Energy Infrastructure Protection and the Caspian Offshore

Matteo Verda


Energy infrastructures represent a primary strategic asset for a producer country. Their integrity is fundamental in order to maintain production rates: serious damage could affect export flows and cause huge economic losses to the State. Moreover, energy companies typically invest several billion dollars in long-term projects: any damage to relevant infrastructures can seriously jeopardise their profitability, due to lost production and repair works.

Therefore, energy infrastructure protection is a main security concern for a producer country which wants to preserve its rents and attract more foreign investments. Countermeasures need to address several key factors: the high potential impact of even small attacks, the relative ease of targeting visible infrastructures, and their highly symbolic value.

The Caspian proves to be a particularly challenging case, due to its unique features. World-class upstream activities are located offshore and new projects are underway, but maritime borders are still being disputed. Moreover, the littoral states have diverging agendas and interests, with unpredictable consequences. At the same time, international terrorism represents a common and untamed threat.

As a consequence, the littoral states need to tackle a complex situation, which requires a multi-level strategy. At the international level, multilateral and bilateral cooperation is fundamental in order to avoid escalations and find a solution to the legal conundrum. At the national level, there is the need for effective coordination between governments and international companies and for addressing the possible internal challenges, wherever they might arise.

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