Are the emerging securities markets in Eastern Europe worth paying attention to? Yes, if one is careful and avoids the "conventional wisdom." The conventional wisdom is that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are on track to become members of the European Union (EU), that their growth will be export-led, and that they are set to take off in the foreseeable but always indefinite future. Each of these three assumptions is either a little off-base or just plain wrong-headed.
Continue reading "Eastern Europe: Still Out in the Cold?" »
With the dismantlement of the inherited Soviet nuclear arsenal now under way, it is the apparent lack of well defined long-term goals (apart from "stability") that largely account for Washington's inability to clarify the nature of its engagement in Central Asia, leading it to deal with immediate issues (such as the Tajikistan situation) on a piecemeal basis. There are, however, at least two key areas of central Asian concern (not counting the burgeoning drug trade or the Tajikistan civil war) that directly engage "vital" U.S. interests. These areas are nuclear nonproliferation and energy security.
Continue reading "The West's Irreducible Interests in Central Asia" »
Корреспондент "НГ" Игорь Ротарь в своей статье "Чеченские проекты получают международную поддержку" обратил внимание на новые аспекты кавказской политики, значение которых трудно переоценить. Речь идет об инициативах одного из чеченских лидеров Хожахмеда Нухаева по созданию "Общего рынка Кавказ - Евразия", способного лишить Россию монополии на транспортировку каспийской нефти. Дело в том, что и самому мне неоднократно доводилось выступать с аналогичными предложениями - например, в январе 1995 г. на международной конференции, организованной администрацией президента Финляндии совместно с Институтом мировой политики (Нью-Йорк) и МГИМО, собравшей представителей высокого уровня из почти всех новых государств Евразии, в октябре этого года - в Вашингтоне, на международной конференции, поддержанной IREX и неправительственным Национальным бюро азиатских исследований. В 1996 г. в Tбилиси вышла моя статья на ту же тему в научно-политическом журнале "Кавказские рeгиoнaль-ныe исследования". В ней я защищал проект создания евроазиатской нефтяной и газовой ассоциации, или EAOGA.
Continue reading "Москва рискует изоляцию от Кавказа" »
Invited Speech to the Plenary Session "Caspian Sea Resources", Monaco Summit on Energy (Crans Montana Forum in Monaco sponsored by UNIDO).
Continue reading "Energy Resources, Human Resources, and Co-operative Energy Security" »
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.
Continue reading "Southwest Asia and the Caspian Region" »
The military operations in the Balkans affect the calculations concerning export routes for Caspian oil. The near-term regional effect of the hostilities in Kosovo is to make the Baku-Ceyhan line slightly more likely.
Continue reading "Kosovo, International Security, and Caspian Energy" »
Competition among export pipeline companies in the Caucasus is heating up, even while the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline project remains on at least temporary hold. As predicted here some time ago, transit fees are beginning to play a major role in at least the short-term development of pipeline routes. This may have unexpected implications for the longer-term future, inasmuch as seven years ago no one was even thinking about Baku-Supsa.
Continue reading "Tariff Competition in the Caucasus and a Test Case for Reform in Iran" »
Transit of oil through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline continues to be a problematic affair. Since the beginning of the month, the pipeline has been shut down three times. The reasons given are the age of the Russian section of the pipeline and defects in its reconstruction as well as theft of oil along the Chechen part of the route. Although the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) says it intends to continue cooperation with the Russian oil pipeline operator Transneft to use the route, the decision to seek other routes such as Baku-Supsa seems now well justified. However, it is clear that Baku-Supsa can only be a temporary bypass in its present state and that the early oil pipeline is unlikely to satisfy all export needs even if upgraded and expanded.
Continue reading "Baku Continues at the Center of Negotiations" »
In the early 1990s, the Caspian oil exploration was like a high-ante, high-stakes game of poker with several rounds of draw and a large (but unknown) number of wild cards. A lot of the players frankly acted like cowboys shooting from the hip, and there was a lot of bluffing as well. It was, moreover, a "table stakes" game: if you couldn't meet the level of the bet when it came your turn to call, you had to clear out or find some kind of collateral, usually by signing an IOU to another player who would back you and split any winnings. This is why consortia were established: to pool resources and intelligence.
Continue reading "The Changing Nature of the Caspian Oil Game" »
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.
Continue reading "The AIOC Has a Problem but Not the One You Think" »
The current situation around the Caspian is sometimes compared with the nineteenth-century "Great Game." However, it differs on at least three accounts: the players are more numerous, the stakes are not control of territory but access to resources, and the decisive players are multinational-financial bureaucracies rather than state-political structures. Also, the financial environment is unstable and constantly changing. This week's commentary begins a two-part series on the latter theme. This week I discuss the need for strategic alliances and their strengths, and selected issues of financing and feasibility. Next week I argue that financing is not everything, and conclude on the relationship between financing and other forms of engineering.
Continue reading "Finance Issues in Eurasian Energy Development (1/2)" »
This week's commentary concludes the theme begun last week on the unstable and constantly changing financial environment for energy development in the Caspian region. Last week I discussed the need for strategic alliances and their strengths and selected issues of financing and feasibility. This week, I explain why financing is not everything and conclude with the relationship between financing and other forms of engineering.
Continue reading "Finance Issues in Eurasian Energy Development (2/2)" »
Kazakhstan is now in the midst of a comprehensive re-evaluation of its export options. The strategies and choices open to Astana concerning international energy development must be seen in the perspective of the difficult political and economic problems facing the country's leadership. This week begins a multi-part article on Kazakhstan and international energy development. This four-part article begins here with a review of the political geography of Kazakhstan's economy and an assessment of why China cannot be the preferred export solution.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (1/4)" »
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.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (2/4)" »
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.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (3/4)" »
The last article in this series distilled three central problems that have impeded the development and export of Caspian energy resources. From those three problems, three lessons were drawn. In turn, it was shown that those three lessons are directly analogous to the lessons from research on the effectiveness of international environmental institutions.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan and International Energy Development (4/4)" »
This week’s commentary continues the analysis begun last week, of the terms and prospects for agreement on construction of the Baku-Ceyhan main export pipeline (MEP). The column last week discussed two of the four agreements being negotiated: the MEP agreement itself and the cost guarantee agreement. This week, I begin discussion of the prospective agreement between investors and transit states.
Continue reading "Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (2/7)" »
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.
Continue reading "Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (3/7)" »
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.
Continue reading "Instability in the Balance: The Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline" »
This column continues the series on the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline agreements and their fall-out. Previous articles discussed the cost guarantee agreement, the Main Export Pipeline (MEP) agreement itself, and the agreement between investors and transit states. This week, I wish to interject remarks on the role of the Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC). Future articles will continue discussion of the Istanbul accords, including the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) for natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey and the problem of identifying sufficient oil to fill the MEP, as well as the construction contract and Iran’s recent moves to cut the cost of its swaps to the producer countries.
Continue reading "Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (4/7)" »
This week's column continues the discussion, begun last year, of the Baku-Ceyhan main export pipeline (MEP) accords initialled in Istanbul during the November OSCE summit. Although none of these agreements has yet been published, their outline and some of their details have already been analyzed here from available information. Of the four agreements initialled, previous columns this series looked at the MEP agreement itself and the cost guarantee agreement. As suggested earlier in this series, it turns out that the agreement between the investors and the transit states is complex and still subject to further clarification, as a precondition for establishing the definitive terms of the construction contract itself.
Continue reading "Just When You Thought Baku-Ceyhan Was Dead and Buried (5/7)" »
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.
Continue reading "The Trans-Caspian and Blue Stream Pipelines: Turkey's Place in the Big Picture" »
This week I begin a new, short series on an issue that few people talk about and fewer people do anything about. This is the industrial infrastructure problem. It is already clear that problems of energy development in the Caspian are unique. Over the last 10 years, companies have devised new organizational methods of work to deal with human-resource issues. In international-legal and project-structuring terms, the Baku-Ceyhan agreement is apparently the first instance ever of a trilateral intergovernmental project that includes a transit country and that was concluded through intergovernmental accords, with industry consortia representing strategic alliances sitting at the table during negotiations and concluding side agreements to facilitate and implement the overall plan. However, infrastructure limitations add themselves to other idiosyncratic factors, political and economic, that slowed Caspian energy development in the 1990s.
Continue reading "Solving the Problems of Caspian Industrial Infrastructure (1/2)" »
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.
Continue reading "Solving the Problems of Caspian Industrial Infrastructure (2/2)" »
The one formal organization is the Central Asian Economic Union which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The leaders of these countries have concluded several agreements on expanding economic cooperation, but these will remain a dead letter until the Uzbek som is made fully convertible. The two multilateral formations are not embodied in formal organizations. One is a coalescence of energy-related issues bringing together Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, in a geo-strategic sense, as a north-south axis along the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. The other is a coalescence of counterinsurgency-related issues bringing together Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, also in a geo-strategic sense, as an east-west axis along the southern border of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Continue reading "Russia, Turkey and Iran: An Eternal Triangle" »
Fall-out continues from the Shah-Deniz gas find offshore from Azerbaijan. Several weeks ago, part one of this series examined developments around the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) from Turkmenistan, and Iran's problems with Turkmenistani gas imports. The evident withdrawal of PSG from the TCGP has brought to the surface many subterranean possibilities that have been silently percolating. Whereas a few weeks ago, it was generally thought that Turkmenistan would be left only with Gazprom as a gas-buyer and would have to take whatever price it was offered, other suitors have presented themselves.
Continue reading "How Shah-Deniz Is Changing the Equation (2/9)" »
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)" »
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 (6/9)" »
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.
Continue reading "How Shah-Deniz is changing the equation (7/9)" »
The CIS was originally a sleight-of-hand trick by which the presidents of the RSFSR and Ukrainian and Belorussian union-republics conjured the disappearance of the USSR. It is generally conceded now that Yeltsin's wish for revenge against Gorbachev was a sine qua non of this remarkable, and successful, performance. The creators of the CIS never intended it to be the continuation of the USSR by other means.
Continue reading "The CIS Is Dead, Long Live the CIS!" »
Reports have recently circulated of an agreement between Russia and the European Union (EU) for long-term energy sales. Europe wants more Russian oil and gas, but this does not mean that it will not continue to seek oil and gas from other Caspian countries. However, for Europe to take more oil and gas from Russia, new pipelines would have to be constructed, and this in turn would require a clear legal framework. The best step Russia can make right now in that direction is to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
Continue reading "Russia and Europe's Energy Strategy" »
[This edited translation by of "Russia and Europe's Energy Strategy," published by Нефтегазовая Вертикаль, contains all the main points of the original text but re-arranges some of them and includes additional explanatory material for a more general Russophone readership.]
Между Россией и Европейским Союзом (ЕС) идет серия переговоров о новых соглашениях на долгосрочные поставки российских энергоносителей. Европа хочет заручиться гарантией значительного увеличения поставок нефти и газа из России на длительную перспективу. Имеющиеся транспортные магистрали справиться с дополнительным потоком энергоносителей не смогут. Строительство новых трубопроводов, в которых заинтересованы и Россия, и Европа, потребует значительного финансирования. Оно должно придти из Европы. Обсуждаемая формула "энергоносители за инвестиции" сможет работать только при наличии в стране ясной законодательной базы. Первым эффективным шагом России в этом направлении может стать ратификация Договора к Энергетической Хартии.
Continue reading "Как России завоевать Европу" »
The GUAM formation (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova) had its origin in the 1996 round of talks implementing the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The four countries found they had a common opposition to the stationing of Russian weapons on their territory. GUAM became GUUAM when Uzbekistan joined in April 1999. According to recent reports, the GUUAM countries intend, in spring 2001, to institutionalize their cooperation by forming a permanent international organization. This organization will have its own secretariat (probably in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine) and a small number of ancillary bodies but will have principally a coordinative function with no supranational authority. In response to this prospect, three schools of thought regarding GUUAM have begun to appear in Western, principally U.S., commentary and analysis.
Continue reading "Just What Is "GUUAM" Anyway?" »
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.
Continue reading "Will the Iran-Armenia-Ukraine Energy Triangle Happen?" »
A new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) helps answer the question about what the appropriate responses are to Islamic militancy in Central Asia. The ICG is a highly respected, well connected, expert, private, multinational organization that describes itself as "committed to strengthening the capacity of the international community to anticipate, understand, and act to prevent and contain conflict." In its new report titled "Central Asia: Islamist Mobilisation and Regional Stability," ICG makes recommendations to Central Asian governments, external powers, and international organizations.
Continue reading "Islamic Militancy in Central Asia: What Is To Be Done? (1/2)" »
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.
Continue reading "Euro-Caspian energy and the political crisis in Ukraine" »
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.
Continue reading "Do all roads lead to Ashgabat?" »
SUMMARY: Earlier this month India's Prime Minister Atel Behari Vajpayee became only the second Indian head of government to visit Tehran since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the first in over seven years. At the head of a large delegation, he signed seven cooperation accords on energy, water, trade and science but sought to downplay efforts at bilateral defense cooperation.
Continue reading "The Indo–Iranian Rappochement: Not Just Natural Gas Anymore" »
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.
Continue reading "Recent developments in the self-organizing Caspian pipeline network" »
Only days before the Putin-Bush meeting in Ljubljana, an even more significant meeting took place in Shanghai between Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin, within the framework of the mechanism known until recently as the "Shanghai Five" or "Shanghai Forum". At the Shanghai meeting, Uzbekistan was welcomed as the institution's sixth full member. Documents were adopted bearing the titles, "Declaration of the Establishment of the 'Shanghai Cooperation Organization'" and the "Shanghai Covenant on the Suppression of Terrorism, Separatism and [Religious] Extremism". The name-change signals a move to establish a formal structure with a permanent secretariat in Shanghai, and to promote multilateral interministerial cooperation across a wide range of issue areas. It also signals, if one takes Beijing at its word, the incipient coalescence of a Sino-Russocentric geopolitical bloc in Asia. China's vision for such a bloc is to countervail any strategic vision that puts the United States at the forefront of twenty-first century global politics.
Continue reading "Did Putin Shanghai Bush?" »
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.
Continue reading "The Caspian Pipeline Consortium Beats the Skeptics" »
The effect of events in Afghanistan on public opinion in Central Asia is difficult to gauge. Yet this public opinion is already in general either exhausted by economic hardship or increasingly discontent with political repression. That very situation is what presents the danger that the U.S. rapprochement with Central Asian regimes will negatively affect its long-term interests.
Continue reading "Central Asian energy and security in light of the Afghanistan crisis" »
The air strikes on Afghanistan put U.S. policy in Central Asia in a delicate position. On the one hand, Central Asian governments will be tempted to harden further their authoritarian domestic policies toward dissent and opposition, driving people further toward Islamic-based protest. If popular opinion in the region comes to identify the U.S. too directly with those policies, then the post-authoritarian transitions could see widespread Islamic militancy, tied to anti-Americanism, come to the fore.
Continue reading "Islamic Militancy in Central Asia: What Is To Be Done? (2/2)" »
Before the terrorist acts in New York City, the U.S. looked to be largely absent diplomatically and militarily, while limiting its economic presence to Caspian energy development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Yet the formation of a U.S.-sponsored ‘global anti-terrorist coalition’ has not undercut the basis for the Sino-Russian rapprochement signaled by the institutionalization of the SCO and the signing of the first bilateral Sino-Russian treaty in fifty years.
Continue reading "The Shattering of the Sino-Russian Entente over the Shape of Central Asia?" »
Just when it looked the Central Asian countries were facing the growing joint political hegemony of Russia and China in the region, the events of September 11 opened the door to an increased and indefinite-term U.S. military presence.
Continue reading "U.S. Intervention in Afghanistan: Implications for Central Asia" »
Washington has not only blocked the impending closure of Sino-Russian hegemony over Central Asia, but also finessed Russian strategic opposition to the American project for deploying a space-based defense. The new U.S. presence in Central Asia has reinforced the emerging post-Cold War reconnection of Central Asia with South and Southwest Asia. In geopolitical terms, Uzbekistan remains the "pivot" of the region. However, within the larger "shatterbelt" that Central Asia represents for the broader Eurasian landmass, the post-Nazarbaev future of Kazakhstan looms large.
Continue reading "Redrawing the Architecture of Central Asian Security" »
In late 2000, the EU and Russia began extensive high-level commercial talks about the prospects for European importation of Russian energy resources over the course of coming decades. However, Russia's failure to pursue adequate investment in its natural gas industry would require significant capital outlay from the European side in order to increase imports significantly. In essence, an entirely new pipeline system would have to be constructed in order to satisfy Europe's upcoming energy requirements, whether in gas or in oil. Because it is ecologically cleaner, the EU had taken a policy decision in favor of gas. The European Commission began to look still more definitely towards Iran to satisfy at least some of its long-term gas demand, as well as to put price pressure on Russia.
Continue reading "How Deeply Will Iran Penetrate the Evolving Eurasian Energy Networks?" »
Central Eurasia, which is what specialists have taken to calling most of the geographic area once covered by the Soviet Union, has a long history of ethnopolitical complications and related struggles focused on collective identities. Tsarist Russia had moderate success in keeping these within bounds, partly because it was willing to tolerate such collective identities as social constructions autonomous of its own political rule.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had a more insistently penetrative ideology that left little room for cultural, ethnic, or religious autonomy. The Soviet regime tapped the mass communications technologies of the twentieth century to pursue its control over all populations and to implement its program of political socialization. All ethnically based opposition to Moscow’s rule was driven underground. The all-pervasive nature of the Soviet political and security apparatus made calls for any significant sort of self-determination extremely difficult to sustain. When Gorbachev combined economic reform (leading to economic disruption and attendant problems of supply) with political empowerment (permitting Soviet citizens to voice complaints publicly without the fear of repression), he unwittingly unleashed two elements necessary for a political explosion. Long discussed (but little understood) in Soviet political writings, the so-called ‘national question” became the fuse igniting the internal conflicts that burst forth across the Soviet regions in the late 1980s, as the USSR collapsed, and into the 1990s.
Continue reading "Self-Determination Issues in Central Eurasia" »
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.
Continue reading "Emerging triangles: Russia-Kazakhstan-China" »
В Евразии происходят глубинные тектонические сдвиги в области обеспечения безопасности и экономического сотрудничества.
Continue reading "Новый треугольник Россия-Казахстан-Китай" »
SUMMARY: The supergiant Karachaganak energy field, onshore in northwestern Kazakhstan, sends gas for processing over the Russian border to a processing plant in Orenburg operated by Gazprom. Production is slated to increase. The joint operators of the Karachaganak gas venture, BG and ENI, together with the Government of Kazakhstan, are considering building a plant on-site in Karachaganak to process the new volumes. Gazprom argues against this and is trying to offer incentives to send the gas instead to an expanded Orenburg plant. The eventual decision, coming soon, will have significant implications for how Kazakhstan's national pipeline system develops in the future.
Continue reading "Karachaganak Gas and the Future of Kazakhstan's Pipeline System" »
Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the EU’s External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, during the trip of a very high-level EU delegation to Central Asia, providing for the export of natural gas from Turkmenistan to the EU but not specifying a route, which is nevertheless understood not to cross Russia. The 10 billion cubic meters per year (bcm/y) mentioned in the MOU amount is not very much of the estimated 500 bcm of natural gas that EU countries consume each year; however, for the EU it is an initial step towards diversification of supply.
Continue reading "The European Union Looks to Central Asia For Energy" »
Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliev has announced a doubling of the reserves of both oil and gas in his country’s Caspian offshore. New finds in as many of five fields to be developed contain perhaps 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, such as to require a new gas export pipeline. An executive of the national oil company SOCAR has hinted that gas from Turkmenistan could be included, starting even in the near term with small quantities. The French company And although Gazprom has lately offered to buy Azerbaijani gas at near-market prices, probably for re-export to Europe via its planned South Stream pipeline, Azerbaijan has not shown much interest, instead declaring that it will feed the first contracted gas into the rival Nabucco pipeline destined for Bulgaria and beyond.
Continue reading "Azerbaijani Gas Again on the Front Burner" »
The one-year anniversary of the EU's Partnership Strategy with Central Asia gets off to a slow start but is not without potential.
Continue reading "EU's Central Asia partnership, one year on" »
Corruption and politics in Ukraine threaten to choke off, at least in the near term, the expansion of oil exports from Azerbaijan and eventually Kazakhstan to Europe. This is the significance of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko's efforts in July to halt what she called the "shadowy privatization" of the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.
Continue reading "Ukraine clash threatens oil to Europe" »
In mid-July, the Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme (Christian-Democrat Flemish party, CDV) tried to resign: for the third time. King Albert II once more refused to accept the resignation and appointed a three-person commission to resolve the deadlock. This week it reports back to him, although the verdict will not be known for some days.
Continue reading "Can Belgium Still Exist?" »
The Kazakhstan government, concerned about runaway costs and repeated delays in the vast Kashagan oilfield, has increased its role in the Italian-led consortium charged with developing the most important oil reserves in the Caspian Sea Basin.
Under the terms of a newly amended North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA), the share in the Agip KCO consortium held by state-run KazMunaiGaz will more than double to 16.81%, equal to those of Italian company Eni, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total. ConocoPhillips and INPEX retain 8.4% and 7.56% respectively.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan reins in oil majors " »
The crisis over Turkmenistan's gas, transmitted by Russia via Ukraine, demonstrates the need for other energy routes from the Caspian Sea region to Europe.
Continue reading "Turkmen gas almost in reach" »
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.
Continue reading "Kazakhstan Looks at the Trans-Caspian for Tengiz Gas to Europe" »
The agreement announced late last month between Russia and China for construction of a pipeline branch to China from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline is only one aspect of a relatively new strategic policy direction from Beijing to acquire foreign assets during the ongoing global economic downturn.
Continue reading "China on buying and lending spree" »
In mid-February, Russia and China signed an agreement providing for Chinese agencies to lend US$25 billion to the Russian energy trusts Transneft and Rosneft in return for the construction of a branch from the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline from Skorovodino to the Chinese border and the guaranteed supply of significant amounts of oil over the long term. In the wake of the breakdown of American efforts to build its tactical cooperation with the Central Asian states over Afghanistan and the “global war on terror” into a broader strategic vision, the ESPO accord agreement signifies a reestablishment of the ability of China and Russia to cooperate together on geo-economic questions even within the context of their competition for influence in Central Asia.
Continue reading "Does the ESPO Signal a New Sino-Russian Rapprochement?" »
В середине февраля Россия и Китай подписали соглашение, по которому китайские кредитные учреждения выдадут заем в 25 млрд. долларов российским энергетическим компаниям 'Транснефть' и 'Роснефть' в обмен на строительство ответвления нефтепровода 'Восточная Сибирь - Тихий океан' от Сковородино до китайской границы и гарантированные долгосрочные поставки значительных объемов нефти. После провала усилий США во встраиванию тактического сотрудничества с государствами Центральной Азии по вопросу Афганистана в более широкое стратегическое видение, соглашение о ВСТО означает, что Китай и Россия вновь способны вести сотрудничество по геоэкономическим вопросам даже в контексте своего соперничества за влияние в Центральной Азии.
Continue reading "ВСТО: сигнал о новом сближении между Китаем и Россией?" »
Более ста лет назад сэр Халфорд Макиндер (Halford Mackinder) произнес знаменитые слова о том, что территории к востоку и северу от Каспийского моря могут стать "географической осью истории", выдвигая свою геополитическую теорию о евразийском "центре мира". Этот термин сейчас в равной мере применим и к Азербайджану, учитывая его роль на южном Кавказе. И вызвано это не только тем, что он обеспечивает самый надежный и самый эффективный транзит каспийских энергоресурсов на запад в Европу и за ее пределы.
Continue reading "Азербайджан может отвернуться в другую сторону" »
Over 100 years ago, Sir Halford Mackinder famously identified territories to the east and north of the Caspian Sea as the "geographical pivot of history" in his Heartland Theory of geopolitics. Much of that territory corresponds to modern-day Uzbekistan, whose importance was rediscovered in the wake of the disintegration of the multinational Soviet state. The term could now equally apply to Azerbaijan's role in the South Caucasus, and not only because it provides the most secure and efficient transit of Caspian Sea energy resources westward to Europe and beyond.
Continue reading "Azerbaijan can look the other way" »
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.
Continue reading "Nabucco starts to shape up " »
The unrest in China's far-west region of Xinjiang, notably in the local capital of Urumqi, comes after 15 years of development and transformation of the area to be a geo-economic springboard for projecting influence into Central Asia and the Caspian region in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Continue reading "Xinjiang: China's energy gateway" »
Волнения в Синьцзян-Уйгурском районе разразились спустя 15 лет после начала масштабной трансформации этого региона в геоэкономический трамплин для китайского прыжка в бывшие советские республики.
Continue reading "Синьцзян - энергетические ворота Китая" »
Вопрос ограничения доступа Ирана к газовому проекту Набукко вызван недоверием общественности к выполнению этой страной своих обязательств, считает американский эксперт Роберт Катлер.
Continue reading "Общественность не доверяет партнерству с Ираном" »
Более ста лет назад сэр Халфорд Макиндер (Halford Mackinder) произнес знаменитые слова о том, что территории к востоку и северу от Каспийского моря могут стать “географической осью истории”, выдвигая свою геополитическую теорию о евразийском “центре мира”. Значительная часть этой территории соответствует месту расположения современного Узбекистана, чья значимость вновь дала о себе знать после распада многонационального советского государства.
Continue reading "Азербайджан может отвернуться в другую сторону" »
Questions have been raised this month about whether the gas resources of Turkmenistan are in fact as spectacularly voluminous as verified last year by the British firm, Gaffney Cline & Associates.
Continue reading "Turkmenistan gas sets Ciceronian riddle" »
В этом месяце были подняты вопросы о том, являются ли на самом деле газовые ресурсы Туркменистана столь огромными, как было установлено в прошлом году английской фирмой "Gaffney Cline & Associates ". "Gaffney Cline & Associates" подтвердила, что новое газовое месторождение "Южный Йолотан" содержит от 4 трлн. до 14 трлн. кубометров газа, вероятнее всего- 6 трлн. кубометров. А месторождение "Яшлар" - от 0,3 до 1,5 трлн. кубометров, вероятность - 0,7 трлн. кубометров.
Continue reading "Туркменский газ становится цицероновской тайной" »
An Iranian official's declaration that his country has entered into negotiations with European firms about the supply of natural gas into the Nabucco pipeline intended to supply Europe via Turkey was rejected this week by one of the firms concerned.
Continue reading "Iran claim clouds Turkey's energy goals" »
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.
Continue reading "The Rise of the Rimland?" »
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.
Continue reading "The Importance of the Caspian and Central Asia as a Source of and Transit Route for Energy" »
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.
Continue reading "Kaspickú diplomaciu je nutné zintenzívniť" »
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.
Continue reading "Caspian Diplomacy Should Intensify" »
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.
Continue reading "Azerbaijan looks past Turkey" »
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.
Continue reading "Сложные эволюции в раскладе сил" »
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.
Continue reading "Turkmenistan-China Gas Pipeline Becomes a Reality" »
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.
Continue reading "Turkey and Azerbaijan Move Towards Agreement on Shah Deniz Gas" »
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.
Continue reading "Europe Focuses on Southern Energy Corridor" »
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.
Continue reading "Locks turn in Nabucco door " »
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.
Continue reading "Turkey strengthens Iraqi energy ties" »
Евросоюзу не следует спешить и поздравлять себя с тем, как он поступил в ситуации, связанной с проведением президентских выборов на Украине. Будущее, а не прошлое, покажет, что произойдет дальше. И будущее должно отличаться от прошлого.
Continue reading "Белые пятна в отношениях ЕС и Украины" »
The EU should not be too quick to congratulate itself for its handling of the situation surrounding Ukrainian presidential elections. The future, not the past, will tell the story, and the future has to be different from the past.
Continue reading "Blind Spots in EU-Ukraine Relations" »
Ukraine's new government, formed by President Viktor Yanukovych after he was inaugurated in March, this week affirmed that the country's gas transportation network is for sale to no one, including Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. At the same time, Russia has made it clear that it is willing to cooperate with the European Union in any project to modernize the network, which includes more than 60,000 kilometers of pipe plus 71 compressed air plants and 13 underground gas storage facilities. Last year, it carried over three-quarters of natural gas exports from Russia to Europe.
Continue reading "Ukraine seeks pipeline threesome" »
The EU should recall Talleyrand’s dictum that “the devil is in the details” when evaluating Turkish constitutional amendments proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, writes Robert M Cutler for ISN Security Watch.
Continue reading "EU Uncritical of Turkish Constitution Plan" »
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).
Continue reading "Caspian pipeline knots tighten" »
Last month, after years of on-again, off-again negotiations, Iran and Pakistan signed an agreement for a bilateral natural gas pipeline to be sourced from the South Pars deposit. India has since asked to reopen negotiations, from which it had earlier withdrawn, to make the project trilateral. While pricing issues between Iran and Pakistan appear to be resolved, questions about pipeline security in Pakistan, pricing with India, and the role or non-role of China, are only three of the sets of problems still awaiting resolution.
Continue reading "India Seeks to Re-enter New Iran-Pakistan Gas Deal" »
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.
Continue reading "Baku gas price deal moves Nabucco forward" »
Following the recent agreement on principles and prices between Azerbaijan and Turkey for bilateral gas sales, Azerbaijan this week increased again the amount of gas it is willing to provide to the Nabucco pipeline, this time to half its projected capacity.
Continue reading "Nabucco, and Baku, filling up on gas" »
As you know, Europeans with an interest in energy affairs get very excited when discussing the source of the gas they’ll in 5-10 years. Especially in Italy, where Berlusconi’s center-right government is openly defying EU policy on the matter and nurturing very close ties to Russia, the debate tends to be quite heated and often partisan. We would like then to here the view of an informed and independent outsider on this.
Continue reading "Interview by European Center for Energy Security Analysis (ECESA)" »
Эксклюзивное интервью 1news.az с профессором Института европейских, российских и евразийских исследований Карлетонского университета (Канада), Роберт Катлером (Robert Cutler).
Continue reading "Роберт Катлер: «Соглашение по газу между Азербайджаном и Турцией приближает осуществимый срок реализации Набукко»" »
Events this week confirm that Turkmenistan has taken a decisive strategic decision to diversify its gas exports not only beyond Russia but also beyond China.
Continue reading "Tectonic shift under way in Turkmen gas" »
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.
Continue reading "Трубопровод Nabucco подстегивает каспийские проекты" »
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.
Continue reading "Nabucco spurs Caspian projects" »
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.
Continue reading "Nekünk Azerbajdzsán kell" »
Petroleum Industry Review: In your opinion, how will the international energy market change, given the high energy demand (in the EU and the U.S. energy consumption increased by more than 40% since 1970, in Japan it doubled and in China it is more than four times higher) but also the decrease of the world hydrocarbons resources? What is your opinion concerning alternative energy sources? Is renewable energy a solution for the world economy during this time of crisis? Is it a solution for the future?
Continue reading "Interview by "Petroleum Industry Review" (Ploiesti, Romania)" »
Petroleum Industry Review: Cum evaluaţi evoluţia pieţei internaţionale de energie, având în vedere cererea crescută (în Uniunea Europeană şi în SUA consumul energetic a crescut cu peste 40% din 1970, în Japonia acesta s-a dublat, iar în China este de peste patru ori mai mare), dar şi declinul resurselor mondiale de hidrocarburi? Care este opinia dvs. cu privire la resursele alternative? Reprezintă energia regenerabilă o soluţie pentru economia mondială în perioada de criză? Dar pentru viitor?
Continue reading "Interviu cu "Petroleum Industry Review" (Ploiesti)" »
Turkmenistan has broken Russia’s stranglehold on its gas exports by opening a pipeline through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China. The country’s president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has just made his first trip to New Delhi where the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline project was discussed. Earlier this year a short pipeline was opened in order to increase exports to Iran, and gas is in the process of being identified for eventual export to Europe via a Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline and the EU’s Southern Corridor. The era of Russian control over the country’s exports is over, and Ashgabat is taking care to make certain that it is not squeezed between Moscow and Beijing.
Continue reading "Turkmenistan Diversifies Gas Export Routes" »
Embattled oil giant BP, which is looking for ways to meet bills arising from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, has numerous assets it could sell to meet its obligations, but reports that these could include Caspian Sea projects appear to be unfounded.
Continue reading "BP set to remain in the Caspian" »
President Nursultan Nazarbaev of Kazakhstan publicly endorsed the Nabucco natural gas pipeline earlier this month, then criticized Europe for putting too much talk into the project and not enough action.
Continue reading "Nazarbaev faults Europe on Nabucco" »
The results of the bank stress test in Europe have been greeted with widespread skepticism; even though financial markets seem calmer, the system is not yet out of the woods.
Continue reading "Stress-Testing European Banks" »
A "golden decade" lies ahead for Taiwan equities, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in a report published a day after the island's parliament approved an historic trade agreement with the mainland.
Continue reading "Golden period ahead for Taiwan" »
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.
Continue reading "The Black Sea’s West Coast Weighs In On Caspian Sea Basin Pipelines" »
In mid-August, BP Azerbaijan announced that oil from Turkmenistan is now entering the BTC in Azerbaijan and will constitute between four and five percent of its present throughput of 800,000 barrels per day (bpd), which is being upgraded to 1.2 million bpd with a view towards eventual inclusion of oil from Kazakhstan’s offshore Tengiz field. These practical steps of cooperation with Azerbaijan, combined with the mid-August announcement in Ashgabad of new directions in Turkmenistan’s gas export policy, point the way towards a European direction for future Turkmenistani production, not forgetting China and the possibility of South Asia, while Iran is given only marginal reference and Russia is ignored.
Continue reading "Turkmenistan Confirms Export Shift Away From Russia" »
"We are currently constructing the East-West Pipeline [across southern Turkmenistan, which] will be laid along the coast of the Caspian Sea. … Nabucco is associated with this project." Thus spoke Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow at a press conference last week, as reported by many international sources, including Azerbaijan's Trend News Agency, despite the fact that these words did not appear in the official transcript of his remarks as cited by his government's news agency.
Continue reading "Turkmenistan signals Nabucco intentions" »