This page was archived on October 2020.


European security issues

8 - Diversification of gas-supply routes to Europe

Grade: C+
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Outcome 3/10
Total 9/20
Scorecard 2012: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2013: C+ (10/20)
Scorecard 2014: C- (7/20)

Russia aggression against Ukraine produced slightly more shared concern over dependence on Russian gas in Europe

The Ukrainian security crisis has changed the perception of Russian gas in Europe, helping to increase unity on energy security and diversification. The European Commission produced a comprehensive Energy Security Strategy, which is in line with the recently adopted 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework. This new unity gave impetus to Poland’s proposals for an Energy Union, a plan now reflected in the structure of Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission, which includes a Vice-President for the Energy Union.

The most significant outcome of the new sensitivity to dependence on Russian gas was the cancellation of the South Stream pipeline, which would have enabled Russian gas transits to Europe to bypass Ukraine. Austria and Hungary agreed to cooperate with Russia and Gazprom to build the pipeline in their countries despite the Commission’s instructions to put a pause on construction planning. Bulgaria, the country of the pipeline’s entry into the EU, also initially went ahead with the project, fearing lack of solidarity from other EU states as happened in the 2006 and 2009 gas crises. It was targeted with a penalty procedure from the Commission for holding tenders improperly. However, Bulgaria froze the project in July and was ultimately blamed by Putin for the failure of South Stream. Without Nabucco and now minus South Stream, many in the Balkans see energy dependency on one country (Russia) as having been exchanged for dependence on another (Turkey).

The Shah Deniz consortium agreed this year to commit gas resources to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which will bring Azeri gas to Europe through Turkey, a modest contribution to the EU’s diversification efforts.

Discussions are still continuing between Russia, Germany, and the Commission on the regulation of the OPAL pipeline, which connects the Nord Stream pipeline to the European gas network. Meanwhile, the floating LNG terminal requisitioned by Lithuania arrived in 2014, offering Baltic states independence from Russian gas.