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Home Archive Feb. 2009 Issue

Feb. 2009 Issue

February 2009 Issue: From the Editor

Since late 2008 energy security concerns have spiked globally: in November the Sirius Star, a Saudi oil tanker laden with two million barrels of oil was taken hostage some 450 nautical miles off the Kenyan coast,  Russia and Ukraine went through yet another wrestling match that denied a large number of downstream European states critical supplies of natural gas, and the war in Gaza unveiled a number of troubling energy  concerns for the State of Israel. 

In cooperation with the global energy stakeholder community, over the last eight weeks IAGS experts have been active in South America, the United States, in European capitols and in the Middle East consulting with the global policy, industrial, and defense and security communities on how to enhance the global security framework where energy is concerned.  The Journal of Energy Security (JES) is a positive manifestation of our commitment to these issues.   The complexity of energy and its implications for economic growth and stability, for the ability of states to use their energy resources for political gain, and for the military community to get its planning and response strategies right to emergent geopolitical energy risks and realities are all on our plate. 

Looking ahead over the next two months, we should get clarity on where the new US Presidential Administration is headed in driving forward its energy program.  Biofuels are already a significant aspect of the United States energy landscape but lessons on how they should be treated can perhaps benefit from experience derived from Brazil’s ethanol  industry.  In seeing whether the European Union can solve some of its lingering problems in dealing with a resurgent Russian Federation, European policy makers may do well by considering Peter Doran’s reflection on the mechanism of “enhanced cooperation.”  Finally in April, NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary and report back to Member States on progress in the field of critical infrastructure protection.   Against this swirling background of activity, we stand ready to review your comments, criticism and further recommendations for work presented in the virtual pages of the JES.


Thank You Friedrich Ebert Foundation, DC

Thank You Friedrich Ebert Foundation, DCOn Tuesday December 2, 2009 the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung ( ) organized a luncheon in Washington D.C. on behalf of the Journal of Energy Security (JES). The meeting provided an opportunity to introduce the JES to the Washington policy community and to discuss energy and security issues as they relate to the Transatlantic community.

Energy Security as National Security: Defining Problems Ahead of Solutions

Over April 3-4 2009 NATO will celebrate its 60th anniversary.  While the summit will offer spectacular events such as President Obama’s first NATO appearance as US President and France’s official announcement of rejoining NATO’s military command structure, it will also offer a review of progress made on the 2006 Riga summit declaration on Alliance involvement on the issue of energy security.  Yet energy related security risks do not lend themselves to clear lines of demarcation in terms of organizational responsibility.  Without defining energy security in a nuanced fashion, Phillip Cornell of the NATO School suggests, “runs the risk of politicizing or militarizing energy issues which can yield confused and aggressive policy choices” and may scuttle the overall objective of achieving energy security itself. 


Algeria: A Strategic Gas Partner For Europe

Former Financial Times North Africa correspondent Francis Ghilès provides an insightful backgrounder on Algeria as an  often overlooked supplier of natural gas to Europe.  In the wake of the January 2009 Ukraine-Russia dispute over gas supplies and transit, European consumers would be well put to re-examine Algeria as a reliable alternative supplier of the commodity.  Algeria already exports LNG to a large number of nations, including the US, which could be easily expanded.  Its piped natural gas to Spain and Italy avoid the problems of transit states and it holds significant proven domestic reserves which will allow it to expand its delivery capacity in the future.


Collective Energy Security: A New Approach for Europe

Pointing out the critical issues associated with energy security is an important aspect of raising the visibility of how energy impacts on national and global security.  The solution's side of the equation is much trickier given difficulties in finding solutions compatible with the foreign policy objectives of two or more nations.  Peter Doran of the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, DC provides one such solution to Europe’s current energy security dilemma.   Doran explores how the EU mechanism of “enhanced cooperation” could further Europe’s march towards collective energy security.


Energy Security Challenges for Israel Following the Gaza War

Israel's recent Gaza conflict has highlighted the country's own energy security vulnerabilities.  Israel would like to increase the share of natural gas in its energy mix, yet the decreasing availability of domestic Israeli gas supplies coupled with huge political uncertainties in tapping new off-shore resources must be addressed.  Developing new LNG infrastructure has its own set of challenges for the energy security of Israeli consumers; Israel's promising pre-war discussions with Turkey on creating an infrastructure corridor have been effectively side-lined.  Gal Luft elaborates on how future energy security in Israel rests on the viability of new security arrangements which have yet to be articulated and put into practice.


Brazilian Ethanol Policy: Lessons for the United States

A close examination of the history of Brazil’s ethanol industry is warranted as the US corn based ethanol industry expands exponentially.  In Brazil, the industry is based on a monoculture of sugar cane for ethanol production but this wasn’t envisioned early on by Brazilian policy makers.  This has had undesirable economic and environmental effects that the US could avoid.  On the other hand, one of the most innovative governmental programs to emerge from the late 1970s in Brazil was the agreement brokered between the Brazilian government and large automobile manufacturers to produce ethanol only cars.  The positive results stemming from this program for Brazil's energy independence are noteworthy.  The United States currently sits at a crossroads in the ethanol debate that allows for the diversification of ethanol feedstock as well as in forging agreements with large auto manufacturers to produce ethanol-based vehicle fleets.  


Maritime Piracy: Implications for Maritime Energy Security

Maritime Piracy: Implications for Maritime Energy Security

Dr . Donna Nincic writes on the human and financial costs of maritime piracy in the wake of the November 15, 2008 hijacking of the Saudi oil tanker the Sirius Star.  Maritime piracy is on the rise off the coast of Somalia and Nigeria with an increasing level of violence and in the incidence of attacks.  Against the background of the reality that military authorities cannot protect all vessels everywhere, the article provides a close analysis of what actions vessels have taken off the Somali coast to protect their personnel and cargo.  The article concludes by pointing out that the main threat to the world’s energy trade stems from two concerns: that their number may increase and from the foreboding thought that terrorists may begin to overtake energy vessels. 



US Energy Security Council RT discussion

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