John Roberts

  • Three Pipelines and Three Seas: BRUA, TAP, the IAP and Gasification in Southeast Europe

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    In a new report, Three Pipelines and the Three Seas: BRUA, TAP, the IAP and Gasification in Southeast Europe, Global Energy Center Fellow John Roberts takes a comprehensive look at the state of gas infrastructure and interconnections throughout southeast Europe.

    Integration in the region, which includes countries that were formerly members of the Warsaw Pact, is crucially important not just for economic development and the further integration of the European gas market, but also as a bulwark against reliance on Russian gas supplies. Interconnection offers options and liquidity—crucial for competition and energy security.

    Read More
  • Towards 21st Century Energy Systems in Central & Eastern Europe Conference

    On June 25th, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center held a half-day conference on “Towards 21st Century Energy Systems in Central & Eastern Europe,” which brought together government officials, business leaders, and experts to discuss the progression of the European Energy Union concept, the implications of the changing global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, and the priorities of the Trump administration for Central and Eastern European energy security. It was the fourth annual edition of the conference.
    Read More
  • The Irony of Italy’s Election for Energy

    The new Italian government’s declaration that it is reviewing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project threatens to derail a $40 billion set of projects that will bring Caspian gas to Europe and hand Russia a major victory in the process.

    What is at stake is the final leg of a complex set of projects referred to as the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), a project intended to carry an initial 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azeri gas to Italy, with the potential to double in capacity and provide gas to customers beyond Italy. Almost all the required infrastructure has already been built.

    Read More
  • Responding to Russia: Time to Back Backhaul

    Did Gazprom’s sudden move to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in early March give Europe a chance to secure an almost instantaneous improvement to its energy security?

    Gazprom’s response to what it saw as an adverse February 28 ruling by an arbitration court in Stockholm, effectively ordering the Russian gas giant to pay  $2.64 billion to Ukraine’s national gas company, Naftogaz, was unexpected. Not only did Gazprom cut off its limited direct supply of gas to Ukraine­­—gas that Ukraine already paid for—on March 1, but Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller stated the following day that supplies transiting through Ukraine to customers in central Europe were also being terminated.  

    Read More
  • Energy Security in Central & Eastern Europe: New Challenges and Opportunities Conference

    On June 7th, the Energy Diplomacy Initiative within the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center held a half-day conference on Energy Security in Central & Eastern Europe: New Challenges and Opportunities, which brought together government officials, business leaders, and experts to discuss the implications of the changing global LNG market, progression of the European Energy Union concept, and the priorities of the new US administration for Central and Eastern European energy security.

    Read More
  • May's Lead Slips in the Polls Days Before UK Election

    With polls showing a narrowing margin between UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the British general election to be held on June 8 is starting to look quite interesting. The idea that May would secure a landslide victory—one so prominent when she unexpectedly called the election five weeks ago—now seems to lie in the dim and distant past.

    No one, bar a few Labour politicians who naturally have to make the case, is yet saying that Labour will actually win the election. However, there is the glimmer of a possibility that the election could result in a hung Parliament, with no party having an overall majority and with the United Kingdom (UK) facing the prospect of either a minority or a coalition government.

    That would be a slap in the face for May and her mantra of a “strong and stable” government necessary for the upcoming negotiations on the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), due to start just ten days after the election.

    Read More
  • Making the Three Seas Initiative a Priority for Trump

    In light of Russia’s use of energy as a weapon in Europe, the Three Seas Initiative—a project designed to unite the region of Europe between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas through energy infrastructure—should be a strategic priority for the new US administration, retired Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones, chairman of the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said at the Council’s Istanbul Summit on April 28.

    “This is a truly transatlantic project that has enormous geopolitical, geostrategic, and geo-economic ramifications,” said Jones, who served as national security advisor in the Obama administration. Consequently, he contended, “we need to cultivate the new American administration’s interest.” By strengthening the Three Seas region, and by extension all of Europe, the initiative will strengthen the entire transatlantic community, he said.

    Read More
  • With Pipeline, Russia Sustains Dominance of Turkish Gas Market

    Russia’s decision to go ahead with Turkish Stream, an offshore pipeline that will bring Russian gas to Turkey, cements its dominance of the Turkish gas market.

    In political terms, the revival of Turkish Stream—or TurkStream as Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy company, now terms the project—epitomizes the entente developing between Moscow and Ankara, a relationship that is of crucial importance given their differences in recent years, particularly over the war in Syria.

    In strictly practical terms, however, TurkStream ensures that Russia will maintain its grip on the Turkish gas market. The project’s success will send a signal that Russia is still looking to find a way to supply gas to customers in Southern Europe that—if and when it stops using Ukraine as a supply route—it may not be able to reach by way of its controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline across the Baltic Sea.

    Read More
  • Iraqi Kurdistan Oil and Gas Outlook

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)
    As the war against ISIS renders borders increasingly malleable and further strains relations between Erbil and Baghdad, the likelihood of a declaration of independence from the Kurdistan region of Iraq increases. In this report, Iraqi Kurdistan Oil and Gas Outlook, Global Energy Center senior nonresident fellow John Roberts explores the options for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to capitalized on its oil and natural gas reserves as well as the options that would be available to an independent Kurdistan.

    Roberts takes a holistic approach to examining the prospects for exporting Kurdish oil and natural gas. The report offers analysis on the current state of Kurdish oil and gas: KRG relations with Baghdad, Ankara, and Tehran, the fight against ISIS, and current production capabilities. Additionally, Roberts envisions the challenges facing the Kurdish energy sector in the event of an independent Kurdish state. By offering a side-by-side review of the challenges and capabilities facing the KRG in reestablishing profitable production and export of its natural resource reserves, Roberts is able to make constructive recommendations as to how Iraqi Kurdistan should navigate the current turmoil in the region vis-à-vis its natural resources. 

    Chief among these recommendations is the imperative that the KRG diversify its economy. As an independent Kurdistan or one still loosely affiliated with Baghdad, the ongoing production disruption, as well as the deficit incurred due to years of ongoing conflict amidst low oil prices, makes even a return to full export capacity insufficient to meet the demand of the Kurdistan economy. The Kurdistan Regional Government “is short on money to pay both the energy companies producing the oil on which the government relies for revenues and its own employees…and to cope with the influx of some 1.5 million refugees.” An independent Kurdistan would run the risk of being the world’s youngest rentier state, and an insolvent one at that.

    This report offers timely analysis on an important hydrocarbon market and Roberts’ geopolitical analysis of regional relations in respect to the Kurdish government is vital as the Kurds emerge as an ever more defining force in the Middle East. 

    pdfRead the Publication (PDF)

    Read More
  • Natural Gas Europe Highlights the Atlantic Council Report "Completing Europe"

    Read More