Eurasia, where focused most of the geopolitical theories, experienced numerous wars, conflicts, revolutions, and chaos and became a candidate for aforementioned tendencies. The main object for wars and conflicts were “to capture more territories” and “enlargement”, while main politics was “divide, share and conquer”.
The first and second World Wars put their traces in memories by the deployment and application of heavy weapons and ammunitions, while Cold War made a distinguished name for itself by mass destructive weapons (MDW) threat. Nowadays, notwithstanding, Eurasia remained as a centre for geopolitical and geo-economical conflicts, but conflict objects are neither heavy weapons, nor MDWs. Today’s conflict objects are natural (oil, gas, coal, and uranium) and biological (fresh water and food) resources, including export routes (pipelines).
Eurasian continent plays crucial role in the provision of world energy security. Namely, in this context, Eurasia witnesses today’s energy conflicts. However, this is only a common approach. The interesting point is that the Eurasian continent is not separately an “energy hub”. The continent emerging as a “main energy hub” composed of energy sub-hubs such as Mediterranean basin, Northern Sea basin, Baltic Sea basin, Kara Sea basin, Black Sea basin, Caspian Sea basin, Central Asia, Middle East region, Persian Gulf, South Chinese Sea basin, and Russia (Western Siberia, Sakhalin, Arctic coasts and etc.) Each of them contains significant amount of energy resources, as it constitutes their common sides. Eurasian continent owns almost most types of natural resources, while those resources focused on different regions (energy sub-hubs). Energy resources can be classified as a renewable energy sources and conventional energy sources, such as:
However, Eurasia is not able to gain status of “common energy hub” in geopolitical studies. Notwithstanding the above-mentioned energy sub-hubs located in entire continent, they are not located in one country or region. Energy resources focused in countries which geopolitically, geo-economically, and politically different. However, these differences end with common case – Conflicts! As main factors of energy conflicts in Eurasia, we can mention followings: resource capacity factor; military-political factors; financial and investment factor; geographical and environmental factor; and technological factor. The below-mentioned scheme explains the point better:
From the other hand, one can say that Russia is not a region from the geographical point of view. However, Russia intends to emerge as an “energy super power” in, around and beyond the region in geopolitical context by implementing its sneaky energy policy. Energy resources are used very rationally by Russia in order to gain its previous super power. One may clearly notice it in Russia’s relations with Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asian, South Caucasian and European Union Member States, including with European Union.
Certainly, energy security should not be perceived as only a meeting of the domestic energy consumption. Energy security also considers the transportation of energy resources through reliable and secure routes to reliable clients while it raises the “pipeline diplomacy” question. There are many challenges, which pose a threat for the entire energy security of Eurasian continent, such as usage of energy resources for political purposes; depletion of energy resources; continuous wars and conflicts, including terrorism in Eurasia; geopolitical challenges for energy transportation routes. The main reasons for emerging of energy conflicts is determination of routes through which will be constructed pipelines and selection of the transit states. Energy conflicts in Eurasia might be summarized as followings:
– Russian Federation’s periphery (Russia geographically is not a region, but might be geopolitically considered as a “region” in terms of its vast energy resources and bordering with energy-conflict-regions);
– The Sea basins (energy sub-hubs such as Mediterranean basin, North Sea basin, Baltic Sea basin, Kara Sea basin, Black Sea basin, Caspian Sea basin, Persian Gulf, and South China Sea basin);
– The Caspian Basin (Legal Status of Caspian Sea; Implementation of Trans-Caspian pipeline project; militarization of Caspian Sea); More tension emerged in the framework of Legal Status of Caspian Sea;
– The Mediterranean basin (energy factor in Israel – Lebanon – Cyprus – Turkey – Palestine political five-angle (relations), including interests of foreign energy companies toward region);
– The Black Sea basin (Russian-led Southern Stream pipeline project; delineation problem of Black Sea sectors between Romania and Bulgaria and etc.);
– The South China Sea basin (Shale gas fields; territorial disputes for South China Sea among China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and others.);
– European territories (Russian-Balkan States (Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and etc.) energy relations; Russian – Ukrainian / Moldavian / Lithuanian / Polish energy disputes);
– Central Asia (Implementation of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian pipeline project (TAPI); TAPI vs. IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India); Russian (Gazprom), Iranian, Taliban and U.S. factor in TAPI project); Economic and political challenges in the implementation process of TAPI project);
– Middle East region and Persian Gulf (Arab spring; U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003); U.S’s Economic Sanctions toward Iran; Iran’s Nuclear Program; Syrian tension; PKK, Kurdish tension; U.S’s military (naval) presence in the Gulf region);
– Emergence of Shale Gas and Oil Fields in Eurasia (France, Germany, UK, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Turkey etc and its threat to conventional energy suppliers – Russia, Middle East countries, Caspian states);
– Pipeline / LNG routes (Nabucco/Nabucco-West; Trans-Caspian Pipeline; South Stream; Nord Stream, White Stream, AGRI (Azerbaijani – Georgian – Romanian Interconnector), Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP); ITGI (Interconnector of Turkey-Greece-Italy); TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India); IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India); Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO);
– Arctic region (the energy resources of Arctic region and the struggle of Arctic’s coastal countries – Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, including China (is not a coastal state) – for energy resources).
According to Andre Comte-Sponville “energy security is an ever continuous and never stopped war”. In his piece, so-called “Sayavush of Our Century”, Mammad Amin Rasulzade (President of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan) wrote: “That is (oil – auth.) such a power that connects the entire world with itself”.
However, the next century can examine the hunger of energy resources. Therefore, most of the countries are developing their renewable energy sector. European states are in the front line due the development of renewable energy sector. One must not underestimate the benefits of renewable energy sources. The future of the world economy depends on renewable energy that is both sustainable and ecologically friendly. There are several reasons for that:
1. Energy consumption and needs are rising very fast, while fossil fuels will not last for long-run. These resources will become increasingly scarce and expensive. In this case, there is going to be an energy crisis, which will have a devastating effect over world economy. Usage of alternative energy sources (wind, solar hydro energy, tidal and geothermal energy etc.) helps to economize the conventional energy resources (oil, gas and coal) for future generation, while also considered as an environmentally clean during production.
2. Ecological crisis can cause global warming, while it can be resulted with melting of polar ice caps. Renewable energy sector can solve the global warming problem and this will have an effect on the world economy and communities in the world.
3. Renewable energy sources might be the best tool in order to reduce pollution in the world. Recycling and re-production of industrial and household wastes into energy can help to economize resources, including fuelling of those wastes can provide heat and power for our own houses.
4. Renewable energy will decrease the energy dependency of some energy-poor countries upon oil and gas rich countries. Renewable fuels can be also produced domestically in every country (despite of fossil fuels).
5. Most of the energy-rich countries rely on revenues from oil and natural gas sales. From the other side, the world population is growing steadily. Domestically produced renewable energy can help those countries to grow their economies with revenues of it.
6. By accessing to renewable energy sources, many new jobs places might be created, notably for technical specialist and engineers on this area.
7. The investment in alternative energy sector will be a very smart initiative, because it is an investment in the future of energy and it means a great opportunity to save the planet’s resources and benefit on your capital at the same time.
To sum up, unless energy resources will not be depleted, energy conflicts between energy rich and energy poor countries, as well as, transit countries will continue in Eurasia. In fact, energy resources perform as both rivalry and cooperation factor between regions and regional states.
Click for original article: Energy Conflicts in the Energy Sub-Hubs of Eurasia: How to get rid of it?