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Home PECOB PECOB's energy policy analysts at mettings and conferences
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PECOB's energy policy analysts
at mettings and conferences

Eleonora Fuser participated at the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit which was held in Brussels last April 16th. News and updates on the meeting were given in real time on our Twitter account @Pecob_Media

A full report will soon be available.

Paolo Sorbello and Ludovico Grandi will participate at the IARCEES Annual Conference "Russian-East European Relations: From Tsarism to Gazprom" which will take place at the University College in Cork next May 4th-5th. They will present the paper "From Concentration to Competition: The Struggle for Power between the Kremlin and Gazprom through the Study of TNK-BP and South Stream".

The paper deals with the progressive concentration of power in the hands of Gazprom. Although triggered by Putin's surge to power, over the past ten years Russia's gas monopolist has turned into an autonomous subject within the Russian power structure. The authors argue that Russian resource nationalism, while present and influential, is divided into poles of power. Despite Moscow's drive toward centralisation, aimed at enhancing Russian national interest through strong monopolies in the transportation and distribution of national resources, Gazprom has evolved into a power oligopoly whose influence is projected on Russia's foreign policy. Gazprom, although tightly connected to the central administration, now fights for its own agenda, which does not necessarily coincide with Kremlin energy policy positions. Two case studies will outline how one power evolves at the expense of the other. The first is related to the TNK-BP case, clear example of the conflicting visions dividing Moscow and St. Petersburg where cooperation with foreign energy actors is concerned. The second regards the alleged use of energy as a "weapon" in the negotiations on the South Stream natural gas pipeline, when the high level of political rhetoric, matched by Gazprom's business concerns, created a tug-of-war between central and peripheral foreign energy policy decision-making. The main outcome is a picture of Russia's inner power mechanisms, the functioning of which demonstrates that the concept of national champions (so dear to the Kremlin's desires) is far from reality.

Elvira Oliva and Paolo Sorbello will take part in the CRCEES Fifth Annual Research Forum which will be held at the University of Glasgow next May 17th-18th. Together, they will present the paper "Bulgaria's Energy Puzzle: Between Negotiations with the EU and Business with Russia".

The main objective of the paper is to analyse the challenges that energy policy and politics create to Bulgaria's position in international relations. Our aim is to develop a model to describe as completely as possible the decision-making process that involved Sofia, Brussels, and Moscow. Through this effort, we seek to depict Bulgaria's role in regional energy politics.

In this paper, we analyse the two-level game between the EU and Bulgaria focusing on the prospective construction of the Belene nuclear power plant, as well as on the recent decision to suspend shale gas exploration and its consequences. From the sole angle of Bulgaria-Russia relations, we analyse the case of the Burgas-Alexandroupoulos oil pipeline, yet to be built, and that of the LUKoil affaire, involving the oil refinery in Burgas. Furthermore, we touch upon the natural gas connections, as the prospective South Stream project is going to run through Bulgaria.

Among the above mentioned issues, some solidified before Bulgaria entered the European Union, some after. It is key to define how 2007 becomes a watershed event that marks a strengthening in Bulgaria's negotiating position. Bulgaria can nowadays choose from more favourable policy options. Therefore, the Bulgarian energy complex could become a crucial hub and turn Bulgaria into a strategic centre for regional and international energy cooperation.

In the same occasion, Paolo Sorbello will also present the paper "Russo-Kazakh Energy Cooperation: The Case of Kurmangazy".

The unresolved question over the Caspian Sea legal status is conducive to geopolitical quarrels, especially in the field of energy. Currently, energy geopolitics is being addressed in academia and in the news as though it were a battle among state and non-state actors alike over prices, supply, and transport routes. To the contrary, energy could also become the engine for much needed cooperation between countries that are not necessarily keen on collaborating.

In this paper, the analysis of the Caspian offshore field of Kurmangazy, yields the results of the negotiations between Russia and Kazakhstan, and the respective national oil companies. This very particular case was scarcely covered by academic and business literature, however, might help read energy dynamics more objectively, avoiding the influence of contingency-related biases.

The paper addresses the question of the legal subdivision of the Caspian Sea with a stronger focus on Russo-Kazakh high-level negotiations, taking into account the diplomatic and political discourse generated by all five littoral states. More, the Caspian is analysed from its prospective characteristic as an energy basin. Important offshore fields like Kashagan and Shah-Deniz are facing various challenges economically and politically, a Trans-Caspian Pipeline has been an option on the table for more than a decade. Lastly, the developments in the Kurmangazy case shed light on the energy and political relations between Moscow and Astana.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 May 2023 12:49  

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PECOB's call for papers

The Scientific Board of PECOB announces an open call for papers to be published with ISSN 2038-632X

Interested contributors may deal with any topic focusing on the political, economic, historical, social or cultural aspects of a specific country or region covered by PECOB.

Potential contributors must submit a short abstract (200-300 words) and the full text, which can be in English as well as any language from the countries covered by PECOB.

Upcoming deadlines for submitting proposals are:

January 31st, 2012
June 30th, 2012
November 30th, 2012

All texts must comply with PECOB Submission Guidelines (

All proposals, texts and questions should be submitted to Ms Aurora Domeniconi, PECOB Coordinator, at: