Connecting Europe: The Southern Gas Corridor & the Future of European Gas Supply

September 11, 2018 - 11:00 am

Atlantic Council headquarters, 1030 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Connecting Europe: The Southern Gas Corridor and the Future of European Gas Supply

A conversation with:
Dr. Vitaliy Baylarbayov
Deputy Vice President, Investments and Marketing
State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR)

Mr. Neil Brown
KKR Global Institute;
Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Ms. Emily Olson
Vice President, Communications and External Affairs, Southern Corridor

Professor Brenda Shaffer
Visiting Researcher, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies (CERES)
Georgetown University;
Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council
Introduced and moderated by:
Amb. Richard Morningstar
Founding Chairman, Global Energy Center
Atlantic Council

Please join the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 for a conversation about the Southern Gas Corridor and European energy security. In the wake of new developments in constructing and completing the Southern Gas Corridor, a key priority project for European energy security, our expert panel will discuss the progress already made, challenges still ahead, and opportunities for the future.
The Southern Gas Corridor, a long-shared priority for the US, European Union, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, brings Azeri gas to Europe through the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The panel’s discussion of the project will focus on noteworthy developments and challenges, including the success of first gas this summer through TANAP, completing TAP in the wake of political changes in Italy, and the implications of the August announcement of a breakthrough on the long running dispute over the status of the Caspian Sea. It will also focus on the role of Azeri gas in European markets, the future of supplies to the pipeline, and funding and political challenges to get the TAP pipeline over the finish line.

A networking lunch will follow the event, lunch will be served.


Vitaliy Baylarbayov is the deputy vice-president of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) for investments and marketing. Dr. Baylarbayov has over thirty years’ experience in the oil and gas industry and holds a PhD in Economics. He is member of Association of International Petroleum Negotiators and held executive positions in the negotiations related to and the management of a number of major oil and gas upstream and midstream projects, including the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oilfields, the Shah-Deniz gas/condensate field, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Southern Gas Corridor Projects, including the expansion of the Southern Caucasus Pipeline, Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). He is also Board member for Sarmatia Project and AGRI LNG project.

Neil Robert Brown is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. Mr. Brown is a director at KKR, a leading global investment firm, where he is director of policy and research at the KKR Global Institute. Previously, Mr. Brown served on the senior staff of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and of Senator Richard G. Lugar, and he was a senior advisor at Goldwyn Global Strategies. As the lead for international energy in the Senate, he spearheaded major laws and strategic initiatives in energy security, infrastructure, transparency, and US State Department reorganization and helped expand counter-proliferation efforts through the Nunn-Lugar Global Program. Mr. Brown also serves on the boards of The Lugar Center, US Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative advisory committee for the US Department of Interior, Merton College Charitable Corporation, and Association of American Rhodes Scholars. Mr. Brown graduated with a BA from Harvard University and MSc and MPhil from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. Mr. Brown is from Iowa, where his family farm is located.

Emily Olson is vice-president of communications and external affairs for BP’s Southern Corridor. In this role, she is accountable for managing the political and non-technical risks associated with the development of the Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan through to Italy.

Emily joined BP in 2009 as a member of the political team in Washington DC, managing natural gas advocacy, climate change, alternative energy and fuels.  In 2010, Emily became executive assistant to Lamar MacKay, then chairman and president of BP America and now head of BP’s Upstream. Emily has spent the last two years managing and supporting the upstream business and BP’s strategic portfolio projects in London.

Emily spent over a decade in Washington DC working for the US Congress and trade associations focused on developing energy and transportation policy and legislative advocacy.

Emily is married with two children and is based in London.

Brenda Shaffer is a foremost foreign policy and international energy expert. She specializes in global energy trends and policies, politics in the South Caucasus and greater Caspian and Black Sea regions, Azerbaijan, ethnic politics in Iran, Caspian energy, and Eastern Mediterranean energy. She is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center in Washington, DC, and a visiting researcher and professor at Georgetown University. 

Prof. Shaffer is the author of several books: Energy Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (MIT Press, 2002), and Partners in Need: The Strategic Relationship of Russia and Iran (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2001). Energy Politics is used as a text book in over two hundred university courses around the globe. She has also served as the editor for Beyond the Resource Curse (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) and Limits of Culture: Islam and Foreign Policy (MIT Press, 2006). 

Prof. Shaffer frequently provides research and expert counsel to international institutions, governments, energy companies, and regional security organizations. She has served as an advisor to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Energy and Water and to the “Zemach Committee” that was appointed by the Prime Minister of Israel to recommend natural gas policy. She has provided energy research and analysis to various governments and companies in Azerbaijan, including SOCAR, and the wider Caspian region.  

She has given testimony to several committees of the US Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and to the European Parliament. She frequently appears on CNBC and in major news outlets worldwide to provide insight on developments in the global oil market.

She previously served as the research director for the Caspian Studies Program at Harvard University. She has held a number of academic appointments, including tenured professor at the University of Haifa, and visiting professor at Bifrost University in Iceland. Professor Shaffer serves on the boards of several public foundations and universities.

Richard L. Morningstar is the founding chairman of the Global Energy Center and a board director at the Atlantic Council. He served as the US ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan from July 2012 to August 2014.

Prior to his appointment, since April 2009, he was the Secretary of State's special envoy for eurasian energy. Prior to that, Morningstar lectured at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Stanford Law School.

From June 1999 to September 2001, he served as United States ambassador to the European Union. Prior to this, Morningstar served as special adviser to the President and Secretary of State for Caspian Basin energy diplomacy, where he was responsible for assuring maximum coordination within the executive branch and with other governments and international organizations to promote United States policies on Caspian Basin energy development and transportation. From April 1995 to July 1998, he served as ambassador and special adviser to the President and Secretary of State on assistance for the new independent states of the former Soviet Union, where he oversaw all US bilateral assistance and trade investment activities in the NIS. From 1993 to 1995, he served as senior vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Morningstar also served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Costar Corporation from 1990 to 1993 and as president and chief executive officer from 1981 to 1990. He was an attorney with Peabody and Brown (now Nixon and Peabody) in Boston from 1970 to 1981, where he became a partner in 1977.

Morningstar served as a commissioner of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (1989–1993). Prior to returning to the government in 2009, he served as director of the American Councils for International Education, a trustee of the Kosovo-America Educational Foundation, and a trustee of the Eurasia Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Morningstar received his BA from Harvard in 1967 and JD from Stanford Law School in 1970.