The energy sector in Central Europe is at the cusp of a significant geopolitical breakthrough. “With new infrastructure that is integrating the region and opening it up for the global sources of energy supplies, we stand the chance of integrating the whole continent, providing it with strategic security and enhancing industry’s competitiveness,” argued Paweł Olechnowicz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CEEP, at the American Energy Exports Breakfast Seminar.
The meeting of the US’s top energy sector representatives took place on November the 5th, in Washington DC. As the event’s special guest, Mr. Olechnowicz shared the Central European perspective on the energy dimension of the transatlantic relationship. He underlined that linking Central Europe’s energy market to the wider array of global sources of energy supply, creates a real opportunity for this region’s robust relationship with the US. “Central Europe is a significant market, with a population exceeding 100 million consumers. Natural gas plays an important role in our energy-mix, and it can be increased through co-operation with the US. In the hope of increasing the role of LNG in the supply of natural gas, the countries of our region are expanding the possibilities of imports by LNG terminals. The terminal in Lithuania is already operative, and the facility at Świnoujście has just been completed, and will soon be put into service. These terminals will allow Central Europe to strengthen the widespread pipeline connections penetrating the region’s growing gas markets,” emphasised Paweł Olechnowicz in Washington DC.
At the moment, countries in Central Europe are dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies from 20% to almost 100%. This dependence affects not only the issue of energy security in the region, but also prices in the gas market. “To break Central Europe’s dependence upon Russian oil and gas, the existing East-West transmission infrastructure has to be complemented by a network of North-South oil and gas transmission lines. That, in fact, is what is happening today. New opportunities in infrastructure have to be viewed in conjunction with the expected opening up of exports by the US. Together, these developments could create a new quality in the structure of energy supplies to Central Europe,” Paweł Olechnowicz added.
Regarding the possibility of crude oil imports, the necessary infrastructure in Central Europe already exists. Central Europe’s oil terminals are able to receive and provide crude oil from the global markets for further processing in refineries. “Still, we eagerly await the lifting of the US ban on exports of crude oil. This will have both a direct and an indirect impact on Central European countries. The direct impact means the possibility of the appearance of the US oil supply, which will increase the security of supply in Central Europe. Access to cheaper crude oil will also be important for the competitiveness of our refining sector. The indirect impact means an influence on global oil prices. Our countries are importers of crude oil, and lower prices have a positive effect on our trade balances, whilst increasing the purchasing power of our citizens,” he concluded.
Information: Copyrights by Central Europe Energy Partners CEEP
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