Energy Cooperation with Central Asia
The growing dependency of EU member states upon external sources of energy and ensuring security of energy supply are issues of special concern to the European Union. Central Asia, with its significant hydrocarbon resources and favourable geographical location for transport routes to European markets, will play an important role in ensuring the EU’s energy supplies.
The challenge for the EU and its partners in Central Asia is to develop a mutually beneficial dialogue between energy producers, transit countries and consumers at both bilateral and regional level.
Together Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan possess the world’s second largest reserves of oil and gas. Kazakhstan alone has double the oil reserves of the North Sea (with government figures estimating total reserves to be three times higher), whilst Turkmenistan’s and Uzbekistan’s gas reserves are believed to be the 5th and 8th highest in the world respectively. Moreover, both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have significant quantities of uranium, with the former constituting the world’s third largest producer of uranium, and a major supplier to the EU. These significant resources and the favourable geographical location for transport routes to European markets mean that Central Asia plays a strategic role for the EU in the field of energy. The challenge for the EU and its partners in the region is to develop a mutually beneficial dialogue between energy producers, transit countries and consumers at both bilateral and regional level.
Regional energy cooperation takes place within the framework of Baku Initiative, which is the political dialogue that was launched by the Ministerial Conference in Baku in November 2004, aiming at enhancing energy and transport cooperation between the EU and the littoral states of the Black and Caspian Seas and their neighbouring countries. In the field of energy it was followed in November 2006 by the adoption of an Energy Ministerial Declaration in Astana including a roadmap for the four priorities in the following fields: energy market convergence; energy security; sustainable energy development and attracting investment. Working Groups have been established for each of these priorities involving representatives from the partner countries.
EC programmes in the energy sector
The European Commission (EC) "Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia for the period 2007-2013" [276 KB] recognises the energy sector as a one of the key sectors of cooperation with Central Asia.
EU support to regional energy cooperation is provided through the INOGATE programme. The INOGATE programme is providing support to projects in the region covering each of the four priorities of the Baku Initiative: in the field of energy market convergence, energy security, sustainable energy and attracting energy investments.
Moreover, the European Union has allocated € 65 million to the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) which gives support for additional investments for key infrastructures in the energy and environment sectors.