Geopolitics and Gas-Transit Security Through Pipelines

  • Volkan Ş. EdigerEmail author
  • John V. Bowlus
  • Mustafa Aydın


Hydrocarbons are valuable only if they can be transited from where they are produced to where they are consumed. Despite the enduring importance of transit to the global energy system, the topic did not begin to be extensively analyzed until contentious relations between Russia and Ukraine disrupted natural gas flows to Europe in 2006. This chapter examines the geopolitics and security of transiting gas through pipelines by exploring the connection between geography, global energy strategies, and natural gas markets. Gas has grown in recent years as a percentage of global energy consumption and is helping the world transition to a cleaner energy regime. At the same time, it is intensifying the contest for and control of gas-transit routes. Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, has built new pipelines to Europe since 2006 in order to diversify its flow from relying on Ukraine, while the USA, the world’s largest gas producer, is increasingly exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) through sea routes mostly controlled by the US navy. We argue that geostrategic calculations will more profoundly affect gas transit in the future and that countries that rely solely on market or commercial factors for their gas-transit security will become increasingly vulnerable to geopolitical volatility.


Energy transit Geopolitics Security Natural gas Political economy Pipelines 


  1. Adamson DM (1985) Soviet gas and European security. Energy Policy 13(1):13–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akdemir OI (2011) Global energy circulation, Turkey’s geographical location and petropolitics. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 19:71–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aktürk AA (2008) Turkey as a hub for transit projects. Energy Charter Secretariat.,_June_19/3.3. Accessed 5 August 2018
  4. Alam S (2002) Pipeline politics in the Caspian Sea Basin. Strateg Anal 26(1):5–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aliyev H (1998) Dünya siyasetinde Azerbaycan petrolü. Sabah Kitapları, İstanbulGoogle Scholar
  6. Arslan-Ayaydin Ö, Khagleeva I (2014) Geopolitical Market Concentration (GMC) risk of Turkish crude oil and natural gas imports. In: Perspectives on energy risk. Springer, Berlin, pp 103–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Austvik OG (2016) The Energy Union and security-of-gas supply. Energy Policy 96:372–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Austvik OL, Rzayeva G (2017) Turkey in the geopolitics of energy. Energy Policy 107:539–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Aydın M (2001) Geopolitics of Central Asia and the Caucasus; continuity and change since the end of the Cold War. Turkish Yearb Intl Rel 32:167–216Google Scholar
  10. Aydın M (2004) Oil, pipelines and security; geopolitics of the Caspian Region. In: Gammer M (ed) The Caspian Region; a re-emerging region, vol I. Routledge, New York, pp 3–31Google Scholar
  11. Bahgat G (2005) Energy security: The Caspian Sea. Miner Energy Raw Mater Rep 20(2):3–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Baldwin D (1997) The concept of security. Rev Int Stud 23:5–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Balmaceda MM (1998) Gas, oil and the linkages between domestic and foreign policies: the case of Ukraine. Eur Asia Stud 50(2):257–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bilgin M (2010) Turkey’s energy strategy: what difference does it make to become an energy transit corridor, HUB or center? UNISCI Discussion Papers 23:113–128Google Scholar
  15. Bouzarovski S (2009) East-Central Europe’s changing energy landscapes: a place for geography. Area 41(4):452–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bowlus JV (2013) Connecting midstream: the politics and economics of oil transportation in the Middle East. D. Phil. thesis, Georgetown UniversityGoogle Scholar
  17. Burges D (2013) Cargo theft, loss prevention, and supply chain security. Heinemann, ButterworthGoogle Scholar
  18. Buzan B, Wæver O, de Wilde J (1998) Security: a new framework for analysis. Lynne Rienner, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  19. Buzek J (2011) Speech by Professor Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament: “European energy alliance”. First Annual Congress, Brussels, 2.4.2011Google Scholar
  20. Calvert K (2016) From ‘energy geography’ to ‘energy geographies’: perspectives on a fertile academic borderland. Prog Hum Geogr 40(1):105–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chapman JD (1967) Manners, Gerald. The geography of energy. London, Hutchinson University Library, 1964. 205 pages. Cahiers de Géographie du Québec 11(24):591–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cherp A, Jewell J (2014) The concept of energy security: beyond four A’s. Energy Policy 75:415–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Chester L (2010) Conceptualising energy security and making explicit its polysemic nature. Energy Policy 38:887–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Cohen A (2006) The North European gas pipeline threatens Europe’s energy security. The Heritage FoundationGoogle Scholar
  25. Correlje A, Van de Linde C (2006) Energy supply security and geopolitics: a European perspective. Energy Policy 34:532–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dancy JR, Dancy VA (2017) Terrorism and oil & gas pipeline infrastructure: vulnerability and potential liability for cybersecurity attacks. Oil Gas Nat Resour Energy J 2(6):579–619Google Scholar
  27. Di Castri T (2014) Pipe dreams: rethinking petroleum pipelines past and present. MPhil Thesis, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge UniversityGoogle Scholar
  28. Ediger VŞ (2007) Energy supply security and its relationship with national security. In: Energy supply security. SAREM Publications, Ankara, pp 1–47. In Turkish with English AbstractGoogle Scholar
  29. Ediger VŞ (2011a) Energy transition periods: lessons learnt from the past. In: The oil era: emerging challenges. ECSSR (The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research) Publications, Abu Dhabi, pp 175–202Google Scholar
  30. Ediger VŞ (2011b) New world order in energy and Turkey. Akademi Forumu No. 67, Ankara, TÜBA-Turkish Academy of Sciences. [In Turkish]Google Scholar
  31. Ediger VŞ, Berk İ (2018) Geostrategic challenges in the oil and gas sectors. In: Dorsman A, Ediger VŞ, Karan MB (eds) Energy economics, finance, and geostrategy. Springer, BernGoogle Scholar
  32. Ediger VŞ, Bowlus JV (2019) A farewell to King Coal: geopolitics, energy security, and the transition to oil. Hist J 62(2):427–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Energy Charter Secretariat (2015) International energy security: common concept for energy producing, consuming and transit countriesGoogle Scholar
  34. European Commission (2014) Communication from the commission to the European Parliament and the council, European energy security strategy. Brussels, 28.5.2014 COM(2014) 330 final. Accessed 24 Dec 2018
  35. Eurostat (2018) EU imports of energy products – recent developments. Accessed 24 Dec 2018
  36. Francés GE (2011) Market or geopolitics? The Europeanization of EU’s energy corridors. Int J Energy Sect Manage 5(1):39–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Graaf VT, Colgan JD (2017) Russian gas games or well-oiled conflict? Energy security and the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Energy Res Soc Sci 24:59–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Grigas A (2017) The new geopolitics of natural gas. Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hancock KJ, Vivoda V (2014) International political economy: a field born of the OPEC crisis returns to its energy roots. Energy Res Soc Sci 1:206–216. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Henderson J (2016) Does Russia have a potent gas weapon. In: Van de Graaf T, Sovacool BK, Ghosh A, Kern F, Klare MT (eds) The Palgrave handbook of international political economy. Palgrave Macmillon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Henderson J, Heather P (2012) Lessons from the February 2012 European gas “crisis”. Oxford Institute for Energy StudiesGoogle Scholar
  42. Henry R, Osowski C, Chalk P, Bartis JT (2012) Prologue, promoting international energy security 3, Sea-lanes to Asia. RAND CorporationGoogle Scholar
  43. Hirschhausen C et al (2005) Transporting Russian gas to Western Europe – a simulation analysis. Energy J 26(2):49–68Google Scholar
  44. Högselius P (2012) Red gas: Russia and the origins of European energy dependence. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  45. Ikenberry GJ (1986) The irony of state strength: comparative responses to the oil shocks in the 1970s. Int Organ 40(1):105–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Isbell P (2007) Paul Isbell revisits the energy security debate, Oxford Energy Forum, November, p 3–13Google Scholar
  47. Jentleson B (1986) Pipeline politics: the complex political economy of east-west energy trade. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NYGoogle Scholar
  48. Jonchère JP (2001) Gas/power synergy: a least-cost and environmentally sensitive option. J Energy Dev 25(2):259–276Google Scholar
  49. Kardaş Ş (2012) Turkey-Russia energy relations: the limits of forging cooperation through economic interdependence. Int J 67(1):81–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kissinger HA (1982) Years of upheaval. Little, Brown and Company, BostonGoogle Scholar
  51. Kononenko V (2009) Russia: strategic loneliness. The World Today 65(7):23–24Google Scholar
  52. Kovacevic A (2009) The impact of the Russia–Ukraine gas crisis in South Eastern Europe. Oxford Institute for Energy StudiesGoogle Scholar
  53. Krauss C (2018) Cyberattack shows vulnerability of gas pipeline network. New York Times, 4 April 2018.
  54. Lawal MO (2001) Historical development of the pipeline as a mode of transportation. Geograph Bull 43(2):91–99Google Scholar
  55. Leal-Arcas R (2015) How governing international trade in energy can enhance EU Energy Security. Renew Energy Law Policy Rev 6(3):202–219Google Scholar
  56. Leal-Arcas R, Peykova M, Choudhury T, Makhaul M (2015) Energy transit intergovernmental agreements on oil and gas transit pipelines. Renew Energy Law Policy Rev 6(2):122–162Google Scholar
  57. Lehmann TC (2017) The geopolitics of global energy: the new cost of plenty. Lynne Rienner, Boulder, COGoogle Scholar
  58. Licklider R (1988) The power of oil: the Arab oil weapon and the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the United States. Int Stud Q 32(2):205–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Liu H (2003) Pipeline engineering. Taylor & FrancisGoogle Scholar
  60. Luft G, Korin A (2009) Realism and idealism in the energy security debate. In: Luft G, Korin A (eds) Energy security challenges for the 21st century: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO LLC, Santa Barbara, CA, pp 335–349Google Scholar
  61. Luten DB (1971) The economic geography of energy. Sci Am 225(3):164–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mañé-Estrada A (2006) European energy security: towards the creation of the geo-energy space. Energy Policy 34:3773–3786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. MENR-Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey (2014) 2015–2019 Strategic Plan.
  64. Mills R (2016) Risky routes: energy transit in the Middle East. Brookings Doha Center, QatarGoogle Scholar
  65. Møller B (2000) The concept of security: the pros and cons of expansion and contraction. Working paper. Copenhagen Peace Research InstituteGoogle Scholar
  66. Odell PR (1980) Geography and energy. Area 12(1):86–87Google Scholar
  67. Offenberg P (2016) The European neighbourhood and The EU’s security of supply with natural gas, Jacques Delors Institute, Berlin, Policy PapersGoogle Scholar
  68. Özdemir V, Yavuz HB, Tokgöz E (2015) The Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) as a unique project in the Eurasian gas network: a comparative analysis. Util Policy 37:97–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pamir N (2009) Turkey: a case of a transit state. In: Luft G, Korin A (eds) Energy security challenges for the 21st century: a reference handbook. ABC-CLIO LLC, Santa Barbara, CA, pp 250–260Google Scholar
  70. Pasqualetti MJ (2011) The geography of energy and the wealth of the world. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 101(4):971–980CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Paust JJ, Blaustein AP (1974) The Arab oil weapon; a threat to international peace. Am J Int Law 68(3):410–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Pirani S, Henderson J, Honore A, Rogers H, Yafimava K (2014) What the Ukraine crisis means for gas markets. The Oxford Institute for Energy StudiesGoogle Scholar
  73. Raszewski S (2013) The weakest link?: Hedging energy security challenges and opportunities within the Eastern neighborhood. The Mediteranean and The Black Sea/Caspian Region, CIES Neighborhood Policy Paper 7Google Scholar
  74. Roberts J (2010) Turkey as a regional energy hub. Insight Turkey 12(3):39–48Google Scholar
  75. Ruseckas L (2000) Turkey and Eurasia: opportunities and risks in the Caspian pipeline derby. J Int Aff 54(1):217–236Google Scholar
  76. Rzayeva G (2018) Gas supply changes in Turkey. Oxford Institute for Energy StudiesGoogle Scholar
  77. Samsam Bakhtiari AM, Shahbudaghlou F (1998) OPEC and natural gas. OPEC Rev 22(3):185–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Scholl E, Westphal K (2017) European energy security reimagined mapping the risks, challenges and opportunities of changing energy geographies, SWP research paper, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik German Institute for International and Security AffairsGoogle Scholar
  79. Selivanova Y (2012) International energy governance: the role of the Energy Charter, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, American Society of International Law 106, Confronting Complexity, p 394–398Google Scholar
  80. Shaffer B (2011) Energy politics. University of Pennsylvania PressGoogle Scholar
  81. Sharples J (2012) Russo-Polish energy security relations: a case of threatening dependency, supply guarantee, or regional energy security dynamics? Polit Perspect 6(1):27–50Google Scholar
  82. Siddayao CN (1997) Is netback value of gas economically efficient? OPEC Rev 21(3):151–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Skalamera M (2015) The Ukraine Crisis: the neglected gas factor. Orbis 59(3):398–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Smil V (2000) Energy in the twentieth century: resources, conversions, costs, uses, and consequences. Ann Rev Energy Environ 25:21–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Smolansky O (2004) Ukraine and Russia: an evolving marriage of inconvenience. Orbis 48(1):117–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Sovacool BK (2012) Energy security: challenges and needs. WIREs Energy Environ 1:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Sovacool BK, Brown MA (2009) Competing dimensions of energy security: an international perspective, Georgia Tech, Ivan Allen College, School of public policy, Working paper 45Google Scholar
  88. Stevens P (2000) Pipelines or pipe dreams? Lessons from the history of Arab transit pipelines. Middle East J 54:224–241Google Scholar
  89. Stevens P (2008) Transit troubles: pipelines as a source of conflict. A Chatham House Report,
  90. Tagliapietra S (2014) The EU-Turkey energy relations after the 2014 Ukraine crisis. Fondazione Eni Enrico MatteiGoogle Scholar
  91. UNDP and World Bank (2003) Cross-border oil and gas pipelines: problems and prospects. Joint UNDP/World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program Report,
  92. Van der Linde C (2004) Study on energy supply security and geopolitics. Final Report prepared for DGTREN. TREN C1/06 2002. ETAP Programme by Clingendael International Energy Program (CIEP)Google Scholar
  93. Victor DG, Yueh L (2010) The new energy order: managing insecurities in the twenty-first century. Foreign Aff 89(1):61–73Google Scholar
  94. Waldman J (2017) How the oil pipeline began. July 6, 2017, Nautilus (science magazine).
  95. Walts KN (1979) Theory of international politics. Princeton State University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  96. Weiner C (2016) Central and East European diversification under new gas market conditions. Centre for Economic and Regional Studies HAS Institute of World Economics, Working paper 221:1–79Google Scholar
  97. Weiss AS, Bartis JT, Sawak CA (2012) Promoting international energy security, RAND CorporationGoogle Scholar
  98. Westphal K (2009) Russian gas, Ukrainian pipelines, and European supply security. SWP Research Paper No 11. Berlin.
  99. Wigen E (2012) Pipe dreams or dream pipe? Turkey’s hopes of becoming an energy Hub. Middle East J 66(4):598–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wilbanks TJ (1985) Geography and energy: the quest for roles and mission. In: Calzonetti FJ, Solomon BD (eds) Geographical dimensions of energy. D. Reidel, Dordrecht, pp 497–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Winrow G (2007) Geopolitics and energy security in the Wider Black Sea Region. Southeast Eur Black Sea Stud 7(2)Google Scholar
  102. Winzer C (2011) Conceptualizing energy security. EPRG Working paper 1123, Cambridge working paper in economics 1151.;jsessonid=857D5705AC312A652AE7B589240E41F7?sequence=1
  103. Winzer C (2012) Conceptualizing energy security. Energy Policy 46:36–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Wolfers A (1962) National security as an ambiguous symbol. In: Wolfers A (ed) Discord and collaboration. Essays on international politics. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp 147–165Google Scholar
  105. Yafimava K (2011) The transit dimension of EU energy security. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  106. Yergin D (2006) Ensuring energy security. Foreign Aff 85(2):69–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Yergin D (2008) The prize: the epic quest for oil, money, and power. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  108. Zetter K (2014) Countdown to zero day: Stuxnet and the launch of the World’s first digital weapon. Crown/Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volkan Ş. Ediger
    • 1
    Email author
  • John V. Bowlus
    • 1
  • Mustafa Aydın
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Energy and Sustainable Development (CESD)Kadir Has UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of International RelationsKadir Has UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations