Bilge O’Hearn Firat

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

The University of Texas at El Paso

Grant number

Gr. 10202

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

O'Hearn Firat, Bilge (The University of Texas at El Paso) "Southern Gas Corridor as a Geopolitical Infrastructure: An Ethnography of the European Union's Energy Security"

BILGE O’HEARN FIRAT, University of Texas, El Paso, Texas, was awarded funding in October 2021 to aid research on “Southern Gas Corridor as a Geopolitical Infrastructure: An Ethnography of the European Union’s Energy Security.” Conducted at a time when the Russian War in the Ukraine heightened energy supply security matters during 2022, this research project was about the makings of a fossil gas transport corridor between the Caspian Sea and Europe. In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, mid-level officials and expert, among them engineers, lawyers, economists, diplomats, policy officials, strategists, lobbyists, and market and government relations experts, developed 36 fossil gas pipeline projects across seven countries to move Caspian hydrocarbons westward. With the heavy involvement of the US and the European Union, thirteen of such projects were actually built during the said timeframe. The research project looked at who these actors were and when, where, how, and why they did what they did, the limits to their agency, and how their views on fossil choices have changed over time. Interviews were supported by a critical analysis of over a thousand of policy artifacts (i.e., open-sourced diplomatic and intelligence correspondence, including leaked U.S. cables; policy documents containing strategy and action items; audiovisual recordings of public energy and infrastructure meetings; and news articles).