Updated: Apr 23
The theater of Russia-Ukraine conflict is culminating and the situation has been inscrutable what is ahead. The eyes of the world are focused on every update in the event for any chance of de-escalation and peace. However, the growing tensions between western countries and Russia are depicting no sign of ease. The USA along with other its allies has sanctioned the Russia and some of the businessman which (according to the US) are on support of Putin. But, the sanction could severely hit back to westerns due to their massive reliability on Russia Oil and Gas resources. In this scenario, Iran is the substantial player, which could be the game-changer in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Russian invasion ended the bumpy-ride abstraction of whether the problems will be resolved or not. The invasion triggered the US and European countries to enforce sanction against Russia and fire with economic canons. In the economic warfare scenario, the outcome would definitely be disastrous to not only to those countries who are directly involved in the crisis, but also to the world.
The fact is that Europe is dependent on the Russian oil and gas resources, and due to their massive reliability the ramifications would blow themselves as well. Now, the situation is on the contour where who could endure as long will be powerful on the negotiation table and could draw down the interest on global affairs.
Recently, Germany has halted the development of Gas pipeline infrastructure (Nord Stream 2) by which Germany was going to get enough gas in future so she could meet its domestic demand. On the other hand, the fear is evident because if Russia stops the Gas supply to Europe and other US allies, the prices would be hiked up exponentially.
The situation is elucidated if the west could face the Gas crisis, the Russia would have to knee down. However, the leading edge to Russia is that her major trade is with China, the tacit ally of Russia in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Through that prism of analysis, the westerns may have to bear the brunt of their own mistake.
The scenario is being complexed owing to multiple determinants and various factors. For making our first and substantial case, we have to hypothetically think if Russia halts the Gas supply. As for now, there are no other plausible alternative to sustain the blow of Russian sanction. However, Qatar is a major exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to Europe and Eastern countries, and due to the fact of its capacity the US assumed Qatar to divert its Gas supply to Europe. Ever the buyers from Europe requested the Qatar official to makeshift of supplies. Nevertheless, the energy minister of Qatar “Saad al-Kaabi” argued that it is impossible for any particular country to cater the world demand. However, the possibility of diversion can be only 10 to 15 percent, but impossible to be the last and only resort against shortage. Thus it is cleared that Qatar would not be the best option to rely on, some other players must be needed as well.
In many case, Turkmenistan is a viable option but due to lack of infrastructure development at present, it could not strategically benefit the Europe. the recent development between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over Trans-Caspian gas pipeline has widen the opportunity for Turkmen, but the regional clash-interest is a dire challenge. For many year, Turkmenistan was trying to reach not just Asia but also to Europe, however, the Caspian Sea was a hurdle who’s some part also belongs to Azerbaijan. For reaching to Europe, gas pipeline would have to pass through Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan to Turkey to other European countries.
Fortunately, the two countries, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which allows Turkmenistan reach to Europe. However, the Iran has raised concerns earlier arguing the Pipeline project with degrade Caspian Sea and its Ecology. The similar objections also raised by Russia claiming that the project will deteriorate the Environment. Conversely, according to some critics, the main reason of objection is economic factors rather Environment. The expansion of Turkmen Gas supply horizon would definitely a long-term best option, but the fruits could only be eaten in Future.
Iran, naturally, have been in a position where it could impetus its interest by taking advantage of the ongoing situation. Iran, according to resource data, stands in the top positions for having immense gas reserves. However, due to conflict with the US, it couldn’t harvest the benefits from its crude bestowed by nature. Moreover, the pulling out of the US from the JCPOA deal and the resuming the sanction, hit the Iranian economy in the last couple of the years.
It was being seen that Biden administration would mark the change in the US-Iran relation, but the no considerable development happened. However, the current scenario has been a turning point where it is being considered to reshape the Nuclear deal with Iran.
The Iran Nuclear dialogue is on the end and possibly the result of the meeting amid the Ukrainian crisis will be on rationality of western. Iran has already offered its oil and gas as an alternative, but on the other hand, it is also claiming that its Nuclear program is for peace. It seems that the US and Europe have to take decision in favor of Iran for easing the sanctions and allowing the Iran to export its oil and gas to the countries. However, if that would be the case, the Gas crisis could be overcome.
It cannot be predicted, if our hypothetical case remains valid, how the Russia would react to Iran. But, it is the international order where states only see their interest; there is no permanent friend or enemy just permanent interest.
The escalation of tension between West and Russia due to the Ukrainian crisis has triggered the Gas crisis where the countries are compelled to look for alternate to Russia. Qatar and Turkmen are viable options for west, but owing to the limitations, at present, these are not panacea. On the other hand, the Iran is another alternative but the for westerns, the decision is critical.