Human-centric globalization: Taking G20 to the Last Mile, leaving none behind

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – these two words capture a deep philosophy. It means ‘the world is one family.’ This is an all-embracing outlook that encourages us to progress as one universal family, transcending borders, languages and ideologies. During India’s G20 presidency, this has translated into a call for human-centric progress. As One Earth, we are coming together to nurture our planet. As One Family, we support each other in the pursuit of growth. And we move together towards a shared future – One Future – which is an undeniable truth in these interconnected times.

The post-pandemic world order is very different from the world before it. There are three important changes, among others.

First, there is a growing realization that a shift away from a GDP-centric view of the world to a human-centric view is needed.

Second, the world is recognizing the importance of resilience and reliability in global supply chains.

Third, there is a collective call for boosting multilateralism through the reform of global institutions.

Our G20 presidency has played the role of a catalyst in these shifts.

In December 2022, when we took over the presidency from Indonesia, I had written that a mindset shift must be catalyzed by the G20. This was especially needed in the context of mainstreaming the marginalized aspirations of developing countries, the Global South and Africa.

The Voice of Global South Summit in January 2023, which witnessed participation from 125 countries, was one of the foremost initiatives under our presidency. It was an important exercise to gather inputs and ideas from the Global South. Further, our presidency has not only seen the largest-ever participation from African countries but has also pushed for the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20.

An interconnected world means our challenges across domains are interlinked. This is the midway year of the 2030 Agenda and many are noting with great concern that the progress on SDGs is off-track. The G20 2023 Action Plan on Accelerating Progress on SDGs will spearhead the future direction of the G20 towards implementing the SDGs.

In India, living in harmony with nature has been a norm since ancient times and we have been contributing our share towards climate action even in modern times.

Many countries of the Global South are at various stages of development and climate action must be a complementary pursuit. Ambitions for climate action must be matched with actions on climate finance and transfer of technology.

We believe there is a need to move away from a purely restrictive attitude of what should not be done, to a more constructive attitude focusing on what can be done to fight climate change.

The Chennai High-Level Principles for a Sustainable and Resilient Blue Economy focus on keeping our oceans healthy.

A global ecosystem for clean and green hydrogen will emerge from our presidency, along with a Green Hydrogen Innovation Center.

In 2015, we launched the International Solar Alliance. Now, through the Global Biofuels Alliance, we will support the world to enable energy transitions in tune with the benefits of a circular economy.

Democratizing climate action is the best way to impart momentum to the movement. Just as individuals make daily decisions based on their long-term health, they can make lifestyle decisions based on the impact on the planet’s long-term health. Just like yoga became a global mass movement for wellness, we have also nudged the world with Lifestyles for Sustainable Environment (LiFE).

Due to the impact of climate change, ensuring food and nutritional security will be crucial. Millets, or Shree Anna, can help with this while also boosting climate-smart agriculture. In the International Year of Millets, we have taken millets to global palates. The Deccan High Level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition is also helpful in this direction.

Technology is transformative but it also needs to be made inclusive. In the past, the benefits of technological advancements have not benefited all sections of society equally. India, over the last few years, has shown how technology can be leveraged to narrow inequalities, rather than widen them.

For instance, the billions across the world that remain unbanked, or lack digital identities, can be financially included through digital public infrastructure (DPI). The solutions we have built using our DPI have now been recognized globally. Now, through the G20, we will help developing countries adapt, build and scale DPI to unlock the power of inclusive growth.

That India is the fastest-growing large economy is no accident. Our simple, scalable and sustainable solutions have empowered the vulnerable and the marginalized to lead our development story. From space to sports, economy to entrepreneurship, Indian women have taken the lead in various sectors. They have shifted the narrative from the development of women to women-led development. Our G20 presidency is working on bridging the gender digital divide, reducing labor force participation gaps and enabling a larger role for women in leadership and decision-making.

For India, the G20 presidency is not merely a high-level diplomatic endeavor. As the Mother of Democracy and a model of diversity, we opened the doors of this experience to the world.

Today, accomplishing things at scale is a quality that is associated with India. The G20 presidency is no exception. It has become a people-driven movement. Over 200 meetings will have been organized in 60 Indian cities across the length and breadth of our nation, hosting nearly 100,000 delegates from 125 countries by the end of our term. No presidency has ever encompassed such a vast and diverse geographical expanse.

It is one thing to hear about India’s demography, democracy, diversity and development from someone else. It is totally different to experience them first-hand. I am sure our G20 delegates would vouch for this.

Our G20 presidency strives to bridge divides, dismantle barriers and sow seeds of collaboration that nourish a world where unity prevails over discord, where shared destiny eclipses isolation. As the G20 president, we had pledged to make the global table larger, ensuring that every voice is heard and every country contributes. I am positive that we have matched our pledge with actions and outcomes.

TotalEnergies takes control of renewables firm for $1.66bn

Chief executive offi cer Patrick Pouyanne has pledged to spend $5bn this year on low-carbon energies — almost a third of total capital expenditure — as the company reduces its exposure to petroleum with ongoing sales of Canadian oilsands assets and some of its European service stations. By buying out the 71% in Total Eren it doesn’t already own, TotalEnergies gains full control of a fi rm that has 3.5 gigawatts of operating solar, wind and hydropower assets, with a project pipeline of more than 10 gigawatts, it said Tuesday. The purchase should increase the net operating income of its power division by around €160mn next year, and operating cash fl ow by about €400mn. The renewable energy company, founded in 2012 by Paris Mouratoglou and David Corchia, operates in more than 20 countries, including Brazil, India and Greece. It recently teamed up with Kazakh partners to invest $1.4bn in a giant wind and battery-storage project in the Central Asian nation, and is also developing green hydrogen in North Africa, Latin America and Australia. Eren Groupe SA, which is led by Mouratoglou and Corchia, said it will use the proceeds of the Total Eren sale to further invest in the energy management in buildings, energy recovery from organic sludge and wastewater, biomass farming as well as renewable gas and green hydrogen production. The company will also keep investing in new nuclear technologies after buying stakes in reactor startups Jimmy Energy and Naarea last year. Bpifrance, Tikehau Capital SCA, Peugeot Invest and Next World Capital LLC, which have been investing in Total Eren in several steps since 2015, sold their minority stake to TotalEnergies, according to a joint statement yesterday. They earned more than twice the amount they invested. TotalEnergies bought an initial stake of 23% in Eren for €237.5mn in 2017, and subsequently increased its interest to near 30%. In the past year or so, the French major also snapped up 50% of US renewable developer Clearway Energy Group for $2.4bn and 34% of Brazil’s Casa dos Ventos for as much as $580mn.

Saudi Aramco considers selling $50bn in shares

Saudi Aramco is considering selling a 2.5% stake in the company worth $50 billion, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. 

Mohammed Bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, is said to be pushing the secondary share sale of the company and aiming to complete the deal by year-end.

The WSJ said Aramco has been “sounding out” potential investors, such as other multinational oil companies and sovereign wealth funds, about participating in the deal.

The kingdom is said to have decided to host the offering on the Riyadh Stock Exchange to avoid legal risks associated with an international listing, the report said, citing Saudi officials and other people familiar with the plan.

The WSJ said Saudi Arabia had planned to sell Aramco shares worth up to $50 billion last year, but decided that market conditions were unfavourable.

Saudi Aramco is said to be the world’s biggest oil company, with a market value of $2.25 trillion.

In 2019, the company executed the largest initial public offering (IPO) in history, raising $25.6 billion, and then sold additional shares to increase the total to $29.4 billion.

In 2022, Saudi Aramco reported a record net profit of $161.1 billion — its highest annual profit as a listed company.

IEA Raises World Oil Demand Forecast In 2023 Towards All-time High

The International Energy Agency said Friday it had revised upwards its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2023 as demand is “scaling record highs”.

World oil demand already hit a record 103 million barrels per day in June and August and “could see yet another peak”, the Paris-based IEA said in its monthly report.

“For 2023 as a whole, global oil demand is set to expand by 2.2 million barrels per day to 102.2 million barrels per day,” it said.

China accounted for 70 percent of growth, the IEA said, adding that demand in the Asian giant was “also stronger than expected, reaching fresh highs despite persistent concerns over the health of the economy”.

“World oil demand is scaling record highs, boosted by strong summer air travel, increased oil use in power generation and surging Chinese petrochemical activity,” the IEA said.

The forecasted expansion in global demand in 2023 would mark its “highest ever annual level”, according to the agency, which in February had already forecast an annual record for the year of 101.9 million barrels per day.

The increasing demand for oil comes amid tensions on world markets after significant output cuts by several members of the OPEC+ alliance — made up of 13 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) headed by Saudi Arabia and their 10 allies led by Russia — to prop up prices.

As a result, global oil supply plunged by 910,000 barrels per day in July, to 100.9 mbd, the IEA said in its report.

A sharp reduction in production by Saudi Arabia last month saw output from the 23-nation OPEC+ alliance fall 1.2 million barrels per day, to 50.7 mbd “a near two-year low”.

Volumes by non-OPEC+ members rose to 50.2 mbd, the report added.

In April, several OPEC+ members decided to slash production voluntarily by more than one million bpd — a surprise move that briefly buttressed prices but failed to bring about lasting recovery.

Oil producers are grappling with falling prices and high market volatility, reflecting continued fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s faltering economic recovery.

Saudi Arabia also announced last week that it was extending its voluntary oil production cut of one million barrels per day for another month to include September.

Moscow has pledged, too, to cut production by 500,000 bpd in August, and a further cut of 300,000 bpd for September.

“Market balances are set to tighten further into the autumn as Saudi Arabia and Russia extend supply cuts at least through September,” the IEA said.

If the bloc’s current targets are maintained,oil inventories could fall in the second half of the year “with a risk of driving prices still higher”.

Looking ahead to 2024 as the world races to combat climate change and reduce the use of fossil fuels, the IEA said it anticipated demand growth to slow.

“With the post-pandemic rebound running out of steam, and as lacklustre economic conditions, tighter efficiency standards and new electric vehicles weigh on use, growth is forecast to slow to 1 mbd in 2024,” it said.

Carbon Capture and Delay

As long as coal plants are still operating, it is a good idea to require them capture their carbon dioxide emissions. But those designing policies to hasten such practices must tread carefully, lest they unwittingly extend the life of dirtier energy sources.

NEW YORK – In May, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed new power-plant rules that would effectively require every existing coal- or gas-fired plant in the United States either to capture and store most its carbon dioxide emissions, or to switch to burning low-emissions “green hydrogen.” Yet it would be cheaper to replace America’s more than 200 coal-fired plants with new solar or wind facilities, and then to do the same with its gas plants soon thereafter.

This claim will surely be met with cries of: “It’s not that simple! You also have to account for the Earth’s rotation, cloud cover, and a lack of wind.” Indeed, one also must acknowledge ever-present NIMBYism, long-term energy contracts, and other complexities that stand in the way of immediately swapping coal for solar. But nobody is seriously suggesting shutting down every fossil-fueled power plant everywhere all at once. The transition will take time.

Time, of course, is relative. Even the new EPA rules would be phased in gradually, with the real bite coming only in the next decade. But we can’t wait for the EPA’s rules to bite and force the changes, nor should we. And the “we,” in this case, includes everyone from consumers to local energy regulators to utility executives and banks planning their investment decisions.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a godsend, and green hydrogen has the potential to be one, too. But, looking to the next decade and beyond, we also will be deploying many other advanced climate-tech solutions, from better batteries to smarter grids. Given the urgency of the climate crisis and all the new technologies coming down the pike, it makes little sense to wait for the EPA’s new rules to force changes years from now.

Power-plant economics are changing fast. In 2019, the think tank Energy Innovation published its first “coal cost crossover” report, which found that 62% of US coal plants were more expensive to run than to replace with local solar or wind generation. By 2021, that figure had risen to 72%; and as of earlier this year, it was 99%. With the exception of one coal plant in Wyoming, it would be cheaper to produce electricity with solar or wind, plus battery storage, than to keep the existing coal fleet up and running.

While the 2023 figure accounts for the expanded solar and wind tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act, it does not include additional incentives like those provided by the IRA’s loan program, which utilities can tap to help finance renewables. More to the point, it came before the new EPA proposals, raising the question of what effects these rules might have.

For the most part, the EPA’s rule changes are standard regulatory fare, reflecting the need to pass muster with a Supreme Court that is intent on curtailing federal regulators’ powers. Instead of allowing for flexibility in achieving carbon-reduction goals, the EPA is taking a more direct approach, essentially mandating that existing coal plants capture and store their released carbon. But especially in connection with generous IRA subsidies for CCS technology, US policymakers may be unwittingly throwing a lifeline to coal plants that would otherwise be economically unviable.

When considered in isolation, the EPA rule is clearly good for the environment and for public health, since it would significantly decrease particulate matter and ozone pollution. But assessments of CCS tend to get murky fast. Lest we forget, Donald Trump and his advisers were big fans of the technology, which they saw as a way “to help coal and still help the climate.”

Since combining CCS with coal will always be more expensive than burning coal outright, mandating CCS, in theory, should indeed make coal even less competitive than it already is. But CCS mandates do not operate in a vacuum.

In practice, operating licenses for coal plants are not issued by the same people writing federal rules. These decisions are made at the state and local level, primarily through state-level public utility commissions that have many competing priorities. Even if they are committed to decarbonizing, one important goal is to keep the lights on. That goal, in turn, has all too often been interpreted as keeping current generation capacities profitable. When faced with new CCS mandates and accompanying subsidies, they may simply see an opportunity to maintain coal-plant profitability for longer.

How can federal policymakers get around this problem? Broadly speaking, the focus should be on pushing cheaper solar and wind power into the system, as that will force coal- and gas-plant operators’ hands. We also need better, nimbler planning and investment processes, to allow for grid-connection rights to be reassigned from coal plants to renewables that would be built in their stead. As matters stand, most US states do not give consumers a choice about how their electricity is generated. That needs to change.

As long as coal plants are still operating, it is a good idea to make them capture their CO2 emissions. But that does not mean it is a good idea to be helping them continue to operate. The sooner that coal is replaced by renewables, the better it will be for the planet, consumers, and even utility companies.

Qatar second top global LNG exporter, top GECF exporter in June

Qatar was the second top global LNG exporter in June, latest data from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has shown.
Among the GECF member countries, Qatar topped in liquefied natural gas exports last month.
Total global LNG exports reached 32.18mn tonnes during June. The increase in LNG exports from non-GECF countries and a rise in LNG reloads outweighed the lower LNG exports from GECF member countries.
The share of non-GECF countries and LNG reloads in global LNG exports increased from 50% and 0.6%, respectively, from a year earlier to 50.4% and 0.8% in June 2023.
Conversely, GECF’s market share in global LNG exports decreased from 49.4% to 48.8%.
During H1, 2023, cumulative global LNG exports reached 205.45mn tonnes, indicating a 4.1% increase (8.06mn tonnes) y-o-y.
Last month, the US, Qatar and Australia were the top LNG exporting countries, GECF noted.
In June, LNG exports from GECF member countries and observers declined by 1% (0.15mn tonnes) y-o-y, reaching a total of 15.69mn tonnes.
The weaker LNG imports were driven by Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, Malaysia, Equatorial Guinea, Norway and the United Arab Emirates.
Conversely, LNG exports increased in Qatar, Angola, Algeria, Mozambique, Trinidad and Tobago and Peru.
During H1, 2023, cumulative LNG exports from GECF member and observer countries increased by 2.2% (2.13mn tonnes) y-o-y, totalling 99.93mn tonnes.
In Russia, higher maintenance activity at the Sakhalin 2 and Yamal LNG facilities led to a reduction in LNG exports, the report said.
Lower feedgas availability in Egypt and Nigeria contributed to the decline in LNG exports in both countries.
In June, Egypt did not export any LNG cargo.
The decline in Malaysia’s LNG exports was mainly attributed to weaker exports from the Bintulu LNG facility.
An unplanned outage at the Hammerfest LNG facility caused a drop in LNG exports from Norway.
On the other hand, lower maintenance activity at the Qatargas LNG and Soyo LNG facilities boosted LNG exports from Qatar and Angola.
In Algeria and Trinidad and Tobago, higher feedgas availability supported the increase in LNG exports from both countries.
The continued ramp-up in LNG exports from the Coral South FLNG facility drove Mozambique’s LNG exports higher.
In June, global LNG imports expanded sharply by 6.8% (2.09mn tonnes) y-o-y to reach 32.85mn tonnes.
This growth was primarily driven by a strong rebound in Asia Pacific’s LNG imports, with higher imports in Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) also having some contribution. Conversely, the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region experienced a decline in LNG imports.
During the first half (H1) of 2023, cumulative global LNG imports grew by 4% (7.95mn tonnes) y-o-y to 206.62mn tonnes.
The bulk of the increase in global LNG imports during H1 2023 came from Europe, followed by Asia Pacific, LAC and North America. This offset the lower LNG imports in the Mena region, GECF noted.

Qatar’s LNG projects will achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions: Al-Kaabi

Qatar’s LNG projects will achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through carbon capture and sequestration as well as the use of solar energy, noted HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.
“In all, we aim to reduce the overall carbon intensity by about 30% compared to previous generation designs,” al-Kaabi said delivering the keynote address on the virtual mode at the 12th LNG Producer-Consumer Conference being held in Tokyo, Japan.
Al-Kaabi, who is also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy stressed the need for a clear roadmap with specific targets to achieve a fair and effective energy transition with a realistic and stable path towards the reduction of the global carbon footprint.
The minister said, “I would like everyone around the world calling for a speedy energy transition to consider that the world needs a fair and effective transition with a realistic and stable path, which wisely balances humans flourishing with environmental protection, it should not continue to only focus on the needs of the rich and well-developed countries but must prioritise the needs of developing countries.
“This highlights the need for a realistic and resolute energy transition, starting with a solid integration of natural gas in the energy mix of today and tomorrow. We strongly believe that Gas will be needed as a safer reliable base load in the energy mix for most nations for decades well beyond 2050.”
Highlighting the challenges facing the energy industry, Minister al-Kaabi said, “Lack of investments in the oil and gas upstream sector remain as an unresolved and unchallenged chronic problem, contributing to greater lack of clarity, volatility, and supply uncertainty. This lack of investment will likely cause increased instability for every region around the world.”
In this context, al-Kaabi said, “Qatar is providing the world with the cleanest available hydrocarbon source of energy, which has met both the economic and environmental aspirations for a better future. By 2029, about 40% of all new global LNG supplies will be provided by QatarEnergy projects.
Minister al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by stressing the State of Qatar’s determination to work with its clients and partners to realise the full potential of LNG as a vital contributor to a realistic and responsible energy transition, and to continue to take concrete action across the entire spectrum of the energy industry to address the challenges of climate change.
The LNG Producer-Consumer Conference is a global annual dialogue, launched in 2012, organised by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre.
It provides ministers, heads of international organizations, corporate executives, and other stakeholders with a venue to share the latest trends in the global LNG market and discussing opportunities and challenges with a view to its development.

تنبيه… كي لا تذهب الثروة النفطيّة إلى المجهول

يقترب لبنان من ساعة الصفر في مجال الاسكتشافات النفطية البحرية، خصوصاً أن سفينة الحفر Transocean Barents التي تعاقدت معها شركة Total -Energies لإتمام عمليات الاستكشاف في البلوك رقم 9 والموجودة حالياً في النروج، ستنتقل إلى لبنان في تموز الجاري للبدء بعمليات الحفر.

هذا ما يؤكده خبير الطاقة الدولي رودي بارودي في حديث لـ”المركزية”، ويشير إلى أن “هذا التطوّر الهام يعني أن شركة “توتال” تقوم بواجباتها التعاقدية إن لناحية استكمال التجهيزات التقنية واللوجستية، أو لناحية البدء الفعلي بعمليات الحفر والاستكشاف في هذا الحقل”. ويقول إن “عملية ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع إسرائيل كانت ضرورية للبدء بهذا العمل المهم، خصوصاً لجهة طمأنة تحالف الشركات الدولية… كما أن هذا الترسيم سيسمح بفرز مكامن النفط والغاز ضمن المناطق المتداخلة مع إسرائيل فوراً، وذلك من خلال اتفاقية Total-Energies”، موضحاً أن “قانون البحار هو آلية أساسية لتسوية جميع المشاكل سلمياً، إذ أن الدول تستطيع اللجوء إليه ساعة تشاء لترسيم حدودها البحرية المتنازع عليها وهو المرجع الصالح لأحكام وقرارات المحاكم الدولية والتحكيم والمعاهدات الثنائية، ما يؤمّن استقراراً مطلوباً لجذب الشركات العالمية من أجل تطوير بلوكات النفط والغاز”.

وفي هذا السياق، يلفت إلى أن هناك “أربعة بلوكات إسرائيلية وهي 74 و27 و36 و70 التي ستُطرح للمزايدة، تتجاوز جنوبًا المنطقة الاقتصادية المصرية الخالصة وتقتطع من البلوك المصري رقم – E4 مساحة ١٤٠ كيلومتراً مربعاً، أي ما يوازي خمس مرات مساحة حقل “زهر”، وعلى الرغم من أن مصر وإسرائيل ليس لديهما توقيع رسمي للحدود البحرية MBL، فمن خلال المفاوضات واستناداً إلى القانون الدولي، يمكن تقاسم العائدات في المناطق المختلطة، من هنا فإن هذا التعدي أو التداخل لم يمنع الجانبان المصري والإسرائيلي من تعيين موعد للمناقصات في 16 تموز 2023 أي بعد حوالي الأسبوعين…أما لبنان كما أسلفنا ذكره، فيمكنه تحصيل عائدات المناطق المتداخلة من خلال اتفاقية “توتال إنريجي” الموقَّعة مع إسرائيل.

الإصلاحات أولويّة وإلا..
ويشدد بارودي على أن “الإصلاحات الاقتصادية والمالية والقانونية المطلوبة من المجتمع الدولي والهيئات الاقتصادية اللبنانية، تبقى أولوية من أجل الاستفادة من الثروات النفطية التي يمكن أن تتكشف في المياه اللبنانية، إذ أن الحوكمة الصحيحة هي التي تؤمّن الاستعمال الصحيح للثروة النفطية… فمن هنا ضرورة ان تقوم الحكومة فوراً بإصلاحات جذرية تبدأ بالاعتماد على خارطة الطريق المقترحة من قبل صندوق النقد الدولي، وضرورة إقرار قانون لصندوق سيادي مستقل شفاف على مثال البلدان التي سبقتنا في هذا المجال وإلا فإن مصير الثروة النفطية سيكون مشابهاً لغيرها من الثروات التي هدرت نتيجة فساد مستشرٍ”.

وليس بعيداً، يوضح أن “غياب الإصلاحات وسيادة القانون سيمنعان شركات النفط الدولية الكبرى من القدوم والاستثمار في بلد يحتاج إلى مداخيل مالية جديدة وشفافة، ولعلّ التمديد الجديد لمهلة تقديم طلبات الاشتراك في دورة التراخيص الثانية في مياه البحرية اللبنانية التي انتهت في 30 حزيران حتى الثاني من تشرين الأول 2023، أكبر دليل على أن غياب الإصلاحات وتردّي الأوضاع السياسية والمالية وعدم تحسّن سمعة لبنان في مكافحة الفساد، ستمنع من تحقيق تقدّم فاعل في عمليات الاستكشاف، كما يُضاف إلى هذه المشكلة التباطؤ في استكمال عملية ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع قبرص، والتأخر في إطلاق ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع سوريا.

…”لبنان يتمتع بمزايا كثيرة” يختم بارودي، منها “ديناميكية شعبه وشمسه وبحره وجباله بالاضافة الى حسن الضيافة، وقريباً جداً قد يتمتع باستكشافات غازية ونفطية واعدة تمكّنه في حال استغلالها بطريقة مستدامة وشفافة، من وضع لبنان على الطريق الصحيح في عملية النهوض الاقتصادي والمالي التي يحتاج إليها”.

الحدود البحرية لشرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط: حاجة لبنان إلى إكمال ترسيم الحدود البحرية من خلال إبرام إتفاقيات مع قبرص وسوريا – خبير طاقة متخصص

أثينا، اليونان – 25 حزيران 2023: صرّح خبير طاقة إقليمي في مؤتمر عالمي للطاقة في أثينا يوم الأربعاء أنه على لبنان استكمال اتفاقية ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع إسرائيل الموقعة العام الماضي من خلال السعي لاتفاقات مماثلة مع قبرص وسوريا.

إعتبر رودي بارودي، الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة Energy and Environment Holding، وهي شركة استشارية مستقلة مقرها الدوحة، قطر: “يجب أن يتابع لبنان مفاوضات مفتوحة وموضوعية مع هذين الجارين، على لبنان محاورة الدولتين حتى يتم رسم الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وسوريا وقبرص بالكامل وتسويتها رسميًا.”

وفي حديثه إلى الحاضرين من قادة قطاع النفط والغاز وكبار المسؤولين الحكوميين في قمة أثينا للطاقة، أشار بارودي إلى عدة أسباب لإعطاء الأولوية لمثل هذه الاتفاقيات، بما في ذلك حقيقة أن لبنان وسوريا لديهما «مجموعات نفط وغاز بحرية محددة تتداخل بهوامش كبيرة».

وإعتبر أنه «إذا لم يتم تصحيح ذلك، فقد تعني النتائج أن المستثمرين سيبقون بعيدين عن كلا الجانبين، أو سيبطئون في أنشطتهم الاستكشافية، أو حتى أن العلاقات قد تتدهور بين البلدين ». «وان أي من هذه التطورات من شأنه أن يقوض مصالح جميع المعنيين».

وحدّد بارودي ملاحظاته بضرورة التزام الدول الساحلية بسيادة القانون، ولا سيما اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار (UNCLOS).

وأوضح أن «قواعد اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار متاحة للجميع، وقد تم تحديد معانيها بشكل أكبر من خلال قرارات المحاكم والتحكيم والمعاهدات الثنائية، والتكنولوجيا المطلوبة لتحديد الحدود العادلة هي في متناول جميع الدول تقريبًا». “ما يعني عملياً أنه يمكن للحكومات أن تعرف مسبقًا ما يمكن أن تدلي به المحكمة أو المحكم حول مطالباتها بالحدود البحرية. طالما أن هناك حسن نية من كلا الجانبين، فإن هذا يبسط العملية بشكل جذري. ”

واردف بارودي إنه بالإضافة إلى حماية مصالحهم الخاصة، فإن لبنان وجيرانه سيضربون أيضًا مثالًا مفيدًا لدول البحر الأبيض المتوسط الأخرى في حل النزاعات الحدودية حبيا.

وأشار على وجه التحديد إلى حالة تركيا واليونان وقبرص، حيث يهدد عدم وجود حدود بحرية تركية – قبرصية وتركية – يونانية مستقرة بعرقلة تنفيذ خط أنابيب مخطط لنقل غاز شرق البحر المتوسط إلى البر الرئيسي الاوروبي. حيث يُنظر إلى هذا المشروع على أنه أمر بالغ الأهمية لخطط أوروبا لاستبدال واردات الطاقة من روسيا، والتي تم تقليصها بشكل حاد منذ غزو الأخيرة لأوكرانيا عام 2022، خصوصا وان الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة الطاقة الإيطالية العملاقة إيني حذر مؤخرًا من أنه لن يمضي قدمًا دون موافقة تركيا.

وقال بارودي «الأتراك واليونانيون والقبارصة يختلفون حول أشياء كثيرة، لكن لديهم أيضًا مصلحة مشتركة في كل من التنمية الاقتصادية، وبالتالي في الاستقرار المطلوب لتسريع هذه التنمية».  واضاف في هذا المجال فان « اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار توفر آلية موثوقة، متجذرة في العلم وتطبيقها القائم على القواعد، يمكن أن توفر الإطار لبدء مناقشة اختلافاته هذه الدول بطريقة خاضعة للرقابة».

وقد تضمن عرض الدراسة من قبل بارودي أيضًا الكشف عن العديد من الخرائط الحصرية ، بناءً على صور الأقمار الصناعية، والخدمات الجيوتقنية الأخرى. وتشير الخرائط إلى المكان الذي يحتمل أن تحدد فيه الحدود البحرية المقبلة، وفقا للقواعد التي وضعتها اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار.

رودي بارودي، وهو من المختصين في صناعة الطاقة منذ أربعة عقود ولديه خبرة في كل من القطاعين العام والخاص، هو أيضًا مؤلف العديد من الكتب حول هذا الموضوع، بما في ذلك «النزاعات البحرية في البحر الأبيض المتوسط: الطريق إلى الامام». هذا العمل، الذي نشرته شبكة القيادة عبر الأطلسي في عام 2021، اصاب حينما توقع أنه يمكن حل الاتفاقية اللبنانية الإسرائيلية باستخدام المبادئ التوجيهية لاتفاقية الأمم المتحدة لقانون البحار كنموذج واستخدام حلول غير تقليدية لجوانب معينة من نزاعهما الحدودي.

Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Boundaries: Lebanon needs to complete maritime borders by striking deals with Cyprus and Syria – veteran energy expert

ATHENS, Greece – June 25, 2023: Lebanon should follow up last year’s maritime boundary agreement with Israel by seeking similar deals with Cyprus and Syria, a regional energy expert told a high-profile energy conference in Athens on Wednesday.

“Lebanon should be pursuing open and unbiased dialogues with both of these neighbors, and the parties should continue the talks until their boundaries are fully mapped and officially settled,” said Roudi Baroudi, CEO of Energy and Environment Holding, an independent consultancy based in Doha, Qatar.

Speaking to an audience of industry leaders and senior government officials at the Athens Energy Summit, Baroudi cited several reasons to prioritize such agreements, including the fact that Lebanon and Syria have each “designated offshore oil and gas blocks that overlap by considerable margins.”

“If these are not rectified, the results could mean that investors will stay away from both sides, or they will slow-walk their exploration activities, or even that relations could deteriorate,” he told the audience. “Any one of these developments would undermine the interests of all concerned.”

Baroudi rooted his remarks in the need for coastal states to abide by the rule of law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“The UNCLOS rules are available to all, their interpretation has been further defined by court verdicts, arbitration, and bilateral treaties, and the technology required to determined fair boundaries is within the financial grasp of virtually all states,” he explained. “What this means in practice is that governments can know in advance what a court or an arbitrator would say about their maritime boundary claims. So long as there is good will on both sides, this radically simplifies the process.”In addition to protecting their own interests, Baroudi argued, Lebanon and its neighbors would also be setting a useful example for other Mediterranean countries.

He pointed specifically to the case of Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus, where the absence of settled Turkish-Cypriot and Turkish-Greek maritime boundaries threatens to block a planned pipeline that would carry East Med gas to mainland. That project is seen as a crucial for Europe’s plans to replace energy imports from Russia, which have been sharply curtailed since the latter’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but the CEO of Italian energy giant Eni recently warned that it would not go forward without Turkish approval.

“The Turks, the Greeks, and the Cypriots disagree about many things, but they also have a shared interest in both economic development and, therefore, in the stability required to accelerate it,” Baroudi said. “UNCLOS provides a reliable mechanism, rooted in science and a rules-based application thereof, which could provide the framework for them to start discussing their differences in a controlled manner.”

Baroudi’s presentation also included the unveiling of several exclusive maps he commissioned from one of the world’s leading providers of high-precision mapping, based on satellite imagery, and other geotechnical services. The maps indicate where, following the rules laid down by UNCLOS, the future maritime boundaries are likely to be situated.

A four-decade veteran of the energy industry with experience in both the public and private sectors, Baroudi is also the author of several books on the subject, including, “Maritime Disputes in the Mediterranean: The Way Forward”. That work, published in 2021 by the Transatlantic Leadership Network, rightly predicted that the Lebanon-Israel agreement could be resolved by both using the UNCLOS guidelines as a model and employing unconventional remedies to certain aspects of their boundary dispute.