G20 energy ministers met in Istanbul on October 2, striving for sustainable development amidst low oil prices and climate change negotiations. European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete represented the EU.
With an eye to increasing EU energy security, in addition and in the context of G20, Cañete met bilaterally with Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Ali Rıza Alaboyun, a European Commission spokeswoman told New Europe on October 2. She added that they planned to discuss EU-Turkey energy cooperation, gas supply and transit, the Southern Gas Corridor, which includes the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) that will connect with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), Iran and COP21 climate talks which will take place in Paris in December.
Turkey, which currently holds the G20 chairmanship until November 30, invited Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev to the event. The Southern Gas Corridor will carry gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field via Turkey to Europe.
For its part, Russia is pushing ahead with its Turkish Stream pipeline bypassing Ukraine.
Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak reportedly said on October 2 that Gazprom requires construction licences for at least two lines of the proposed Turkish Stream pipeline project. “One will be for Turkey and one for Europe,” Novak told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. The Kremlin said last month that discussions about Turkish Stream had been slowed due to Turkey’s November 1 parliamentary election. Russia wants to bring 63 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Turkey and southern Europe via Greece. But the European Commission has warned that the project must abide by EU’s Third Energy package.
The G20 meeting was also expected to focus on sustainable energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy. G20 Energy Ministers were expected to adopt a toolkit of voluntary options for long-term, integrated and sustainable approach towards accelerated renewable energy deployment.
As G20 countries host 80% of existing renewable electricity capacity around the world and hold 75% of total global deployment potential, they play a key role in mitigating climate change, the Commission said. Today, more than 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity and the G20 plans to substantially contribute to ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Taking into account oil prices, energy ministers were also due to discuss energy investments in light of current market conditions. Low oil prices are the nail in the coffin for costly drilling projects. In a move hailed by environmental groups, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it is shutting down its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. On September 28, Shell said it had “found indications of oil and gas in the Burger J well, but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration in the Burger prospect. The well will be sealed and abandoned in accordance with US regulations”. After the disappointing results, Shell said it would now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future.
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