Eurogas CEEC 2019_websiteEurogas CEEC_600_500_website Conference


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Central and Eastern European Conference (Tuesday, 8 October)

Opening speeches

Stefaan Vergote

Adviser to the Director General, DG CLIMA, European Commission

Stefaan Vergote is Advisor in DG CLIMA since April 2017. Previously, he was Head of unit for Economic analysis and Financial Instruments Unit in DG ENERGY since March 2014. From 2010 to 2014, he was Head of Unit in DG CLIMA, responsible for development of strategic options for the EU’s international and domestic climate action. His team was in charge of the 2050 Low Carbon Roadmap, and the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies.

Previously, as Deputy Head of Unit on ‘Energy and Environment’ in DG Environment, he led a team coordinating the preparation and economic analysis of the 2020 Energy and Climate Package, including the review of the EU Emission trading System, The Effort Sharing Decision and Directive on Renewable Energy. He has a diploma of civil electrotechnical-mechanical engineer at the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven) and holds a Postgraduate Degree in Environmental Management and Technology (KULeuven).

Prior to joining the Commission, Stefaan Vergote was, from 1990 to 1992 a Scientific researcher at the Engineering Department at the KULeuven, followed, from 1994 to 1997, by a position of Scientific consultant at IWT (Flemish Institute for Science and Technology) in charge of the evaluation of industrial R&D projects and a Scientific researcher at VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological research).

Panel 1: The regional gas market

Sebastian Gröblinghoff

Vice Chairman of the Management Board, JSC Latvijas Gaze

Sebastian Gröblinghoff is Member of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Board of the JSC Latvijas Gaze.

He has more than ten years of experience in the European gas and energy industry and held different positions within E.ON and Uniper Group in the last years.

Timo Partanen

Leading Specialist Gas Markets at Energiavirasto, Energy Authority Finland

Dr Partanen works as the leading specialist at the Finnish Energy Authority. He together with his team concentrate on advancing the administrative framework required to enable the Finnish and Baltic gas markets to work efficiently.  Previously Dr Partanen has been working at the Maryland Public Service Commission of the State of Maryland. Prior to the regulatory career he has held multiple positions at Fortum and Neste in international power and gas industry.

Dr Partanen holds a PhD in Political Economy from the Helsinki University of Technology. His dissertation analyzes the interaction of power retail companies with their functional environment at the time of opening the markets for competition.

He also holds an MSc in power plant engineering and an MBA in strategy and finance.

Tom Främling

Project Director, Baltic Connector

Tom Främling is the Project Director of Baltic Connector Oy, a state-owned special purpose company established in 2015 to implement the Finnish part of the Balticconnector natural gas pipeline project and connect the gas networks of Finland and the Baltic Countries.

Mr. Främling has more than 30 years of experience in project execution in oil and gas, petrochemical and energy industries. He has worked in several management positions internationally manging multinational project teams.

Mr. Främling holds a M.Sc. (Mechanical Engineering) from the Helsinki University of Technology (1987).

Gediminas Vasauskas

CEO, UAB Achema Gas Trade

Gediminas Vasaukas has started his carrier in Achema Group in 2007 as a development manager in technical gas company UAB Gaschema. In 2014 Gediminas Vasauskas has joined AB Achema as CEO deputy for natural gas purchase and was in charge of AB Achema’s first LNG purchase, which for the first time in a company’s history was performed at the beginning of 2016.

In order to diversify company’s natural gas portfolio AB Achema has been active in LNG market since then.

In 2017 Gediminas Vasauskas has become a CEO of a new established Achema Group company called UAB Achema Gas Trade, which is supplying natural gas from Achema’s portfolio to an end users and traders in all Baltic countries as well as trading gas on natural gas exchange GetBaltic.

Panel 2: Storage & LNG – flexibility instruments

Zane Kotāne

CEO, Conexus Baltic Grid

Zane Kotāne has been working in management Boards of energy industry since 2011, last two years being CEO of unbounded gas transmission and storage operator Conexus Baltic Grid.

Main challenge of recent years has been unbundling of gas and electricity industries and related change management processes. Currently key focus is on establishing common Baltic gas market, changing market role and technical functioning of underground gas storage, as well as implementing digital processes in daily management of company.

She has experience as member of supervisory board in various industries, has been board member in listed company, and has lead issuance of first corporate government sector bonds in Latvia.

In addition, she has work experience in other EU countries. Started carrier as auditor and business consultant, has experience as private entrepreneur.
Educational background – Executive MBA, Bachelor of economics and business administration, professional certification of ACCA, Certified Internal Auditor and Latvian Sworn Auditor.

Matthew Drinkwater

Senior Editor for power, gas and LNG, Argus Media

Matt Drinkwater is senior editor at Argus Media, responsible for European gas, power and LNG market coverage.


He has more than 15 years’ experience reporting on energy markets.

Arūnas Molis

Director, Klaipėda LNG Terminal

Dr. Arūnas Molis is Klaipeda LNG director at “Klaipedos nafta”, company which successfully operates the only LNG terminal in the Baltic States. He is responsible for implementation of business strategy and state policy concerning the operation of LNG terminal in Klaipeda. Arūnas also works as a professor at Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas, Lithuania) and Bologna (Italy) universities where he lectures courses on security and international relations.

Before starting his career at “Klaipedos nafta”, A. Molis worked for 4 years as an advisor to the President of the Republic of Lithuania at the Economic and social affairs group where he was responsible for energy and communication affairs. A. Molis joined the team of advisers after a successful work at NATO Energy Security Center of Excellence where he managed research projects aimed to raise energy awareness among the military personnel.

He completed his international relations and business law studies at Vilnius, Vytautas Magnus (Kaunas) and Bremen universities, has been working on various projects in Estonia, Germany, Czech Republic, France and South Korea.

Fred H. Hutchison

President & CEO, LNG Allies

Fred H. Hutchison is President and CEO of LNG Allies, The U.S. LNG Association.

An advocate, communicator, and entrepreneur, he has been a government and public relations generalist for more than four decades and is a trusted adviser to private and public sector leaders worldwide.

He was formerly a legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for U.S. Sen. Frank Church and earned a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Panel 3: Future Role of Gas – regional considerations and regulatory issues

Janez Kopač

Director, Energy Community Secretariat

Mr Kopač has been leading the Energy Community Secretariat since 2012.

Prior to this position, he worked as General Director for Energy at the Ministry of Economy of Slovenia for nearly 4 years.

He acted as a Head of Budget Committee in a Parliament of Republic of Slovenia (1990-2000), as Slovenian Minister of Finance (1992) and Minister of Environment and Energy (2000-2004).

Mr Kopač holds a Master’s degree from Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana.

Evangelia Gazi

Senior Scientist of Gas Networks & Department of Wholesale Gas Market, Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy

Evangelia Gazi is a Senior Scientist of RAE, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy, specializing in natural gas networks and wholesale market. From 2012 to 2015 she served as Secretary General of RAE. During 2015 and 2016 she served as the co-chairwoman of the Gas Working Group of the Mediterranean Energy Regulators (MEDREG). Recently she has been very active as instructor in CEER, FSR and MEDREG training programs.

Before joining RAE in 2008, she had extensive experience as a consultant in the private sector. She has a Chemical Engineering degree from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece (1990) and a Master’s (1992) and PhD (1995) in the same field from the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Rolands Irklis

Chairman of the Council, Public Utilities Commission, Latvia and Vice-President, CEER

Rolands Irklis is Chairman of Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Latvia since 2016. Currently he is also Vice-President of CEER (Council of European Energy Regulators) and Vice-Chair of ACER (Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators) Board of Regulators.

Previously Rolands Irklis served as a Commissioner of PUC, was legal advisor at Bank of Latvia and attorney at law.

Concluding remarks

Andris Piebalgs

Florence School of Regulation, former EU commissioner for energy

Andris Piebalgs is a Professor at the Florence School of Regulation in the European University Institute.

His work now focuses on the decarbonisation challenges in the energy sector. He is the Chairman of the Board of Appeal of ACER.

Before coming to FSR Andris Piebalgs was EU Commissioner for Energy and EU Commissioner for Development. He is a key figure in the formation of the EU’s renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and made a crucial impact in the creation of the European energy market.

He has been a prominent Latvian politician and diplomat, was instrumental in the Latvia’s accession to the EU.