Interview with Stanislav Zhiznin

Stanislav Zhiznin, President of the Centre of Energy Diplomacy and Geopolitics, commented on the 15th summit of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation organisation.

Russia Today: Energy security is high on the agenda. How significant is the work of this organisation for European consumers?

S.Z.: The Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation has been working for 15 years, and its anniversary will be celebrated during the summit. This summit is not called an 'energy summit', but in any ways energy is going to be the top priority on the agenda of this summit. We see that there are countries that produce energy, many countries that are or want to be transit countries – and all of them are consumer countries. What we see now is that energy security is on the high list, but so far, unfortunately, we haven't seen the balance of interests, be there are a lot of conflicts of interests though. At the beginning of that organisation Russia insisted that energy should be one of the major factors that would integrate that organisation and would promote co-operation, first of all economic co-operation in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation.

RT: What is Russia's role in the organisation?

S.Z.: It was the initiative of several countries including Russia in 1992, when the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation appeared, and it was Russia who insisted that energy would be a priority, as I mentioned before. I would like just to mention that last year it was Russia's chairmanship in that organisation, and we suggested that energy security and energy co-operation should be discussed in a more practical way and we should find the balance of interests for many countries. We suggested this idea, and there was a concrete proposal to discuss the compatibility of energy strategies of all the countries, because all member countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation including Russia have their own national energy strategies, and we suggested to compare them and to make an analysis of compatibility of these strategies. We also promoted a number of projects, both bilateral and multilateral. But unfortunately in spite of Russia's efforts we don't see practical results in energy co-operation – I mean multilateral co-operation – in the area.

RT: For decades Russia has been a reliable supplier of energy to Europe. What is being done to maintain this partnership and ensure energy deliveries continue in the future?

S.Z.: You know, there is a fashion for energy summits. We just witnessed Zagreb summit, Krakow summit, Baku summit. I would like to mention this Zagreb summit, the Balkan energy summit that just finished yesterday. From the declaration adopted by the participants of that summit we see the readiness of all the Balkan countries, Russia and the European Union to further co-operate in energy and in the security first of all. Speaking about energy security and contribution of Russia to it, I would like to mention some special projects we are elaborating – Burgas – Alexandropoulos oil pipeline, “Southern Stream” gas pipeline recently proposed, Nord Stream and other projects. By that we diversify the routs of transportation of energy from and through Russia to European consumers, and it would be better for energy security.