Pipe(dreams) and Plans: Condensed into a Pipette

As always, a very interesting post by Steve LeVine focused primarily on the withdrawal of Thomas Pickering, the senior U.S. statesman who was to lead the high-level U.S. pipeline campaign on the Caspian.  Mr. LeVine offers an intriguing alternative but, having detailed many posts on various pipeline initiatives in this blog, I thought that the article’s brief summary of the status of the various projects & plans might be a useful offering:

“…the State Department has resumed its search for a supergiant diplomat to turn around the so-far struggling Western effort to blunt Russia’s dominance of the European natural gas market.

On its face it’s a market issue — the control of natural gas pipelines stretching from Turkmenistan to Europe. But it also has geopolitical ramifications. If Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan can export their natural gas only through Russia, that would give Moscow enormous continued leverage over the east Caspian. And if Russia continues to control a third or more of the European natural gas market, some in the European Union fear, it could leverage that into more political influence.

What has resulted is competing pipeline strategies. Russia is well along the way to building a set of three pipelines — one from Turkmenistan north to Russia; a second to northern Europe called Nord Stream; and a third to southern Europe called South Stream. The West’s response is only on paper — a trans-Caspian pipeline from Turkmenistan west to Turkey; and a pipeline from there to Europe called Nabucco…”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008 at 9:20 am and is filed under Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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