In 2012, the Prague Security Studies Institute (PSSI) and the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University (FSS MU) forged a partnership arrangement in the field of regional energy security. This partnership has served, among other purposes, as a firm basis for a joint research endeavor intended to examine patterns of behavior of the key Russian state-owned enterprises in the natural gas and nuclear energy sectors of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). During this more than year-long project, PSSI and the FSS MU organized a substantial number of individual consultations, in-depth interviews and research trips and convened two more formal roundtable gatherings of prominent energy security experts and analysts.
This intensive effort resulted in a comprehensive report examining the natural gas and nuclear energy sectors in the CEE and the prominent role played by Russian state-owned enterprises (SOEs), Gazprom and Rosatom. In addition to its focus on these companies, the study, by necessity, took a broader analytical look at the region’s energy environment and competitive pressures worldwide, particularly those emanating from Asia. Among the questions that had been probed there were: What is the prognosis for marketing of Russian gas in Europe in light of the EU’s Third Energy Package? What is the position of Russian companies in the nuclear sector in CEE? Will Asian nations, in fact, provide new outlets for Russian energy exports in the short- to medium-term and how will these new markets affect the overall strategy of these Russian enterprises? To what extent have these SOEs become politicized and even weaponized?
The report seeked to provide an unbiased assessment of the potential risks arising from the operations of these Russian state-owned enterprises and related market forces that could potentially harm the region’s energy security. It was intended that the findings of this assessment serve to assist the work of energy and security policy practitioners, industry as well as the academic and NGO communities. On the occasion of completion of this study, our research teams decided to organize an international conference that will also address broader issues in the energy security policy portfolio.
Among the confirmed speakers were: Václav Bartuška, Ambassador-At-Large for Energy Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic; Urban Rusnák, Secretary General, Energy Charter, Belgium; Julia Kusznir, Associate Researcher, Bremer Energie Institut; Choi Jong-uk, Director, International Energy Security Division, Global Economy Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea; Hirobumi Kayama, Director, Office for International Nuclear Energy Cooperation, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan; Sanjoy Banerjee, Director, Energy Institute, City College of New York (CUNY); Andrej Nosko, Program Manager, Think Tank Fund, Open Society Foundations, Hungary.