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Central European energy security. Interview with Lukas Lehotsky

05.02.2017 | By Lukas Lehotsky and Iwona Szatkowska

Q: What is energy security?

Mr. Lehotsky: For me, energy security is a sufficient supply of energy sources and reasonable prices, reasonable amount of stability in supply.

Q: How do you think, is the Central European view on that matter can be common?

Mr. Lehotsky: I think, that the perspective on security of supply in the Central European countries is more focused on security and on stability of supply – and I would say that this is to a large extend the result or legacy of the 2009 gas crisis which actually showed weaknesses in Central and Eastern Europe. So, energy security to a large extend framed in terms of hard security – whether you have physical access to energy sources.

Q: Recently we have a lot of information in the media about the Nord Stream II and the Nord-South Corridor. What is your opinion about both pipelines?

Mr. Lehotsky: I would say that the Nord Stream II is issue, but it is not such a large and big issue as it is usually portraited in the media. What I mean by that is that Nord Stream II is the issue, because it changes location where national gas will be shipped in Europe. Hence, when you looked at the proposals about the Turk Stream which appeared in the 2015 – the main offtake point was supposed to be in the South, but now the main offtake point should be in the North of Germany. There is like shifting offtake points which have consequences for internal life infrastructure and of course this changes patterns and business cases for different projects and the operation of energy companies and infrastructures in the European countries. But it is not only this – I don’t see that Nord Stream as a huge threat when there is insufficient interconnectivity between European countries. If there was a sufficient and developed market then the Nord Stream II would not pose such a risk like it is usually seen.

Q: What is more possible: the Nord Stream II or the North-South Corridor?

Mr. Lehotsky: I would not speculate on this issues. I see this huge projects more as bargaining chips between parties that have different interests – we saw that the South Stream was fait accompli with pipeline ships already in Varna and the project was cancelled. We saw Turk Stream which seemed to be fait accompli ready and then there was a disagreement between Russia and Turkey and it became hold again. So I wouldn’t speculate whether it is going to happened or not. It is certainly negotiation position of Russia vis a vis European Union, but I wouldn’t say that it is going to happened or not. Signs are that currently it is not going to happened because of, for example, the polish Antimonopoly Office blocking the group of companies which were in favour of it. But the question whether it is going to happened depends to the large extend on particular conditions in particular time.

Q: And how do you see cooperation with Poland? The Stork II?

Mr. Lehotsky: I don’t have too much official information on this, but the interconnection would definitely make sense from the security of supply and security interconnectedness point of view. On the other hand the question is: whether is there sufficient business case for this and also whether there are not too much obstacles in terms of internal interest on Polish side or on Czech side and also whether there are any obstacles in terms of harmonisation between trading platforms between Poland and Czech Republic and also in particular technical issues.

Interviewer: Mrs. Iwona Szatkowska, Jagiellonian Club, Poland

Interviewee: Mr. Lukas Lehotsky – phd. candidate on Centre for Energy Studies, an entity at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic

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