Bringing Real Competition to the CEE Gas Market

How Russia’s Hegemony in the Region Can Be Curtailed

9 February 2021

Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Freshly-inaugurated, United States President Joe Biden will face a challenging task curtailing Russian dominance in the Central and Eastern European and Balkan gas supply. 

  • State-owned energy group Gazprom keeps finding new pipeline routes to ship its gas into the European market, further bolstering the energy giant’s profit on the back of the old continents’ customers and potentially helping the Kremlin’s political leverage in the region.
  • Following setbacks occurred for the former Trump presidency in a joint US-EU Black Sea project, a difficult situation awaits the new Biden administration in the CEE energy field.

Have NATO allies, the United States and the European Union the capacity to loosen Russia’s energy chokehold on Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans? Natural gas pipelines Turk Stream 2 and Nord Stream 2 – the latter being built under the Baltic Sea to Germany – might prove the opposite by flowing Russian gas to Europe.

On the first day of 2021, state-owned energy giant Gazprom started supplying gas to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina via a new route across Turkey and Bulgaria (Turk Stream 2) flexing its muscles with the release of the annual delivery of 15.75 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to the Balkans, gateway of the European Union.

According to a Gazprom press release, Turk Stream 2 has just become a pipeline extension into the region. The company added that the number of European countries receiving its gas via the Russian-backed pipeline has grown to six.

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Zsuzsanna Szabó

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Zsuzsanna Szabó is covering investor relations, shareholder activism and ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) at a London-based finance magazine. Before joining the IR Magazine news team in January 2020, she worked as an energy market reporter for ICIS, an industry publication for one and a half years. During that time, she covered the CEE power markets. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Media studies at the University of Westminster in London, with a dissertation on the rise of populism in Hungarian politics. She previously covered German and Austrian political news and the refugee crisis for Origo.hu, Hungary’s formal leading news portal.

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