Association Webinars: Securitization challenges and decarbonization opportunities for the EU gas market



Extraordinary circumstances related to the Russian military build-up along the Ukrainian border have exacerbated volatility in the wholesale gas markets. A demand-side recovery from the pandemic and the lack of refilling of some storage facilities have led to sustained high price levels prior to the emergence of the recent geopolitical tensions. Consequently, security of supply architecture is being revised in the hopes of achieving higher and faster storage filling and alternative gas supplies ahead of next winter. At the same time, the Fit for 55 targets indicate that the need to kick start a market in renewable and low-carbon gases and their environmental attributes has far from faded out. The REPowerEU communication has brought the penetration of these gases to the forefront given their “insourcing” characteristics in the context of an energy system which aspires to become less concentrated, and hence less prone to external events. This webinar will discuss the securitization challenges impacting the legal framework and decision-making processes for natural gas in the EU against a backdrop of precarious geopolitics through the theoretical lens of energy democracy. It will also explore the decarbonization opportunities stemming from the proposed framework on sector coupling of the revised Renewable Energy Directive and the Hydrogen and Decarbonized Gas Markets Package. It will ultimately shed light on the pertinent technologies that can enable decarbonization of the gas grid at scale.

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Mariana Liakopoulou is a Markets and Policy Associate working in the EU liaison office of the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET). In this capacity, she undertakes analysis on topics related to the Fit for 55 package, emissions trading, gas decarbonisation and hydrogen, certification and guarantees of origin, as well as on topics related to the French and Greek power and gas markets. She also serves as Research Fellow in Energy Security with the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC), producing research works pertaining to Caspian energy policy and the liberalization of the European energy markets in Southeast and Central and Eastern Europe. Formerly, she was a consultant and member of the Roster of Experts of the Energy Community Secretariat. She has also worked in the Director’s office of the European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. She started out as Energy Policy and Security Fellow with Caspian Policy Center (Washington DC.) Her publication record comprises works for various industry sources, including the International Association for Energy Economics, the United States Association for Energy Economics, Natural Gas World, the NATO ENSEC COE’s “Energy Highlights” journal, Gulf Intelligence and European Gas Hub. She holds a Master’s in International Relations and European Studies from the School of Economics and Political Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her Master’s thesis looks into the Caspian legal status in relation to the European Commission’s strategy towards the Fourth/ Southern Gas Corridor.


Anne Houtman was until April 2016 Principal Advisor in the Directorate General for Energy at the European Commission after having been for 4 years Head of the Representation in France of the European Commission. She now teaches at Sciences Po, Paris.

Prior to that, after two years as a Director in DG Internal Market and Services (2004-2006), she moved as a Director for Internal Market and Sustainability in the Directorate General for Transport and Energy and later as a Director for General Policy in DG Energy (2006-2010).

After teaching at the New York Polytechnic Institute and heading the Statistical Research Department of Nielsen Marketing, Belgium, she entered the European Commission in 1985. She worked for two years at Eurostat before joining the Directorate General for Competition in 1987 where she became Head of the State Aid Policy Unit in 1996.

Between 1999 and 2004, she was member and later Deputy Head of Cabinet in the Office of President Romano Prodi.

She holds a Graduate degree in Mathematics from the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and a PhD in Statistics from Princeton University, New Jersey. She is a member of the Belgian Royal Academy and sits on the Board of various entities.

Ing. Lenka Kovačovská, Ph.D: in 2008 she graduated from the Prague University of Economics and Business, the Faculty of International Relations with a master thesis focusing on energy security. In 2006, she completed a training course at the Prague Security Studies Institute, an international study internship program in Copenhagen (2007), the InterLeader – strategic management and planning course (2012) and worked as an analyst at the think-tank Association for International Affairs (2003-2011). In 2013, she obtained a Ph.D. degree with her dissertation on liberalization of the electricity and gas markets in the European Union at the Faculty of International Relations of the Prague University of Economics and Business.

In 2012-2014, she worked as the Director of the Institute of Energy Economics at the Faculty of Public Economics of the Prague University of Economics and Business. Now, she teaches a special course on the Geopolitics of Energy in the 21st century at the Faculty of International Relations at the same University.

In 2007, she joined the Czech transmission system operator čEPS, a.s., where she worked in the Department of Strategy and participated in numerous acquisition and international projects.

Between 2013 and 2017, she worked at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, first as the Head of the Department of Analysis and Forecasts in the Energy Sector (2014), and later on as the Director of Strategy and International Cooperation in the Energy Sector (2014-2015). On 1st December 2015, she was appointed the Deputy Minister responsible for the Energy section. Her scope of duties included the electricity industry, including promotion of renewables, liquid and gaseous fuels, energy efficiency and a complex area of energy strategy and international cooperation in the energy sector. In her duties at the Ministry, she also represented the Czech Republic at the EU level (Strategic Group, Directors General, Energy councils), the International Energy Agency (Governing Board and Standing Group on Long-Term Cooperation), the International Energy Charter, Visegrad Groupt etc. For 3 years she was a Supervisory Board Member of the Czech transportation system operator NET4GAS. And for 2 years a Member (and for a year a chairwoman) of the Supervisory Board of the Czech transmission system operator in electricity čEPS, a.s.

From 2018 till May 2022, she has been the Executive Director of the Czech Gas Association, an umbrella organisation representing interests of the Czech gas industry at home and also abroad and issuing technical standards for the gas sector. She is active in the Strategic Committee of eurogas and Executive Board member of Marcogaz.

Now she works as an independent consultant for energy and is a managing partner of International Public Affairs Academy in the Czech Republic.

Leonie Reins joined Tilburg Law School in 2017 as an Assistant Professor at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society (TILT).

Prior to joining TILT, she worked as a PhD Candidate and then as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at KU Leuven (Belgium). Her research project on "the coherent regulation on energy and environment - using shale gas as a case study", was financed by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). In addition, Leonie worked as Legal Advisor at a Brussels-based environmental law and policy consultancy, where she was involved in projects relating to environmental, energy and climate change law and policy. Leonie holds and LL.M. in International, European and Comparative Energy and Environmental Law.

Dr. Ivana Čeković is a Professor of Applied Studies at the Western Serbia Academy of Applied Studies, a Research Associate at the University of Belgrade – Fuel and Combustion Laboratory Team of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and a Head of Communications at the Water Science Policy.

She holds a PhD in Technical Sciences – Mechanical Engineering, particularly Process Engineering, on Wood Chips Gasification Process in Combined Heat and Power System. Ivana is experienced in thermochemical conversion processes (pyrolysis, gasification and combustion) and renewable energy sources (specifically biomass and biofuels). Besides, she is actively involved in different environmental protection aspects and physical and chemical activation of bio-based materials for obtaining value-added products for their utilization in various sectors.

Ivana worked at the European University Institute – Florence School of Regulation (Gas Area) during 2019 and 2020 as a Research Associate, engaged in research work on Energy System Integration and Sector Coupling, focusing on the technical and economic potential of various hydrogen technologies.

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Event Date: September 7, 2022

Event Time: 10:00 - 11:00 aM Eastern Time

Topic: Securitization challenges and decarbonization opportunities for the EU gas market

Moderator/Speaker: Mariana Liakopoulou

Speakers: Anne Houtman, Lenka Kovačovská, Leonie Reins, and Ivana Čeković

Price: FREE

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