Academic journal article International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs

The Future of Natural Gas Security in the V4 Countries. A Scenario Analysis and the EU Dimension

Academic journal article International Issues & Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs

The Future of Natural Gas Security in the V4 Countries. A Scenario Analysis and the EU Dimension

Article excerpt

The future of natural gas security in the V4 countries. A scenario analysis and the EU dimension By Filip Cernoch, Bretislav Dancák, Jana Kovácovská, Petr Ocelik, Jan Osicka, Tomás Vlcek, Veronika Zapletalová. Brno: Muni Press, International Institute of Political Science of Masaryk University, 2011, 312 p. ISBN 978-80-210-5650-3.

Since 2009, energy security - the issue of gas especially - has been the sexiest topic discussed in the area of political science and international relations, particularly in Central Europe. Gas supplies have been flowing to the post-Soviet countries of the Eastern block for a long time now without any interruptions. Eventually, however, new sources (such as LNG and shale gas) as well as new routings and projects, may really change the gas pipeline map of Central Europe and the rest of Europe. At the same time, it is important for these countries to be aware both of their own energy demands and of the politics of Russia's dominant supplier - the company Gazprom.

The above mentioned team of authors has brought a new publication to the expert market, a collection of studies compiled over eight months which is unique in its narrow focus - gas and V4 - and includes a wide range of descriptive components of the topic. It also includes an unusual applied mathematicalanalytical model, loaded with data, and last but not least a SWOT analysis which ends with some recommendations. In the introductory section the authors have identified precisely the research questions they were seeking to answer (p.19). For example: How could particular gas pipelines and LNG terminals influence an economically rational distribution of gas flow within the V4 countries? They have also clearly described the goals of the study (p. 21 ): e.g., "to facilitate the comparison of projects according to selected criteria," supported by a large pool of data from various credible sources. They identified the mathematical model MEGS as the key feature of the research, which includes a system of four indexes. An important piece of information for the reader is their explanation that the book is intended as an assignment for the Czech Foreign Ministry.

The second chapter explains the principle and structure of the SWOT analysis, which comprises eight evaluation frameworks and basic data covered by the reference framework for 2008. These data are further developed in more detail in the individual subchapters on V4 countries. In the first of these the Czech Republic is introduced and basic information provided on the gas sector, including characteristics of the suppliers and information regarding the conditions of the gas sector within the country (individual companies, gas storage, the position of the country within the EU's gas transit system, and a description of any individual infrastructural projects, whether under construction or still in the planning stage]. This is followed by a description of state policy in this area (regulatory framework], in the form of an analysis - whether of a document called the "State Energy Policy," or of energy legislation focused on gas. The country case study finishes with a forecast of demand up to 2020, together with a conclusion which includes a global evaluation of the country's gas sector. The SWOT analysis is provided at the end in short table form.

Each of the V4 countries is introduced in this way. These chapters bring together for the reader an incredible amount of available information, as provided by various representatives of the public and private sectors.

However, as 2008 is the reference data year and the book was published in 2012, it must be stated at the outset that many changes have occurred in the meantime that need to be taken into consideration, which the authors were not able analyze because of the editorial schedule.

The situation in the gas market, infrastructure scenarios and trends, together with perspectives for regions other than the main suppliers of LNG and PNG (Russia , North Africa or Central Asia], are described in the first part of the third chapter. …

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