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The European Commission recently marked as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) the pipeline that will link the Greek and Cypriot deposits (East Med Pipeline), lifting the hopes of both Athens and Nicosia about the possibilities of seeing this project materialising.
The project seeks the construction a pipeline connecting the Leviathan field offshore Israel, to Cyprus and the eastern part of the Island of Crete in Greece. In order to connect the supply of this pipeline to the EU market alternate routes were discussed, including connections from Crete to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) and the Revythousa LNG terminal close to Athens.
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.'
It is argued that the global drilling rig industry is in the middle of the biggest build boom since the 1980s. This is due to a number of key factors, including a steady projected increase in demand, especially for deepwater rigs that can drill in depths greater than 4,000ft.
Air pollution is one of the most challenging environmental issues; it is global, long term, and its mitigation will involve major social and technological choices. Air pollution causes damages and imposes risks on human beings and ecosystems. In the European Union (EU) only for the year 2010, annual premature mortalities due to poor air quality amounted to over 400,000.
Global energy markets, geopolitics and petrochemical industry business models have been profoundly altered by the shale revolution in America. In "The Boom," Wall Street Journal senior energy reporter Russell Gold provides a balanced account of the history, personalities and technology of fracking - the story that transformed the North American energy landscape - and describes in easily understandable prose how previously inaccessible natural gas and oil is extracted from shale on an industrial scale.
By avoiding pushing too much volume, Gazprom/Russia and Statoil/Norway not only avoided a price war in 2011-2013 but managed to reset spot prices at a level that is acceptable to them.
As discussed in the recent international conference organised in Athens by the Research Centre for Energy Management at ESCP Europe Business School and the Greek Energy Forum, the European Union, through its 2030 Energy Targets, has provided with a blue print of its vision of the energy industry. It does so by defining its development and activities within the EU territories over the next 15 years, and beyond.
Issues such as those of security of supply, energy efficiency, carbon emissions, renewables and many others are covered in different depths and levels of clarity within these Targets. Targets, whose importance has been highlighted by the recent geopolitical developments and the market dynamics of the energy industry.
Few bilateral gas relations are as complicated and as far-reaching as those between Russia and Ukraine. As it was, these relations are uniquely opaque, considering that they affect numerous countries downstream of Ukraine. International gas meters are situated on Russian side of the border, and the contract is supposedly secret. However headline prices per 1000 m3 have always leaked to the press or were officially announced by successive Ukrainian prime ministers or by Gazprom. The current contract was signed in 2009 by then Prime Minister Yulia Timoschenko and it runs until 2019. It stipulates a price of $450 / 000 m3 initially (http://news.mail.ru/politics/2320367/), with a subsequent indexation on crude and HFO. This is to be compared with the last price of $385 which Gazprom offered before the current negotiations broke off. More significantly, this is to be compared with the current price marker of $200 on the continental gas hub TTF. The 2009 contract has a take-or-pay clause which allows Ukraine to reduce its imports. This is significant because Ukraine's floundering industry has less need for gas, and in future years if it can pacify its eastern regions, it stands to develop considerable shale gas reserves there.
In the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airline flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on 17 of July 2014, Russia has been pelleted with adverse court rulings and judicial decisions. In sequence we have:
The Greek authorities officially announced the 2014 offshore exploration bidding round for 20 offshore blocks in the Ionian Sea and on the South of Crete in a conference that took place in London earlier this summer, with the support of the Greek Energy Forum. As expected, this event was received with great levels of excitement. The various publications in the aftermath of this event however did not highlight the display of commitment from the Greek authorities in on this endeavour, which has been also an achievement in itself for a country looking to re-enter the international hydrocarbon exploration arena. The clarity of the structure of the announced bidding round, along with the announcement of a well-defined timeline and coupled with an authoritative delivery to the audience, set the ground for a successful bidding round.
In Japan, a Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme (the Act on Special Measures Concerning the Procurement of Renewable Energy by Electricity Utilities) was introduced in June 2012 to promote use of electricity from renewable energy sources (RES). The FIT is a major scheme for promoting RES electricity, which has been introduced in European countries including Germany, Spain, and the UK. Following these experiences, RES electricity has been smoothly increasing in Japan, particularly photovoltaics (PV). After the scheme was enforced, 2.4 GW of residential PV and 8.5 GW of non-residential PV have been newly introduced, which occupies 98% of the total newly introduced RES electricity (11.1 GW, as of June 2014). It is due to higher tariff for PV facilities (JPY 37/kWh for residential and JPY 32/kWh for non-residential in 2014) and its shorter lead time compared to other RES facilities. Because its power generation is fluctuated by weather conditions, connecting a large amount of PV to the power grid can cause a problem to balance supply and demand of electricity. In the FIT scheme, there are terms that the electricity companies can refuse to purchase and connect RES electricity under certain conditions. Priority connection of RES electricity is ensured in Europe, while it is not in Japan.
The UK's Coalition Government ran a "public consultation" between May and August, 2014, on a proposal designed to simplify existing procedures for underground access intended to exploit oil, gas or geothermal resources. Behind the initiative was a desire to facilitate hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for gas and oil in the UK, where existing procedures (especially the capacity of landowners to block access) are considered costly and time-consuming. The resulting report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change: "Underground Drilling Access: Government Response to the Consultation …" was published on September 25th. The Report has aroused several concerns.
Amid the hard times Greece is going through, the assertion that it is turning into an important regional player in the natural gas scene is not an exaggeration. Its geostrategic location on the map offers a number of advantages, which can translate to an economic competitive advantage, as well as to an upgrade of its geopolitical role in South-East Europe.
Firstly, Greece's role in the international chessboard of pipelines becomes critical. The selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the avenue for EU's Southern Energy Corridor, as well as the pending project for the Greece-Italy Poseidon (IGI) pipeline with the participation of DEPA, is decisive; not only will it support local economies during the construction phase, but also 'locks' this particular route through Greece as the main entrance hub of Azeri gas to Europe.
Africa, with its untapped markets and abundant natural recourses, has been the common secret amongst many energy investors over the past couple of decades. Its high growth rates, rapidly growing population and unexploited resources have marked it as the Promised Land for various businessmen. However, results so far have been widely variable.
In trying to explain why Africa has not proved to satisfy the investors' dream, one does not have to go further than the application of simple demand and supply economics. The African population is estimated to more than double itself by 2050. At the same time, and while the rest of the world is battling to get past the effects of the recent recession, GDP growth rates of 5-8% have been common in many Sub Saharan African countries. Growth rates, which are mostly driven by economic activity in the rapidly urbanised cities. They also illustrate the development of a new working class that is also growing rapidly, along with its purchasing power and its corresponding demands for higher energy consumption.
A conference organized jointly by Natural Gas Europe, the Greek Energy Forum, ESCP Europe, RCEM and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and entitled "2030 EU Energy Security, the Role of the Eastern Mediterranean Region" took place on December 10th at the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels, Belgium. The President of the EESC, Henri Malosse, opened the conference.
In his keynote speech, Malosse highlighted EU's priority to tackle the problem of high energy costs for the industry by implementing an integrated policy. Malosse stressed on the importance for the EU to support the energy transition for businesses, cost sharing between businesses and public authorities and the improvement of interconnections across European territories to ensure territorial cohesion, reduce energy costs for the consumer and increase price competitivity. The promotion of renewable energy by the investment in research and innovation will ensure renewables are accessible at a reasonable price, Malosse said. The fight against climate change remains a top priority for the EU, he added. He also explained that the EU must explore new economic models and engage in a dialogue with the citizens so that they gain an understanding on the reasons why the EU is promoting such initiatives. He concluded his speech by emphasizing the need for the EU to discuss with all its neighbours in its quest to diversify its sources and routes of supply, including the Mediterranean region.