The BalticPipe in Context: The Geopolitical and Normative Analysis
(2019, addendum June 2020) 17(5) Oil Gas and Energy Law 1-85
Posted: 18 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 23, 2020
The author aims to present the broadest possible context of the Baltic Pipe project, including legal, and to some extent, economic considerations, which ought to be scrutinized along with the broader geopolitical considerations surrounding present energy-related race in Baltic Sea. The aim is to juxtapose the long-lasting Russo-German strategic partnership resting on the development of Nord Stream(s) pipeline surpassing Poland on the one side, with a collection of pipe-dream moves ushered by Washington and aimed at upending this partnership, the Baltic Pipe project included, on the other side. Sec 2 looks at the Nord Stream(s) project as the direct competitor of the Baltic Pipe, and at the efforts by both the US government and the EU institutions to undermine Russo-German co-operation, thereby helping the viability of the Baltic Pipe. The discussion of the Nord Stream(s) covers US’ attempts to torpedo the Nord Stream2 with sanctions imposed in December 2019 (sec 2.1) and the EU’s crusade against the Nord Stream via blocking the full capacity use of the OPAL pipeline since 2009 (sec 2.2). Sec 3 looks at the US’s and Germany’s energy strategies toward the CEE, including the energy dimension of the US-led Three Seas Initiative (sec 3.1), which favour the Baltic Pipe project, and Germany’s Energiewende which is at odds with this project (sec 3.2). Secs 4 and 5 look at drivers for advancing the Baltic Pipe, which stem from the structure Poland’s electricity-generation market (sec 4) combined with Poland’s EU and international climate and emissions-related commitments (sec 5), which all force a country-wide shift to electricity-generation from natural gas. Section 6 looks at the Yamal Contract, which will secure gas supplies to Poland until it tentatively expires in 2022, and those supplies are entirely replaced with gas supplied via the Baltic Pipe. Finally, sec 7 looks at the regulatory issues, including the intergovernmental agreement on the Baltic Pipe (sec 7.1), funding of the project along with granted state aid (sec 7.2), and the permitting process (sec 7.3).
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