EGEE 120
Oil: International Evolution

The Quest, Chapter 13 Overview


The Quest, Chapter 13 The Security of Energy

The story from The Prize chapter 7-10 is a cautionary tale that we face even today. Nmely, that there are dimensions to energy security. Simply finding oil is not enough. In this part of The Quest, we learn about the other dimensions. An argument can be made that some current policy decisions are not being true to the importance of these principles. It is important to note that we as a country are not anywhere near a position to halt fossil fuel production and still remain functional and secure. Therefore, for the time being, we will be dependent on oil from other places, as we will surely need it for the foreseeable future, regardless of green energy policies. It is simply the practical nature of where we are.

If we relate to the present-day argument for no fossil fuels to the early 1900s situation, you see how pivotal the US being a potential exporter actually was. We also see the dire straits Britain found itself in as they had no oil of their own, but sorely needed it for their national security. And it was not just military needs, the shortages meant no transportation or heat for the general public. Are we learning from history in setting modern day energy policy?

The dimensions of energy are:

  • Physical Security: Infrastructure, supply chains, trade routes - an example of this would be the Oil Tanker making its way to Britain from Russia - 6000 miles. How is it protected? Can this route be disrupted? Thus, the supply is then not where it is relied upon to be.
  • Access to Supplies: Physically, contractually, commercially - remember Reynold’s “Beer and Skittles” challenges in Persia? He struggled with everything from actually finding the oil to negotiations with local Persians to basic infrastructure to transport it to the Oil Tanker.
  • Energy Security: This refers to the challenges with the many Government Policies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) - for example Greenpeace, the Red Cross, International Government Organizations examples - for example United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO) European Union (EU). Coordination between these many organizations impacts the security of the oil supply. The teamwork between these organizations is illustrated in how they respond to the disruption of emergencies in supplies. These organizations also partner with many International Oil companies to ensure our house is warm and gas is available for travel so each of us can have what are now considered necessities every day.

Many non-oil related situations can impact this teamwork and thus impact the supply of oil. A non-oil related situation could be a religious difference between two countries that want to have a pipeline connection. What happens when that religious difference becomes more important than the oil profit or oil-related products? A disruption in the oil supply.

The Quest, Chapter 13 - The Security of Energy

Sections to Read
  • Dimensions
  • Introduction
Questions to Guide Your Reading:
  • What are two dimensions of energy security?