Oil platforms are seen during heavy fog on the Caspian Sea, January 22, 2013.
David Mdzinarishvili / Reuters

There is no better symbol of competition and interdependency than the Caspian Sea, which connects Central Asia and Europe, and Russia to Iran and the Middle East. This inland sea, both a bridge and barrier, contains some of the world’s largest fossil energy reserves, yet the undefined rules of the political game have kept them off limits: the Caspian energy resources are of great interest to Europe, China, and Russia, but the question of how to carry them to their destination or perhaps to the open ocean remains exceedingly complex.

Last spring, I paid a visit to the Caspian Sea to get a sense of the changes taking place there as different projects to connect Europe and Asia picked up speed. Since no passenger boats sail the Caspian, the only way to cross it is by cargo ship. Most will take a handful of passengers to make some extra

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  • BRUNO MACAES, a former Portuguese minister for Europe, is a nonresident fellow at Carnegie Europe and the author of the forthcoming book The New Eurasian Supercontinent.
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