Role of S Caucasus, Caspian Basin in energy security
Prof. Dr. Ali Hasanow ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Azerbaijani State Official Prof. Dr. Ali HasanowIf the Caspian Basin and Central Asia’s hydrocarbon reserves could be transported to European markets without interruption of any external factor, they would provide the energy needs of the old continent for at least hundred years, according to estimates by independent researchers. This would consequently free Europe from reliance on a Russian monopoly.
Thus, the desire to conquer or to purchase alternative hydrocarbon reserves of the Caspian Basin at low prices with long-term contracts could be seen as a significant factor pushing actors – such as the U.S. and the European Union, regional leader states like Russia, China and Iran, in the aftermath of the dissolution the U.S.S.R. – into serious regional geo-economical activities.
During that period the foremost geo-political problem that Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and other energy-rich countries of the region encountered was in developing their own oil and natural gas fields, utilizing advanced Western technologies and transporting them freely to international markets.
In the 1990s neither the states of the region nor the countries like Russia, Iran and Turkey, which wanted to secure those energy resources without any competition had the technical capability or large funds. Only rich states like the U.S., Japan and China and the financial institutions that these states control had vast enough financial resources to realize these aims. These states generally provided their funds and technical capabilities to fields where they could clearly see an economic interest and had international guarantees securing their interests.
Oil and natural gas rich countries could only submit such a guarantee via geopolitical and geo-economic independence and having independent export routes, stable social orders, liberal economies and integration with European institutions. Western experts were of the opinion that as long as those countries were not completely free of Russian geopolitical influence and integrated into the Western geopolitical field of influence it was not likely for them to have a secure future.
International, regional and national data on the amount of natural resources of the Caspian Basin show great differences. These differences arise under the influence of particular geopolitical and geo-economical factors. But although subjective factors cause differences in methodologies in obtaining data, they cannot cloud serious geological studies.
In short: Experts cannot identify the amount of energy sources and reserves and their locations, or the energy needs, production and consumption of the world clearly; and politicians manipulate figures and maps to suit new conditions.
As in most regions of the world, geologists primarily provide reliable figures on the energy reserves of the Caspian Basin and the countries in the area. According to the estimates of British Petroleum of Great Britain (BP), total global oil reserves are at 1,383.2 billion barrels, including the latest discoveries of 700 billion barrels of oil in 2010. It is estimated that current natural gas resources are at 187.1 trillion cubic meters. This is 2.21 trillion cubic meters more than the figure said in 2009. Daily global production and consumption of oil is 82 billion barrels of oil and 3,192 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
According to BP’s approved estimates, Azerbaijan has 7 billion barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves. The figures are 77.4 billion barrels and 44.8 trillion cubic meter for Russia; 137 billion barrels and 19.6 trillion cubic meters for Iran.
Azerbaijani State Official Prof. Dr. Ali Hasanow
Mr. Hasanow, President of the International Relations will speak at the Energy, Economy, Environment and Development session at 2 pm today.