These pipelines don’t compete, says Jonathan Stern of Oxford, because the Russian one just seeks a new route for existing supplies at 4x the project cost, while the other has no supply or purchase contracts yet. Stern also thinks that despite Gazprom’s reach into Nigeria and Venezuela, this is just politics more than a real threat of monopoly.
Professor Stern says Gazprom needs the South Stream pipeline to shore up its own transit. The company’s biggest problem is unreliable transit countries, he says, and points out the company is also suffering from the low prices set by the government at home in Russia – its biggest market.
But for Nigeria and Venezuela? Political motives are much more likely there, Stern believes: “No one expects Gazprom to make vast sums of money in Nigeria and Venezuela.”