Robert M. Cutler

It is in serious trouble, but is the Russian economy unsustainable? Western sanctions have restricted Russian companies’ access to international financial markets, but it is the state’s policies and priorities that are tanking its economic performance. Recent statistical releases show the Russian economy unsustainable without reform Recent statistical releases show that the gross domestic product… » read more

Who buys Kazakhstan’s oil production today? Question:  How might the falling oil prices affect Kazakhstan’s ability to develop and deliver oil to other countries, especially Europe? Answer:  The Italian company ENI been major player in the Kazakhstan’s energy sector for nearly a quarter-century, involved in the development of Kashagan and Karachaganak fields. Italy is the… » read more

The EU seems finally beginning not only to realize its situation as a geopolitical and geo-economic actor in the energy sector, but also to take consequential steps in the real world that reflect its particular interests. This is preferable to its holding itself out as a bland and universal “exporter of European values” abstracted from… » read more

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.

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.

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.

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?