Supplement | HBS Case Collection | November 2010 (Revised February 2013)

Energy Security in Europe (B): The Southern Corridor

by Rawi E. Abdelal and Sogomon Tarontsi

Abstract

Nabucco natural gas pipeline, initiated by a group of European energy companies, was intended to connect the broad gas-rich region of the Middle East and Central Asia to Europe for the first time, which would diversify supply sources. At the same time, an Italian-Russian consortium announced South Stream natural gas pipeline, which would diversify transport routes for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe. To win support, backers of Nabucco and South Stream insisted that their projects were aimed at fulfilling goals of the energy policy of the EU (reduction of use of fossil fuels to combat climate change and guaranteed physical availability and affordability of imported fossil fuels). But, as the case demonstrates, both projects progressed slowly, encountering many technological and commercial challenges, which, however, were eclipsed by the extreme politicization of Nabucco and South Stream: pipelines became a factor in domestic politics of several European nations and figured prominently in relations between the EU, EU states, Russia, Turkey, former Soviet republics in Caucasus and Central Asia, and the United States. Although they would comprise only a small part in the overall architecture of Europe's energy security, the case of Nabucco and South Stream reveals the limits of the ambitious energy policy of the EU.

Keywords: Non-Renewable Energy; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Policy; Distribution; Business and Government Relations; Conflict and Resolution; Energy Industry; Russia; European Union;

Citation:

Abdelal, Rawi E., and Sogomon Tarontsi. "Energy Security in Europe (B): The Southern Corridor." Harvard Business School Supplement 711-033, November 2010. (Revised February 2013.)