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Will geopolitical obstacles prevent the Eastern Mediterranean from realising its hydrocarbon potential? How will the Syria conflict impact the East Med's exploration progress? How can the maritime border conflict between Israel and Lebanon be resolved? Is a resolution of the conflict a prerequisite for the two countries to make use of their natural gas deposits? Is the East Med under pressure to reach exploration phase before an eventual drop in natural gas prices due to an oversupply of natural gas? Is the drop in natural gas prices imminent or only theoretical? Will the US play an important role in changing the rules of the game hence affecting the East Med's ability to monetize its riches? Will the shale revolution anchor natural gas prices? Where will the East Med gas head towards? Which routes will be adopted to transport and deliver the natural gas to consumers? How can Europe contribute in supporting the Eastern Mediterranean in its path towards energy self-sufficiency/ export? Will the TAP/TANAP projects aimed at ensuring the security of natural gas supply to the European Union facilitate the transportation of East Med gas?
The roundtable debate opened at London's ESCP Business School and Research Centre for Energy Management (RCEM) on Monday 17th February.
Dr Patrick Gougeon, director of the London campus suggested to be cautious with oil and gas supply and demand forecasts 'because in the past we have always been wrong.' Dr Valsios Voudouris, who organised the Chatham-House-style roundtable responded by saying, 'Yes, uncertainty is a challenge, but we need to make some scenarios. Models and predictions based on information available at a time t, even if it's not 100% accurate, can help energy policymakers and watchdogs to assess the risks in each country and therefore make valuable investment decisions.'