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The College of Wooster

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Switzerland: International Studies and Multilateral Diplomacy

Abstract

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline proposes to connect Germany to the world’s largest natural gas reserves in Russia, allowing the state-owned Russian energy behemoth Gazprom to double its export capacity through the ‘Northern Corridor’ transit route to Europe. This project has been the subject of sharp disapproval from Central and Eastern European countries, as well as the United States, which fear the prospect of increasing dependence on gas imports from a Russia perceived as politically aggressive and unreliable. This paper will identify the geopolitical and geoeconomic implications involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2 by adopting a geostrategic worldview of the competition over the lucrative EU energy market. The conclusions reached in this paper encourage the European Union to forge ahead in constructing Nord Stream 2, but also to prioritize investment in additional import infrastructure in order to facilitate a diversification of supply. Most importantly, this paper strongly urges increased EU solidarity in terms of energy policy cohesiveness to avoid a Russian exploitation of its dominant EU energy market share. This analysis is divided into three sections, considers perspectives gathered from a wide variety of secondary sources, and also incorporates opinions from five interviews conducted with selected contributing scholars in the Nord Stream and European energy security discourses. The first section of the paper will provide a general background to natural gas, the current EU-Russian energy relationship, and the origins of Nord Stream 2. The second section, the bulk of the study, contains a state-by-state analysis of the geopolitical interests of the three geostrategic players involved in the European energy contention, and also other European states which have voiced opposition to the Nord Stream 2 in order to defend their geopolitical interests. The third section will offer policy prescriptions to the actors involved in the situation. Finally, a brief conclusion will summarize the points made in this analysis and identify possible extensions of research on this topic.

Disciplines

Economic Policy | Energy Policy | European Languages and Societies | International Business | International Economics | International Relations | Natural Resource Economics | Oil, Gas, and Energy

 

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