Winter/Spring 2009

Europe Should Tackle Gazprom Monopoly

C. Boyden GrayRussia is at the heart of the difficulties of energy security in Europe. One of the problems, of course, is that Russia just isn’t investing enough in their own gas development. (It’s even more acute on oil: within five years, they won’t have enough to play games with, whether they want to or not.) It’s a key problem: they need to attract outside capital. Gazprom desperately needs it because it has huge debts and a very low stock price. So there is trouble ahead if we don’t collectively figure out a way to get that attended to, whatever their internal or external intentions are. Now on natural gas, Europe reportedly faces a shortfall of somewhere between 120-150 billion cubic meters annually by 2030. How can it be covered? This issue has a climate change component because if Europe doesn’t get the gas (from Russia or elsewhere), they are going to use other fuel for their power plants, including the coal-fired power plants they’re building now. How are they going to deal with the carbon emissions that result? As I read it in the papers, the EU plans to make it up by allowing member states to use “offsets” that will come – up to 50 percent of them – from outside the EU. In a sense, Europe would only do 50 percent of these nations’ purported clean-up and instead get cheaper offsets from operations in China or India or elsewhere.


Talking Business Facts about Europe’s Gas Problems

J. Robinson WestEnergy is one of those words like “love” and “finance”: it means different things to different people. Essentially, in the U.S., energy security means oil when the politicians talk about it. In Europe, when they are talking about energy security, they are really talking about gas, as recent events highlight.

Now, I’m in the oil and gas business. It’s a rather specific world. I think in talking about energy, it is very important to focus on the basics of resources, technology, markets, investment, regulation, etc. But when you listen to politicians, they spin off into intergalactic discussions which are somewhat divorced from reality. I can be all the more frank about this because I used to be in government myself. Several years ago there was a man with the Japan National Oil Company here in Washington, a very clever man, and when he was going home, I asked him for his opinion of Washington. He paused and said, “In Washington, everybody has opinion, nobody knows anything.” I certainly do not know everything, but I think it is terribly important that things be rooted in reality. Energy is a fashionable issue and politicians can run amuck on fashionable issues. Reality-check.

Greece: Piloting OSCE through Doldrums

Dora BakoyannisThe Greek foreign minister, Dora Bakoyannis, has the personal experience and poised public presence that comes from an extensive and successful political career. At 55, she has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs since February 2006, coming to that post after gaining national prominence as a leader in the center-right New Democracy Party. Elected by the people of Athens to become the city’s first female mayor, she served four years starting in 2002, preparing and overseeing the Olympics in the capital of Greece, the country where the games were born and where the event in 2004 was hailed internationally as a success for the host nation.


Baltic, Arctic and Atlantic Surveillance: Nordic Maritime Cooperation Comes In Out of the Cold

Valentina PopAs the Arctic melt-down opens new access for transport and for production of oil and gas fields in these waters, the Nordic nations of Europe have been galvanized into looking for ways to forge joint arrangements for civilian protection against disasters in these freshly-accessible zones – possibly with links to their defense establishments. A new high-level report, Nordic Cooperation on Foreign and Security Policy – commissioned by the Nordic Council and written by Thorvald Stoltenberg, a former foreign minister of Norway – lays out the changing stakes that are emerging in the Arctic as the ice cap shrinks, and then goes on to emphasize the need for littoral nations to pool resources to meet the associated new security challenges there – both for surveillance and for crisis-response. “The Nordic countries are responsible for the management of large sea areas. Climate change and melting of the sea ice will open the way for considerable activity in these areas, including new shipping routes through Arctic waters to the Pacific Ocean. This means that Nordic cooperation in the northern seas and the Arctic is highly relevant,” the report concludes.

Can “Obama Net” Become a Tool of Presidential Rule?

Andrew RasiejMuch has been said about how Barack Obama was able to create a grassroots movement of support during his successful election campaign by harnessing the internet and the new tools for political-organizing that it has created. Now that he is President, there is growing anticipation that he will expand his use of the internet to help him govern. The expectation is that he will use this new media in ways that no one has ever done before in reaching out to a broad public and mobilizing popular support for his policy objectives – and helping keep his opponents at bay throughout his presidency.