"The sharp rise in tensions between the European Commission and Russian oil giant Gazprom is worrying the countries of Central Asia because they are highly dependent on their exports to the EU of gas and oil," explains Swiss daily Le Temps. The attitude of not provoking Moscow on subjects as sensitive as gas and oil in order to insure a stability that benefits everyone is defended in the capitals of some former Soviet republics. Astana is one of these. "Kazakhstan is trying to increase its participation in three major Western oil consortiums: Chevron, Shell and Total," the paper notes.

Furthermore, "the authoritarian regime of its wealthy president [Nursultan Nazarbayev] is concerned that a European investigation into Gazprom would, by ricochet, entice Brussels to later take a look at the practices of Central Asian energy companies," Le Temps stresses.

In addition Astana wants to continue diversifying its client base. "Kazakhstan fears that a new energy crisis between Moscow (its main partner for transport and refining) and Brussels (its principal client) will benefit Beijing", Kazakhstan's other major oil purchaser, the paper says. But Astana does not want to be tied to a single client.

As far as Europe is concerned, a former advisor to the Commission issued this warning in the pages of Le Temps

The real energy challenge for the [Member States], remains having a common long-term policy and ensuring that European oil giants, in Central Asia and elsewhere, do not act against the interests of the 500 million oil and gas consumers in the Union.