Problems and Prospects for the “Fourth Corridor”: The Position and Role of Turkey in Gas Transit to Europe

The Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis of January 2009, occurring three years after a similar dispute between Moscow and Kyiv had disrupted Russian natural gas supplies to Europe, led many European commentators to question the continued reliability of Russia as a supplier of natural gas. The role of Ukraine as an energy transit state was also put under the spotlight. The January 2009 crisis followed the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. This brief war had compelled governments in member states of the European Union (EU) to reconsider the wisdom of being dependent for over 40 percent of their gas imports from an increasingly emboldened and aggressive Russia. Attention has focussed more on developing projects which would supply natural gas to Europe from sources other than Russia along routes which would bypass Russian territory. The so-called “fourth” or “southern” gas corridor connecting the Caspian and Gulf regions and the Middle East to Europe (the other
three corridors running to EU member states from Russia, Norway and north Africa), has been identified by the European Commission as Natural Gas (NG) Route Number 3 in the framework of the Trans-European energy networks (TEN-E).

By: Gareth Winrow