The More Things Change..Libyan and Russia Energy Cooperation

Just a mere two months after a historic visit to Libya by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Colonel Qaddafi paid a visit to his old allies in the former Soviet Union. He stopped by to pay his respects to such stalwarts as President Lukashenko of Belarus, while having a fire side chat with Prime Minister Putin of Russia, with a later visit scheduled for the Ukraine. PM Putin in reference to Libyan-Russian ties, exclaimed that “we are becoming closer and closer.”

Only a few short years ago, Libya was an international outcast, while now it is being feted by the US and Russia, all looking hungrily at its huge energy supplies. Russia’s Gazprom, in attempting to outmaneuver the EU’s rush to diversify away from Russian natural gas (constituting about a quarter of the total EU imports), offered cooperation and investment in an attempt to corner the EU market on North African gas. Currently, Algeria and Libya are rivals and competitors to Russia for the lucrative EU gas market, however, if any cooperation comes about either on a bilateral level or a multilateral one through perhaps the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, the EU will have precious little choice in its gas imports.

The one interesting thing that is quite apparent from the Mr. Qaddafi’s international visit, is the same faces and personalities in the headlines, and that the more the international order appears to change, the more it stays the same.


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