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Morena Skalamera

Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project




Morena Skalamera recently completed her Ph.D in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Trieste. Her Ph.D. dissertation dealt with European-Russian energy cooperation and was funded by the International University Institute for European Studies (IUIES) with a grant to carry out research abroad. Her dissertation was primarily focused on understanding the lack of binding institutionalization of the EU-Russia energy relationship despite the high degree of interdependence between the two sides. She holds a B.A. and M.A. (summa cum laude) in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Trieste. During her M.A. studies, she spent a semester at Eckerd College in Florida, where she connected with professors who piqued her research interest in Russia-EU energy politics. During 2010-2011 she was a visiting student at the University of Westminster (London) where she completed a course in Diplomacy. She has attended many international conferences on energy issues, including 'Scenario Work on Eurasian Gas 2030' at Columbia University. She has also written several articles in the realm of politics as related to the EU-Russia Energy Security relations. During her tenure at the Belfer Center, she will be conducting research on a new project: "The Sino-Russian Gas Relationship and China’s disruptive rise in Energy and Geopolitics." Her areas of expertise and interest include: energy cooperation between the EU and Russia, global energy governance, geopolitical and strategic issues arising from the unequal distribution of global energy resources (in particular, natural gas), the role of technological breakthroughs, the Sino-Russian energy cooperation and the making of the United States’ foreign and security policies. In the summer of 2013 she will be teaching a seminar on the Geopolitics of Energy at the Peking University School of Government in Beijing (China).



By Date




January 2016

The Russian Reality Check on Turkey's Gas Hub Hopes

Policy Brief

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

On Nov 24, 2015, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet after it veered into its airspace for 17 seconds. On December 13, a Russian ship fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in the Aegean Sea. Bilateral tensions, with overt military dimensions, have seemed to quickly replace the goodwill that characterized relations only a year ago.



Wikipedia Commons

October 11, 2015

"A Kink In the Pipeline: Why Turkish-Russian Gas Diplomacy Won't End Well for Ankara"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Affairs

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

On December 1, 2014, during a visit to Turkey, Russian President Vladimir Putin abruptly announced that Gazprom was cancelling the South Stream pipeline, which would have taken natural gas from Russia through the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and through Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia to Austria. That same day, BOTAŞ, Turkey’s state-owned pipeline company, and Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a new offshore gas pipeline named Turkish Stream, which would boast a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year and would run from Russia, under the Black Sea, and on to the Turkish–Greek border. In the first phase of the project, starting in December 2016, Russia agreed to supply some 16 bcm to Turkey. In the second phase, the remaining 47 bcm would be delivered to the planned hub on the Turkish side of the Turkish–Greek border.



Creative Commons

July 23, 2015

"Energy Security in the Wake of the Ukraine Crisis"

Journal Article, Global Policy

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, and especially since the Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis of 2006, Western policy makers have paid a great deal of attention to energy security. Yet there is no consensus as to what energy security is, what methodologies are most useful for conceptualizing and operationalizing the term, or even whether it is possible to generalize about anything as complex and contextually dependent as energy security. This enormous diversity of theoretical, methodological, and epistemological perspectives on the study of energy security complicates any assessment of the state of the field. It is, however, precisely because ‘energy security’ is such an elusive concept that academics, statesmen, and analysts of energy politics should not strive to coalesce around one precise definition.



Wikipedia Commons

Summer 2015

"The Ukraine Crisis: The Neglected Gas Factor"

Journal Article, Orbis, issue 3, volume 59

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

The current Ukraine crisis is often portrayed as a contest between Ukraine's desire to adopt West European standards of living and its historical pull towards Russia's sphere of influence. 



Wikipedia Commons

April 23, 2015

"Italy’s Path to Gas Liberalisation"

Journal Article, Contemporary Italian Politics

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project


Existing studies show that, on average, national champions in energy-rich states tend to ‘stick around’ by maintaining strong links with their respective governments in the distribution of rents. Yet the foundations of preference formation—the particular role of national champions, their relationship to their respective governments and a limited number of third suppliers in that process—have neither been theorised nor investigated empirically in countries that are net importers of gas.



Wikimedia Commons

March 2015

"The Sino-Russian Rapprochement: Energy Relations in a New Era"


By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

The United States could enhance or threaten China’s energy security but China was unsure of the U.S. intentions. China and the United States were both friends and potential foes. In the meantime, Russia’s own ambivalent relationship with the United States and its Western allies has worsened. In this context, China and Russia have grown closer. 



Wikimedia CC

February 13, 2015

"China Can't Solve Russia’s Energy Technology Trap"

Op-Ed, The Diplomat

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

While the EU has been historically dependent on Russian oil and gas supplies, this dependence has proved to be a two-way street, with Russia dependent on European goods and technology. This trade has nonetheless remained asymmetrical: Russia imports equipment, consumer goods, and high value-added products (such as luxury garments, cars, and foods), while it exports raw materials.



Wikimedia CC

February 6, 2015

"Climate policy according to Gazprom"


By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

As Russian dreams of becoming a ‘great ecological power’ fade, Gazprom, it seems, has been driving climate policy all along.



AP Images

December 16, 2014

"Putin's Asia Strategy for 2015"

Op-Ed, N/A

By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

In the midst of a confrontation between Russia and the West evocative of the Cold War, Russia has reinforced its pivot to Asia.




November, 2014

The Sino-Russian Gas Partnership: Explaining the 2014 Breakthrough


By Morena Skalamera, Associate, Geopolitics of Energy Project

As Moscow’s relations with the West deteriorate, Putin seeks to show the world and the Russian people that he has alternative friends to the East. Be that as it may, the incentives leading to the mega deal were in place much earlier. This paper proposes a framework for assessing the deal along three dimensions: 1) gas trade and energy security implications; 2) regional- and global policy-related implications; and 3) prospects for the future.

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.