Making territory through infrastructure: The governance of natural gas transit in Europe

Stefan Bouzarovski (Collaborator), Michael Bradshaw (Collaborator), Alexander Wochnik (Collaborator)

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Abstract

Recent political and military events in Ukraine have brought into sharp focus concerns over the security of European gas supplies from Russia. At the same time, the creation of an infrastructural and political ‘energy union’ has become a key stated priority for the governing bodies of the European Union. Both contingencies have highlighted the 28-nation bloc’s dependence on energy sources well beyond its state boundaries, underpinned by the existence of a transnational network for the transport and distribution of natural gas. We develop a theoretical framework predicated upon assemblage and governance approaches to explore the regulatory practices and spatial features associated with this hitherto largely unexplored infrastructural realm. Qualitative evidence from interviews, policy documents and media reports is interrogated interpretively and with the aid of social network analysis techniques. The paper reveals the existence of a socio-technical assemblage for the transmission of natural gas across national boundaries emerging as a result of the erosion of decision-making power away from established state actors, and the rise of new institutional orders. While undermining the organizational arrangements that have traditionally dominated the European gas sector, these contingencies also challenge existing understandings of transnational energy governance as they apply to overland gas transit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-228
JournalGeoforum
Volume64
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • Territory
  • Governance
  • Natural gas
  • European Union

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