Energy Transit and Security Imbalance in South Caucasus: The Road between Russia and the European Union

Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Creator: Gogita Bukhaidze. All rights reserved.

In recent years, the South Caucasus energy transit corridor has occupied a significant place within the formation of the European Union’s energy security system. It starts with Azerbaijan supplying the EU member states with Caspian Sea oil, using both offshore and onshore infrastructure. New gas pipelines are being designed and brought into use. Consequently, the issue of security and sustainability of South Caucasus’s transit potential is on the agenda. This can be secured through active cooperation with the EU, which is the main consumer of the Caspian energy resources.

Within the framework of mutual cooperation, the EU offers the countries of South Caucasus the opportunity to join its Energy Community, and promises to provide relevant support to establish a modern and competitive energy sector in those countries. Joining the Energy Community is expected to significantly deepen the EU’s economic cooperation with the countries of South Caucasus, particularly in the energy sector. This will mean for the South Caucasus states approximation with the EU economic systems, attracting investment from Europe, producing energy, supporting the development of energy networks, as well as ensuring their sustainability and safe use.

For its part, it is no secret that the transit potential of the Caspian energy resources is facing challenges. To ensure its stability and further development, it will be necessary to resolve issues with regards to these countries’ security, stability, sustainability and democratic development. Joining the European Energy Community would be a significant step for the transit countries of South Caucasus in terms of responding to the existing challenges. It would help the democratisation process, enhance the level of cooperation with the other members of the corridor, and share the common European norms and standards of the energy market in various formats. This would increase the level of mutual trust and cooperation between the parties and protect their national interests from the monopolistic aspirations of other powerful player that is active in this region.

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