“As the voracious demand for oil increasingly outstripped new sources of supply in recent years, an energy crisis crept up on the world with fateful inevitability,” so commented Time magazine on November 19, 1973 some 35 years ago when Arab nations tried to squeeze concessions out of Israel and its Western supporters in response to what has come to be known as the Yom Kippur war. It seems like a case of back-to-the-future seeing that it is now October 2008: growing global demand for diminishing oil reserves are increasingly concentrating back on a handful nations in the Middle East. Like in 73’ consumers are suffering from high oil prices forcing drivers to cut back on non-essential transport. The cost of heating and fuel oil will make the coming winter tough on the citizens of oil importing nations double whamied by the US financial crisis and looming global recession. So we revisit that event and others central to the burning international security issue of energy security in this first issue of the Journal of Energy Security.
Continuing with the 1973 Time magazine article “The Arabs' New Oil Squeeze: Dimouts, Slowdowns, Chills,” the writer went on to add, “In the Moslem Middle East, only non-Arab Iran continues to pump and ship oil in normal amounts.” Well that was written 6 years before the Iranian revolution which plunged that state into a period of dark transition that continues to this day. So we revisit an Iran still in transition thirty-plus years hence and examine the energy security implications of a state now seeking nuclear weapons capability.
Energy terrorism, the emergence of China as the world’s largest producer of methanol which it considers a strategic transportation fuel, and the energy and security implications of Russia’s invasion of Georgia remember Soviet Georgia that transits the only non-Russian pipeline in the FSU are new and emergent realities that the nations of the world are grappling with.
Our goal in the months and yes unfortunately years ahead- as the world wobbles towards its next industrial revolution and struggles with energy driven security issues in the meantime- is to provide a space to think aloud on shaping a more secure energy future. Creative thinking, accurate reporting and thoughtful analysis of the nexus between energy and security are the aspirations of this new publication. As always you and history will be the judge.