***Closed-door brainstorming workshop ***

Recent events have shifted the gas markets balance from sellers to buyers. The economic depression, the simultaneous strong development of shale gas in North America and the increase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply has created an important (temporary?) gas surplus on the European (and World) markets. This has led to the  decoupling of spot prices from long-term oil-indexed gas prices in Europe, creating strains to the traditional long-term oil-indexed gas pricing system. The questions arise: are these temporary strains or will they radically change the way European gas markets function and price formation mechanisms? What strategies will European and Russian gas companies adopt in this new context?

EU energy policies try to combine three priorities: security of supply, competitiveness and sustainability. Since the January 2009 gas crisis between Russia and the Ukraine, “security of supply” is often interpreted in Europe as a need to diversify away from gas and in particular away from Russia. Also, the instruments implemented for the creation of a “competitive internal EU energy market” (3rd Liberalisation Package) are often interpreted as tools to keep Russia and other producers out of the EU’s internal market. Finally, “sustainability” is increasingly associated with climate policies and in particular with the wish to decarbonize EU’s economies by 2050. In many scenarios this translates not only into a strong decrease of the overall demand of hydrocarbons but also into a non negligible fall in gas demand. After a long period of growth, gas demand could indeed decline over the next decades. The situation is complicated further by the attempts made by some major EU countries and energy players to build new gas connections with external suppliers and in particular by Russia’s aim to build new secure gas routes to Europe. These are high cost and sometimes competing infrastructures which will need to be utilized over decades in order to pay off. Will this make the long term climate policies of the EC even more difficult? Or will gas indeed contribute to achieving these objectives? Also, an increased reliance on renewable energy will boost gas demand as a back-up fuel, but its utilization will be much more flexible than today, which may call for a modified business model. Today there is a great uncertainty concerning the future outlook of gas demand and gas demand security has become an important element to insure long term gas supply security.

These short and long-term uncertainties could bring about lasting changes on how European gas markets function, and call for new strategical approaches by the main market players.

Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei – FEEM, the Saint Petersburg State University of Economy and Finance – FINEC and the Laboratoire d’Économie de la Production et de l’Intégration Internationale of the University of Grenoble – LEPII jointly organize this closed-door brainstorming workshop gathering high level experts from the industry, academia and national/international organizations from both Europe and Russia in order to discuss these issues and better understand the consequences of ongoing changes on European gas markets and how different stakeholders intend to adapt to these new challenges.