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Will Europe go shopping for oil in the Caspian Sea?

While the realignment of the energy map could bring short-term birth pangs to the European economy, Graeber writes, by the time the eurozone is in full swing, producers from the Caspian Sea may have taken Russia's place as the exporter of choice.

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Eurostat, the statistical agency for the EU, said second quarter gross domestic product grew by 0.4 percent for the 27-member EU. OPEC, in its monthly market report for September, said the European economy was returning to growth after 18 months of recession. European economic recovery, the cartel said, was "stronger than expected" and oil demand gains from members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was "particularly notable" in the Americas and Europe.  The energy appetite from an emerging Europe should only continue to grow.

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In terms of natural gas, EU members saw their options expand exponentially when a BP-led consortium operating in the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea made a decision on its export route for Europe.  Discovered more than a decade ago, Shah Deniz should peak at 565 billion cubic feet of natural gas, making it one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. Production is expected to enter into full swing in 2017 and European markets should start getting gas through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline by 2019. (Related article: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Fracking)

BP's selection of TAP ended a pipeline war more than 10 years in the running. Kashagan's launch, meanwhile, is being met with criticism over Kazakhstan's human rights problems and the poor return on investments for what's characterized as one of the most delayed, complex and expensive oil projects in the world. Russian energy company Gazprom in July said its gas exports to the EU increased by 29 percent year-on-year. Norway, however, knocked Russia out of the No. 1 spot in terms of gas supplies to Europe. In 2009, 80 percent of Russia's oil exports went to the EU. With demand centers shifting to Asia, however, Russia has started to shift its oil export focus to China.

While the realignment of the energy map could bring short-term birth pangs to the European economy, by the time the eurozone is in full swing, producers from the Caspian Sea may have taken Russia's place as the exporter of choice.

Original article: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Will-Caspian-Oil-and-Gas-Producers-Take-Russias-Place-in-EU.html

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