Europe's Energy Security: Options and Challenges to Natural Gas Supply Diversification (March 15, 2013) [open pdf - 983KB]
"Europe as a major energy consumer faces a number of challenges when addressing future energy needs. Among these challenges are a rapidly rising global demand and competition for energy resources from emerging economies such as China and India, persistent instability in energy producing regions such as the Middle East, a fragmented internal European energy market, and a growing need to shift fuels in order to address climate change policy. As a result, energy supply security has become a key concern for European nations and the European Union (EU). […] Successive U.S. administrations and Congresses have viewed European energy security as a U.S. national interest. Promoting diversification of Europe's natural gas supplies, especially in recent years through the development of a southern European corridor, as an alternative to Russian natural gas has been the mandate of the State Department's Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy. The George W. Bush Administration viewed the issue in geopolitical terms and sharply criticized Russia for using energy supplies as a political tool to influence other countries. The Obama Administration has also called for diversification[.] […] This report focuses on potential approaches that Europe might employ to diversify its sources of natural gas supply, and Russia's role, as well as identifying some of the issues hindering efforts to develop alternative suppliers of natural gas. The report assesses the potential suppliers of natural gas to Europe and the short- to medium-term hurdles needed to be overcome for those suppliers to be credible, long-term providers of natural gas to Europe. The report looks at North Africa, probably the most realistic supply alternative in the near-term, but notes that the region will have to resolve its current political and economic instability as well as the internal structural changes to the natural gas industry. Central Asia, which may have the greatest amounts of natural gas, would need to construct lengthy pipelines through multiple countries to move its natural gas to Europe."
CRS Report for Congress, R42405