By Daniel Litvin – This briefing paper was published by Chatham House – Click here to view
Separately from his work at Critical Resource, Daniel Litvin, the company’s director, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London. In a recent briefing paper published by Chatham House, he calls for more ambitious international policy measures to tackle the root causes of energy insecurity for oil and gas importing countries.
Below is an outline of the paper’s argument; the full paper can be accessed at the Chatham House website.
- In the United States, European Union and Asia, fears about dependence on oil and gas imports from unstable regions have become a major theme of political debate. This paper provides a high-level and historical perspective on this complex issue.
- Dependence on oil and gas imports raises real economic- and political-security issues for many countries. Neither the global economic crisis nor climate change policies – both of which look set to restrain oil and gas demand – will solve the problem entirely. In fact, over the next few decades it is likely to become worse.
- The reason why oil and gas production is associated with international insecurity is not just that some energy-rich regions happen to be unstable or happen to be politically at odds with energy-importing countries. The ways in which companies and governments have exploited these fuel sources over time have themselves often sown the seeds of instability, distrust and disagreement within and between countries.
- Current policy responses to this challenge are focused on broad-brush measures such as reducing energy demand and strengthening military or diplomatic alliances with oil-producing regions. Comparatively little attention is devoted to the ‘self-fuelling fire’ that underlies the problem. More ambitious initiatives in this area are urgently needed.