The Geopolitics of Energy in Central Asia: Rivalry and Accommodation
The Central Asian republics have emerged as major players in the energy markets in the post-Soviet era, along with some Eurasian players such as Azerbaijan. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are major producers of natural gas and crude oil supplying consumers, and feeding international pipelines that traverse their territories. The “Big Three: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan)” play a key role in the dynamics of the industry on regional and international levels because of their strategic location, and the abundance of their wealth. However, such growing profile in the energy sector and its Spillover Effect on trade, security arrangements, political partnerships, and cultural relations have created a “New Great Game” in the region where Great Power rivalry is most apparent, especially in pipeline construction and routes. The aim of this article is to examine the geopolitics of Central Asia and the rivalry occurring among major international actors subsequent to the energy sector.