David Madden (SEESOX Associate; Senior Member, St Antony's College, Oxford)
The second seminar in the series Global South East Europe in a multi-polar world, “Energy Politics: Empowerment or dependency” took place on 28 January.
Diana Bozhilova (Kings and NCH) covered developments in the Balkans, especially concentrating on Bulgaria and Serbia. Compared with Central Europe, SEE was an outlier with less energy security. Bulgaria and Serbia were 90% dependant on Russia, and both had been damaged by the cancellation of South Stream (which would probably lead to the scrapping of other networks and interconnections) . Shale exploration was banned in Bulgaria, and tightly licensed in Serbia. Declining energy prices might mean infrastructure projects would be put on the back-burner, further damaging prospects
Androulla Kaminara (European Commission- speaking in personal capacity) concentrated on the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt). She started with the global mega changes in energy: falling oil prices with supply out-stripping demand, the Russia/China energy deal etc. Turkey had been increasing ties with Russia with new energy deals and was aiming to increase its geopolitical leverage while covering its increasing energy deals by having pipelines through its territory. Israel had legal framework and anti-trust problems to overcome which might slow down further exploration and export: this was probably a game-slower, not a game-killer. In Cyprus, 6 off-shore blocks had been licenced, the Turkish vessel Barbaros had been exploring inside the Cyprus EEZ, leading to the breaking off of inter-communal talks, and there were concerns about Total's position. The Alaska model offered one way of handling potential energy profits.