Energy Security

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: juliet
  • Created on: 03-03-13 19:43

The distribution of energy reserves

The world's energy sources are distributed unevenly:

  • Oil: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq (Middle Eastern countries, and other countries like Russia, Nigeria and Kazakhstan)
  • Natural Gas: Russia, Iran, Qatar (Russia, Middle Eastern, USA,...)
  • Coal: USA, Russia, China (India, Australia, South Africa..)
1 of 9

Access to energy - the UK

Sources of UK's electricity:

  • Gas - 40% (Britain is becoming increasingly reliant on imported oil and gas from countries like Russia.)
  • Coal - 33%
  • Nuclear - 20% (concern about its safety (Friends of the Earth), plans to close some plants)
  • Renewable - 4%

Physical factors: UK's oil, coal and gas reserves have peaked = import energy. However, its location btwn Alantic Ocean and N Sea - wind, wave and tidal power. Technology and costs - wind power more expensive than before but still viable, china is low cost producer of solar PV cells.

2 of 9

Growing global demand for energy - China

  • China is the world's most populous country and the largest energy consumer in the world. Rapidly increasing energy demand has made China extremely influential in world energy markets.
  • China is the world's second-largest consumer of oil behind the United States, and the second-largest net importer of oil as of 2009.
  • Although natural gas use is rapidly increasing in China, the fuel comprised less than 4 percent of the country's total primary energy consumption in 2009.
  • China is the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world, and accounts for almost half of the world's coal consumption.
  • hina's electricity generation continues to be dominated by fossil fuel sources, particularly coal. The Chinese government has made the expansion of natural gas-fired and renewable power plants as well as electricity transmission a priority.
  • The Three Gorges Dam hydroelectric facility, the largest hydroelectric project in the world, started operations in 2003 and completed construction in 2012.
3 of 9

Energy pathways (Geopolitics)

  • ESPO [The East Siberia-Pacific Ocean], construction began in 2006. 
    • Russian ESPO oil pipeline - Russia + Japan trade agreement. Japanese are keen for the pipeline not to end in China, are willing to finance $7bn of the project to ensure that the pipeline is not extended to the Pacific coast
  • Russia - Ukraine Gas disputes [Ukraine - transit state: a country/state through which energy flows on its way from producer to consumer]
    • Ukraine oil/gas company Naftogaz and Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices and debts
    • Russia supplies 80% of EU gas
    • March 08 - dispute over debt led to 50% cut in gas supplies (Ukraine was seeking to join NATO/EU
    • Jan 06 - cut off supplies to Ukraine, affected 18 european countries
  • The Nabucco pipeline will be supplied with as from Egypt, Syria (&other countries), aimed at diversifying EU imports and make the EU less dependant on Russia
4 of 9

Key players in global energy supply - TNCs, OPEC

  • Gazprom in Russia:
    • Controls 1/3rd of world's gas reserves
    • The world's third largest corporation (after Exxon Mobil and General electric)
    • Annual earnings for 2006 were £33.5bn
    • Russian govt still owns 50% of the shares of Gazprom
  • OPEC: International energy controls (Iran, Kuwait, Iraq, Venzuela, Saudi Arabia & others)
    • A cartel: producers/suppliersformed to monopolise the production and distribution of a service to control prices. OPEC?
    • Aim to protect the interests of members (arguably their main aim)
    • stabilise oil prices and eliminate unnecassry price fluctuations
    • ensure efficient, economic and regular supply of oil to consuming nations
    • been accused of holding back production in order to drive up prices
    • influence has declined over the years as new oil producers  (Russia, Norway, Mexico) have decided not to join
    • Even so, OPEC holds 2/3 or world oil reserves
    • Oil - inelastic good
5 of 9

Exploitation of difficult and sensitive areas: Tar

  • Found in Northern Alberta, Canada - cover land the size of England
  • 2000-2005, oil prices continued to rise, triggered the exploitation of frontier hydrocarbons (those grades of it, e.g. tar sands, that are inferior to conventional sources of oil) 
  • Extraction method: Opencast mining
  • Expensive: costs $15 to extract a barrel compared to $2 for conventional oil; Processed tar sands are large source of GHG emissions because of their energy intensive production
  • Tar sands provide an alternative to conventional oil; By 2030 Tar sands could meet 16% of North America's demand for oil - providing a secure stable source of oil; the Canadian economy: 2007, the oil industry accounted for 20% of total value of canadian export
6 of 9

Business as usual (Reliance on fossil fuels)

  • IEA (International Energy Agency):
    • 84% of energy use between 2005-2030 will be sourced from fossil fuels - with coal use growing the most rapidly
    • By 2030, global CO2 emissions will rise by 57%
    • consuming countries will rely increrasing on imports from the Middle East and Russia
  • Costs:
    • Stern Review 2006: Climate change would cost the world 5-20% of flobal GDP, whereas efforts to limit GHG emissions and the impacts of global warming wouild cost 1% of global GDP 
7 of 9

Alternatives to business as usual

Nuclear Power:

  • China set to build 20 nuclear power stations by 2020
  • Con: costs of safety&security, waste management and construction are increasing
  • Con: Nuclear waste disposal an unsolved problem - remains radioactive for 10,000yrs
  • Con: Nuclear technology and risk of nuclear weapon proliferation
  • Pro: Nuclear power is needed to reduce UK dependence on Middle East and Russia
  • Pro: Help UK meet its CO2 reduction targets


  • The North Sea - Wind energy for the UK 
  • New Zealand aims to get 90% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025
8 of 9

Conservation and recycling

  • Decentralising energy generation: developing local generators, along with energy efficiency measures
  • Green taxation:
    • Road tax increase: reforms aimed to punish 'gas guzzling' and polluting vehicles
    • Green tax revolt: More than 7 in 10 voters in Britain insist that they are not willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund projects that tackle climate change
9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Geography resources:

See all Geography resources »See all Case studies resources »