BY: Pooya Mirzaei
PEJOURNAL – Energy has become a lever of burden and pressure that influence international relations and geopolitics. Thus, energy security has been considered vital and important around the world which brings an emergency construction of a tactical strategic energy corridor or passage as a way to guarantee safety-ness.
One of the main elements that facilitate world economic development is energy. The pursuit of the world towards development has created unsteadiness and imbalances in the supply and demand of energy. Therefore, energy resource has a major issue that needed an emergency approach to the nations globally. It has become a resource that determines a country’s ability to influence world economic tendencies, outlines, geopolitics, and international relations.
The major issue surrounding the energy corridor is that it does not have a specific view and concept, many thinkers had come up with their idea and concept regarding the energy corridor. James McPherson (2013) defined the concept of the “Energy Corridor” in North Dakota as a corridor that can transport oil, natural gas, electricity, and water from western North Dakota. According to the global energy analysis (BP,2018), energy comprises of the following: electricity, natural gas, coal, and crude oil.
Therefore, the energy corridor can be said to be a passageway that comprises of one or more routes between two-point, with the movement of oil, gas, electricity, and coal connecting to the area of energy supply and consumption. Duma et al. (2003) considered a spatial approach and defined a transport corridor as a geographical area between two points, that connects different centers and moves people and times. A corridor consists of one or more paths that connect the centers of economic activity. These paths consist of dimensional levels but have a common transmission point that is connected to the same endpoint (World Bank 2015 perception).
According to (Meltem and BasKan, 2011), The energy corridor between the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Economic Union (EU) could reduce the EU’s dependence on Russia for energy security, which would be an important advantage for the EU. The energy corridor between the Caucasus, Central Asia and the European Union could help Turkey to make full use of its potential to become a major energy transit hub, According to the European Commission (2006). According to (Fazilov and Chen, 2013; Higashi, 2009; Kulkarni and Nathan, 2016), The Central Asia-China Energy Corridor meets most of China’s gas import needs and also has a diversified strategy for exporting energy to Central Asia.
Kubicek (2013) analyzed the strategic goals of the major participants in the Caspian Sea Energy Corridor: “Russia’s goal is to maintain its dominance, the United States’ goal is to diversify, China’s goal is to achieve its position, and the EU members are eager to diversify their energy resources because they now have almost no confidence in their current resources, despite they own 30% of Russia’s oil and gas.” In short, the energy corridor plays a significant role in achieving the strategic energy goals of neighboring corridor countries.
Iran occupied the significant path of the Middle East. In other words, Iran is the life support of the region, which is likely to pave a convenient path connecting the Eurasian maritime traffic, and also serve as a bridge of connection between the Middle East and the Central Asian oil regions, Iran is a nation which is rich in oil and gas resources.
The Strait of Hormuz, which is the major oil and gas import passage or corridor in the west of Asia region, is controlled by Iran. According to (Zhang, 2007) Iran is striving to break the economic barricade and political seclusion of the West by creating a cross-border energy corridor in order to achieve diversified energy exports and ensure the security of its energy exports.
(Chen, 2009) according to his analysis, China is the largest consumer and importer of pure energy in the world (Cao and Bluth, 2013; EIA, 2014; BP, 2018). The search for international energy cooperation, the creation of new energy corridors and supply channels, and the diversification of energy corridors and energy import areas are new considerations of China’s strategic energy security.
(Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office, 2014); Pakistan, which is located adjacent to the Middle East and Central Asia, in its north, while the east is bordering with India and China, has numerous major sea routes from Africa, Europe, through the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Persian Gulf, to the Asia-Pacific region all of them passing through the southern coast of Pakistan, in this sense, Pakistan is an “Energy Corridor Path” country.
Nevertheless, its energy source is exhausted. The company hopes to import oil and gas pipelines from the Persian Gulf, West Asia, and Central Asia to alleviate the domestic energy problem. But the pressure to build an energy corridor to automate domestic energy demand is high, so Pakistan must seek international collaboration in the energy sector.
Based on (Cetin and Oguz, 2007a; Cetin and Oguz, 2007b) perception; Turkey has no energy and its natural gas consumption depends on imports.
But Turkey is a strategic destination to be the world’s largest energy consumer, as a connecting point between Europe and energy-rich countries in Central Asia and the Middle East. Therefore, Turkey intends to act as an energy hub commensurate with the geopolitical structure of the region (Correlje & Van der Linden, 2006). Promoting the diversification of energy resources and efforts to establish energy hub centers are important strategic goals for Turkey.
The analysis shows that the China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey Energy Corridor is a strategic energy corridor or passage connecting four countries, and the creation of this corridor is in accordance with the strategic energy goals of the countries around the corridor. Hence, China is an importer and consumer of energy. Pakistan is not only an importer and consumer of energy but also an energy transit country.
Iran is both a supplier and an energy transit, and Turkey is an importer and an energy transit to the EU. It can also be deduced that the construction of the energy corridor is in conformity with the strategic energy goals of some of the Middle Eastern nations (China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey). Even with the construction of the corridor, there still exist weaknesses and threats, but prospects still aspire. The Corridor countries need to strengthen collaboration in terms of policy communication, mutual connectivity, energy, mechanisms, and security collaboration.