest of the country, to the port of Aqtau in the southwest.
The armed conflict between Russian and Georgia has further exposed the fragile position of the energy links running through the smaller country from the Caspian Sea to developed market economies
The realities of Turkey's economy and politics would alone have killed off the summer revival in the country's stock markets. Russia's invasion of Georgia, on Turkey's back doorstep, made sure.
Türkiye’nin ekonomik ve siyasi gerçekleri tek başına, piyasalardaki yaz canlanmasının canına okurdu. Rusya’nın Türkiye’nin arka kapısı Gürcistan’ı işgali de bunu kesinleştirdi.
Թուրքիայի տնտեսական և քաղաքական իրողությունները միայն բավական կլինեին երկրի արժեթղթերի շուկայում ամռանը գրանցված աշխուժությունը սպանելու համար: Իսկ Ռուսաստանի ներխուժումը Թուրքիայի դրկից Վրաստան դրան թափ հաղորդեց:
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and Kazakhstan's state monopoly KazMunaiGaz this month signed an agreement setting out the main principles for a transport system to convey Kazakhstani oil across the Caspian Sea for entry into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline and subsequent re-export to world markets. This represents a step forward in the realization of the Kazakhstan-Caspian Transportation System (KCTS) that, while long discussed, has become Kazakhstan's response to Russia's unwillingness and/or inability to implement the long-promised doubling of the capacity of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) line.
The re-eruption of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia over payments for gas deliveries illustrates that developments in Eurasian energy geo-economics do not take vacations, even over the New Year holidays. The Ukrainian-Russian dispute, for example, takes place in circumstances (economic, financial, political, military, even cultural) that are different from those surrounding their last tiff three years ago. Its significance and its dynamics differ accordingly.
As Russia and China seek to augment their influence over the development of Kazakhstan’s energy production, Astana looks for other routes to overcome the restraints. The reinvigoration since 2007 of prospects for a Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) with Turkmenistan's participation creates the possibility for Kazakhstan, which already cooperates with Azerbaijan on trans-Caspian oil shipments, to participate also with gas exports. Delays in the development of the offshore Kashagan field make associated gas from the onshore Tengiz oilfield the first candidate for such exports.
Turkey is continuing to make unacceptable demands for the transit of Azerbaijani gas across its territory as part of the Nabucco pipeline project. That is unlikely to keep that gas from reaching Europe in the long run. The Turkish government is seeking to extract advantageous terms that, according to reports from Baku, include taking 15% of the transit gas for domestic consumption.
The European Council, in a meeting principally devoted to determining the European Union's policy towards its eastern members and preparing an EU position for next week's Group of 20 summit in London, also took an important decision last week on energy with a compromise to keep plans for the Nabucco gas pipeline on life-support.
The European Union (EU) and Turkey have resolved two major differences that were preventing agreement on the terms for the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, and the Turkish President Abdullah Gul is reported to have promised that a signing ceremony will take place on June 25 in Ankara.
[News article (interview) first published by Trend News Agency (Baku), 29 September 2009, under by-line of A. Bədəlova.]
«Набукко» нужно воспринимать как реальный проект. Об этом в Центре стратегических исследований при Президенте Азербайджана во время «круглого стола» на тему «Влияние геополитических факторов на энергетическую стратегию Азербайджана в Каспийско-Черноморском регионе» заявил научный сотрудник института исследований Европы, России и Евразии канадского университета Карлтон Роберт Катлер.
В 2002 году Тегеран негативно отреагировал на военные маневры России на Каспии и отказался направить на них военных наблюдателей. Теперь ситуация иная. Россия с большими сомнениями относится к энергетическим проектам в регионе, поддерживаемым США. Кроме того, Москва не удовлетворена тем, что администрация Обамы не пошла на компромисс по системе ПРО.
[Text of television report (interview excerpt in Azeri translation from English original) by Azərbaycan Televiziya və Radio Verilişləri Qapalı Səhmdar Cəmiyyəti, 29 September 2009, 6:47PM local time.]
советует научный сотрудник института исследований канадского университета Карлтон Роберт Катлер.
Фридрих Энгельс писал, что исторические события зачастую представляют собой «нежелательный результат» различных импульсов в «параллелограмме сил».
В самом деле попросту американский ученый, однозначно научный работник Института европейских, отечественных и евразийских изысканий Университета Карлтон Роберт Катлер не считает потенциальным роль Армении в плане газопровода «Набукко».
In all the debate and speculation over the various pipelines planned for the Caspian-South Caucasus corridor and adjacent regions (Nabucco, South Stream, White Stream, and Trans-Caspian Gas Pipelines in addition to various oil pipeline projects), the troubled state of energy relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey has been lost from view, mainly due to their stellar cooperation in the past over the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and South Caucasus Pipeline for gas in particular.
Recent energy and other developments in Southwest Asia, particularly involving Turkey, Iran and Iraq, sketch the outline of an imminent reorganization of international relations in the region. This will have knock-on effects for Eurasia as a whole and the shape of the international system in coming decades. At the same time, it suggests new and unexpected relevance of the mid-20th century geopolitical theorist Nicolas Spykman.
Prepared remarks to the Wilton Park Conference The South Caucasus and Wider Black Sea Neighbourhood: Regional Developments and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Wiston House, West Sussex (U.K.), 23–26 November 2009.
China's emergence as an important player in the development and use of energy resources found in the Caspian Sea basin, alongside longer established interests emanating from Russia, Europe and the United States, is a reminder of the ever-changing dynamics of the region, too easily overlooked during periods of apparent stasis, such as during the late Soviet era. Yet the appearance of this new power in the region also confirms the essential stability of a core group of relationships about which others wax and wane, with a periodicity of possible future importance that China's presence can help us to identify. Regarding the perspective on the past and future of Caspian Sea basin energy geo-economics, two observations establish the basis on which to proceed.
UE; viac ako 15 rokov sa Spojené štáty usilujú zintenzívniť kooperáciu medzi nezávislými krajinami kaspického regiónu v oblasti energetiky. Od začiatku 90. rokov je cieľom americkej energetickej politiky zabezpečiť, aby tieto krajiny nezáviseli len od jednej vývoznej trasy, ktorá by mohla byť ľahko prerušená.
For over 15 years the U.S. has worked to promote cooperation over energy issues among the newly independent states in the Caspian Sea region. A proclaimed goal of U.S. energy policy in the region since the early 1990s has been to make certain that countries in the region do not have to depend upon any single export route that could easily be squeezed off.
Azerbaijan's efforts to diversify gas export routes and reduce its reliance on Turkey as a transit country for moving the fuel on to Europe are increasing as its negotiations with Ankara over supplies continue to face difficulties. As talks with drag on with Turkey, Azerbaijan has recently added Iran and Bulgaria to its customer base.
В том, что касается разработки и использования энергоресурсов бассейна Каспийского моря, Китай постепенно превращается в игрока, с которым приходится считаться. Вкупе с давно сложившимся пересечением региональных интересов России, Европы и США это должно послужить напоминанием о динамично меняющейся ситуации в регионе, хотя о динамике этой легко забыть в период кажущейся стабильности, как было, например, в позднесоветскую эпоху.
With the entry of Iraq into the mix of potential suppliers of natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline to Europe and the proliferation of alternative supply lines beyond the Russian-sponsored rival South Stream pipeline, the "classical" variant of the Nabucco pipeline is undergoing significant modification, just as it moves closer to final realization.
The opening of the first segment of the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline last month is only one in a series of recent events in Caspian Sea basin energy developments. It signifies Turkmenistan’s first real moves to break its dependence upon Gazprom and the Russian state for international sales of its energy resources. These developments are to the detriment of Europe, which remains dependent upon Russia and Turkey as transit countries and has been unable to push forward the implementation of its Nabucco pipeline project.
Ukraine's run-off election between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and rival Viktor Yanukovych, to be held on Sunday, may decide the future of a pipeline that could be used to deliver Caspian Sea oil to Europe, bypassing both Russia and Turkey.
Viktor Yanukovych came first in the presidential elections in Ukraine, but Yuliya Tymoshenko has instructed lawyers to bring to the courts evidence of voting irregularities to put Yanukovych’s margin of victory under question. Even if the latter is able to muster a negative majority to oust her from office and form his own parliamentary majority, he may be forced to call new parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, he has already moved on the energy front through floating new proposals, if not yet able to offer them formally for legislative consideration. The elections in Ukraine change the odds also for other projects in the east-west energy corridor from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe.
In recent days, energy diplomats on both the Azerbaijani and Turkish sides have revealed that an agreement in principle over the price that Turkey will pay for Shah Deniz gas from Azerbaijan has been reached. However, there are several ongoing sets of simultaneous negotiations over Shah Deniz, also taking place in the context of larger implicit bargaining games over other the Caspian Sea basin deposits of natural gas and indeed the geo-economics of their supply to Europe over the next several decades. These subtleties must be unpacked in order to understand the wide-ranging significance of even seemingly small agreements.
Various diplomats appear to be questioning the supposed competition between the Nabucco and the South Stream natural gas pipelines. In fact, Russia and Turkey are collaborating to block the full implementation of the EU’s Southern Corridor energy strategy so as to assert a duopoly over natural gas supplies to Europe.
Statements by Azerbaijani and Turkish diplomats indicate that the two sides have reached an agreement in principle concerning the price that Turkey will pay for gas from the offshore Shah Deniz deposit for its own domestic consumption. With these signals, the two countries are on the road to settling issues related to conditions for Shah Deniz gas to transit Turkey to Europe through the Nabucco pipeline.
Turkey last week strengthened its energy ties with Iraq by renewing a contract to import Iraqi oil to the Turkish Mediterranean Sea port of Ceyhan, where Azerbaijani oil also arrives via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. Earlier this year, it was announced that Iraq will export between 5 billion and 10 billion cubic meters per year of natural gas to Turkey for inclusion in the Nabucco pipeline carrying the fuel to Europe.
Two events coincided this week to point towards further complications in Euro-Caspian energy geo-economics. Azerbaijan has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Georgia and Romania to promote liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation across the Black Sea, and has separately announced the possibility of postponing a decision on the start-up of production from the offshore Shah Deniz Two natural gas field until 2017 (press reports cite various years from 2016 to 2018).
An anonymous but highly placed representative of the Azerbaijan state oil company, SOCAR, confided to Trend News Agency in Baku last week that agreement has been reached with Turkey concerning the price of Azerbaijani gas and its transit through Turkish territory.
Энергетические конференции в регионе Каспийского моря в последние годы сменяют друг друга с такой головокружительной скоростью, что некоторые представители отрасли и правительственные чиновники перестали относиться к ним серьезно. Правда, иногда сами организаторы получают от них больше пользы, если принимать во внимание резко возросшие сборы за участие. Тем не менее, проходящая в настоящий момент Международная конференция и нефтегазовая выставка, судя по всему, может стать исключением их этого правила. Эта семнадцатая по счету из серии подобных конференций и пройдет она в Баку.
Energy conferences in the Caspian Sea region have come so fast and furious in recent years that some industry and government figures consider them a dime a dozen. In fact, the organizers are sometimes the ones who draw most advantage from them, in view of steep fees for participation. Nevertheless, the current International Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition looks to be an exception. It is the seventeenth in the series hosted in Baku.
Robert M. Cutler amerikai politológus-tanácsadó szerint a közép-európai országoknak muszáj együttműködniük az orosz befolyás csökkentéséért. Az oroszok a gázt politikai fegyverként használják, és a nagy nemzetközi vezetékekért folyó küzdelem akár fegyveres konfliktusok kitörésében is szerepet játszik. Az azeri gázmezők válthatják meg térségünket a moszkvai nyomástól.
Bulgaria and Romania have over the course of the summer been setting down their markers as regards the Nabucco and South Stream pipeline projects in an on-again, off-again manner. What they finally decide may determine which pipelines from the South Caucasus and Turkey get built where in Southeast Europe. Major investment decisions are also on the line in coming months. It is consequently little exaggeration to say that the next year, if not the next half-year, will set the main lines of the blueprint for Caspian/Black Sea hydrocarbon development for the better part of the oncoming decade.
This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Robert M. Cutler on Energy and Eurasia in the Black Sea (region) category. They are listed from oldest to newest.
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