Online international conference on “Regional Perspective of Energy Security” jointly organized by Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, Communication University of China Beijing, ADA University, Baku, Azerbaijan, and the University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan.
The conference aimed to bring together experts and analysts to discuss different perspectives of energy security and recent developments in the energy global market. Experts from across the region joined the conference to share their analysis.
Dr. Fariz Ismailzade, Vice-Rector, ADA University, Baku, Azerbaijan gave a detailed review of the energy projects initiated and planned by Azerbaijan. He stated that our region has seen many turbulent times and events including the Azerbaijan and Armenia war, and now we are witnessing unrest in Ukraine which is also affecting the energy supply in the region.
Azerbaijan has successfully implemented EastWest transport and energy corridors throughout 1990 and 2000. We have finished major pipelines with Turkey that is exporting oil to the world market we have also finished a major gas pipeline to Italy that is exporting gas to the European market. Azerbaijan has proven to be a reliable and quite successful energy supplier to the world market. This has now become an important key point for European energy security as well as we have seen conflicts between Russia and the Western world. The recent developments and sanctions on Russia have made the Caspian region a major source for exporting energy. He also discussed upcoming planned initiatives of Azerbaijan to extend cooperation with Pakistan, Iran, and other regional countries.
Dr. Zoltan Egresi, Institute of Strategic Studies, Hungary discussed the Turkish energy policy and Turkish endeavors to become an energy hub for the regional actors. Between the Middle East, South Caucasus, and European Markets, Turkey can be the perfect energy hub. But the recent developments in the Russia-Ukraine scenario have changed the dimensions of the energy market. At the moment Turkey’s position is very important not only diplomatically but also in energy terms. The country is in the best position if you look at the energy supplies even though it is located next to the oil hubs of the Middle East and South Caucasus. Turkey’s reserves are less, however in recent years discoveries were made in the black Sea region and Turkey claims that it has around 450 billion cubic meters of gas reserves which will make the country, at least theoretically, for the future to supply its own needs and also contribute to its exports.
He shared that many recent developments have been made and there is a chance that Turkey will initiate new agreements related to energy security and energy supplies.
Mr. Ahmad Alili, Head of Research Department, Caucasus Policy Center Analysis, Baku, Azerbaijan discussed the developments in the European-Azerbaijan relations in terms of energy. In the wake of the recent developments and the new realities brought by the Ukrain-Russian-European Union crisis, even before there were clear signs that Russia has problems with European Union actors. Hence, the only alternative pipeline to the Russian pipeline is the Azerbaijan pipeline.
Another important point is that the Azerbaijan energy resources (oil and gas) to be delivered to the southern part of the European Union, if we take into account the Russian pipelines passing to the Central and North parts of the European Union we can see that these resources are scarce in the Southern parts. So Azerbaijan gas will cater to these places that are not accessible by Russian pipelines. By delivering gas to these parts of the EU, there will be continued collaborations as when you enter the market you stay there. When Azerbaijan will initiate exporting gas, it will continue for many years ahead.
Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed, Assistant, Professor, Department of Politics & IR, University of Sargodha, Sargodha discussed China's Energy Security and the impact of conflicts. He stated that Post cold war, the United States emerged as the sole hegemon in the world, but it was involved in the war in Afghanistan and prolonged military engagement in Middle East conflicts as well. These issues led to the weakening of the soft image of America in the world.
On the other hand, China was making developments because of new economic reforms being introduced in the country, these reforms also resulted in the successful eradication of poverty in China and also contributed to China’s relations with other continents including Africa and Asia.
Discussing the impact of conflicts on the Chinese energy security he discussed the Malaka Strait dilemma because major Chinese energy imports are imported via the Malaka strait, and it is heavily dominated by the United States, moreover, the South China Sea territorial issues also exist.
He stated that China may go for a conflict prevention strategy and it may start importing oils from Russia and Kazakhstan to avoid further conflicts. He also shared other possible strategies and scenarios that could emerge depending on China’s policies to deal with energy security and mentioned conflicts.
Ms. Guliko Bekurishvili, Young European Ambassador (YEA), Georgia discussed Energy Security in the South Caucasus. She was of the view that the fact that the geostrategic location of the Caspian region and particularly the South Caucasus region has posed new challenges and, consequently, Georgia's geoeconomic functions have depended on the growing needs of both the region (including neighboring countries) and the world economy. She also highlighted that from Georgia's standpoint, two things stand out in terms of regional energy cooperation and collaboration: 1. Developing domestic energy resources and increasing regional energy interchange and cooperation, especially with Azerbaijan; 2. Developing a country's capability for international energy transit, particularly in the context of the Southern Corridor.
Ms. Maryam Raza, Deputy Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, Communication University of China, Beijing discussed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Energy Security for Pakistan. She highlighted that CPEC is an even ambitiously envisioned transport corridor that aims to facilitate China’s access to far-flung global markets to full fill the demand of the growing Chinese economy. Under CPEC, the generation of more electricity and the harvesting of new indigenous energy resources (mainly renewables) could eventually allow Pakistan to reduce its dependence on imported oil and gas from other countries. She was of the view that in the changing socio-economic and political developments of regional politics, such projects or economic corridors are significant for regional cooperation and to meet a country’s set targets for national progress.
The conference was concluded with the closing remarks of Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, Communication University of China, Beijing. He extended his gratitude to the speakers who participated and welcomed them for other such initiatives as well.
The conference was moderated by Ms. Laraib Fatima Hassan, Communication Executive, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future, Communication University of China, Beijing, and was attended by 50 participants including students and experts from Pakistan and other regional countries.