Scramble for Caspian Energy: Can Big Power Competition Sidestep China and India?
The post-Soviet developments in and around the Caspian Sea have been so incredibly swift that observers and analysts find it difficult to keep abreast of all nuances of changes year after year. When the entire Caspian theater shifted possession from two owners to five owners of the sea, the arithmetic of everything surrounding the Caspian suddenly changed. Some of these developments such as ownership dispute over the Caspian, the legal status of the sea, possession and access to seafaring and exploitation of resources, building of the Navy for each independent state, and other similar issues are quite baffling simply because nearly two decades of negotiations have yielded few tangible results to resolve mutual bickering. Besides these burning issues the Caspian Sea found itself in the vertex of an unprecedented geopolitical competition surrounding its hydrocarbon reserves. These competitions have become so intense over the years that after the successful construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline and the parallel Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) gas pipeline, a new gas connectivity called Nabucco between five countries—Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, and Austria—has taken shape. Its doors are open for others to join. This has considerably sharpened the ongoing regional geopolitical competition on a scale never seen before.
KeywordsEnergy Security Caspian Basin Central Asian Region Pipeline Project Hydrocarbon Reserve
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