Eastern Mediterranean Hydrocarbon Diplomacy: A Solution for European Energy Security?

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Eastern Mediterranean Hydrocarbon Diplomacy: A Solution for European Energy Security?

28th September 2022 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

As Europe scrambles to get out from under Russian gas hegemony, gas exporting countries in the Eastern Mediterranean region are poised to assume a larger role in the energy landscape. In June, the European Union, Egypt, and Israel signed a landmark agreement for the export of natural gas to Europe. While a promising start, significant geopolitical obstacles remain before the region’s vast potential to develop and export natural gas can be achieved.

Our panel of experts will explore the latest factors affecting hydrocarbon export potential in the Eastern Mediterranean, focusing on whether offshore gas fields can provide alternative supply as Europe pledges to cut off Russian imports. With Israel and Turkey recently announcing the normalisation of bilateral ties, is a new channel for energy cooperation on the horizon? Despite great expectations of a new gas frontier, is it possible—commercially and technically—for the Eastern Mediterranean to finally become an energy hub that meets Europe’s energy security needs? Or are geopolitical obstacles, such as longstanding maritime border disputes between neighbouring states, too complex to overcome in time?

To answer these and other questions, The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to welcome you to the online event to explore the energy cooperation potential in the Mediterranean region and beyond.



John V. Bowlus is a researcher and lecturer at the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development (CESD) at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. He received his PhD in history from Georgetown University, where he wrote his dissertation on the politics and economics of oil transportation in the Middle East. His research interests include energy geopolitics, energy transportation, energy transitions, U.S. foreign policy, Turkey, and the Middle East, and he has published academic articles in Diplomatic HistoryThe Historical JournalEnergy Strategy ReviewsMiddle Eastern Studies, and Energy Research & Social Science. His commentary on contemporary matters relating to energy geopolitics has appeared on many platforms including War on the Rocks.



Gabriel Mitchell is the Director of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Notre Dame at Tantur and a Policy Fellow at the Mitvim Institute. An expert on Eastern Mediterranean energy politics, Gabriel’s written work can be found regularly in Ha’aretzThe Jerusalem Post, and War on the Rocks.



Dr Aura Sabadus is a senior journalist specialising in energy markets and a research fellow of the Energy Community.

She works for ICIS, a global energy and petrochemicals news and data provider, where she focuses on issues related to energy market liberalisation, regulation, natural gas transit and geopolitical risk. She also contributes articles and research papers on energy related topics to international think tanks and academic centres affiliated with leading universities.
She holds a PhD in International Relations from King’s College London and occasionally teaches courses on energy market liberalisation.



Dr Burcu Ozcelik holds a PhD in Politics and an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge and subsequently held the prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Department of Politics and International Studies where she taught Conflict, Peacebuilding, and the Politics of the Middle East.

Dr Ozcelik’s research primarily focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, non-state armed actors and peacebuilding. She has extensive experience with Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Israel.

Dr Ozcelik grew up mainly in the US and lived in numerous countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China, Iraq, and Belgium before moving to Cambridge. She is a native English speaker and is fluent in Turkish.

Prior to joining HJS, Dr Ozcelik was an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and has previously worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Turkey and in civil society, focusing on democracy and human rights. In addition to her scholarly articles, Dr Ozcelik’s research has been widely published in journals including War on the Rocks, The National Interest, Foreign Affairs, New Lines Magazine, Middle East Eye, the Royal United Services Institute and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Dr Ozcelik also acted as contributing editor of The politics of race and racialisation in the Middle East (Routledge 2022) and authored An Analysis of Seyla Benhabib’s The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents and Citizens (Routledge and Macat 2017).





The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to hold a discussion on the Eastern Mediterranean as an alternative to Russia for European natural gas imports, and the geopolitical obstacles that remain in the region. Dr Burcu Ozcelik began the conversation by introducing the speakers. Dr Aura Sabadus highlighted the weaponization of Russia’s natural gas supplies as early as 2021, and the implications for European and global energy markets.  Gabriel Mitchell discussed Israel, who signed a landmark agreement on natural gas exports with Egypt and the EU in July. He explained how the Eastern Mediterranean has been a focus of much offshore hydrocarbon exploration for over a decade, with major finds of fields between 2009 and 2015, but that these exports will not be a ‘silver bullet’ for Europe. John V. Bowlus underlined that the future lies in green-powered hydrogen, not gas, and that this is where Israel and Egypt should be focusing their energy industries. Finally, the speakers answered questions on whether commercial interests beat political ones, Israel’s energy infrastructure, and maritime border disputes.




28th September 2022
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm




Dr John V. Bowlus, Gabriel Mitchell, Dr Aura Sabadus


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