Oil Geopolitics in the South Caucasus

Oil Geopolitics in the South Caucasus

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Web-dossier

Politics in the South Caucasus region cannot be viewed in isolation from developments worldwide and especially in the context of economic contest and tensions among the “great powers” active in the broader European, Middle East and Eurasian region. Decrease in prices on fossil fuel resources, fight over the routes of delivery of energy resources to the Western markets and struggle for political domination over the nations of weak/fragile sovereignty are manifested in a number of conflicts and social-economic and political turmoil taking place in these nations. Therefore the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation decided to devote this particular issue of the web-dossier to the exploration of linkages between international energy and domestic politics in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

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As the world goes through what some pundits have already called a new “energy revolution”, one of its most obvious and far-reaching consequences is the downward trend in oil and natural gas prices. Coupled with recent geopolitical developments, namely the so called “Iranian opening”, this development looks set to open up new opportunities for Armenia.

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Azerbaijan is a key actor in the South Caucasus, reshaping the borders of influence of regional and extra-regional powers. So far its leading role has been defined by the availability of hydrocarbon resources, which the country has successfully used to manoeuvre between the clashing interests of powerful players and thus managed not to become excessively dependent on any of them.

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Georgia's unique location at a strategically important crossroads makes it a country of key geopolitical interest to Russia, Turkey, USA and the EU. It is located in a region known for its volatility due to the existing ethnic, religious, political and military tensions after the collapse of the Soviet Union.