Russia's occupation of the Crimea and possible incorporation of Eastern Ukrainian regions demonstrated Europe's vulnerability to Gazprom's energy power. Whatever the EU's reactions, diversification of energy supply to diminish Russia's market share is likely to be one of them. TAP is one step towards the strategic goal of diminishing Gazprom's huge presence in Europe. But in view of the proposed construction of the Russian South Stream, how could Central Europe, and especially Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Lithuania, ensure energy diversification? What next for the Southern Corridor? Is Russia going to accept and tolerate infrastructure growth of the Caspian and other competitors south of its borders?
Revised version of a paper presented at the seminar on "Azerbaijan and the Southern Gas Corridor: A Transatlantic Perspective", Rome, 18 December 2013. Paper prepared within the framework of the project "Azerbaijan, Caucasus and the EU: Towards Close Cooperation?", April 2014.
1. Europe's stagnating demand for gas
2. The evolving European dependency on Russian gas
3. The EU finding ways to break free from Russia's grip
4. Gazprom's strategy in Europe
4.1. Bypassing transit countries
4.2. Vertical integration in the European electricity production system
4.3. Concluding long-term contracts
4.4. Blocking competition from Central Asia
5. Potential alternative sources of natural gas for the South Stream: Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan
6. The role of Turkey
7. The answer seems to be LNG