Gas Pipeline Co-operation Between Political Adversaries: Examples From Europe

Professor Jonathan Stern, Director of Gas Research, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
and Associate Fellow, Sustainable Development Programme Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), January 2005

Report Submission to Korea Foundation

Korea Foundation Project ‘Energy and Environmental Cooperation in the Korean Peninsula
Gas pipeline co-operation between political adversaries: examples from Europe

Introduction: Natural Gas Pipeline Development in a Divided Europe

The aim of this paper is to provide an historical perspective on gas pipeline development in
Europe during the 1970s and early 1980s, when the political circumstances for such development
were much more difficult than today both because of the Cold War and limited membership of the European Community. The paper uses two specific examples to illustrate different problems
surrounding, and potential solutions to, regional pipeline development:
· the case of Soviet gas supplies to the Federal Republic of Germany and the German
Democratic Republic, and specifically to West Berlin;
· the case of the Iberian Peninsula with the option to bring pipeline gas from Algeria to Spain
and Portugal, as a supplement or alternative to liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies.
In both cases, the difficulties of developing gas trade in a divided Europe are contrasted with the
more recent period where trade has been developed in a united Europe with a substantially
expanded membership of the European Union.

Soviet Natural Gas Supplies to the Two German States and West Berlin

The post-World War 2 emergence of two separate German states – the Federal Republic of
Germany (FRG or West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany)
– and the division of the City of Berlin into two largely-sealed zones, was one of the most vivid
symbols of how the Cold War divided Europe for nearly 50 years. Energy – by means of
pipelines – was one of the few physical links which eventually began to build bridges between the relatively isolated economies of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and the
“western” part of Europe.

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