"The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows"

Aristotle Onassis

Meeting: October 25, 2017: The penultimate debate on Russian gas to Europe: politics, markets, regulation and on whether Nord Stream 2 is good for EU energy security

This interactive discussion of the Brussels Energy Club addressed the topic of:


"The penultimate debate on Russian gas to Europe: politics, markets, regulation and on whether Nord Stream 2 is good for EU energy security"


And took place on Wednesday October 25, 2017, 4-8pm @ TUSIAD Avenue des Gaulois, 13, Brussels 1040


Featuring a barrage of special guest speakers/discussion openers including:

Sebastian Sass Sebastian Sass

EU Representative

Nord Stream 2 AG








Annette BerkhahnAnnette Berkhahn 

Senior Adviser, Arthur D Little







Harald HeckingHarald Hecking 

Co-managing director, ewi ER&S








Jean-Arnold Vinois

Jean-Arnold Vinois 

Energy Adviser to the Jacques Delors Institute










Will we ever put to bed debates about dependence on Russian gas supplies to Europe? If the debate currently raging in town (ie, Brussels) about the Russia-driven Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is anything to go by, it seems that we are only just warming up. The side of the House supporting the motion that This House does not want greater dependence on Russian gas supplies has been telling us that Nord Stream 2 does not fit into the Energy Union strategy of diversification of the source of supply and that it does not comply with European law. The other side of the House, which opposes the motion, argues that more Russian gas will, to the contrary, sure up European energy security by replacing existing gas volumes in north-western Europe which are currently being depleted. It adds that Nord Stream 2 will help drive down the price of gas in Europe by increasing market liquidity and creating new scope for trading greater gas volumes on the European gas hubs.

The debate contains elements of markets, politics and regulation. Both sides of the House appear to have valid arguments supporting their respective positions, in which they are seemingly becoming more entrenched. Further, the debate becomes yet more interesting — and for that matter more complex — when the prospect of US LNG and well as Ukraine gas transit capacity is brought into the picture.

Yet despite the debate, the key question about dependence on Russian gas in general and additional volumes to be delivered through Nord Stream 2 in particular remains: will the project go ahead? Or will Nord Stream 2 bite the bullet in the same manner as its Black Sea counterparts, South Stream and, for that matter, NABUCCO? Despite all the colour of the debate and the fanfare of its elements, the question of whether Nord Stream 2 will go ahead remains very much open to discussion. That said, it is also a question to which we need some answers as we seek to construct a competitive energy market in all of Europe and for all Europeans.

In this BREC session on October 25 we took a step closer towards answering this very vexing question, as well as what promises to be the penultimate debate on Russian gas and on whether Nord Stream 2 is good for EU energy security.  


Program October 25, 2017: 16.00 — 20.00: 

  • Arrival of members and guests leading into welcome cocktail   
  • Setting out the debate by Dr Marat Terterov, Initiator and Founder, Brussels Energy Club,
  • Presentation by Sebastian Sass
  • Presentation by Annette Berkhahn Blyhammar
  • Presentation by Harald Hecking
  • Presentation by Jean-Arnold Vinois
  • Roundtable discussion with meeting participants (NB: the Chatham House Rule will apply).
  • Our traditional networking reception with gala buffet will follow the main discussions


Speaker information

Sebastian Sass acts as spokesperson for Nord Stream 2 AG on EU issues and represents the company to institutions, influencers and media at EU level. He served in a similar function for the existing Nord Stream Pipeline project. At the time, he also managed relations with governments in the Baltic region. Later, Sebastian founded a communications and strategic relations advisory. He also worked as Head of Communications and EU Affairs for South Stream BV. Previously, he worked as EU Presidency Coordinator for the Finnish Minister of Justice during Finland"s EU presidency 2006. Prior to that, Mr Sass was an advisor for International Affairs and European policy in the Parliament of Finland, and he also worked as an advisor in the German parliament. Sebastian holds a German law degree and a Master"s degree in European Law (LLM) from the UK.

Annette Berkhahn Blyhammar is a Senior Advisor working for Arthur D. Little. She has enjoyed a long career in management consulting in the European natural gas and power industries. A native of Sweden, she worked for many years in Norway (gas market analyst for Statoil) and in the United Kingdom (managing consultant in Arthur D. Little"s International Energy Directorate). Upon her return to her home country in the mid-1990s, she was head of corporate development at Vattenfall AB, leading the work to formulate a strategy for the newly liberalized Nordic power market, resulting in Vattenfall"s successful market repositioning and first wave of international acquisitions. Since then, she has concentrated on advising the industry on topics such as strategy formulation, market analysis, investment planning, and change management. She has also led several studies on market design and regulation, and has been an advisor to the European Commission on the integration of the Baltic gas markets.   

Ms. Berkhahn Blyhammar holds an MSc in Economics and Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics.

Harald Hecking has been the co-managing director of ewi ER&S since June 2015. Mr Hecking was previously a research associate at EWI and, in October 2014, became the Head of Fuel Market Research. In his numerous consulting projects at EWI, he analysed the impacts of the German „Energiewende" on the power and heating markets, the future potential of natural gas in Germany and the economics of long-term gas contracts, as well as the security of natural gas supply in Europe. Furthermore, he contributed to the Medium-Term Coal Market Report while working for several months at the International Energy Agency in Paris. He is also currently a member of a 5-person expert panel advising the British Department of Energy and Climate Change in issues concerning fossil fuel price projections. 

Jean-Arnold Vinois, a Belgian lawyer, spent most of his professional career in the European Commission.  Starting in 1987, he occupied several management posts dealing with internal market, transport, trans-European networks and energy policies, and acted lastly as director for the internal market for electricity and gas.  At his retirement in 2013, he was appointed Honorary Director.   He is now Adviser on the Energy Union at the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and Berlin.


Further information

Participation in the interactive discussion at TUSIAD venue will be free of charge for members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club. For more information please contact Ben McPherson on research@brusselsenergyclub.org.

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