Geopolitics of European natural gas demand: Supplies from Russia, Caspian and the Middle East
This paper addresses issues of natural gas which raise questions about European energy security. It first focuses on the rising gas demand of the EU27 and elaborates alleged risks of dependence on Russia such as Gazprom's disagreement with Ukraine, which became an international gas crisis in January 2006 and also more recently in January 2009. Incentives and barriers of Europe's further cooperation with selected Caspian (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan) and Middle Eastern (Iran, Iraq and Egypt) countries are discussed. Supplies from Caspian are analyzed with a particular focus on Russia's role and the vested interests in the region. Supplies from the Middle East are elaborated with regard to Iran's huge and Iraq's emerging potentials in terms of natural gas reserves and foreign direct investments in the energy sector. The geopolitical analysis leads to a conclusion that the best strategy, and what seems more likely, for the EU is to include at least two countries from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq within its natural gas supply system.
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