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Gas Pipeline Wars in Europe and Central Asia

Gas Pipeline Wars in Europe and Central Asia

The year 2009 and the beginning of 2010 gave birth to optimistic expectations of the Europeans regarding the future of the EU gas market. The “epoch of buyers” is believed to have come to Europe. Gas prices indeed do not look as impressive as in 2008, the demand for gas has somewhat dropped, while competition on the market has increased first of all due to LNG supplies from Qatar. Moreover, Europe is anticipating gas supplies from Central Asia and Iran. The question is whether this period is a respite or the start of a long-term tendency.

Despite some decline in competitiveness of natural gas in Europe, in the long-term perspective the Europeans have no serious alternative. With the struggle for cutting emissions into the atmosphere, natural gas seems to be the most environmentally friendly traditional energy source and the most efficient one among relatively clean fuels. At the same time, the EU gas production keeps going down, which should result in consecutive growth in imports.

Scared by the concept of turning Russia (the main gas supplier) into an energy superpower Europe declared the course aimed at diversifying supplies at any cost. This obviously does not facilitate progress in constructive cooperation between traditional partners in the gas sphere. The frontline runs along the southern route of gas deliveries to Europe where Brussels supported by the USA is seeking to organize a Southern Corridor of supplies from the Caspian Sea region, Central Asia and the Middle East. In its turn, Moscow is trying to hold positions in the region by implementing the South Stream project. Meanwhile, both players have missed sharp strengthening of China’s positions in Central Asia, which makes this geopolitical solitaire even more confusing and intriguing.

The report will elaborate on the following issues:

  • Forecast of the EU gas demand

    • Prospects of production of traditional and untraditional gas in the EU
    • Policies of energy efficiency and transfer to “green” fuels and their limits
    • Possible scenarios of EU gas imports
  • Policy of diversification of gas supplies to the EU

    • New sources and new routes for delivering gas to Europe: Africa, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea region and Central Asia
    • Turkey’s growing role of a transit state: economic and political consequences
  • Struggle for Caspian Sea region

    • Azerbaijan, the main gas supplier for Nabucco
    • Gas strategies of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, potential and political risks
    • Strengthening of China’s role in the region
    • Gas pipelines to China and formation of the new demand for gas
    • Pricing of Central Asian gas
  • Competition between South Stream and Nabucco

    • Situation around gas sources
    • Prospects of construction
    • idea of integration of the projects
  • Medium-term developments

The contents of the report:

Introduction 2
Chapter 1. Europe needs gas 3
1.1. The 2009 Results on the European Market, Prospects of Growth in the Gas Demand in the Medium-Term Perspective 3
1.2. Decline in the EU Production and Growth in Dependence on Imports 6
1.3. Shale Gas in Europe 9
Chapter 2. Suppliers of Gas to Europe: Competition or Cooperation? 12
2.1. Norway 14
2.2. Russia 17
2.3. Northern Africa 22
2.4. LNG in Europe 25
2.5. Consolidation of producers: Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Russia-Qatar possible alliance 27
Chapter 3. Caspian Sea Region in Demand: Brussels’ Last Hope 29
3.1. Resource Potential of the Caspian Sea Region 29
3.2. Infrastructure Development 31
3.3. Shakh Deniz-2: Bidding for Gas. Competition of Buyers 35
3.4. Europe’s Prospects for Turkmen Gas, Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline 37
3.5. Russia’s Battle with Southern Corridor 40
Chapter 4. China Reinforces Positions in Central Asia: Shadow Leader 43
4.1. China’s Gas Policy in Central Asia 44
4.2. Central Asia-China Pipeline 46
4.3. China’s Risks, Russia’s Gas Projects in Central Asia 47
Chapter 5. Medium-Term Prospects of Developments 50
5.1. Europe’s Medium-Term and Long-Term Demand for Gas Imports 50
5.2. Need for New Infrastructure Projects 51
5.3. Confrontation around Southern Corridor 52
5.4. Central Asia 53
Date of issue: 26th July 2010

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