Tomasz Stępień , Aleksander Zawisza
Energy Security and National Soverignty
Introduction (full version – PDF - http://omp.org.pl/pokazZalacznik.php?idZalaczniki=27)
During a gas surplus, Gazprom often loses its competitive edge in relation to other suppliers to Europe. In a gas sellers’ market, the Russian company uses its large gas reserves and highly-developed infrastructure to strengthen its market position and exert an impact on the most gas-dependent states.
In 2008 and 2009, the oversupply of natural gas on the global market revealed that Gazprom was less competitive in Europe when compared with other European suppliers and LNG. Thus, a situation of global deficit in the supply of natural gas is in the vital interest of the Russian company (as an instrument of political influence for the Russian Federation). In such a scenario, the Russian Federation – which not only has the richest proven natural gas reserves, but also sells natural gas under long term contracts with prices indexed to the oil price – gains a powerful hold over countries which are dependent on the importation of natural gas.
In the modern world, energy self-sufficiency is closely linked with the political and economic sovereignty of individual countries. This link is even stronger in Europe, since it borders with the largest natural gas supplier – the Russian Federation, which has identified natural gas and crude oil as an instrument of strengthening its global influence in its official political strategy.
Examining the impact of the Kremlin’s activities and those of the largest Russian company on the decisions made by individual member states or the EU itself in the energy sector, it is clear that – at least over the last decade – the policy of the Russian Federation has been very reflective and consistent in the pursuit of this objective.
The reactions of Gazprom and the Kremlin – to the information on the potential availability of shale gas in Europe, to the changes on the LNG market, to the price revolution in the natural gas market in the Atlantic basin, and finally to the provisions of the EU Third Internal Energy Market Package which is undergoing implementation in EU member states – can be cited as an example and have a common denominator: the hidden desire to increase the demand for natural gas in Europe and simultaneously reduce the competitive, indigenous and unconventional natural gas production and the availability of alternative routes for the importation of gas supplies in Europe.
Of greater concern still is the impression that not all decision-makers in the EU are aware of the long-term consequences of their decisions on energy and climate protection. This paper reveals certain relationships between events and decisions taken and their impact on the economy; and furthermore, their impact on the political situation in Europe, since one of the largest energy suppliers to Europe views these supplies not solely in terms of economic but also of political interests.