Webinar: The winter of discontent: surging energy prices in Europe

A new gas crisis is underway in Europe.  Cold weather, a slowdown of domestic gas production and competition for LNG deliveries with Asian markets have engendered a spiral of gas price hikes throughout the last year.  Russia’s Gazprom seems to be either unable or unwilling to be a supplier of last resort to the EU.  Geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine are exacerbating the situation.  In response, LNG supplies from the US to the EU have increased but the volumes – under competition from buyers and consumers in Asia – remain too low to satisfy the markets and reduce prices.  How can Europe guarantee security of supply at a reasonable price?  It is arguable that EU internal market rules have been designed for times when buyers control the market.  How should security of supply be addressed during a shortage of gas?  Does the EU Energy Toolbox offer adequate solutions?  If so, does it contradict the EU’s efforts over more than two decades to avoid market dominance by incumbents?  The EU often refers to the need to engage with its suppliers, but how?  Long term contracts have for many years been seen as a bête noire in EU energy markets.  But without them, how can the EU convince either Russia or US LNG suppliers to supply its markets?  To answer these important questions, we opened a debate with geographical representation from the EU, Russia and the US.




Graham Coop moderated the webinar and offered introductory remarks addressing the EU perspective: how appropriate is the energy market structure created by the EU to optimise the single market in times of crisis?


Arthur Gelber addressed the US perspective: the potential for LNG, reasons for the decline in LNG exports to Europe, and the often-discussed risks of a new LNG export ban.


Andrei Belyi addressed the Russian perspective: Gazprom’s strategies, possible reasons for decline in supplies of Russian gas to the EU and how Russian suppliers use EU competition rules – which can easily become a double-edged sword.


The speakers’ presentations were followed by a discussion among speakers and questions and comments from the audience.


The distinguished speakers were:


Graham Coop, Partner at Volterra Fietta.  Mr Coop is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and as a solicitor with higher rights of audience (Civil) in England and Wales, and his thirty-year legal career includes seven years as General Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat between 2004 and 2011.  Mr Coop advises and represents companies, governments and international organisations on international dispute resolution and public international law, with a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure and banking sectors.  He has appeared as counsel, advocate and expert before a wide range of international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, ICSID, the PCA and the ICC.  The cases in which he has been involved as counsel include numerous price review disputes and other price-related disputes in the energy sector.  He has also advised and represented parties to long-term energy sale agreements wishing to negotiate price adjustments in the absence of contractual price review clauses.  He is on the UK Attorney General’s list of public international law practitioners.


Arthur Gelber. Mr Gelber has been in the domestic and global markets for natural gas, oil, and products since 1980, and is considered a leader in the energy industry.  He founded the international trading and consulting firm Gelber & Associates in the early 1990s and traded some of the very first NYMEX natural gas futures contracts.  As president, he is actively involved in a wide range of topics including natural gas supply and demand analysis, LNG markets, regulatory matters, pricing, transactional strategy, hedging activities, and expert litigation consulting in all energy-related matters.  Recognised in various media outlets, Mr Gelber has appeared on CNBC and CNN, and has appeared in print media as diverse as The New York Times and Forbes Magazine.  He was previously employed at Conoco in leadership roles in drilling, refining, pipelines and international oil trading.  Mr. Gelber received his undergraduate secondary degree in geology from Colorado College, his Advanced graduate degree from Rice University and recently completed the Sustainability and Corporate Leadership program at the London Business School.  Clients of Gelber & Associates have included such firms as: Goldman Sachs, Disney, Air Liquide, Korea Gas, Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), US Steel, and CF Industries.


Andrei Belyi.  Mr Belyi has over twenty years of experience in analysing European gas markets and policies  He has worked both in Brussels and in Moscow and therefore has a broad understanding of European and Russian dynamics in the sector.  Over this time, he has participated in various  research projects covering EU gas market liberalisation, transit conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, the impact of LNG markets on EU energy policies, the EU-Russia negative interdependencies in gas as well as the EU security of gas supply.  During his academic career he co-founded an academic research network on Political Economy of Energy in Europe and Russia.  Five years ago he wrote a monograph entitled ‘Transnational Gas Markets and Euro-Russian energy relations’ where he assessed the political economy of the gas markets.  He regularly writes policy briefs and commentaries for professional portals (such as Energy Post and Natural Gas World) and publishes reports for think tanks including the Florence School of Regulation, the International Centre for Defense and Security and the Vienna Institute for International Economics.  He is currently based in Tallinn, Estonia, where he founded his own management consulting firm Balesene.  His consultancy activities include regular gas market monitoring, advice to industrial stakeholders and to policy makers.  In addition, Andrei Belyi holds an honorary academic title of Adjunct Professor in Energy Law and Policy at the University of Eastern Finland.


For any queries regarding the content of the seminar, please email Graham Coop at