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In the Eastern Mediterranean, which is characterised more by conflict than cooperation, persistent conscious effort is needed to minimise the effects of narrow-minded populism or politicisation of issues. Such attitudes are particularly unhelpful when it comes to realising the potential of the region’s hydrocarbons through solutions that are optimal both commercially and in public interest terms. This is a job that requires calm, serious planning by cognisant, and responsible policy makers. Another condition that could be crucial in ensuring the best outcomes is the existence of an informed public debate on the topic – a debate that is based on facts, developments and expert analyses relating to the energy situation at various levels.
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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. 

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Completing Europe: Gas Interconnections in Central and Southeastern Europe—An Update, written by John Roberts, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia and Global Energy Centers, takes into account the significant steps taken in the year following the publishing of the Atlantic Council’s Completing Europe—From the North-South Corridor to Energy, Transportation, and Telecommunications Union. Roberts’ latest piece “focuses on progress made in the development of gas interconnectors, the single most important element in the creation of an effective energy union and in assuring energy security for Europe.”

As David Koranyi, co-director of the Completing Europe Report and director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative, and Ian Brzezinski, co-director of the Completing Europe Report and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center, state in the foreword, achieving a single European market “will require the development of infrastructure networks that bind together the economies of Central and Southeastern Europe with the rest of European Union.”

 
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“The Eastern Mediterranean’s hydrocarbon discoveries have massive consequences for the region, even though when considered on a global scale they are relatively small,” writes David Koranyi in the foreword to the Atlantic Council report, Hydrocarbon Developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. This report offers an important examination of the technical and geopolitical obstacles to and opportunities for creating a vibrant hydrocarbon market in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

 
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The EU's move toward a freer energy market and a global shift toward gas by climate-conscious consumers are likely to help fuel growing demand for US liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the coming years, Senior Fellow and former leading CIA analyst Bud Coote writes in Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade, How US Exports Will Benefit European and Global Gas Supply Diversity, Competition, and Security.
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In Developing a Western Energy Strategy for the Black Sea Region and Beyond, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center Ariel Cohen addresses the urgent need for a European policy on Black Sea energy following Russia's annexation of Crimea. Dr. Cohen, himself a native of Yalta in Crimea, draws on his wealth of experience in Russian and energy affairs to argue that NATO should boost its military presence in the area, while the EU should work to limit the overwhelming hold of Russia's state gas exporter, Gazprom, on Europe's energy sector. To reduce reliance on Gazprom, which accounts for much of the gas supplied to Southeast Europe, Cohen advocates for lifting government restriction on shale gas exploration, establishing a favorable tax regime for exploration and production of nonconventional resources, and establishing a network of gas interconnectors in the Black Sea.
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Following the lifting of sanctions on Iran's all-important gas and oil sector, Tehran will seek to develop an "economy of resistance" by building out commercial relationships that increase other states' reliance on it, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Dr. Sara Vakhshouri argues in Iran's Energy Policy After the Nuclear Deal.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Euro-Atlantic Community



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With the removal of international sanctions on Iran, different markets will have a great interest in importing Iranian gas. But which market will benefit the most? In A Post-Sanctions Iran and the Eurasian Energy Architecture, Micha'el Tanchum, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center and the Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative, argues that the lifting of the sanctions carries the potential to radically restructure the Eurasian energy architecture and, as a consequence, reshape Eurasian geopolitics.
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The West has responded to the Kremlin's increasingly bellicose policy in the former Soviet space by imposing punitive measures against Russia's energy sector. The immediate impact of such measures appears limited as neither oil nor gas flowing from Russia is expected to suffer right away. However, the sanctions' long-term implications may prove more important. In "Energy Sanctions and Russia: What Comes Next?," Adnan Vatansever, a Nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and a Global Energy Center Fellow, argues that the sanctions could diminish Russia's capacity to produce the same amount of oil and hamper a number of its gas objectives abroad.
Russia has proposed building a major new pipeline intended to carry gas to customers in both Turkey and the European Union. The project, dubbed Turkish Stream, is controversial for two interconnected reasons. Firstly, it is intended to help Gazprom fulfil its stated intention of terminating gas exports to Europe via Ukraine by the end of 2019. Secondly, it is far from clear that customers in the European Union would accept delivery of gas at Turkey's border with Greece in place of current deliveries to locations in Central Europe.


    

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