Within the activities of the UfM “Platform on Gas”, Sonatrach, the Algerian National Oil and Gas Company, and the Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie (OME), jointly organised a regional workshop on natural gas supply-demand prospects in the Euro-Mediterranean region, in Algiers, on 14 March 2018.
Hosted by Algeria, a major global and regional gas supplier, and with the support of the European Commission and the Algerian Ministry of Energy, the Algiers workshop aimed to provide opportunities to carry on the exchanges of knowledge and views on the current situation of the regional and international gas market in line with the main purpose of the gas platform; i.e. to establish a regional structured dialogue facilitating the progressive development of a Euro-Mediterranean gas market in order to promote security, transparency, and predictability of both demand and supply in a manner that correctly and fairly balances the interest of producing and consuming countries.
Over the past few years, the natural gas industry, and in particular the LNG industry, experienced remarkable growth and transformations. And the gas/LNG markets continue to change rapidly. The workshop was therefore a unique occasion for participants to debate around the topics that matter in the natural gas industry today and in the future. Around 40 delegates from institutions and the industry from both shores of the Mediterranean Sea participated to the success of this first regional workshop organised with the framework of the gas platform activities.
Several guest speakers contributed to the different sessions and stimulated exchanges/discussions between all participants. The European Commission presentation (presented by OME General Director Dr Houda Allal) focused on the perspectives for natural gas in the EU as well as new EU’s strategy and regulation for gas; Willem Braat (Gas Market Analyst at the International Energy Agency) presented an analysis and a mid-term outlook of the gas market.
From the industry, Ahmed Mazighi (adviser to CEO and Chairman of Sonatrach) presented the role of natural gas in the development strategy of the Algerian National Oil and Gas Company; Wouter Koopman (European Affairs Manager for Gas at Shell) presented the 2018 issue of the Shell LNG Outlook; Dario Speranza (Vice President Political and Institutional Scenarios and Analysis at ENI) presented ENI’s view on the future of natural gas in the North Africa and East Mediterranean; and Antoine Roussel (Deputy Head Gas Supply Negotiations at ENGIE) focused on European gas market developments and mid streamers perspectives.
To conclude the workshop, Marco Margheri (Executive Vice President for Institutional Affairs at Edison and Chairman of the OME Gas Task Force) chaired a roundtable with all guest speakers to discuss the growing complexity of the gas market and the role of gas in the Euro-Mediterranean energy market.
The event highlighted in particular that the growing complexity in market sophistication has been one of the main factors in changing gas market dynamics we are experiencing in recent years. This situation will likely give birth to innovative and new business models in Euro-Mediterranean gas market. As a cleaner, competitive and abundant fossil resource, natural gas will play an important role in satisfying future energy needs in the region, including in the new and niche areas such as transport. The Mediterranean basin offers a portfolio of both sources and routes of gas supply. Regional cooperation in the gas sector in the Euro-Med. area can deliver important benefits to all parties concerned. It is hoped that the UfM “Platform on Gas” will help strengthen this cooperation.
After the close of the workshop, the meeting of the UfM gas platform Working Group took place to discuss the final draft report of the study entitled “Assessment of the existing and future of gas supply and demand balance in the Euro-Mediterranean region”. The presentation of Sohbet Karbuz (OME) on the main findings of the study was followed by an open discussion with working group members.
Initiated in Malta in July 2014, confirmed in Rome in November 2014 and launched in June 2015, in Brussels, the objective of the UfM “Platform on Gas” is to enhance the cooperation in the Euro-Med. region between all stakeholders of the gas chain, in a bottom-up approach to improve gas security by identifying barriers and opportunities. The “Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Énergie” (OME) runs the Platform’s secretariat in close coordination with the UfM co-presidency.
The UfM “Platform on Gas” is one of the three UfM Energy Platform (The two others are on regional electricity market and on renewable energy and energy efficiency) established by EU Energy Ministers, Ministers of Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries, and the European Commission to further strengthen regional cooperation in the Mediterranean for ensuring secure, affordable and sustainable energy for the region and beyond.
More information about the UfM “Platform on Gas” available soon at @ www.ufmgasplatform.org