The South Stream versus Nabucco pipeline race: geopolitical and economic (ir)rationales and political stakes in mega-projects

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Baev, Pavel K. & Indra Øverland (2010) The South Stream versus Nabucco pipeline race: geopolitical and economic (ir)rationales and political stakes in mega-projects, International Affairs 86(5): 1075–1090.

​The plan for the southern energy corridor delivering a new secure supply of natural gas to the European Union is shaped by projects for two pipelines—Nabucco and the South Stream. Economic rationales for both projects are far from solid as the prospects for returns on massive investments are doubtful due to uncertainty about demand. Much political effort has nevertheless been expended on advancing these competing ‘mega-projects’, which have acquired symbolic status in different approaches to securitization of energy matters. The continuing recession has not added much weight to common economic sense, which dictates that the most efficient way to bring Russian and Caspian gas to Europe is modernization and joint management of Ukrainian gas infrastructure. Parallel construction of both pipelines remains the most probable outcome of their ‘race’, while simultaneous cancellation could have saved resources and political faces.

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Authors

Pavel K. Baev

Pavel K. Baev

Research Professor