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Session 10: Energy Security in SEE – Connecting or Dividing?

Is there a strong dependency on the energy supply? What are the prospects for supply diversification? What are the EU policies and possible future moves in the field of energy security?

Examining the Map of Gazprom Prices in 2012 has shown that prices are not correlated to distances, but to the monopoly of supply. In that way, panel straight ahead indicated that the problem is lack of competitive market in Europe, especially in the Western Balkans when it comes to gas supply. Panelists agreed that gas is the regional (European) issue. If the pipelines were cut off, there wouldn’t be an alternative source of supply. The continuity of gas supply is vital.

There is stimulus within the EU to reduce external dependency of energy supply, by promoting idea of using less energy, or using alternative energy resources. But it is clear that there is no possibility in this point that gas, as an energy resource, could be replaced with the renewable energy resources. The consensus among the speakers is that renewable energy is a great possibility, but still too expensive. This doesn’t imply that we should give up on that idea, but only that we should be realistic, and have a backup of another energy sources as well.

It could be also heard that there might be obstacles for the WB countries in their approach to the EU when it comes to the use of coal, especially in Serbia, given the fact that de-carbonization is one of EU most important demands for integration processes.

The audience heard about Energy Community, what it is and what its achievements are. There was a discussion about positive developments when it comes to regulations for transmission of gas or Ukraine’s importation of gas, not only from the Russia, but from the West also.

Overall, discussion showed that, given the economic crisis, there is no realistic chance of investing in new pipelines in foreseeable future. So the conclusion is that EU is fine with a bit overpriced gas from Russia. Potential suppliers of gas for Europe were listed: Iran, Turkmenistan, Northern Iraq and Eastern Mediterranean. But due to the political issues, these sources are out of reach, with no chance to be used in recent time. Non – European views were heard in the discussion, but with implication on Europe business as well. The question on how would import of gas from Iran impact prices in Europe market and how it would made it more competitive was discussed. It was concluded that in that way both Iran and European region would benefit.

  • John M. Roberts‚ Energy Security Specialist, PLATTS
  • Gerald Stang‚ Associate Fellow, EUISS
  • Predrag Grujicic‚ Head of Hydrocarbons Unit, Energy Community
  • Ali Biniaz‚ Director, Directorate for International Economy and Energy Studies, Institute for Political and International Studies, Iran
  • Aleksandar Kovacevic‚ Senior Visiting Research Fellow‚ Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (Moderator)