The Bridge

The Bridge : Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe

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A noted expert on Russian energy argues that despite Europe's geopolitical rivalries, natural gas and deals based on it unite Europe's nations in mutual self-interest.

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet empire, the West faces a new era of East-West tensions. Any vision of a modern Russia integrated into the world economy and aligned in peaceful partnership with a reunited Europe has abruptly vanished.

Two opposing narratives vie to explain the strategic future of Europe, one geopolitical and one economic, and both center on the same resource: natural gas. In The Bridge, Thane Gustafson, an expert on Russian oil and gas, argues that the political rivalries that capture the lion's share of media attention must be viewed alongside multiple business interests and differences in economic ideologies. With a dense network of pipelines linking Europe and Russia, natural gas serves as a bridge that unites the region through common interests.

Tracking the economic and political role of natural gas through several countries-Russia and Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway-The Bridge details both its history and its likely future. As Gustafson suggests, there are reasons for optimism, but whether the "gas bridge" can ultimately survive mounting geopolitical tensions and environmental challenges remains to be seen.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 38.1mm | 907.18g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • 4 Maps
  • 0674987950
  • 9780674987951
  • 76,632

Review quote

What an excellent book. Imagine somebody--in this case Thane Gustafson--taking all those snippets of gas history you used to read about and turning them into a coherent, well-written narrative...Every topic should have a book like this about it.-- (12/21/2019) A readable, intelligent, even-handed historical interpretation of this modern economic relationship [between Europe and Russia].--Nature (12/02/2019) Sets out the genesis of Russia's gas contract with Germany--and the West--and how it yet may be blown-up by increasing geopolitical tensions.--Jason Corcoran"bne IntelliNews" (11/21/2019) Well worth a read for those wanting more insight into the mindsets of the main actors and what might influence the flow of Russian gas to Europe in the future.--William Powell"Natural Gas World" (11/11/2019) Makes a provocative argument that gas is less of a geostrategic/geopolitical threat and in fact contributes to long-term stability in Europe.--BRINK (12/31/2019) Extraordinarily well-researched and well-argued, this book provides an account of the economics and geopolitics of gas in Europe over recent decades. Anyone looking for pointers on how gas will feature in Europe's increasingly low-carbon energy mix would be well advised to read this keen analysis of the future prospects for this less-polluting fossil fuel.--Sir Philip Lowe, former Director-General of Energy, European Commission This excellent book reveals the controversial and sophisticated forces driving Russian and European gas industries and trade. While we do not know whether this bridge will prevail, the outcome will be of crucial importance for the global economic and political landscape.--Tatiana Mitrova, Director, Energy Center, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO Well-researched and well-written. A very fine book.--Jonathan Stern, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies The Bridge is an extremely fact-rich and thoroughly researched story about people, technology, and ideas within and around the European gas industry. Anyone wishing to understand and navigate the politics and business of European energy cannot ignore Gustafson's insights.--Gert Maichel, The Mobility House, former CEO of Wingas, and former senior manager of Wintershall This compelling narrative illuminates one of the most important dimensions of Europe's relations with Russia. The Bridge explains that Russia's gas bridge is two-way, focusing on why, despite tense political relations and U.S. opposition, it continues to bind Russia and Europe together.--Angela Stent, author of Putin's World: Russia against the West and with the Rest Elegantly written by one of the world's experts on the subject, The Bridge deftly combines narrative and analysis with Gustafson's own distinctive perspective. It tells an important story--the development of the gas relationship between Russia and Europe, the politics around it, and the circumstances and interaction of personalities that have shaped it.--Daniel Yergin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Prize and The Quest
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About Thane Gustafson

Thane Gustafson is Professor of Government at Georgetown University and Executive Director of IHS Markit. His books include Crisis amid Plenty: The Politics of Soviet Energy under Brezhnev and Gorbachev, Capitalism Russian-Style, and Wheel of Fortune: The Battle for Oil and Power in Russia (Harvard).
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