Energy Security Case Studies

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Nabucco Pipeline

  • 2009 - 2013
  • A pipeline created to reduced Europes energy dependence on Russian Gas.
  • Goes thorugh Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.
  • A cost of £8 billion.
  • Supplied by the Caspian Region.
  • Main supplier would be Iraq- 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
  • The pipe would have the capacity to transport 31 billion cubic metres a year.


  • Will reduce Russias energy dominance (currently supplies a third of all European gas).
  • Increases energy diversity, which increases energy security.


  • The pipe goes through geopolitically tense countries such as Syria, Iran and Iraq.
  • Expensive.
  • Could cause further tension between Russia and European states.
  • Will harm agriculture to build the pipe.
  • Doesn't decrease reliance on non-renewable resources.
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Alaskan Tar Sands

  • Unconventional.
  • Located in North America, South of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Tar is a combination of sand, clay, water and bitumen, they are extracted by mining and then refined to get the oil.


  • Many undiscovered reserves.
  • Enormous growth potential.
  • In Alberta, jobs are created for Native Americans.
  • Keeps oil prices down.
  • Potential to produce 1.2 million barrels of oil a day.


  • Air purity decreases by 40%.
  • 2.9 million gallons of polluted water runs into streams- contains carcinogenic pollutants.
  • Destoys cabon sinks - 30-40% in Alaskan coastal aeas.
  •  50 squared miles now covered in toxic pools.
  • TNCs Vs Locals and Environmentalists
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Yasini National Park

  • 1960's to present.
  • Located in Ecuador, South America.
  • Drilling will continue in 2016 by the company 'Petromazonas', they have permission to drill 100,000 hectares (10%) of the park.
  • 50% of Ecuadors export income comes from oil,
  • 45% of the population live in poverty.
  • 900 million barrels available.


  • Money generated through oil allows improvements in infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, and military.
  • Only 3% of the population live in the area, so not many people will be directly affected.


  • Ecuador is the most biodiverse place on the planet- may be affected e.g. 655 species of tree at risk.
  • Two main rivers may become polluted - The Cononaco and Napo.
  • Oil Spill in 1996 by Chevron- they were sued $1 billion. 
  • Indigenous 'Huaorani' people may be impacted and can contract diseases.
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Hydrogen Cars

  • Store electricity as hydrogen then convert it into electricity in a fuel cell.
  • Generate electricity, water and heat, therefore no harmful emissions.
  • Tanks store 300 miles worth.


  • Can be powered on renewable electricity therefore have zero emissions.
  • Takes only 2-3 minutes to refuel.
  • 95% of hydrogen in 2014 was made from methane, so it actualy reduces greenhouse gases.


  • Only 11 refueling stations in the UK.
  • Hydrogen is expensive, costs around $13.50 per kg, which is about 62 miles.
  • The price of the cars is expensive, can be leased for $500 a month or purchased for around $60,000- double the price of an average car. 
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Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)

  • Debate began in 1977.
  • Should we drill in the Arctic for oil?
  • ANWR covers 19,000,000 acres of the North Alaskan coast.


  • Lower oil prices, leading to an economic boom.
  • Lessen the UKs dependence on foreign oil and makes us more energy secure.
  • Money spent on oil from the Middle East, Russia and Venezuala may be strengthening communists and terrorists.
  • Would help the economy in Alaska, as it would create thousands of jobs.


  • Doesn't help us move towards renewable energy resources.
  • Could disturb habitats and ecosystems, reducing biodiversity.
  • May take years for a significant amount of oil to be extracted.
  • Local residents and environmentalists Vs Government.
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Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP)

  • Aims to reduce Europes reliance on Russias gas supply.
  • Natural Gas will be transported by an 1805km long pipeline underground.
  • Funded by Turkey and Azerbaijan.
  • Construction will last 4 years, target is to complete by 2018.
  • Natural Gas comes from Georgia/Turkey and enters the TAP pipeline.


  • Decreases reliance on Russian gas.
  • Increases importance of Turkey and Azerbaijan as EU energy partners.


  • Not reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
  • Could increase tensions with Russia.
  • Starts in a politically tense area - Turkey has had problems with terrorism.
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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

  • Technology captures up to 90% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced from the use of fossil fuels in industry.
  • Stores the Carbon Dioxide underground in depleted oil and gas fields or deep saline aquifers.
  • Scotland has 50% of the offshore storage capacity in Europe.


  • Can work within the existing system- everything can operate as usual.
  • Reduces amount of Carbon Dioxide in atmosphere.


  • Carbon Dioxide is stored underground and this may have unforeseen circumstances.
  • Expensive and money could be spent on renewable technologies that we know work.
  • Could be seen as a distraction, prolonging the switch to renewable energy sources.
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Carrot and Stick

An approach which encourages initiatives for becoming greener (Carrot) such as investment opportunities or by offering a punishment (Stick) such as fines.

Kyoto Protocol

  • 1997
  • An international treaty amongst industrialised nations that sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions, if a country does not meet limits it is fined.
  • USA has not signed up- key figure.
  • Has led to the development of the 'carbon-trading' market - countries arent reducing emissions at all.

Green Taxes

  • Car Tax- depends on the emissions of the car, more emissions higher tax. Aims to discourage the purchase of high emission cars.
  • Congestion Charge- a charge incurred to drive into an area, to reduce traffic. 
  • Smart Meters- allows people to be aware of household energy consumption.
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Geothermal, Iceland

  • Located on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasion plate meets the North American plate in the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • Generates 25% of Icelands electricity.
  • Used in 9/10 households.
  • Water is pumped underground and heated, the steam created turns a turbine which generates electricity.


  • Saves 80% more than fossil fuels.
  • Minmal pollution.
  • Infinite.
  • Has huge potential- 2TW worldwide.


  • Can displace habitats and put species at risk such as the Icelandic Lichen.
  • Potential to trigger earthquakes.
  • Location specific- has to be on a tectonic plate boundary.
  • Environmentalists and Local People Vs TNCs (e.g. Magma Energy)
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Biofuels in Brazil

  • Tradition of sugar cane farming has led to the production of bioethanol.
  • Investment in Brazil biofuels rose in 1973 due to the fuel crisis.
  • Production increased from 0.6bnl in 1975 to 11bnl in 1990.
  • 47% of Brazils energy is renewable.
  • Brazil is the 2nd largest producer of biofuel (20bnl).


  • Created 1 million jobs.
  • Useful waste products- Vinasse is a good fertiliser.
  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Brazil is energy secure.


  • Eutrophication of Vinasse - can be corrosive.
  • Could lead to food insecurity as land is used to grow crops for fuel, or increase in food prices, which will affect the urban poor.
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Wind Power in North Sea

  • Dogger Bank is the main site, located 102 miles off the North Coast of England.
  • Will power 2 million British homes.
  • Consists of 200 turbines.


  • Create 4750 jobs.
  • Will generate £1.2 billion in its lifetime.


  • 98% of Norwegian birds had plastic particles in their stomachs.
  • Conflicts over water territory between the UK and Denmark.
  • NIMBY issues.
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Fracking in the USA

  • Extracted by drilling into rock then pump in at very high-pressure vast quantities of water mixed with sand and chemicals. This opens up tiny fissures in the rock, through which the trapped gas can then escape.
  • In 2000 shale gas provided only 1% of U.S. gas production, by 2010 it was over 20%.


  • ŸHelps to keep the OPEC countries from creating a monopoly on fuel prices.
  • Reduces reliance on other countries (Russia, Iraq and Qatar).
  • Shale gas is 17% cheaper than the cheapest renewable fuel.


  • Contamination of drinking water resources with chemicals.
  • Not reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Increased seismic activity. 
  • Noise pollution - trucks and lorrys, drilling, etc.
  • 18 million litres of water needed to drill just one well.
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