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Russia's near-monopoly with European natural gas supplies -- a massive thorn in the side of US/UK energy concerns -- would be dealt a potent blow by opening up an alternative gas route into Europe.Iran stands as the most tempting alternative route provider, potentially feeding gas into the US-backed Nabucco Pipeline (designed to connect Caspian Sea energy to Europe via Turkey), thus serving as the main obstacle to Russia's proposed South Stream Pipeline (which, in theory, aims to link Turkmenistan through the Black Sea into Eastern Europe).Yet decades of US sanctions -- and recent pressure on firms like Royal Dutch Shell and even Total of France to pull out of Iran -- have resulted in the absence of the most advanced energy infrastructure technology in the world from accessing these fields.Enter archaic state energy appendages such as Russia's Gazprom, China's CNOOC and SINOPEC, India's ONGC and Indian Oil Corp., Eni of Italy, Pertamina of Indonesia, SKS of Malaysia, PDVSA of Venezuela and others to swarm around Iran's giant South Pars and Khuzestan fields like horse flies around an open, steaming chafing dish of beef skewers.
It refers to "The Great Game," the 19th Century rivalry between the British and Russian Empires in Central Asia. ** Key caveat is that of proven reserves -- Turkmenistan may or may not surpass Iran in the latter energy category as of recently.
The biggest open secret in international affairs involves the race for a wider determination of who will prevail in the "New Great Game" for Eurasian energy resources, pipeline access routes and the necessary alliances for solidifying them.* Considering rising global energy stakes, Iran's oil and gas positioning, as well as how 30 plus years of US sanctions and frozen relations have garnered little for Washington, it is clear that the US needs Iran more than the other way around.
In essence, for the US and its closest allies, Iran increasingly appears to be the "queen piece" on the global energy chessboard.
Via Gwadar, Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are developing extensive road and rail links from Central Asia and the Chinese province of Xinjiang into the Arabian Sea coast.
Gwadar is also forecast as encompassing conversion facilities to allow for the movement of natural gas as a part of plans for a termination point on the TAPI Pipeline.