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  • Author: Hakim Darbouche
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's statement to Spain's El PaĆ­s1 that the idea of a 'gas-OPEC' should not a priori be excluded, adds to a series of twists, among which was Vladimir Putin's confirmation on 1 February that the idea of a gas cartel was an 'interesting one' worth considering further. Hitherto, this gas saga featured Russia, Algeria, the EU, NATO and Iran. The story revolves around Russian-Algerian mingling on gas matters, spurring European and Transatlantic concerns over the prospects of a 'gas OPEC'. At a time of increasing European dependence on foreign energy supplies, these developments have been interpreted as being part of a wider effort, led by Russia, to use energy as a lever to undermine European diplomacy. These allegations have been dismissed by Algeria and Russia, whose leaders insist that their cooperation is intended to optimise their benefits and those of their customers alike. This paper examines the underpinnings of these developments by assessing the likelihood of their culmination in a gas cartel and offers an insight into the potential policy choices behind them.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Algeria
  • Author: Keith C. Smith
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Russia's tough stance towards Ukraine on natural gas prices was viewed by many in Europe and the United States as raising new issues concerning Russia's foreign economic policies and growing European and US dependency on energy imports. For many new EU member states and for countries such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, however, this is an old problem. Central European attempts to flag the issue in Western capitals have until now been brushed aside. The rapid approval by the EU Commission of the Russian-German undersea gas pipeline project was a mistake. The concerns of the Central Europeans should have been examined in more detail. Western governments would also be wise to analyse more closely the political and security implications of Russia's energy policies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Asia, Germany