Robert M. Cutler

Archives for Economy & Finance

Of the “newly independent states” of the former Soviet Union, Kazakhstan continues to lead the economic recovery from the continuing global financial crisis, based in part on an innovative approach to financial restructuring of the banking sector that statutorily limits the prerogatives of creditors.

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

The Rise of the Rimland?

Recent energy and other developments in Southwest Asia, particularly involving Turkey, Iran and Iraq, sketch the outline of an imminent reorganization of international relations in the region. This will have knock-on effects for Eurasia as a whole and the shape of the international system in coming decades. At the same time, it suggests new and unexpected relevance of the mid-20th century geopolitical theorist Nicolas Spykman.

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

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s visit to China this week is the latest indicator that the rapprochement in Russian-Chinese relations, initiated through the 2001 bilateral “Treaty on Good-Neighborly Relations, Friendship and Cooperation”, which provided for increased Russian arms sales to China and the training of Chinese officers at Russian military schools, is developing steadily into closer strategic cooperation. Burgeoning cooperation in the energy sphere dates from Putin’s December 2002 visit to China, as president, when it was agreed that a project for a gas export pipeline to China would be elaborated, with the Kovytka gas field being the most likely candidate for supply.

Posted by Robert Cutler