5th Annual Balkan Energy Finance Forum - BEFF 2012

Our 5th Annual Balkan Energy Finance Forum took place in the popular surroundings of the 5-star Continental Hotel in Belgrade (19-20 June 2012) and brought together over 200 delegates and expert speakers from over 25 countries.

Delegates from China, United Kingdom, France and others, represented each profession involved in the energy and finance sectors, including CFOs, CEOs, CSOs, Vice Presidents, Heads of Countries/Departments, Investment Managers, Lawyers, Investment Bankers, Private and Equity Investors, Advisors and Consultants, Engineers, Constructors and many more. The event was a great success, providing a platform for regional and international experts to debate and provide solutions to future energy challenges in Balkan and South-eastern European countries.

The event was hosted by the Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe and sponsored by Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) S.A., both who provided excellent contributions to the development of this international forum.

Mr Aleksandar Kovacevic (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies) competently chaired the event on the first day, and provided an honest overview of the SEE energy market, comparing the current situation to pre-1989 and introduced key challenges that needed to be addressed by the energy and finance sectors. Representing two different government positions, Mr Peter Poptchev (Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism of Bulgaria) and Dr Igor Kovacevic (Ministry of Economy of Montenegro) addressed the audience with future opportunities in Gas (Poptchev) and Renewable Energy, notably small-HPPs (Kovacevic).

Our first session addressed the challenges and opportunities of “Financing Energy Infrastructure”, opened by Mr Slavko Caric and Mr Ladislav Tolmaci (Erste Bank), they answered the question: “Why do banks invest?”. Discussing choosing the right financing mechanism, requirements of financiers and the attractiveness of projects in SEE. This presentation was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Mr Costis Stambolis (Institute of Energy for South East Europe – IENE), with contributions from Mr Gershon Cohen (Lloyds Bank), Mr Andreas Beikos (European Investment Bank – EIB) and again Mr Slavko Caric. The panel debated which projects were most favourable and were likely to get backing by their respective institutions. Mr Cohen was an adamant supporter of non-renewable projects, both in the United Kingdom and in emerging markets like SEE, whilst Mr Beikos and Mr Caric were more open and interested in a more diverse portfolio of investments, including renewable energy projects. The discussion was heated and well-received by the audience who posed additional questions on their financing choices and future requirements.

The opening session closed and provided time for the first networking session, where a great deal of business cards were exchanged over a cup of coffee.

The second session analysed the current energy market in regards to operation and trading, entitled “Building the Balkan Electricity Grid”. The session opened with a feature presentation from the European Commission (Ms Tanya Held), highlighting the key features of the EU 3rd Energy Package and implications for future market development. This was followed by a panel session where key issues could be debated further, which was hosted by Dr Dirk Buschle (Energy Community Secretariat) with contributions from Mr Dragan Vlaisavjevic (Elektroprivreda Srbije – EPS), Mr Ion Lungu (CEZ Trade), Mr Tomaz Oresic (EFT), Mr Antonio Loepz-Nicolas (ENTSO-E) and Mr Petar Maksimovic (Energy Agency of Republic of Serbia – AERS).

The lunch session shortly followed and enabled a period for further networking as well as an opportunity to debate the morning’s topic further.

The third and final session investigated the “Future of Gas” in SEE, looking at Gas Transportation and Future Developments. The session opened with a feature presentation from our Silver Sponsor, Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) S.A.  – Mr Dimitris Manolis – who presented the IGTI project and latest developments on supplying the Balkans and SEE with Gas, as well as analysing current and probable market situations. This followed with a panel discussion on “Supplying the Balkans” chaired by Mr Abel Enriquez (Gas Infrastructure Europe – GIE), with contributions from Mr Dimitris Manolis (DEPA), Mr Dragan Vucur (Srbijagas), Mr Matjaz Susnik (Plinovodi), Ms Cecilia Wagner (Trans Adriatic Pipeline – TAP) and Mr Peter Poptchev (Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism of Bulgaria).

Following a short break for coffee and further networking, Mr Popchev then provided a detailed summary of all upcoming Gas Pipeline projects in Southeast Europe, discussing the probable location of the future “Gas Hub” and also Bulgarian Gas projects – a key presentation well received by the audience. The day ended with a presentation from Mr Okan Yardimici (Energy Market Regulatory Authority of Turkey – EPDK), who analysed “The effects of recent developments in the LNG market of the relationship between oil and natural gas prices”. The chairman Mr Kovacevic aptly summarised the day’s proceedings and offered a quick note on renewable energy in preparation for Day 2 of the conference.

Proceeding the close of the conference all attendees were warmly welcomed to a cocktail reception hosted in a private bar by the Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe. A relaxed environment provided another opportunity for the exchange of business cards over a glass of wine and canapés. The welcoming speech was provided by Mr Olaf Zymelka (KfW and Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe), who welcomed all attendees to the forum and invited them to Day 2, with sessions hosted by Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe).

Day 2 of the 5th Annual Balkan Energy Finance Forum focused on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and was excellently chaired by Mr Adam de Sola Pool (Environmental Investment Partners). An opening presentation was provided by Mag. Ana Pavicic-Kaselj (Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning, Croatia), who showcased Croatia’s “National Energy Efficiency Policy and Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) projects”.

The following session was hosted by the Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe and discussed “Increasing Opportunities for Energy Efficiency”. The session was chaired by Mr Hubert Cottogni (European Investment Fund) and Mr Lloyd Stevens (Finance in Motion – Investment advisor to Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe), and panellists included Mr Bojan Kovacic (Serbian Efficiency Agency – SEEA), Mr Bojan Grujicki (Viessman), Mr Nikola Ranitovic (Cacanska Banka), Mr Tomce Tasevski (Halkbank) and Mag. Ana Pavicic-Kaselj. Each panellist provided a short presentation on their activities in the Energy Efficiency sector as well as offering an insight into future opportunities in the region.

Further discussions on Energy Efficiency continued into the following networking coffee break, which provided our attendees with a chance to move their discussions onto “Greener” energy projects not discussed in Day 1.

The second session provided a review of the “Bankability of Renewable Energy Projects” with excellent presentations from Mr Martin Mayr (UniCredit Leasing) – one of Europe’s biggest financiers of renewable energy projects, Mr Gian-Marc Widner (ecolutions) – representing Chinese investors, and Mr Dominic Hereth (Finance in Motion – investment advisor to the Green for Growth Fund, Southeast Europe) – specialist advice of structuring cash flows, debt and collateral. The three short presentations were followed by a panel session chaired by Mr Adam de Sola Pool, with contributions from each speaker as well as Mr Ian Brown (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development – EBRD). This was a popular panel session with many questions from the audience, notably the key question was “what and where would you invest?”.
The following lunch session provided a welcome break to discuss renewable energy projects further and another chance to exchange valuable business cards.

The final session of Day 2 looked at the “Development of the Balkan Renewable Energy Market”, with an introductory presentation from Mr Martin Simonek (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) and Mr Atanas Georgiev (Sofia University), who provided an overview of the renewable energy market and legislative incentives respectively. These were followed by case study presentations from Mr Boaz Peled (Energy Rose Group) – discussing examples from Romania, Ms Maja Matejic (United Nations Development Programme – UNDP) – showcasing their current Biomass strategy for Serbia, Mr Nebojsa Arsenijevic (International Finance Corporation – IFC) – highlighting their HPP expertise in the Balkans and SEE, and finally Dr Oliver Bauer (RWE Innogy) – providing a case study of their projects in SEE, notably in Bosnia and Serbia.
The conference was closed with an enthusiastic speech from Mr Adam de Sola Pool and closed with a further chance to exchange business cards.

To access all presentations, agenda and attendee information, please complete the linked booking form found on the top and bottom of this page.

Our 6th Annual Balkan Energy Finance Forum will take place in 2013 in Belgrade once again. If you would like to be involved as a speaker, sponsor, host or delegate, please contact our energy team for more information – energy@eelevents.co.uk.

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