Wednesday, April 8

Faith of Nabucco

Radio Azadliq recently published an article of the faith of Nabucco (aimed at carrying gas from Central Asia and the Caspian to Europe). In the article they quote Alexandros Peterson, the representative of Atlantic Council in the US who says given the agreement between Azerbaijan's recent decision on gas transfer with Russia the project will become an illusion. 

On March 27th, following SOCAR director Rovnaq Abdullayev's visit to Moscow, a MOU was signed between the two countries on long- term supplies for Central Asia gas to Russia at market prices. First deliveries are expected by January 2010.

Such bold step taken by Russia is simply a sign of the country's fear for losing its grip over the Caspian basin energy exports. Such an agreement also came as a blow to the EU. 

According to Pavel Baev, a senior researcher at Oslo International Peace Research Institute, this new project, could make Nabucco irrelevant, given that Azerbaijan is the most likely gas supplier for Nabucco. Deviating Azerbaijan's gas from Nabucco will also result in reduction of the volume to be pumped available for the pipeline. 

"The Azeri situation has significantly changed in the last nine months. The Russia- Georgia war increased Moscow's position in the South Caucasus and showed the relative weakness of the West. There have also been important developments in the policy of Turkey, Azerbaijan's strategic ally, in the region. The visible intensification of the relations between Ankara and Moscow, the proposal for increased cooperation of these two in the Caucasus, the change in Turkish- Armenian relations and rumors of the possibility of solving the NK conflict, led to a reshuffling of the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus, diminishing the strength of the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey and placing the pro- western Azerbaijan in a difficult situation" explained Loskot- Strachota, the energy policy analyst at the Centre of Eastern Studies in Warsaw.

But was Azerbaijan really that desperate that it had no other option but to turn to Russia? Or was it all part of its strategy to show how crucial it is for this country not to see the opening up of borders between Turkey and Armenia before the Karabakh conflict is resolved? And even so, was it worth of giving into the paws of the bear in the North?


Anonymous said...

I feel like these gas deals, along with the crumbling state of democracy in Azerbaijan, show that Baku is unfortunately turning toward Moscow. I hope it works out for the people of Azerbaijan, but considering Russia's track record, I doubt that it will.

Arzu Geybulla said...

I agree! its also unwise to turn to Russia as Azerbaijan should know better than anyone else how Russia sees the Caucasus.