GEOPOLITICS AND ENERGY DIPLOMACY IN CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CASPIAN
Timur Shaymergenov, Member of the Secretariat of the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Astana, Kazakhstan)
It has become obvious today that the global energy market is hugely unbalanced not only by the exorbitant oil prices, but also by mounting military and political tension in the Middle East, the largest oil producer, and the rapidly disappearing oil reserves of the major oil consumers. The growing fuel consumption all over the world—in developed and developing countries alike—is another reason for these processes and the principles according to which the world market functions today. Huge amounts of money are being poured into the oil and gas sphere; and the political and economic interests of the major geopolitical actors are focused on it. It looks as if the world will continue consuming hydrocarbons at a rapidly increasing rate in the foreseeable future as well. As a result, the largest oil importers will obviously have to compete for influence or for even greater influence in the oil- and gas-rich regions.
Oil and gas are non-renewable resources randomly scattered all over the world, which explains their geopolitical importance for the world powers seeking stable and predictable access to them. Natural resources have long been not only an export item, but also an efficient foreign policy instrument of the states that possess these resources and the right to manage them. While encouraging economic cooperation, many countries are pursuing geopolitical rather than economic aims.
The Caspian-Central Asian region, which includes the Caspian and Central Asian states, forms a large and interconnected energy market with an exceptionally advantageous geostrategic position. Today, the region is still a………………….