Regions / Russia & FSU

'Energy Transit in the Caucasus: A Legal Analysis' by Rafael Leal-Arcas

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:23 AM

This article provides an analysis of the commonalities and regional specificities of the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) and Host Government agreements (HGAs) setting up the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Pipeline and the South Caucasus Pipeline. The paper also assesses the IGA for the Nabucco Pipeline project. It provides a careful examination of the links between the agreements comprising these three pipeline projects and the Energy Charter Model Agreements on Cross-border Pipelines in conjunction with the provisions of the Energy Charter draft Transit Protocol. This article attempts to answer the following questions: To what extent can common principles and regional specificities be derived from the agreements in question? How do the agreements relate to the Energy Charter Model Agreements and the Energy Charter draft Transit Protocol? What recommendations can be made in view of the possible agreement on common principles or rules on Transit and Cross-border energy flows in the Energy Charter context? Read more...

'The Threat to Energy Infrastructure in the Central Eurasia from Terrorist Groups Affiliated to ISIL' by Michael Fredholm

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:20 AM

In 2015, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced the establishment of its Khorasan Province, said to encompass “Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other nearby lands.” Soon after, ISIL proclaimed its Caucasus Province. However, the war in Syria and Iraq is going badly for ISIL. Losing ground in its heartland, ISIL fighters will have to turn elsewhere, which for many would mean returning to the Caucasus or Central Eurasia. They will aim to continue the fight there, using the tactics they learnt in Syria and Iraq. While the Caucasus and Central Eurasia have faced jihadist terrorism, these regions have largely been spared one of the tactics successfully employed by ISIL and its predecessor, Al-Qaida in Iraq: attacks on the energy infrastructure. Potential targets include production, processing, transmission, storage, and distribution facilities. The energy sector contains an abundance of soft targets, and the fact that successful attacks also may harm Western, Russian, and Chinese interests in addition to those of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Central Asian republics will appeal to jihadists. This article will examine how jihadist groups have targeted energy infrastructure elsewhere and assess the likelihood of similar attacks in the Caucasus and Central Eurasia. Read more...

'Kazakhstan’s Energy Policy on the Eve of Kashagan Oil Field Production' by Mukhit B. Assanbayev

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:18 AM

The article examines the geopolitics of transport communications in Central Asia and the Caspian, and Kazakhstan’s energy policy. Kazakhstan suffers from geopolitical isolation and preoccupied with identifying new inroads to foreign markets. This has become the main focus of its energy policy. Despite involvement by the Western countries, China, and Russia in regional energy geopolitics, Kazakhstan faces tough geopolitical choices. Astana is still in search of an effective energy policy that would enable further diversification of its transport communications. The existing transit routes for the Kashagan oil, as proposed by Russia and other external actors, do not fully support the energy security of Kazakhstan. As for Kashagan oil field production, the article concludes that the main obstacles include several complicated issues such as technical problems, as well as risks to the environment of the Caspian Sea. The new context, namely the dramatic decline of oil prices and its consequences for the global economy, makes it difficult to project a clear vision for the project’s success. Read more...

'Energy Security Strategy in Kazakhstan: Environmental Security and Renewable Energy Sources' by Renata Mantel

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:16 AM

139 Renata Mantel* The article addresses the key aspects of energy security policy in the Republic of Kazakhstan, suggesting that increasing the use of the renewable energy sources (RES) is crucial for reducing the country’s dependence on oil and gas supplies. Greater reliance on renewables would improve economic and environmental sustainability, ensure increased energy security, and help create the conditions necessary for enhancing collaboration in Central Eurasia, as well as cooperation with Central Asian and EU states, in the energy sector. The paper also reviews several dimensions of the Kazakh oil and gas industry and its impact on the country’s energy security policy. It assesses measures that might prove effective for introducing new “green” technologies aimed at limiting consumption of non-renewable natural resources and introducing a larger-scale RES-based energy production. Read more...

'Regional Energy Security and Integration of Electricity Markets in the South Caucasus' by Irina Kustova

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:12 AM

This study argues that the development of electricity systems is a crucial aspect of the region’s sustainable development. Regulatory and technical cooperation among national power markets can help improve energy security in the South Caucasus. However, the concerted operation of electrical power systems might also be affected by competitive regionalism. Thus, the study looks at how two regional integration projects, the EU Energy Community and the Eurasian Economic Union, might affect developments in the power markets. Despite lucrative opportunities for the countries to serve as a crossroads between the emerging Eurasian and European electricity markets, political barriers remain substantial. Read more...

'Energy Consumption and GHG Emissions in the South Caucasus' by Varadurga Bhat and Ashwath Naik

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:11 AM

In recent years, the World has been experiencing the consequences of climate change, and the South Caucasus has been affected by this phenomenon too. Energy security and environmental security have been affected by the dependence on fossil fuels and damages associated with energy exploitation, such as the rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The development of renewable energy (RE) helps to meet growing energy demand and to mitigate climate change. Dependence on energy imports can be reduced, local resources can be utilized, and energy supplies can be diversified by deploying RE technologies in the region. Thus, it is one of the most attractive and reliable options for achieving sustained low-carbon growth. Against this background, this paper analyzes the trends in energy consumption and GHG emissions during 1995-2012 in the South Caucasus countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Special focus is accorded to the prospects of RE in these countries based on their potential and policy framework. The paper concludes that the South Caucasus has substantial RE potential. However, with the exception of hydropower, other sources of RE are minimally utilized. Proper policy framework with clearly defined goals for RE generation and effective implementation are needed in this regard to ensure affordable and sustainable energy in these countries. Read more...

'Historicity and Historical Ethnography of Azerbaijan: The 18th and 19th Century Caucasus at a Glance' by Rizvan Huseynov Najafoglu

By Editor CI

Jan 10, 2017 - 12:09 AM

This article is a part of a larger research project on historical territories and the Turkic population of Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus, first published in 2015 as a monograph, “Azerbaijan and the Armenian question in the Caucasus” (Азербайджан и армянский вопрос на Кавказе). The author drew upon nearly 300 ancient, medieval, and modern sources describing Azerbaijan’s territories in the Caucasus. This article presents the European and American sources from the 18th and early 19th centuries, describing the territory and the population of Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. The aim of this study is to show the historicity of Azerbaijan in regional politics and international relations during the aforementioned period. Read more...

The Trans-Caspian Corridor: Geopolitics of Transportation in Central Eurasia; Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:39 PM

Having reliable and effective transportation networks for easy access to global markets is vital for modern economic development and security, particularly for landlocked states with disadvantageous geographical locations. Thus, the creation of efficient transportation corridors is very important for Azerbaijan and its Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in terms of obtaining secure and cost effective access to the major export and import markets, and in order to overcome the trade bottlenecks created by the geography. Consequently, ensuring the reliable export of hydrocarbon resources to world markets and establishing cargo transport corridors have been a shared goal for Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia since the restoration of independence in 1991. Currently, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, together with Azerbaijani railways, serve as an important export route for Central Asian oil to international markets. The Trans-Caspian partnership for the delivery of Central Asian energy resources to world markets is not limited to oil. There are also ongoing talks about the possibility of transporting Turkmen gas via Azerbaijan as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project. The other priority in regard to the creation of the geopolitically and geo-economically strategic Trans-Caspian corridor is the establishment of a South Caucasus-Central Asia cargo transit route between Asia and Europe. Attracting part of multi-billion EU-China trade to transit through Central Asia and South Caucasus offers a significant revenue source for all of the regional countries, as well as promises to create an effective corridor for their own trade relations with Asian and European countries. Read more...

The Development of the Transport Sector in Azerbaijan: The Implementation and Challenges; Rovshan Ibrahimov

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:36 PM

Since the restoration of independence, development of the energy sector has been considered crucial for Azerbaijan. The development of the energy sector has supported the resolution of some of the country’s key geopolitical and geo-economic challenges. An integral part of Azerbaijan’s energy strategy was the creation of a system of transport corridors for energy exports. Creating the necessary infrastructure is an ongoing process. However, given the risk of being dependent on one sector, there is a need to diversify the national economy. The result is that a number of sectors have been identified to support the further sustainable development of Azerbaijan. Due to its favorable location, one of sectors identified for development is transportation. Azerbaijan proposes the development of alternative sustainable transport routes, which will enable unfettered access to major world markets. This process entails the development of transport infrastructure in synthesis with the formation of logistical infrastructure, cross-border transfer coordination, creation of a common legal framework, and competitive tariffs for transportation with third states. This article describes the establishment of transport routes in Azerbaijan, and the country’s role in the development of regional cooperation. Read more...

Transport Potential of the Caspian Sea: Prospects and Limitations; Stanislav Pritchin

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:35 PM

This article addresses the Caspian Sea and its transport potential. Located at the junction of important geo-strategic regions in the center of Eurasia, the Caspian is an important component of the area’s transport system. Moreover, geopolitical struggles over transport potential are no less intense than competition for its energy resources. Two major strategic transport routes have been delineated: the East- West route (or TRACECA); and the North-South route. Competition between routes actually has a positive effect on the development of transport infrastructure in the region. All project participants are striving to create the optimal conditions for transit and to increase the efficiency of infrastructure. As the result, the general appeal of the Caspian Sea as transport route has increased. At the same time, the transport sector offers an important economic opportunity for a number of countries in the context of the financial crisis and decline of oil prices. Read more...
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