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August 06 2013

Energy and Politics : Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

Energy and Politics: Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

The European Union launched the Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the twofold aim of strengthening the diversification of Europe’s gas sources and transportation routes, and reducing the role of upstreamers in the European gas market. The clear preference expressed by the European Commission - the corridor’s mastermind - for Nabucco was expected to weigh in heavily, allowing the EU-backed project to easily win the competition. However, other factors, beyond political support, ended up tilting the balance decisively in favour of Nabucco West’s final rival, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). These do not include only the technical and commercial criteria set out by the Shah Deniz II consortium, but also more mundane considerations. Nabucco West’s complex organizational and decision-making procedures, the attractiveness of the exemption from Third Party Access (TPA) granted by the EU to TAP, and SOCAR’s specific interest in the Greek market also influenced the consortium’s final decision. An analysis of the Southern Gas Corridor competition suggests that when it comes to energy, political support and institutional involvement do not always represent the decisive element, and may be counterproductive at times.

#russie #europe #énergie #gaz #nabucco #tap

The Winner is TAP : The EU's Failed Policy in the South Caucasus

The Winner is TAP: The EU’s Failed Policy in the South Caucasus

Between the two competitors for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe ­ Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) ­ the winner is the latter, a project designed to transport Caspian gas via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy. The EU welcomed the decision of the Shah Deniz consortium. Yet the political objective of the Southern Corridor was to diversify gas supply to Europe and reduce the energy dependence of some EU member states on Russia. With TAP as the winner, it is questionable whether the EU has truly met these goals. As for Azerbaijan, the selection of TAP can be viewed as a commercially sound decision and a political balancing act by Baku to gain access to European markets and to avoid angering the Kremlin. Yet this choice came only after President Alyev failed to convince the EU to take a clearer stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process in exchange for Nabucco West. For its part, the EU has failed to be a credible actor in the region, able to defend its interests by diversifying energy supplies, decreasing the energy dependence of some member states on Russia and contributing to regional security in the South Caucasus.

#énergie #caucase #pipelines #gaz #pétrole #tap

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