Robert M. Cutler

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A recent series of statements and concrete actions by leaders from Ashgabat shows a clear willingness and desire to implement the “European direction” as a component of the country’s international gas export policy. Technical obstacles are mainly solved, and the only remaining political obstacle appears to be Europe’s difficulty in concentrating its attention to take the necessary steps from its own side. The last chance for this seemingly will begin to expire early next year.

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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.

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With moderate fanfare, yet another multilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed among a limited number of the Soviet successor states this month, in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia signed up to a customs union in the margin of a meeting of the EurAsian Economic Community (EurAsEC), which also counts Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as members.

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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?

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Dani Rodrik, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, was born in Istanbul. He writes: I no longer recognize Turkey, the country where I was raised and spend most of my time when I am not teaching in the U.S. It wasn’t so long ago that the country seemed to… » read more

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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.

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I am completing a lecture and consultation tour through Romania and Hungary, and although I have not yet had time to collect my impressions so as to share them, I invite feedback from readers to identify the issues that are of concern to you or opinions about which you may seek to spark discussion. (Indicative… » read more

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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.