Central Asia Policy Briefs Central Asia Program Series Publications

Game Over? Shifting Energy Geopolitics in Central Asia

Central Asia Policy Brief No. 5, October 2012

By Michael Denison

One of the coordinates structuring geopolitics in Central Asia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has been competition for development of the region’s oil and gas reserves.

The oil and gas industry is in the throes of rapid transition. Patterns of global demand, supply and trade are changing rapidly, reducing the geopolitical salience of Central Asia’s oil and gas exports.

Security of supply from Central Asia is a lower order concern for China – its focus will be on maintaining strong political and commercial relation-ships; Russia will prioritize the retention of supplies to its domestic market; the geopolitical interest of the West in the region will be increasingly confined to non-state security threats.

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