The CEO's blog 29/05/2024

The East Med Gas Forum: recognising the elephant in the room. Time to stop talking and start acting


Today in Athens at the East Med Gas Forum, I made the following comments in a strategic round table, because I believe passionately that we are at risk of throwing away what some of us have worked so hard for.


We need to recognise the elephant in the room. The massive disparity between regional consumption and production = 200bcm vs 70bcm. This is a significant deficit of 130 bcm.


It is very clear that gas will be a long term energy carrier due to its combination of security and sustainability – this is what was said at COP.


The most important question we all have to consider, given it’s clear that we are all going to continue using gas is, “do you want to produce it or import it?”


There’s a lot of talk. We all sit round these tables and talk, and nothing happens. We need to stop talking. We need action.


No one here produces in new, meaningful volumes.


The only country in the region that has multiple live gas developments is Israel. Leviathan is examining new stages, and we at Energean have Katlan and then Tanin to bring onstream. This is because Israel has recognised the needs of its consumers, its energy security and the needs of the industry – and created a strategic policy that meets everyone’s needs.


Italy is about to start production at a major new project called Cassiopea, in which we are partners, and there are potential new projects in the Sicillian Channel and North Adriatic, however these are exceptions to the regional pattern.


For new sustained exploration, development and production projects to be sanctioned, we need the support of governments. We need a new clear policy from multiple governments and we need a clear statement of support from the European Union.


Strong, meaningful policy support will unlock the capital vital to create secure & reliable flows of natural gas that displaces more pollutive fuel such as coal or oil. This is what we have done in Israel and Egypt and will do in Morocco.

Without that support, the global players in the industry will look elsewhere, where there are better investments to be made, where policy makers recognise the strategic value of domestically or regionally produced energy.

It’s time to stop talking, and start acting. Or accept that you will be at the end of the pipe in a highly competitive market – and that could have major, unforeseen and unwanted socioeconomic consequences.