6 April 2010

New Energy Bridge: Pakistan - Ali Külebi

2/3 of world population lives in Asia. World’s important natural resources are in this continent and 30% of the world trade is within the Asia as well. Japan is one of the five biggest economies in the world so it is expected that there will be three Asian countries in the five biggest economies of the world in the near future. Asia continent will be a matter of fact on shaping world economy and politics in the future.

There is also an important country in Asia which do not become a giant power but affective on world politics. Regional power Pakistan is a very important country with its high population, its strategic location which connects Central Asia to open seas, Southern and Western Asia. Pakistan which is observer member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, also connects Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s member countries to Arab Sea so Pakistan cements its strategic location with this condition too. Pakistan is only Muslim nuclear power in the world in respect with its memberships to international organizations and its military power.

Besides all those important issues, Pakistan has a strategically important role for the countries China, Japan and India which are called as Asian Tigers, with its potential place in the energy transportation and supply network of those countries. It would be a appropriate approach to say that India which is in a serious conflict with Pakistan for years, cannot solve its energy problems without having a cooperation with Pakistan.

Its clear that Pakistan has some major problems in contrast with its rising strategic importance on energy transportation routes and transportation of fossil fuels to Arab Sea.

Pakistan’s some major problems are spreading radical religious terror which is spreading inside the country, ethnic terror in Belucistan which has foreign origins, Pakistan had constructed and developed nuclear power as a result of Keşmir problem with India which cannot be solved since 1947. This nuclear power increased the US pressure on Pakistan.

In spite of its nuclear technology and three nuclear power plants, Pakistan will need more energy with it highly increasing population. This friendly country seems to be a energy corridor in the future but Pakistan will have a huge electricity need in the future.

Having nuclear technology gives the advantage of producing its own need for Pakistan, if only Pakistan makes the appropriate investments and developments. For having this advantage Pakistan needs to build nuclear power plants which have higher capacity. Nuclear power plants of today usually have a capacity of 1200 Megawatts, each nuclear power plant unit of Pakistan has a capacity of 300 megawatts. This capacity seems to be enough for today’s Pakistan but Pakistan will need more energy in the near future. Thus Pakistan is planning to have nuclear power plants which have 1000 Megawatts capacity. As a result of those studies, Pakistan’s electricity production from nuclear power plants will increase from 500 megawatts to 8000 megawatts in 2020s. Briefly, Pakistan will produce 16 times more electricity by nuclear power plants ten years later. This precisely means an important production and having liberation against foreign dependence for an undeveloped country like Pakistan which has not fossil fuel resources.

Pakistan which can deal with its energy hunger with the nuclear energy production, has also so much advantages deriving from its important geopolitical location on fossil fuels. Pakistan is in the middle of the Central Asian Countries which has rich oil and gas resources. Turkistan countries in Central Asia have oil reserve of 24 billion tons and have natural gas reserve of 3300 billion cubic meters. These Turkistan countries can reach open seas and world markets limitedly, Pakistan is also a path for this countries with Turkey.

On the other hand, not only Central Asia, Middle East which has 58% of the world oil reserves and has 25% of the world natural gas resources, also dependant on Pakistan’s geopolitical location.

As a result, Pakistan can serve for three main energy corridors,

- A north-south oil corridor which will connect Middle East and Central Asia to China.
- A east-west corridor which will connect India to Middle East
- A north south oil and natural gas corridor which will connect India to Turkistan countries is a future plan with building a pipeline link inside Pakistan.

Importance of Fossil Fuels on China – Pakistan Relations

When the issue of connecting Middle East and Central Asia with an oil corridor comes into the account, Gwadar Harbor which is located in southwest of Pakistan, gains importance. This harbor in the west of Karaci and has a distance of 400 km, its distance to Iran Border is 60 km and its distance to Hurmuz Strait is 350 km. Gwadar Harbor has a perfect strategic location for transportation and storage of petroleum. This harbor is also ideal for petroleum transportation between Turkistan countries and China. China contributed the construction of Gwadar Harbor with an aid of $198 million in 2006. Chinese officials also stated that they will contribute to the construction of Gwadar Harbor with serious investments in the future.

China energy demand increased from 8.5 million barrels per day to 9.1 million barrels per day which means an increase of 3.5 % in 2009. China can supply a part of its energy demand through Pakistan and Gwadar.

Gwadar Harbor is also safe for transporting the petroleum which is produced by China in Sudan against the threat of African Pirates.

Efforts of Pakistan for being an Energy Corridor

Pakistan which tries to handle both its own fossil fuel need and Southern and Southeast Asia countries fossil fuel need, was first started working on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) natural gas pipeline with Iran in the beginning of 1990s. Russia Federation supported this project for Iran to sell natural gas to east instead of Europe because of Russia’s desire to establish a natural gas monopoly over Europe. India first leaned towards this pipeline project which was supposed to be an 2.775 km long energy link passing through Karaci and connects Iran’s Pars Region to India. India stated withdrawn signals with using the natural gas prices as an excuse for not to lose nuclear technology opportunity which was offered by US. Pakistan’s strategic ally China has a high energy demand and started working on finding solutions to maintain the project without India.

Another project on energy is which sustains on a less problematic survey than IPI is aiming at carrying Turkmenistan natural gas to Pakistan through Afghanistan since 2002. Because US aims to harm Iran on IPI project but supports Pakistan and India for transportation of Turkmen natural gas. Only problem in the project is the confusion in Afghanistan and lacking transportation security. Afghanistan’s economical benefit from this project named as Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline is obvious. Pakistan assigned $10 billion to finish this project which is seriously supported by US and told to be given to a US company for construction. Just like in similar cases, Russia Federation’s detention and sabotaging actions against this project is also recognized.

Another project which can pass through Pakistan is Gulf Countries-South Asia (GUSA) pipeline. This project is in the agenda since the beginning of 1990s. Goal of the project is to carry Qatar natural gas beyond the Gulf, Gwadar Harbor through United Arab Emirates territory and territorial waters. China and India requested to join this project while the process. If this project successes, Pakistan is expected to use 25% of the gas which reached to its territory and sends the rest to Asian countries. This project’s progress is problematic because of finance, lacking of mutual trust and terror threat.

Political Struggles with India delay the Pakistan to become an Energy Corridor

Its clear that Cold War between US and Russia in transformed to a economical survey more than a political survey. Russia Federation which aims to maintain its energy monopoly over Europe, also wants to maintain its transportation country and control monopoly over the fossil fuels of Turkistan countries. Besides Russia’s concern on NABUCCO project, US’s reservations towards Iranian natural gas transportation to Europe and India shows the political dimensions of the game which is played on the energy chess board in Asia Minor.

Pakistan which has kind relations with US just like its neighbors, is taking the cuts derived from these games as much as possible.

Problems about Iran-Pakistan-India(IPI) pipeline project are getting more dimensional because of the political reasons, especially reasons derived from the problem with India caused by Keşmir problem. According to the agreement signed for this project in 1993 between Iran and India, 700 km of the pipeline will pass through Pakistan and will reach India. Project costs $4 billion and it was expected to be so much beneficial for Pakistan. If this project succeeded then Pakistan paid $500 million per year as a transportation payment and also Pakistan will be able to pull an amount of natural gas for itself to diversify its energy provision.

Keşmir problem between these states leading India to withdraw from the project and India is more closer to an idea to construct an undersea pipeline to exclude Pakistan from the issue. In spite of Pakistani guarantee which states pipeline will work in war time, India’s concerns are still important but another important issue is Russia and US support and shackles onto this kind of projects. In this sense, it was stated that Pakistan will get help for having energy from the new dams of the Tajikistan through Wakhan energy corridor, only if US abandons Iran natural. Pakistan’s position is not certain at this point.

While the games on energy proceeds like this, countries which have energy resources or countries which will make use of this energy, harmed from this situation.

Colonial countries’ plans for collapsing and sharing Ottoman Empire are applied upon the countries which have energy resources or countries on energy bridges, in different dimensions.

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