March
2008
REPORT - LOSING POWER
 
Vol. 4 No.2  
 

Power play

Romania could be set to lose out on massive transit deals for oil and gas supply, in moves which experts argue are motivated by political and not economic interest, writes Ana-Maria Nitoi
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Reducing energy dependency on foreign countries is the distant hope for every European country outside of Russia.
Therefore transit countries that carry oil and gas from far eastern Europe, central Asia and the Middle East are gaining in international significance. Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey and the Baltic states should be the chief beneficiaries from this passage of energy.
However new Russian deals are by-passing Romania, meaning the country could lose out in its ambition to become a regional energy hub.
“The Kremlin has other priorities than Romania in the Black Sea region and its interests tend to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey,” says Olga Vorkunova, a senior expert for Russia’s Academy of Science.
Bulgaria and Serbia look poised to benefit from new oil and gas transit routes, while Russia is keeping Romania in the cold. This is similar to a Russian gas deal with Germany, North Stream, which does not cross Polish territory. Some analysts argue that Russia makes these choices not for economic reasons, but as punishment to certain ex-Communist states for their pro-western policy approach.
“Russia’s energy strategy towards the EU is meant to divide Old Europe from New Europe,” says Jonathan Eyal, director of the International Security Studies in the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI).

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