15 Mar 2007

Russian-Algerian cooperation and the ‘gas OPEC’: What’s in the pipeline?

Hakim Darbouche

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The context in which the EU’s biggest gas suppliers decided to formalise their cooperation is marked by tensions over energy supplies and politics. The Russian-Algerian rapprochement in the gas industry has been interpreted as a step – a big step – towards the cartelisation of the gas market with potentially damaging economic and geopolitical implications for the EU. This paper by Hakim Darbouche, Visiting Research Fellow at CEPS, assesses the validity of these interpretations by highlighting the technical improbability of a gas cartel on the one hand and examining the stakes at play in the triadic relationship Russia-Algeria-EU on the other. By uncovering the underpinnings of the Russian-Algerian gas cooperation, this policy brief concludes that not only are rumors about a ‘gas OPEC’ misled but they are also misleading.