Assessing External Threats to EU Energy Infrastructure: Pipeline Sabotage and Contraband of Energy Resources

Yuliya Zabyelina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While much political, diplomatic, media, and scholarly attention has focused on analyses of threats to EU's external supplies, there has been little attention on the need to protect Europe's energy infrastructure both domestically and in third countries. This article aims to discuss critical energy infrastructure security through the prism of transnational security. The analysis outlines the risk priorities of the European energy policy, explores asymmetrical threats to energy chains posed by terrorist and criminal attacks, and scrutinizes the barriers to managing vulnerability of cross-border energy chains. It is a qualitative study that utilizes a case study method to analyze physical attacks against energy infrastructures such as acts of terrorism and other forms of terrorism-inspired sabotage, and cases of oil contraband and pipeline tapping selected in three different regions: the (North) Caucasus, Turkey, and Ukraine's border with Russia. The findings suggest that the vulnerability of the EU energy security depends not only on the effectiveness of political negotiations and ad hoc agreements, but also the empowerment of criminal non-state actors engaged in deliberate attacks-whether disruption or theft-on the energy infrastructure segments located in different national jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Security and Environmental Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • critical energy infrastructure
  • energy security
  • oil contraband
  • pipeline sabotage
  • transnational crime
  • transnational security


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