Black Sea gas: Economic and geopolitical implications

Black Sea oil rig

Black Sea gas: Economic and geopolitical implications

Wednesday, 11 November 2020 - 4:00pm
Zoom webinar
Dimitar Bechev (DPIR, Oxford; Russia Institute, King’s College London)
Jonathan Lamb (Wood & Company, London)
Anna Mikulska (Baker Institute, Houston; Kleinman Center, UPenn)
Othon Anastasakis and Okan Yardımcı (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Okan Yardımcı (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

The first Black Sea deep-water natural gas discovery was made in Romania’s Exclusive Economic Zone in 2012. Although, the commerciality of the Romania’s Neptun block is still under discussion, the recent news from the Turkish exploration well, Tuna-1, caused a stir at the littoral countries. On 21 August 2020, Turkey unveiled the biggest-ever natural gas find in the Black Sea. Based on the Turkish National Oil Company’s statement, the prospect has a potential of 11 trillion cubic feet of gas which represents the second largest hydrocarbon discovery in the world during the year 2020. While Turkey’s south coast Eastern Mediterranean is becoming increasingly an area of conflict, its northern coast has a potential to lead a way of regional cooperation. Turkey directed its second drillship to the Black Sea after the discovery. Ankara ambitiously aims to launch the first gas production by 2023, decrease its natural gas import dependency and hopes to negotiate leverage against Russia and other gas exporters.

Our webinar will address the following questions:

  • What does the latest Black Sea gas discovery mean economically?
  • What’s the hydrocarbon potential in the Black Sea and what does it mean for the littoral states and other Eastern European countries in terms of dependency on Russian gas, pipeline geopolitics, negotiations on gas contracts?
  • Can gas discoveries help spur regional cooperation in the region?
  • What are the possible impacts on the contested Mediterranean waters?

Please register here

Dimitar Bechev is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is also a fellow at Europe's Futures Programme at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna,  as well as the director of the European Policy Institute, a think-tank based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Dr Bechev has published extensively, in both academic and policy format, on EU foreign relations, the politics of Turkey and the Balkans, Russian foreign policy, and energy security. His book Rival Power, published by Yale University Press in 2017, explores Russia’s role in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey). He has held research and teaching positions at Oxford, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo as well as visiting fellowships at Harvard and the London School of Economics. From 2010 to 2014, he was the head of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) office in Sofia. Dr Bechev is a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera Online, Oxford Analytica, POLITICO, and EUObserver. His quotes have appeared in leading newspapers such as the Financial Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He holds a DPhil in international relations from the University of Oxford.

Jonathan Lamb has been an Oil and Gas analyst at WOOD & Company, for the past 5 years, where he is responsible for writing research on companies across the emerging Europe region, including Turkey, Poland, Romania, Hungary and Greece. The development of the regional gas business is an important theme in his work. WOOD is a Czech investment bank with a focus on emerging markets in Europe. Mr Lamb previous spent 20 years working in the downstream oil business in Turkey, including for refining company Tupras. He has a degree in Chemical Engineering and speaks fluent Turkish.

Anna Mikulska is a nonresident fellow in energy studies for the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. Her research focuses on the geopolitics of natural gas within the EU, former Soviet Bloc and Russia. Her current interests include the potential use of natural gas as a geoeconomic tool and investigating ways to leverage U.S. LNG exports to bolster European energy security. Mikulska is a senior fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, where she teaches graduate-level seminars on energy policy and geopolitics of energy. She is also a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and sits on the editorial board of the Adam Mickiewicz University Law Review. Mikulska speaks Polish, English, German, Farsi and Russian. She received a law degree from Adam Mickiewicz University, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Windsor in Canada, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston.