Bucharest Forum / Energy, organized by the Aspen Institute Romania and its partners, integrates the public-private logic of Romania Gateway. Part of the Bucharest Forum series, the event offers an annual, high level convening platform for private and public stakeholders in the Energy Sector in the Black Sea Region.

Romania Gateway is a strategic national program of the Romanian Government inspired by the works of the Bucharest Forum. The program streamlines the government’s efforts to develop successful infrastructure and investment projects that connect Romania’s geography and economic opportunities. Romania Gateway provides policymakers and investors with valuable, accurate and actionable information and top level expertise and offers a clear vision for decision makers. The program is a tool to remove obstacles and attract private financing in large scale national projects. Romania Gateway is the practical instrument that allows the Romanian Government and the private sector to cooperate effectively in achieving the objective of making Romania an energy, manufacturing and trade hub connecting Eurasia on the main axis.

Bucharest Forum / Energy took place over two days and mixed plenary sessions and round table format conversations. Discussions covered a wide range of topics spanning from and trans-regional interconnections, energy infrastructure investments, the future of energy sources exploration and production, EU-US trade and investment cooperation at the Black Sea and Caspian Sea etc.



Day 1, June 4

09:00 – 10:30 Opening Plenary Session:

09:00 – 09:40 Opening Plenary Session:
Welcome: Mircea Geoană, President, Aspen Institute Romania
Keynote addresses: Victor Ponta, Prime Minister of Romania
Răzvan Nicolescu, Minister Delegate for Energy, Romania

09:45 – 10:30 Opening Speeches:
Duane C. Butcher, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy
Tudor Copaci, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Moldova
Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Advisor, DG Energy, European Commission


Redefining the global energy mix has become one of the most important priorities for the international community. Natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, situates itself as a vital component of the global energy mix. Although previous efforts were made in exploring the Black Sea basin potential for gas, the basin characteristics required costly high-tech equipment and not much gas has been produced so far. At a time when European reserves are being depleted natural gas is becoming critically important to the EU’s aim for energy independence. As so the EU is currently involved in the creation of an efficient and well-functioning internal market for gas. However, major long-term capital investments in the upstream and infrastructure sectors are vital.

I. Energy Security & Regional Geopolitics (10.30 – 11.30)

Energy security, exploration and production, energy transportation and geopolitics are the main challenges that bring along multiple opportunities at the Black Sea. Exploratory drillings in the deep-water sector of the Black Sea revealed a great potential for this area to become important in oil and gas upstream development for Europe. With important stakeholders in the area, gas and oil pipeline investment decisions are still to be taken. Political and economic issues will play a significant role in these investments. Deep-water operations are complex and involve significant mobilization of advanced technology, people and resources. Specific issues in relation to the Bosphorus Straits, to new quantities entering the market from fossil and renewable sources but also to future gas pipelines linking the region, all will contribute to the oil and gas mix for the wider Black Sea area. Through this panel we aim to clarify the issues these new developments raise as to develop a potential framework both at political and economic levels.

Paul Ivan, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

Răzvan Nicolescu, Minister Delegate for Energy, Romania
Radu Podgorean, State Secretary for Political Analysis and Liaison with Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Giorgi Tatishvili, Head of State Agency for Oil & Gas, Georgia
Iulian Chifu, Presidential Advisor for Strategic Affairs and International Security
Michael Rühle, Head Energy Security Section, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO
Sergei Konoplyov, Director, Harvard Black Sea Security Program and US-Russia Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Tim Boersma, Fellow Energy Security Initiative, Brookings Institute

II. Upstream Development Opportunities (11.40-13.15)

By building on the momentum presented by the energy opportunities in the Black Sea Region, both policymakers and investors could create a win–win scenario that would benefit a regional growth model creating jobs, infrastructure innovation and horizontal positive effects. Some of the key aspects to be discussed include the efforts that need to be done to reduce uncertainties and conditions needed to be in place for successful investments leading to a transparent, stable, secure and reliable gas market in the region.

Role of investors (11.40-12.15)

Gheorghe Duțu, President of Natural Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM)
Kevin T. Biddle, Vice President and Exploration Director for ExxonMobil International Limited
Mariana Gheorghe, CEO, OMV Petrom SA
Virgil Metea, General Manager, Romgaz

Successful Gas Markets (12.15-13.00)

Otilia Nuțu, Independent Policy Analyst, Energy and Infrastructure at Expert Forum

David Maclean, Manager for Natural Gas Liquids and New Business Development (Europe & Caspian), ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing
Cristian Secosan, EB Member for Gas& Power, OMV Petrom SA
Eric Stab, CEO, GDF Suez Energy Romania
Patrick Heather, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
Radu Dudău, Associate Professor, Bucharest University and Director of the Energy Policy Group

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch


Long-term capital investments in the infrastructure sector are vital for a successful market development. This panel facilitates discussions over the engagement of key industry actors in enabling the region to reach its potential. The perspective of a liberalized, single energy market in Europe but also in the region requires technological, financial and policy answers But most of all it requires a sound and predictable market oriented regulatory framework in line with the EU energy legislation which can become the cornerstone of a successful liberalized gas market in the region.

Keynote speech:
Niculae Havrileț, President of Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE)

Radu Dudău, Associate Professor, Bucharest University & Director, Energy Policy Group

Tudor Copaci, Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Moldova
Reinhard Mitschek, Senior Vice President OMV
Ilian Vassilev, Managing Partner, Innovative Energy Solution
Petru Văduva, Manager General, Transgaz
János Fehér, CEO, FGSZ Natural Gas Transmission (Hungary)
Edwin Kaufmann, Head of Market Area Management, GasConnect Austria

16:00-17:00 Parallel Workshops: break out rooms closed to media

A. Revival of Gas in the Energy Mix. Role of Markets in Monetizing Gas

Ovidiu Nahoi, Economic Journalist, The Money Channel

Dumitru Chisăliță, Advisor to the Minister of Energy
Lenka Kovacovska, Head of Strategy and International Cooperation in the energy sector, Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry
Dennis Hesseling, Head of Gas Department, Agency for the Cooperationof Energy Regulators (ACER)
Harald Nikl – Manager Romania Gas Marketing, ExxonMobil Exploration & Production Romania

B. Energy outlook: Engaging Citizens and Community for a sustainable future

Dragoș Pîslaru, General Manager, GEA Strategy & Consulting SA

Halliburton representative
Jean Valvis, CEO Valvis Group
Cătălin Csaszar, Energy Expert at AE3R Ploiesti
Iulian Badescu, Mayor of Ploiesti

Day 2, June 5

09:00 – 09:30 Opening Plenary Session

Welcome address:
Constantin Niță, Minister of Economy and Trade of Romania – TBC
Miodrag Canovic, Deputy Minister of Economy, Montenegro
Toni Volpe, CEO, Enel Romania


The Caspian Sea region has become increasingly central to European energy security projects and prosperity owing to its rich human potential and its significant oil and gas resources. The current East-West energy supply routes can enable oil and gas transportation from the Caspian region to the EU, while enhancing stronger co-operation between all the countries concerned. The Southern Gas Corridor and its projects – the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) can make a great contribution to ensuring the region’s energy security along with that of Europe. In this context, Turkey and Azerbaijan are important partners for Europe in ensuring energy security. Yet, this redefined geopolitics has an impact on the existing actors and stakeholders currently activating in the European market. This plenary session is to address the importance of the Caspian link while identifying main challenges to be addressed in the near future.

Mihnea Constantinescu, Ambassador at large, Special representative for Energy Security of the Romanian Government

Kristine Berzina, Program officer in the Energy & Society program, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Neil Brown, Non-resident Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Sergei Konoplyov, Director, Harvard Black Sea Security Program and US-Russia Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Efgan Niftiyev, Strategy and Policy Coordinator, Caspian Strategy Institute

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee break

European Union commitment toward making its economy more climate-friendly and less energy consuming is to take effect through major investments in clean technologies, low- and zero- carbon energy and increased innovation. However, such investments require major capital investments; this is partly because the current infrastructure and energy transition planning is estimated to become operational no sooner than 2050. To activate the private capital, governments need to implement functional private-public partnerships, clear strategies and a coordinated European approach.

Keynote addresses:
Ioana Petrescu, Romanian Minister of Finance
Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Adviser, DG Energy, European Commission
Dragoș Andrei, State Councilor, Cabinet of the Prime Minister
Maria Vagliasindi, Lead Economist in the Energy Anchor of the World Bank

Panel Discussion

Vasile Iuga, Country Managing Partner, PwC Romania

Ioana Anca Gheorghiade, Executive Director for the Public Sector and Infrastructure Financing – BCR
Mihai A. Ionescu, Head of Representative Office Romania, Deutsche Bank
Louis Borgo, Senior Banker Power & Energy Department, EBRD
Ion Teau, CEO, Transelectrica
Daniela Lulache, CEO, Nuclearelectrica
Saulius Adomaitis, Head of Business Consultancy Department, Ernst & Young
Daniel Badea, Managing Partner, Clifford Chance Badea

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch


Gabriel Avăcăriței, Chief Editor, energynomics.ro

Adrian Curaj, General Director, Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding
Paul Verhoef, Head of Unit for Renewable energy sources, DG Research & Innovation – Energy, European Commission
Kristine Berzina, Program officer in the Energy & Society program, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Dan Gheorghiu, President, Institute for Studies and Power Engineering (ISPE)
Ilian Vassilev, Managing Partner, Innovative Energy Solution
Roald T. Lokken, Chief Offshore Engineer, ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company
Victor Mocanu, Dean of Faculty of Geology and Geophysics, University of Bucharest

13:45 – 15:15 Parallel Workshops

A. The European Supergrid: Electricity infrastructure & market, a pillar of European Energy Policy (break out room closed to media)
In its ambitious plan to fight climate change and to secure the European energy future, the member states of the EU expressed their commitment for building the biggest market of electricity, connecting more than 500 million consumers throughout the continent. This panel is designed to explore the impact of energy grid and distribution related issues.

Eugenia Gusilov, Director at ROEC

Károly Borbély, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy, Romania
Julian Popov, Senior Advisor to the European Climate Foundation, Former Minister of Environment and Water of Bulgaria
Ion Grîu, Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova
Matteo Cassani, Head of Business Development, Enel
Mevlüt Akdeniz, Electrical Power System Planning Engineer, TEIAS Turkey (Turkish Electricity Transmission Company)
Corneliu Bodea, Vice-president Adrem Invest & Vice-president Romanian Centrer for Energy

B. Industry’s Commitment to Safety (break out room closed to media)

Joerg Koehli, Team Leader Offshore Safety of Oil and Gas Operations, DG Energy, European Commission
Corneliu Condrea, Director, Department of Energy
Mark Trail, ExxonMobil’s Senior Consultant for Process Safety and Risk Management
Adrian Filip, Chief of Staff at Fleet Headquarters

15:15 – 15:30 Coffee break

15:30 – 16:00 Plenary Conclusions and Media briefing