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The EU-Energy Security and Geopolitical Economy

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The Persian Gulf, the Caspian Region and China

For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Although energy supply security is an important long-term goal of the EU, member states are in control over external supplies and their domestic energy mix, and an overarching institutional structure is lacking. In this paper, we focus on the availability of oil and gas and the risks of supply disruptions for the EU. The last two decades have been marked by a decrease in fossil fuel production and increasing import dependence. Proven oil and gas reserves in the EU are very limited. Especially in the case of oil the outlook of both global and own EU reserves looks bleak. At the same time, global trends show an increasing demand for energy in the coming decades, concentrated mainly in developing countries, specifically in China. The Persian Gulf area and the Caspian Sea region hold some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves, and these will make them increasingly significant in global markets. These factors create a setting for the EU of demand- and supply-induced and structural scarcity. The persistence of Arab patrimonial rentier states and societies are a domestic and geopolitical source of instability. These states’ Sovereign Wealth Funds are used by ruling elites to divert assets from socioeconomic development towards individual profit. Emerging Asian economies involved in the ME and the CEA, especially China, will influence the regions’ future geopolitical and geo-economic reality. China relies on resources for domestic development and the resource-rich Middle Eastern countries have long been a destination from which to acquire them.

Affiliations: 1: University of Amsterdam, Department of Political Science, and International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden Universitythe Netherlands ; 2: Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University


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