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AZERBAIJAN: BAKU LIKELY TO REJECT RUSSIAN OFFER TO BUY NATURAL GAS

If you cannot beat them, try to co-opt them: that apparently is Gazprom’s operational philosophy. The Russian state-controlled energy giant on June 2 sounded out officials in Azerbaijan about large-scale purchases of Azerbaijani natural gas. But Baku seems unenthused about doing a deal.
Azerbaijan is the only Caspian Basin state currently able to export a significant volume of energy via pipelines that are not controlled by Russia. Indeed, the United States, European Union and Azerbaijan have pursued the construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline, which, if connected to the existing routes traversing Azerbaijan, could break Russia’s near-monopoly over oil and gas exports out of Central Asia. Given this possibility, Gazprom’s offer to buy Azerbaijani gas is likely a round-about attempt by the Kremlin to throw a monkey wrench into trans-Caspian pipeline plans. Full Story

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