September 6, 2016
I have launched a new product – summarizing the energy news relevant to Europe and explaining their geopolitical significance. Here’s an excerpt of that, but you can read in full on my personal website.
After the presidents of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan met in Baku on Aug. 8, the media reported that the three countries have agreed to create a new natural gas cartel as well as establish an energy corridor between themselves. At the end of the month, on Aug. 29, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimukhammedov met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Turkmenistan has some of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, and the two leaders have reportedly talked about the country diversifying its gas exports and selling gas to European Union. The two news items are apparently unrelated. But the most complicated issue in the Caspian region is the unsolved division of energy exploration sectors between Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. This matter will likely affect the establishment of a trilateral gas cartel and even a corridor between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan. Iran and Russia do not want competition in the European market — Russia is well established there, and Iran is looking to enter. Iran and Russia therefore oppose the construction of corridors that could carry energy from Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan to the EU, even as Baku and Ashgabat discuss potential avenues for cooperation with the Europeans. But considering the new dynamics between Russia and Turkey dynamics as well as the evolution of the conflict in Syria, such news has geopolitical value for the region.
The full summary of last month also looks at Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine.Antonia Colibasanu