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Pipeline and pressure meter.

Doctoral defence of Mykola Iakovenko, M.Sc.(Pol), 21.8.2023: Novel study suggests improvements securing the gas supply in the EU and Energy Community gas sectors

The doctoral dissertation in the field of European Law will be examined at the faculty of Business and Social Sciences at Joensuu.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

The research explores the role of governmental interventions in the development of gas infrastructure in the EU and Energy Community (EnC) countries where national governments traditionally have a very security-oriented approach to gas sector development. In this thesis I explored three country cases: Poland and Lithuania representing EU Member States and Ukraine as the Energy Community Contracting Party. The ‘governmental interventions’ referred to in the thesis concern the obligations on the part of gas market participants in relation to infrastructure development going beyond the general EU and EnC gas sector legislation requirements for infrastructure. Usually, governments use the services of general economic interest (SGEI) and state aid provisions of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to develop such obligations for ensuring the security of gas supply. Such measures are to be limited in their negative impact on the competition on the market and trade between EU Member States. However, in practice, as the analysis in the thesis demonstrates, such measures may often have a significant impact and limited efficacy (as in the considered examples of ‘securitized’ gas sectors in case-countries). The research provides with holistic assessment of the security issues in gas supply, the evolution of EU acquis on gas infrastructure, SGEI and state aid concepts and the measures applied in the case-countries, also suggesting their possible improvement. The topic is extremely important nowadays, considering the ongoing global energy and security crisis, where finding the most optimal and well-balanced solutions for ensuring adequate infrastructure development is among the key tasks.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

The practice of promoting gas infrastructure projects by virtue of governmental interventions demonstrates the limited efficiency in terms improving the security of gas supply to the national gas markets in the analyzed region. At the same time, this practice may significantly deteriorate the competition on domestic gas markets and create the barriers for cross-border trade. However, the impact of different measures and infrastructure facilities promoted is not similar, e.g., increasing the availability of alternative gas infrastructure had many positive outcomes and a limited negative impact on the market when their construction was ensured only by investment aid. Whereas some ambitious infrastructure projects involving extra obligations on the part of the market participants were not able to fully improve the security of supply but resulted in a significant intervention in the competition on the market, as the analysis demonstrates. This situation proves the need for modifying the approach to promotion of gas infrastructure in the ‘securitized’ gas sectors with the view of removing the barriers for competition and market access. This task is especially important given the ongoing common EU efforts in securing gas supply and transition to climate neutrality, which may be deteriorated by the extensive interventions at the national level.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

The research proposes concrete actions and reforms to address the limitations of the present governmental interventions in the development of gas infrastructure in the ‘securitized’ EU and EnC gas sectors to ensure the gas security of supply and availability of the necessary infrastructure in the balanced and market-oriented way.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The research is mainly based on law-in-context research methodology which acknowledges the impact of many non-legal factors on the actual application of legal provisions. The relevance of such a research methodology is explained by the significant role of economic, political, and other factors on the development of EU energy legislation and its implementation at the national level. Ignoring such factors would significantly limit the research and make it focused on 'law in books' only. The high quality of the research was also ensured by utilizing the interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., discourse analysis, competitive analysis etc.) to support the assumption and hypothesis.

The doctoral dissertation of Mykola Iakovenko, M.Sc.(Pol.), entitled Governmental interventions in development of gas infrastructure in the ‘securitized’ EU and Energy Community gas sectors. The cases of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, will be examined at the faculty of Business and Social Sciences on 21.8.2023 at 12 noon in the Agora Building, Auditorium AT100 and online. The Opponent will be Professor Bram Delvaux, KU Leuven University, and the Custos will be Professor Kim Talus, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the dissertation event is English.

For further information, please contact:

Mykola Iakovenko, mykola.iakovenko(at)