Energy security is crucial for any country’s economy. It is also one of the EBRD’s priorities in the energy sector.
All economies rely on a continuous and reliable supply of energy. Countries have increasingly focused on energy security, driven by commodity prices, growing competition for resources and specific circumstances which can disrupt energy supplies.
Often energy security is defined as energy self-reliance. Yet we take a much broader view. The EBRD’s Energy Strategy states that diversification of sources, in particular through better integration into regional markets, can also deliver energy security more effectively and efficiently.
The Energy Strategy acknowledges the role of markets, institutions and infrastructure in contributing to energy security. Export and import infrastructure, such as pipelines, LNG facilities and high voltage interconnections are therefore crucial. The Bank has already made major contributions to help unlock the region's energy potential and improve security of supply.
In 2012, the EBRD co-financed the first LNG terminal in central and eastern Europe, on the far north-western Baltic coast. The plant, which is in the town of Swinoujscie, will be able to re-gasify enough liquefied gas to supply a third of the country’s consumption – 5bn cubic metres (bcm) per annum. The new LNG can come from anywhere in the world.
Polskie LNG is one of several EBRD investments in this sector. In the years since the 2009 gas crisis we have invested €600m in strategic underground gas storage facilities around the southern corridor, in Serbia, Hungary and Croatia (total project value over €2.2bn).
The main transition gaps in the area of energy security for the Bank's countries of operations are, the new strategy says: “failure to promote diversity through open markets, the absence of sufficient physical and regulatory infrastructure to allow for effective cross-border trading and the failure to price the value of security and diversity”.