Adam N. Stulberg, Associate Chair/Research and Neal Family Chair Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, recently published an article entitled “Natural Gas and the Russia-Ukraine crisis: Strategic restraint and the emerging Europe-Eurasia gas networks” in Energy Research and Social Science.
This article explicates the puzzle of strategic restraint in contemporary European-Russian gas relations. The first and second sections compare and contrast successive gas wars since 2006, detailing respective dimensions to restraint and costly paralysis experienced by upstream, downstream, and transit states alike. The third part presents an alternative understanding of energy power politics rooted in social network analysis. It probes the validity of new forms of power, influence, and vulnerability in Russia’s evolving gas relations with Europe, as derived from “betweenness centrality” among emerging infrastructure hubs and the quality of corporate alliances across subregions of Central Europe. This includes cursory examination of the credibility and costliness of disruption related to the flexibility and diffusion of gas relationships into/across the northern and southern parts of Central Europe, as well as the social capital within Gazprom’s corporate eco-system that bound Russia’s lasting prominence as a supplier in these sub-regions. The final section identifies practical guidelines for transcending the current knotty predicament to stabilize commercial trading and peaceful U.S./Euro-Russian energy governance.
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