Robert M. Cutler

Archives for Eastern Europe

The EU is taking its time in deciding what real policy actions to implement regarding the crisis over Greek finances and the eurozone, but publics in Greece and elsewhere are not waiting to express their disenchantment with national and supranational elites.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Viktor Yanukovych came first in the presidential elections in Ukraine, but Yuliya Tymoshenko has instructed lawyers to bring to the courts evidence of voting irregularities to put Yanukovych’s margin of victory under question. Even if the latter is able to muster a negative majority to oust her from office and form his own parliamentary majority, he may be forced to call new parliamentary elections. Nevertheless, he has already moved on the energy front through floating new proposals, if not yet able to offer them formally for legislative consideration. The elections in Ukraine change the odds also for other projects in the east-west energy corridor from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Ukraine’s run-off election between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and rival Viktor Yanukovych, to be held on Sunday, may decide the future of a pipeline that could be used to deliver Caspian Sea oil to Europe, bypassing both Russia and Turkey.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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.

Posted by Robert Cutler

Reconfiguring Nabucco

With the entry of Iraq into the mix of potential suppliers of natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline to Europe and the proliferation of alternative supply lines beyond the Russian-sponsored rival South Stream pipeline, the “classical” variant of the Nabucco pipeline is undergoing significant modification, just as it moves closer to final realization.

Posted by Robert Cutler

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.

Posted by Robert Cutler

In all the debate and speculation over the various pipelines planned for the Caspian-South Caucasus corridor and adjacent regions (Nabucco, South Stream, White Stream, and Trans-Caspian Gas Pipelines in addition to various oil pipeline projects), the troubled state of energy relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey has been lost from view, mainly due to their stellar cooperation in the past over the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and South Caucasus Pipeline for gas in particular.

Posted by Robert Cutler