Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 03/2010

Energy in the Mediterranean and the Gulf. Opportunities for Synergies

Naji Abi-Aad

September 2009

Istituto Affari Internazionali


Mediterranean is expected to play an increasingly important role in global energy flows which might result in a greater European dependence on North African supplies and less on the Gulf. At the same time, potential synergies are said to exist in such fields as the development of renewable energy sources, and investment required to meet domestic electricity demand. As far as oil and refined products are concerned, the volume and direction of oil flows to and through the Mediterranean will be important, especially as an expected rise in transport in the near future contains serious security implications. As a result, an increased focus on the development of a pipeline network between the Mediterranean and Europe might open possibilities for Gulf involvement. The same could apply for the supply of natural gas to Europe. In the field of power generation, the improved ability to transmit electricity over longer distances opens the door for establishing a continuum of interconnection from the Gulf to Europe through the Mediterranean and the ability to serve markets along those connections. Finally, the rapidly rising awareness of the need for renewable energy sources suggests an additional field of cooperation.