Representatives from the energy sector, governments, international energy organizations and academia examined paths toward improved trans-border energy cooperation in the South Caspian region.
An Energy Community for the South Caspian Region: New Benefits for Regional Players *1
EWI and the Madariaga European Foundation (MEF) convened a half-day experts meeting in London on September 27, 2007, to promote the idea of improved and efficient trans-border energy cooperation in the South Caspian region. The regional players are already involved to some extent in multilateral energy frameworks such as the Energy Charter Treaty of the Energy Community. *2 The organizers believe that there is a need to create new institutional mechanisms in addition to those provided by the Energy Charter Treaty. These mechanisms should link Turkey and other regional players and bring together disparate national interests into a coherent set of acceptable rules. Important external players such as the US, the EU, Russia and China share a common interest in preventing the Caspian Basin from becoming another “oil curse” region where windfalls in oil revenues might fuel instability and extremism. Another mutually unacceptable scenario is one in which a single player becomes dominant in the South Caspian region.*3 Moreover, all actors are interested in the advancement of regional economic development and political stability.
The event, sponsored by Hydro (www.hydro.com), gathered approximately 60 representatives from the energy sector, governments, international energy organizations and academia. Participants will discuss the shape of a future “energy community” in the South Caspian region and propose specific policy “road maps” for the major players. In this context, the meeting will also address: 1) Prospects for regional trans-border energy cooperation, especially in the areas of power generation, alternative sources of energy and new transit corridors for hydrocarbons; and 2) The creation of regional legally binding energy security frameworks utilizing structures already in place (European Energy Community, IEA, the IEF, etc).
The meeting will produce a conference report as well as a policy paper outlining the launch of a new joint EWI-MEF energy security project proposing possible recommendations for the creation of a regional legally binding energy cooperation framework.
*1 For the purposes of this seminar we limited the South Caspian region to Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan plus Turkey and Georgia.
*2 See http://www.encharter.org/ Of the South Caspian states, Turkey is the only member of the Energy Community, http://www.seerecon.org/infrastructure/sectors/energy/