The energy future of the Black Sea-Caspian Region. Nina Dyulgerova
THE ENERGY FUTURE OF THE BLACK SEA –CASPIAN REGION
Prof. Nina Dyulgerova, Doctor Habil. of Economics
The first decade of the 21st century has laid out the new challenges and configurations which in turn set the new geopolitical outlines of the emerging new world. The parameters of social polarization, based on force and ideology, which dominated the 19th and 20th century, have been left behind. The world is once again characterized by confrontation, which, however, constantly shifts both in characters and direction – from global terrorism through civilizational choices to energy dependence. And unless the first two elements of confrontation are eliminated, the third element - energy options and choices determining current and future changes in global and regional space - could not possibly be ignored. The fact that the world will, from now on, follow different rules, is inevitable. These rules will determine international stratification not as much on the basis of the traditional parameters of by-gone centuries, but on the basis of the vision and actions of old (of the bipolar world)/ new (Eurasian tigers) players in the energy field, with its expanding options for dynamic dislocation.
The geo-energy space, in which political combinations accompany, and often outpace economic priorities, is imbued with unpredictability and challenges of versatile nature. The last few years have shaped the main aspects which unite/separate the states and outline the geographic parameters of changes. These are the diversification projects in energy, concentrated within the strictly defined geo-energy triangle – production, transit and consumption. The place and role of the respective country in the sub-regional and regional stratification are defined depending on whether the said country produces/transits, transits or simply consumes oil and gas.
In the first decade of the 21st century, this geo-energy triangle was characterized by a pronounced Eurasian vector directed towards Europe, with predictable geo-energy dimensions and layout, which account for the change in the content of the term “Eurasia”.
The struggle for diversification of energy supplies and routes unfolds under the token of Russian and European/American projects which closely encompass the Caspian-Black Sea area. This area now comprises not only the traditional Central Asia and Caucasus, but, to a full degree, the Balkan region as well, as an invariable part of oil and gas routes.
In the next decade of the 21st century, however, these outlines will undergo significant changes, subject to current trends, the beginning of which has already been staked in the last few years. The centre of global confrontation will emerge to be the Eurasian region but in much wider boundaries – Caucasus, Central Asia, China, the Persian Gulf, the Middle East. In this sphere of collision, energy and security go hand in hand and together will determine global agenda. Within such geographic parameters, the configuration will be determined not so much by producing states but by those states that have concentrated, within their territories, the largest number of transit corridors for raw materials. Such a country is currently Turkey, which is very much aware of its advantage and makes the most of it. This is the very direction in which China demonstrates considerable activity, while Turkmenistan attempts, as yet through political endeavours only, to emerge from behind the shadow of Russian dependence. Each of the other countries in the region is subject to both the dynamic clash at a global and regional level, and to the ethno-confessional changes accompanying the civilization aspect of energy-producing Eurasia.
The future of the Black Sea – Caspian area is held hostage by two main axioms which are set to determine global development.
- Geo-energy – the main corrective in international relations where political and diplomatic games will determine economic results;
- In a global plan, the processes of economic globalization and political fragmentation will persevere.