Tag Archives: gas price

The European Diplomacy, Energy Security and Central Asian Stake

The events in Central Asian countries very rarely attract massive international media attention. It does not means that nothing happens here. In the last decade of May, the third annual meeting of deputy foreign ministers of Central Asian states (an event organized by the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy – UNRCCA and held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan) was focused on enhancing regional cooperation and sustainable development. In the same time, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan Mahmudjon Sobirov received the U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Geoffrey Pyatt. Mr Pyatt expressed desire of the US side to facilitate trade between Central and South Asia. In his turn, M. Sobirov expressed hope that the US will also support the implementation of energy projects in Tajikistan that would contribute not only to the economic development of Tajikistan, but to the entire region, since these projects will allow Tajikistan to export energy to the countries of South Asia. In another part of the world, Europe – Germany announced that it will gradually close all nuclear reactors by 2020. Likewise, Switzerland. But until to this “green future”, existing energy alternatives cannot yet cover the energy needs of the European, American or Chinese. In this context, the fuel resources of the countries of Central Asia makes this space an issue for the diplomatic front where the battle is becoming increasingly fierce. Whether we speak of the European Union or China, the basic idea remains the same and was sound enough: diversify supplies in order to reduce structural dependence on Russia. In this discussion we will limit to the moves from the European side. Projects started, projects delayed and too few concrete results. Moreover, history seems again from Russia’s side. Unrest in North Africa and the Middle East increases the need of European Union to find new solutions to ensure energy needs. So no wonder there is a European Union diplomatic offensive on the all possible fronts.

Nabucco vs South Stream

When talking about the two major energy projects of European Southern Corridor, we mainly observed that Western European diplomacy has always tried, at least in public, a delicate balance by supporting both projects. Diplomats and officials from Austria, Germany or even Italy have defined open the option to support both projects. What mattered in the price of gas imported from Russia. In contrast, the countries of Eastern Europe, namely Bulgaria and Romania have tried without much success a dual approach. Berlin, for instance, was (and still is) interested in opening new pipeline routes out of Central Asia in order to diminish the European Union’s dependence on Russian energy. German diplomats also were on the lookout for ways to boost trade in ways that benefited German manufacturers. In addition, the German military was eager to retain access to a military base at Termez, near the Uzbek-Afghan border. More, the meltdown of Kazakhstan’s banking sector in early 2009 cost German firms an estimated 500 million euros in lost investments, 300 million euros of which will have to be borne by German taxpayers. But the economic debacle did nothing to diminish Merkel’s enthusiasm for engagement with Astana. But from Moscow the diplomatic offensive of Germany was overlooked, given the many economic and political projects common to both countries. In contrast, many of Romania’s diplomatic contacts in Central Asia (even though concrete results have minor) were born from the Kremlin a grumble; however, the relations between the two countries are not the happiest. Romanian diplomacy seems unable to adapt in real time to the dynamic changes in the international community. (Full text)

PublishedOriental Review, June 4, 2011

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Saxo Bank’s outrageous predictions for 2011

Although a few of last year’s predictions actually came true, Saxo Bank has released their outrageous predictions for 2011. They are meant to be true outliers and not actual predictions, so don’t expect them to hit 10 for 10 or even 7 for 10.  They say these are the “rare scenarios that could have a significant impact on the markets in 2011”. The point of the list is to help people think about outlier scenarios and what it might take to see these come to pass.
Let’s take a look at what can bring the new year:
  • U.S Congress blocks Bernanke’s QE3
  • Apple buys Facebook
  • U.S. Dollar Index tops 100
  • U.S. 30-year Treasury yield slides to 3%
  • Aussie-sterling dives 25%
  • Crude oil gushes before correcting by one third
  • Natural gas surges 50%
  • Gold powers to $1,800 as currency wars escalate
  • S&P 500 reaches all-time high
  • Russia RTS Index reaches 2,500
  • FT Alphaville has a fuller discussion about each prediction here. Which of the above will make in 2011 ? The readers interested in statistics can to read here what Saxo predicted for 2010 (they were right on 3 out of its 10).

    Book presentation:“The Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis”

    March 5th, 2010, presentation of the book Iulian Chifu, Oleksandr Sushko, Oazu Nantoi – “The Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis” will take place from 11:00 to 13:00 at the press-centre of the National News Agency of Ukraine UKRINFORM (Kyiv, Bogdana Khmelnytskogo street, 8/16). Borys Tarasyuk will make the presentation as a welcome speaker.

    The publication aims  to provide  for comparative analysis of 2009 Russia-Ukraine gas
    crisis’  impact on decision-making processes  in  the  three neighboring countries: Ukraine, Romania and  the Republic of Moldova. The research  is based on cognitive  institutionalized approach developed by the Crisis Management Europe Program under the guidance of the Center for Crisis Management Research and Training (CRISMART) at the Swedish National Defense College.

    Bilingual: English- Ukrainian; Translation: Oksana Shulyar

    About authors:

    • Oleksandr Sushko is a Research Director of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic cooperation (Kyiv, Ukraine), activist and expert of “Europe without Borders” civic initiative, his feld of expertise: foreign and security policy, European integration, EU and NATO-related studies, freedom of movement, visa regimes.
    • Iulian Chifu is  the Director of  the Confict Prevention and Early Warning Bucharest, and professor at  the National School  for Political and Administrative Studies Bucharest, specialized in Confict Analysis and Decision Making in Crisis, Romania.
    • Oazu Nantoi is a Project director of the Institute for Public Policy (Chisinau, Republic of Moldova). Oazu is one of the key authors of well know concept for Transnistria solution: Democratisation, Decriminalisation, Demilitarisation (“Three D”).