Policy Memos

Competing Designs for Caspian Energy Highways: Russia and the EU Face Reality Checks

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The profound economic disaster that began unfolding in the summer of 2008 has inevitably distorted the energy-related political perspectives developed in the United States, the European Union, and Russia during an earlier period of steadily rising oil prices. In the wider Caspian region, the crisis has interacted with three crucial developments, causing a change in direction in the fluid systems of regional finance and security. The August 2008 Russian-Georgian war did not inflict physical damage to regional pipelines, but it seriously compromised the safety of the South Caucasian route. In January 2009, the Russian-Ukrainian “gas war” revealed the risks built into the European energy system and forced the EU to revise plans for diversifying supply sources and transit routes. Finally, in January-February 2009, the sprint start of the Barack Obama administration in the United States cut short the particular petroideological zeal that previously characterized U.S. policy toward the overlapping regions of the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia. [...]

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About the author

Research Professor
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)