BSEC is key tool for dialogue, action in energy cooperation
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
A large oil research platform passes through Istanbul’s Bosphorus, which links the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea. Energy is among the leading fields of cooperation for BSEC nations. AA photo
Because energy is an essential element for sustainable development, it is one of the active areas of cooperation within the BSEC. The statistics of sectoral meetings at Ministerial and Working Group levels of the Organization show that, by far, the largest number were devoted to energy issues.
In energy cooperation, green energy and supporting projects that promote sustainable energy development are priorities for the BSEC.
Another main priority is to ensure the stability and security of energy supplies by developing a BSEC regional energy strategy and a 2020 strategy.
The BSEC is also committed to efforts toward ensuring the integration of the energy markets of the BSEC and the EU by developing a joint BSEC-EU Plan of Action in energy, and encouraging cooperation with the energy community.
Integrated market a long-range goal
In the 2010 meeting in Sofia, the energy ministers of the BSEC member states defined the common goal as being “to identify the steps to be taken towards the gradual establishment of an integrated Black Sea energy market.” Considering the particularity of the BSEC region, where vast energy resources are located and the interdependence between producing, transit and consuming countries is stronger than in other areas, the establishment of an integrated energy market would be beneficial for both the consumers and suppliers.
However, due to existing national regulations and standards and technical differences in transmission systems, the establishment of an integrated energy market has evolved into a long-term goal.
It is noteworthy that the Working Group on Energy started, in April 2012, to work concretely in order to advance towards this goal and decided to invite the member states to present their proposals regarding the design of the integrated Black Sea energy market and the practical steps necessary to implement it.
The BSEC has also embarked on regional cooperation in the field of green energy, an area that is vital for the sustainable development of the member states. The bases were laid down in Nafplion (Greece) on Oct 12, 2010, at the energy ministers’ meeting that focused on green development and renewable energy sources.
As a consequence, a task force on green energy development was set up, with the aim to identify common aspects of the green growth policies pursued by each member state and to identify relevant issues that could be addressed effectively through regional cooperation, as well as to explore ways to promote green energy investments and innovative green energy projects.
The first meeting of the task force took place on April 2, 2012, at the BSEC headquarters in Istanbul. It was a promising beginning in creating the framework.
What is now needed is for this framework to be effectively made use of, for promoting the use of renewable energy sources and the diversification of energy fuels.
A highly important agenda item in BSEC energy cooperation, namely the development of the regional gas infrastructure, was brought forth by the meeting of the BSEC energy ministers that was held in Belgrade, on April 11, 2012. The “Belgrade Declaration on the Enhancement of the Gas Infrastructure Development” that was adopted at this meeting encourages regional cooperation in the following ways:
- Supporting investments in the energy sectors of member states for upgrading infrastructure and promoting energy efficiency.
- Further opening cross-border trade of natural gas in the region based on market principles and rules.
- Establishing effective and transparent mechanisms for the natural gas market regulation in member states.
- Developing gas projects in the region.
In conclusion, the BSEC is an available instrument for dialogue and action in energy cooperation. It has the capability, as a framework of cooperation, to contribute to an integrated energy market in the wider Black Sea area, to secure corridors of energy transportation, to develop the regional gas infrastructure, and to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.
This potential only has to be used, with the political will of the states concerned, based on identifying their real needs and interests.