The development of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean was the focus of the PRIO Cyprus Centre (PCC) annual conference held on 14 November 2013 in Nicosia. The conference was a success on several fronts. Firstly, it effectively combined perspectives of senior scholars and analysts with the views from energy industry experts. Secondly, the success of the conference further enhances PCC's reputation as a leader in facilitating dialogue and research on Eastern Mediterranean hydrocarbons.
The PCC, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES) in Cyprus and the Brookings Institute jointly organised the event, which, with over 200 participants, marked the most well-attended PCC conference ever. Academics, civil society representatives, diplomats, energy experts, government officials and members of the public from both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities were present. The event was widely covered by local media in both communities.
The conference consisted of three panels:
- Regional Perspectives - Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Russia
- Perspectives from Industry and Potential Gas Markets
- Hydrocarbons as an Enabler for Enhanced Dialogue and Reconciliation
In addition to the organisers, the ambassadors of Norway and Germany participated in the welcome address. In the first panel, speakers mapped out the significant geo-strategic, economic and political implications of hydrocarbon development in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the next panel, representatives from industry discussed how Eastern Mediterranean gas reserves fit into the global energy context; potential gas markets and export options; and geopolitical risks. During the lunch break, the US Ambassador to Cyprus outlined US policy on hydrocarbon development and the Cyprus problem. In the last panel, speakers (including representatives from both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities) explored ways in which the possibilities offered by hydrocarbon development could be an enabler and/or catalyst for resolution of regional conflicts
PCC is increasingly recognised as a centre of expertise and knowledge on hydrocarbon issues in the Eastern Mediterranean. In November 2011, PCC held a conference entitled, 'Cyprus Offshore Hydrocarbons: Wealth Distribution and Regional Politics,' which it sponsored in cooperation with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. The proceedings were published in July 2012. In addition, in early 2013 PCC published a report 'The Cyprus Hydrocarbons Issue: Context, positions and future Scenarios,' which has been very favourably received as the first comprehensive publication on the topic.