Unity of GUAM States Threatened in Efforts to Realize Energy Potential

Unity of GUAM States Threatened in Efforts to Realize Energy Potential

Energy differences between Russia and European countries have created an opportunity for the GUAM states -- Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova -- to assume a more prominent role in Europe's institutional architecture. Until now, the GUAM has been overshadowed by more prominent institutions such as NATO, the European Union, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Most recent attention has focused on how GUAM might help EU members pursue their energy diversification strategy. GUAM includes both energy-producing (Azerbaijan) and energy-transit (Azerbaijan again but also Georgia and potentially Ukraine) countries. The pivotal geographic location of GUAM members -- which have direct access to the Caspian, Black and Baltic Sea regions -- reinforces their energy potential.

For the past few months, the GUAM governments have been preoccupied with a project to create an Odessa-Brody-Gdansk oil pipeline that would transport oil that has already entered the Black Sea region from the energy-rich Caspian Basin countries first to Ukraine and then onto other parts of Europe. At present, the Odessa-Brody segment runs in the opposite direction, north to south, transporting oil from Russia to oil tankers in the Black Sea. GUAM members and their European and American partners envisage reversing this flow and adding an extension to Poland's Baltic Sea port of Gdansk.

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