October 15, 2017
An international conference on the future of energy in the eastern Mediterranean held in Nicosia earlier this month had three main themes: global energy developments and their impact on the East Med; the oil and gas industry and the prospects for the region, and energy transition and renewables in the East Med.
Impact of global energy developments
The keynote presentation was made by Professor Jonathan Stern of Oxford University’s Institute of Energy Studies, who is a renowned expert in the global energy and gas industries. It was a forceful but sobering presentation setting the global scene. His opening statement was that the ‘good old days’ of the global gas sector are over. Industry liberalisation, increasing competition, short-term trading, the relentless advance of renewables, energy efficiency and carbon reduction policies are impacting future energy demand. The future for gas is uncertain due to competition from low carbon energy and Paris Climate Agreement commitments.
The rate of growth of energy, power and gas demand in Europe has declined since its peak in 2010. Low prices also mean that companies want guarantees for projects for at least 15 years – otherwise they do not invest. Russian gas penetration of Europe is increasing and low prices make it difficult for others to compete.