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The Impact Of Energy Supply Security And Geopolitics In European Nations

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Question:

 
• Critically analyse one or more strategic problems in a modern business organisation and produce a comprehensive report detailing the objectives, methodologies, findings, analysis, and conclusions of the research carried out above.  

• Analyse the extent to which you have developed your knowledge, throughout the course and how the course and this project has helped your employability.
 
 

Answer:

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Energy supply security is one of the key factors of energy policy. Oil is the major energy source for which the security issues crop up. Europe is one of the major importers of energy resources and natural gas. The domestic natural gas supplies of European countries are decreasing compared to the high demand for the energy resources. Hence, European Union is becoming largely dependent on Russia for its supply of energy. The EU countries depend highly on Russia and Norway for two types of energy resources namely crude oil (more than 90% of imports) and natural gas (more than 68% imports). Andrews (2005) suggested that the high dependency of EU on Russia makes the situation vulnerable for the countries. The political, economical, infrastructural and commercial disputes may disrupt the energy supply. Europe as a major consumer of energy resources faces challenges for meeting its future energy needs. according to Verrastro et al ( 2010) the major challenge for European nations is the high demand for energy resources from other emerging countries like India and China and the persistent instability in the energy producing regions. Thus, the necessity for maintaining energy supply security is high for European countries. The research evaluates the challenges faced by EU due to lack of sufficient energy security services and the impact of Geopolitics in this context (Doyle,2004).

1.2 Background of the topic

The issue of energy security gained importance in 1973 after the Arab – Israeli war when the oil producing countries of Arab refused to supply oil to the European and United States countries to take revenge for their support of Israel. The EU countries realized the importance of energy supply security in 2009 when a gas dispute occurred between Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine being the transit country, many EU countries had to suffer from energy supply shortages due to geopolitical reasons. According to Kaysi (2011) the oil and gas reserves are unevenly distributed with the largest share falling within the most politically disturbed countries like Middle East and Russia. Thus if EU takes no action against effective energy supply security then the geopolitical disturbances may affect the energy supply of European nations. Another incident in 2007 in Belarus had put the energy supply of the European nations at stake when the pipeline with a capacity of around 50 million tons of oil was shut down and the supply of oil stopped (Drorian, 2005). Previously the European nations focused on internal security of the energy supply however, the high rate of dependence on the import of oil and natural gas has made it important for the European nations to also focus on generating security regulations for the external energy supply (Correljé and van der Linde, 2006).

1.3 Research aim

The researcher here aims to study the impact of energy-supply-security measures in European nations. Moreover, the research will aim to identify the challenges that the European countries face in energy supply due to the geopolitical disturbances. Finally, the researcher will aim to identify the position of the European nations in formulating energy security strategies.

1.4 Research objective

  • To identify the challenges in energy supply that the European nations face due to geopolitical turmoil
  • To measure the exposure of European nations to energy supply risks
  • To recommend the strategies to European nations for maintenance of energy security

1.5 Research questions

  • How does lack of energy supply security affects the European nations?
  • What are the probable challenges that the European nations face in supply of energy due to geopolitical disturbances?
  • What are the probable strategies that the European nations can adopt in order to maintain energy supply security?

1.6 Rationale of the study

The basic reason behind the choice of this topic is the continuous growth in the demand for the natural gas and oil in European countries and the high dependency of the EU countries on Russia and Middle East for the supply of the same. The failure of European countries to devise security strategies for supply of energy is the main issue of the research project. This is becoming a major issue in the following scenario because the energy supplies of the European countries were hampered due to the Russia-Ukraine political problems.

1.7 Structure of the study

The researcher will follow the structure given below in order to complete the research thesis effectively.

Chapter 1: Introduction

In this chapter, the researcher will describe the research topic providing the rationale for the research and setting the research objectives, aim and questions. The researcher will also define the issue considered for the development of the research project.

Chapter 2: Literature review

In this chapter, the researcher will focus on the relevant academic theories and concepts related to the research topic. The use of the theories will help the researcher to understand the research issue better.

Chapter 3: Research methodology

This chapter will focus on showing the selection and justification of different research methods and concepts that the researcher will use for complete analysis and data collection of the research project. Selection of appropriate research philosophy, approach, design and techniques will help the researcher in effective completion of the project.

Chapter 4: Data analysis and interpretations

This chapter will analyze the data that the researcher has collected and with the help of secondary resources and academic theories, the researcher will interpret the data.

Chapter 5: Conclusions and recommendations

In this chapter, the researcher will draw the conclusions and provide the recommendations from the data interpreted in the previous chapter. The conclusions will help the research to establish the objectives of the research project.

Chapter 6: Reflection of learning

In the last chapter the researcher will given overview of the personal learning experience that the researcher gained during the research project.

1.8 Summary

The chapter showed the necessity of security system in energy supply for the European nations. The major issue of the research highlighted in this chapter is the high dependency of the European countries on the Russian and other energy exporters for energy supply has threatened the supply under the diverse geopolitical conditions. This chapter is followed by the literature review that will highlight the relevant theories and concepts related to the topic.

 

Chapter 2: Literature review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter will focus on establishing foundation knowledge related to energy supply security issues in the European nations. With the help of the academic concept and theories, the researcher will be able to make in-depth analysis of the overall impact of the energy security requirement on the supply needs of the European nations (Bilgin, 2009). In this chapter, the major focus of the researcher will be on the problems that EU faces due to the scarcity of domestic energy resources high dependency on Russia for the natural gas reserves. The geopolitical prospect and the political scenario affecting the supply of the natural gas and oil are also focused in this chapter (Goldthau, 2013). The concepts and academic data collected and analyzed within this chapter will make it easier for the researcher to conduct the secondary analysis of the data in the research project.

Concept of energy security

As per the Energy Commission Board, energy security is the act of ensuing uninterrupted energy flow at affordable market prices for all types of customers within a particular country with accordance to environmental factors and sustainable developments (Uribe, 2014). The concept of energy security depends upon the threats that the countries will supposedly face. Following are some of the major reasons for different countries that provoke them to undertake security measures for energy supply.

Geopolitical threats

Future foreseeable threats

Unpredictable threats

Refused access to energy resources (Russia – Ukraine crisis)

Reliability problems, Failures in infrastructure (oil line leaks)

Natural calamities ,labor unrest and strikes

Intentional energy supply cut offs ( Middle East crisis)

Resource exhaustion

Terrorism (Islamic interventions)


Geopolitical risks concerns the potential political decisions of suspending the deliveries of the energy resources. Metais (2013) suggested that the energy distribution in all countries are subjected to extensive government intervention and thus any political turmoil gives rise to energy supply disruption. Energy is used as a political weapon. Similarly, environmental risks may also give rise to energy supply disruptions. The oil pills, nuclear accidents, green house emissions etc are the major environmental risks that are some of the unpredictable threats in the energy supply. Scheepers et al. (2007) commented that since these threats are natural and unpredictable hence the countries underestimate the risk of these threats and avoids securing of energy (europeanfiles.eu, 2014).

On assessing the importance of energy, security DavutoÄŸlu (2009) opined that energy has always been crucial for economic development. The high demand of energy consumption in the different countries particularly in Europe, China, USA and Africa has made it necessary to embrace the concept of energy security. Moreover, Doyle (2004) commented that the concept of energy security plays an important role even more because around 60% of the total energy consumption comes from scarce resources like oils and natural gas. Thus before the depletion of the resources the countries are trying to secure their energy resources for future use. The oil crisis in 1970 gave rise to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in order to devise policies relating to the control of energy supply in countries like Europe, Japan and United States. Further the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre has described the concept of energy security based on “Four A approach”. The APERC states that energy security must be available, accessible, affordable and acceptable by the users of the energy. Ganova and Ayed (2007) commented that the energy supply is highly related with the economic scenario of the country. Thus, the main objective of the energy security system is to make the energy supply economically feasible for all types of consumers. Thus, Umbach (2010) suggested among the factors affecting the security of energy sources the price and cost of the infrastructure and affordability of energy are also some of the contributing factors (www.weforum.org, 2015).

European nations have devised strategies for internal maintenance of the energy security however; Le Coq and Paltseva (2009) opined that nationalization of energy supply security is not a solution. Doyle (2004) further added stating that European market alone will not be able to deal with the multi-faceted challenges of energy supply security. Energy security therefore requires international cooperation, government involvement and military power.

2.2 Geopolitics and security of energy supply

The two major characteristics that give fossil fuels a geopolitical dimension are – the concentration of the resource in a few regions and the non-renewable nature of the resource. According to Locke (2015) diverse political and economic conditions has intense effect on the availability and supply of oil and natural gas flows. Hedenus et al. (2010) highlighted the several geopolitical issues that may disrupt the energy supply. Firstly, the location of the majority of the fossil fuels is in the politically unstable regions namely Libya, Iran, and Iraq etc. Hence, any political unrest between these countries and the consuming countries will disrupt the energy flow. The various instances of geopolitical issues are seen in case of Middle East Conflict in 1990 and in 1978 Iranian Revolution (Hübner, 2014). The political turmoil in the Middle East has resulted in stopping of oil supplies from Libya and Iran that has resulted in a huge loss of energy for Eastern European countries. Secondly, Bilgin (2009) added that internal accessibility problems might also occur due to internal political developments in the producing countries. For instance Venezuela which is a member state of the OPEC has decided to engage in nationalization of the energy resources after the re election within the state which has threatened the oil supply to the international energy markets.

Before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the presence of the abundant oil and gas reserves in Russia and Caspian Sea remained undiscovered. Discovery of these countries added to the contribution of the global energy resources in the world economy scenario. Thirdly, with the advent of Russia as one of the energy supplier countries another geopolitical issue arose. Westphal (2006) stated that Russia that accounts for around 6% of the world’s oil resources and 23% of the world’s gas reserves has decided to use energy resources as a political tool in order to strengthen their position in the international market. However, Awerbuch (2006) argued that if political turmoil and economic uncertainties forces these countries to withdraw their energy supplies then the demanding countries like China, Europe, USA and India would face high crisis in the supply of energy resources. Sagen and Tsygankova (2008) suggested that a geopolitical risk occurs in the supply of the energy when the international political system is in turmoil due to a resulting power in the political system. Lilliestam and Patt (2012) has further commented that the development of terrorism activities within a countries political system also poses as a geopolitical threat for the energy supply of demanding countries. In the present scenario, the Islamic groups in the Middle East and Caspian Sea regions oppose the western culture of Europe and USA thereby creating a supply restriction on the energy resources.

The Green paper committee predicted that although the European nations have devised energy- supply-security measures for the internal energy supplies however, within the year 2020 the growing demand of the energy requirements would increase the dependency of the European countries. Finon and  Locatelli (2008) pointed out that the European countries are opting for alternative energy sources to meet the internal demands however; Löschel et al.(2010) argued that around 50% of the energy contribution would come from fossil fuels within 2050.

Relation of political stability with oil supply

According to Winzer (2012) oil is power. Denoting oil as a source of power it may be noted that the countries with the possession of oil reserves has the power to insert political dominance and control over the other countries. As per OPEC data, oil accounts for around 40% of the total world energy consumption with the rest being managed by natural gas and coal. In the year 2000, the demand for oil was approximately around 75 million barrels per day and the IEA has forecasted that within 2030 the demand will become double. Keeping the statistics in mind Cohen et al. (2011) commented that oil possession gives the country’s political power to regulate the supplies as per their convenience and demand for recognition in the international market.

Figure : Oil production and export rate in different countries

(Source: www.iss.europa.eu,2014)

The above graph shows that the Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Kuwait are the major exporters as well as producers of oil. The graph also shows that countries like USA and India are able to produce a very negligible amount of oil and hence are not able to export oil rather are engaged in import of the oil from the middle east.

Bosse and Schmidt-Felzmann (2011) opined that the political instability within the oil producing countries occurs due to various reasons. Firstly, the oil producing countries are dependent on revenue from the export of only one single product that is oil. The countries like Iraq, Iran and Kuwait focus on the production and export of only oil in order to collect revenue for generation of employment and formation o industries. Moreover, these countries lack the effective political institutions and have a weak civil society Le Coq and Paltseva (2009). The large amount of revenue generated from the exports of the oils has also given rise to corruption, terrorism and social instability. As per the reports of OPEC the Middle East countries accounts for around $821 billion in terms of revenues from the export of oil (Reaccess.epu.ntua.gr, 2004).

Figure : Net oil export revenues ($ in billions)

(Source: Scheepers et al. 2007, pp-68)

Secondly, the fluctuations in the oil prices have also been a major issue for the political unrest. The right price of the oil is not fixed as the oil market operates in a liberalized manner. Thus, the oil producing countries set high oil prices in order to secure better political stability and domestic economic prosperity. The deliberate increment in the oil price has fuelled discussions between the producer and the consumer countries and has led in disabling the political scenarios.

Some instances of oil market instability are seen in case of the attacks on New York and Washington in the year 2001. The Saudi- US relationship worsened and the Saudi government denied any kind of oil supply to the US for around 2 years. The political stability was attained when US withdrew its military troops from Saudi Arabia and promised security of Saudi Arabia citizens. Scheepers et al. (2007) suggested that the power of the oil possession made Saudi Arab strong in and helped the government of the country to destabilize the functions of one of the most technologically successful country US. Thus, the power of oil acts as a source of political dominance for the producing countries.

Relation of energy security with economics

On analyzing the economic, prospective of energy, Dziadykevych (2015) commented that both tangible and intangible sources of energy are traded as commodities in the international markets. Thus, besides the issue concerning the physical availability of the energy the other issue that the countries should focus is on maintenance of affordable price levels for the energy supply. To make the energy resources stable and affordable the countries along with the governments have adopted a liberalization of the energy sector. Le Coq and Paltseva (2009) believes that liberalization of the energy markets will assure transparency within the allocation of the energy resources. Moreover, the free market will also enable the consuming countries to make significant investments in the energy producing countries in order to secure their supply. This economic concept provoked EU to adopt the market-based approach. According to Bosse and Schmidt-Felzmann (2011) Europe is one of the largest importers of natural gas importing around 448 billion cubic meters of natural gas resources in the year 2011. Since majority of the gas imported to EU are supplied through the pipelines of the different transit countries like Turkey and Ukraine hence the affect of the geopolitical factors play an important role in shaping the future and the current demand and supply process of natural gas in Europe. The high dependency of the EU consumers on the other countries for natural gas has made EU enter into bilateral trade relations with the other countries (www.state.gov, 2014).

In the early 1980s and 1990s when the market liberalization of the energy sector was adopted and applied the economists believed that the consumers will be able to benefit from the policy because a free market will help the consumers to switch suppliers in response to the price changes. Moreover, Otman (2011) opined that the adoption of a free market regime meant that on the supply side the competition between the players would help the increase the efficiency improvements. However, Bilgin (2009) argued that the reality is different and “perfect” liberalization of energy markets in economic sense is not possible. The free market trading gave rise an apprehension within the consumers regarding the choice of suppliers and choice of tariff plans. For instance in case of European industries the electricity prices increased putting the European companies at a disadvantage. However, Dziadykevych (2015) argued that the liberalization had positive effect on the society. The industry gas prices fell by around 40%, which helped the families with low standard of living to increase their energy consumption. However again Le Coq and Paltseva (2009) argued that liberalization may pose problems also in case of fossil fuels. The natural gas market may not be able t convey the correct signals to detect the changes in the production patterns because natural gas is a non-renewable source of energy.

Role of Russia in European energy sector

Among the different countries supplying fossil and non-renewable energy sources, Russia is the major exporter of fossil fuels to the various countries under the European Union. In 2007 European union imported around 185 million tons of crude oil which accounted for around 38% of the total energy consumption of European union (Hübner, 2014). The major Russian company Gazpom is the exporter of natural gas to the different parts of Europe. Earlier in the year 1990 when Europe was in need for energy resources, Russia was the major supplier of the natural gas at affordable prices. Scheepers et al. (2007) confirmed that the natural gas reserves supplied by Russia helped European nations to build industries, reduce carbon emissions and produce coal for the purpose of industrialization. At this phase, European countries had a strong cordial political relationship with Russia and the availability of the natural resources helped the EU countries to boost about themselves to other countries (www.weforum.org, 2015).

Before the occurrence of the Ukraine crisis the thought of securing the energy supply from Russia did not come to the minds of the EU countries because they assumed that the western companies would extract the energy in Russia operating under the control of EU thus leading to a security in the supply of the energy. However, Stern (2005) commented that the process of energy supply was not working as presumed by the EU nations. Though the Russian oil industry was privatized, however it operated under the sole control of the Russian government. Finally, after the elections of 2000, privatization of energy sector in Russia was reversed. Further Otman (2011) pointed that it was proposed that the Russian gas industry would also be privatized alongside the oil industry however, this was never practically applied. Thus, gas export in Russia was controlled by the monopoly control of Gazprom. After the elections of 2000, when Vladimir Putin was appointed in the power he successfully secured the monopoly supply of gazprom making the natural gas monopoly power as a geopolitical power for the country. Drorian (2005) suggested that geopolitics in this context became an advantage for Russian government. The Russian government was well aware that to secure a place in the international market the country required an unprecedented source of power either in political context or in economic context (www.iss.europa.eu, 2014). The high dependency of EU on Russia for natural gas evoked the sense of power within the country. The Russian government in this context made it mandatory for the European countries to purchase natural gas from only one company in Russia that is Gazprom. The Europeans although opposed the view, had no option but to surrender to the demands of the Russians. Bosse and Schmidt-Felzmann (2011) commented that apart from Gazprom there are several other western companies in Russia that extract natural gas from the country however, the government has a put a band on the purchase of natural gas from those western companies. Russia in turn has shifted its focus on the supply of energy to China that it considers the fastest growing and developing economy. Nevertheless, Bilgin (2009) stated that EU is also shifting its focus on the Turkey in order to secure its energy supply sources (Verrastro et al.2010).

2.2.1 European energy supply security in Ukraine crisis

As per the reports of OPEC, Europe currently imports around two thirds of the total energy it consumes from majorly Russia, Norway and Algeria. Although oil can be imported from other countries, however European nations depend largely on these countries for supply of natural gas. The geopolitical prospect shows the different pipelines through which European nations receive the natural gas from these countries namely the northwestern pipeline (Norway), Eastern pipeline (Russia), Southern pipeline (Algeria) and Southeastern pipeline (Caspian sea). Andrews (2005) suggested that European nations procure around 23% of the total natural gas reserves from the Russian suppliers. The geopolitical turmoil resulting from the Russia- Ukraine crisis of 2009 had thus put the energy supplies of European nations at stake. The Russian decision to cut the energy supply from Gazprom to Ukraine, who is the supplier of the natural gas to European countries, plunged the continent into energy less place within hours. Stern (2005) added that around 40% of Europe’s gas exports came from the Ukraine’s soviet era network thorough shipments from Russia. Thus in order to compensate the energy loss the European Union had no option but to opt for the other shipment route of Turkey. Scheepers et al. (2007) however argued that to attain power supplies from Turkey the European government had to build necessary infrastructures. Moreover, Andrews (2005) further added that the lack of the appropriate energy resources would make the European citizens suffer during the approaching winters. Since Russia has increased the gas prices of the limited amount of gas that they are supplying to Ukraine, hence to acquire that source of energy European government had also agreed to compromise on the EU energy policies and make alterations in Ukraine’s energy security system.

Thus following the geopolitical crisis in 2009 European nations had devised alternative strategies for securing energy supply within the country. Otman (2011) opined that in the present scenario keeping the urgent requirements in mind EU has opted for LNG (Liquid natural gas) import from the LNG terminals in Poland and Lithuania. The presence of the large number of LNG terminals in different countries like USA and Israel will help EU to establish further import relations with these countries. Bosse and Schmidt-Felzmann (2011) hence suggested that in light of any geopolitical turmoil closing the supply of energy in Europe, the country could opt for short term energy resources. Moreover, Hübner (2014) added that the European countries have also switched to the process of storing gas stocks which will help the country to meet the needs of majority of the European member states for an energy deficit of around 90 days. However, Stern (2005) argued that it is difficult for EU to live up to, the proposed gas storage and gas import alternatives and rather the dependency will gain increase on Russia for the supply of the gas.

Alternative energy sources for Europe

The high and increasing rate of demand for the energy resources has made it difficult for the internal European-energy-resource production to meet the demands. Norway produces around 109 bcm and Netherlands contributes for around 86 bcm of natural gas. However, Doyle (2004) commented that two countries namely Norway and Netherlands are the major sources of internal production of natural gas within Europe. Hence, European nations fell into a vulnerable position at the time of Russia- Ukraine conflict when Russia decided to stop all sources of energy supply to Europe via Ukraine. Thus keeping in mind the vulnerability of the European nations, the European commission tried to devise strategies for the alternative energy supply. However, Hübner (2014) argued that it is not possible for EU to meet the long-term energy demands with the help of any alternative resources. However, short-term support mechanisms can be developed to provide energy backups at the time of no energy supply. Dziadykevych (2015) stated that for building alternative sources European commission devised strategies that will increase the gas stocks, develop the infrastructure, and reduce energy demand and availability of short-term fuels. Apart from the short-term measurements, the European commission had also devised long-term strategies like improvement of energy efficiency, increasing domestic production and diversifying supplier countries (oxfordenergy.org, 2014).

The practical implementation of the measures started with the increment of the domestic production in the field of Norway and Netherlands. However, Scheepers et al. (2007) reviewed that the high depletion rate of the reserves in Norway is becoming an alarming issue for Europe. Furthermore, the possibility of acquiring energy resources from other countries like North Africa, Caspian, Central Asian, Iran, Iraq and Eastern Mediterranean are also posing a long-term issue for the European nations. However, Otman (2011) analyzed that Europe had been successful in establishing LNG sources within the domestic market. However, Le Coq and Paltseva (2009) stating that LNG supply prices are high compared to the natural gas prices hence the energy becomes unaffordable for the UK consumers oppose this view. Moreover, the infrastructures also require high improvements. Bilgin (2009) suggested that EU is trying to earn revenue from the export of the LNG to the Asian and Japan consumers at high prices from the time of fallout of the Fukushima Nuclear plant disaster in Japan. The revenue thus collected will be used for the pipeline development of the LNG.

EU had also considered the option of electricity generation from coal instead of gas. However, Metais (2013) commented that this option would question the sustainability policy of EU regarding lowering of greenhouse gas emissions since coal production and generation requires green house gas emissions. Besides, UK has a mixed opinion on the nuclear policies. UK is focused and eager in establishing new nuclear power plants as an alternative source of energy, conversely other EU countries like Germany and Belgium restrains the establishment or addition of nuclear power within their energy resource mix (Goldthau, 2013).

The only initiative that European nations took would benefit them in the long run of energy consumption is the introduction of renewable energy sources and implementing polices to reduce the energy demand. The renewable energy supplies accounted for around 11% of EU’s gross energy consumption in the year 2012 (Stern, 2005). The European commission targets to increase the consumption by 20% by the year 2020. The country also used the biomass and wastes as a source of renewable energy that accounted for around 7.3 % of the total energy consumption. For reducing, the demand for energy European commission has adopted various creative policies. Ross and Salmerón (2009) recommended that setting of minimum energy levels and standards for the different types of consumer electronic goods like boilers, household appliances, lightings and televisions has helped the European nations to reduce the energy consumptions. In this respect, EUs have introduced EcoDesigns for the consumer appliances that will consume less power in order to function. Further, it is made mandatory for the large-scale companies to conduct energy audits every four years. EU countries also made energy efficient renovations to at least 3% of the buildings owned by the central governments every year (fas.org, 2015).

Conclusion

As observed from the study of the particular study, the researcher was able to gather sufficient information about the impact of security process in energy supply and geopolitical scenarios affecting the present demand and supply process of Europe. Thus, the researcher was able to gain vast and deep knowledge about the research topic and get an insight into the present situations prevailing within the energy market of EU.

 

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

The research methodology chapter provides a description of the methods of the research in details. It has also discussed the approaches followed by the researcher during the study. According to Bernard (2011), it is important for the researcher to choose the methods of the research as the success rate of the research depends on the use of appropriate methodology. The chapter has highlighted the philosophy of the research, approach, research design and process of data collection (Bernard and Altamira, 2011).

3.2 Research Onion

The research onion provides a systematic structure to the entire research. It helps the researcher to conduct the research in a particular manner. There are significant steps of the research defined by the research onion (Scandura and Williams, 2000). The series of steps helps to proceed with the research in a particular way. There are several layers in the research onion. The researcher will proceed with the research going through each layer so that the researcher can throw light on each aspect of the research to arrive at the desired conclusion. The strategies of the research can be framed using the research onion and the objectives of the research can be met in a systematic manner (Kothari, 2004).

3.3 Research Philosophy

The philosophy of positivism has been used by the researcher (Qualitative research in psychology: expanding perspectives in methodology and design, 2003). This will help to identify the factors that impact the energy supply security and geopolitics in the European nations. It has been opined by Cameron (2009), that the philosophy of positivism will provide support the research. The philosophy of positivism will support the studies that are based on the real life scenario and consider the real life facts and figures (Pringle, 2004). On the other hand it has been stated by Lancaster (2012) that the philosophy of positivism provides support to the scientific studies. The present study is based on qualitative analysis based which is supported by evidences (Mackey and Gass, 2005). Hence the researcher has tried to maintain the philosophy of positivism throughout the study (Crowther, Lancaster and Lancaster, 2009).

3.4 Research Approach

There are two popular approaches of research. They are the inductive and deductive approaches. In the present study, the researcher has used the deductive approach for conducting the study. It has been stated by Morgan (2007), that the inductive approach leads to development of new theories. On the other hand the deductive approach leads to testing of the theory. The research highlights the impact of security to energy supply and geopolitics in the European nations (Noor, 2008). It is already supported by evidences (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2010). There are several theories and literatures that support the risk of energy supply in European nations. Thus the inductive approach is inappropriate for the present study. The researcher has followed the deductive approach to test the various theories of the research. The deductive approach is based on the waterfall model starting from the evaluation of the theory followed by testing of the theory with analysis of relevant data (Keeney, Hasson and McKenna, 2001). This has been supported by the deductive approach.

3.5 Research Strategy

 The strategy of the research guides the researcher to determine the approach of the research that will guide him towards the ethics of the research. The major components of the research strategy comprises of the research paradigms, research designs, methods of research, strategies of sampling and techniques of data analysis. The research ethics are an important component of the strategy of the research. The research design is an important aspect of the research. The research as a whole throws a light on the entire research determining the design of the research based on the research topic (Brink, Van der Walt and Van Rensburg, 2006). There are three basic designs of the research. They are explanatory, exploratory and descriptive design (Silverman, 2011). The background information related to the problem statement is enlightened in the exploratory design of the research (CAO, 2011). According to Crouch and Pearce (2012), the explanatory design helps to explore the reasons behind the problem. The descriptive design of the research has related the objectives of the study with the findings obtained from the study (Parr, 2013). The descriptive approach has been used by the researcher in the study as the study attempts to evaluate the back ground information regarding the domain of the research (Crouch and Pearce, 2012). It has been opined by Vander Stoep et al. (2009), that the descriptive design of the study helps the researcher to find solutions to the questions of the research. The researcher will be able to find the solutions to the various questions which are related to the context of the research (VanderStoep and Johnston, 2009).

3.6 Data collection process

The process of data collection has been primary and secondary in nature. The primary data has been collected from the Government websites which has been analyzed using the REES index and the CEREs index. The validity of the research has been proved backed by secondary data. The research is based on the impact of the energy supply security and geopolitics in the European nations (Polkinghorne, 2005). The validity of the research will be obtained if it is backed by secondary data. The secondary data has been collected from various secondary sources which include the e-journals, books, websites having valid information and articles that have been published online (Huberman and Miles, 2002). The secondary data will help to identify the various energy supply security issues that have impact on the energy policy of the European nations. Europe is the major importer of resources of energy and natural gas. Since the domestic supply of natural gas has been decreasing in European countries with the increase in demand there are rising issues related to security in the energy supply (O'Leary, 2004). The main agenda of research can be validated if it is backed by secondary data. The secondary data showing the trends of oil supply in the European nations has been identified. This will help to make the research more valid and reliable towards the readers (Joy, 2007).

3.7 Research Method

The research methods can be categorized into two different segments. They are qualitative and quantitative methods of research. In the present study, the researcher has used the qualitative method of research to identify and analyze the energy supply security issues in the European countries. The increase in the dependence of Europe on Russia for oil supply has created a vulnerable situation for Europe. The situation of the European nations can be analyzed by secondary data. Qualitative analysis of the secondary data has been done in the present study.

3.9 Analysis of Data plan

Method of Data Analysis

The impact of energy supply security and geopolitics in European Nations can be identified by measuring the security of external supply. The import dependency of the European Nations can be analyzed by the data obtained from the energy security index.  The important dependency of the European Nations can be determined by calculating the ratio of the sum of the net positive imports by all the foreign suppliers to the energy consumption domestically in the country that has been considered in the present case.

The security can be assessed by analyzing the composition of the energy imports. The security issues are minimized if the imports of energy are well diversified and there is smaller risk of disruption of supply. But the risk of supply disruption is high if it comes from a single supplier. The diversification has been measured using the Herfindahl-Hirschman approach. This index is used by the industrial organizations for evaluation of the market concentration. The value of the index is equal to the sum of the square of the market share of each participant. The diversity of the energy supplies has been measured using the Shannon-Wiener concentration index (DeLorme et al., 2003).

There are other factors influencing the energy supply security apart from import dependency and diversification. The political situation has major influence on the country which is supplying oil. The political turmoil in the supplying country can create supply disruptions in the consuming country.

Separate index has been constructed for gas, oil and coal to identify the risk associated with external security of energy supply. It will help to identify the specific risk of each of the energy type. The REES (Risky External Energy Supply) index for each of the EU member states and each type of energy has been calculated. The REES index is defined by the equation,

 REESfa = [ ∑ ( NPIfai/NPIfa)2 Ffia ri dia]* NIDfa * SFfa

In the present equation,

NPIfai represents the net positive import of fuel f from the country i to country a.

NPIfa represents the sum of the net positive imports that exists over all the suppliers of the countries a.

Ffia represents the fungibility of the imports of fuel f from the country i to country a.

ri represents the political risk index of the supplier country.

dia   measures the distance between the countries i and a.        ‘

NPIfa measures the import dependency of country a for fuel f.

SFfa represents the share of the fuel f in country a.

The index has been used to measure the security of external supply matters for the country that has been considered. It has to be noted that there is a decline in the index with the diversification of the import. It also decreases with the proximity of consuming and supplying countries and the index increases with increase in political risks. The high value in the index represents supply which is riskier (Cain and Maltcev, 2013).

The CERE index has been used to measure the relative impact of each of the member state on the aggregate risk of EU. This has been calculated as the REES index that has been multiplied by the share in the imports of EU over the sum of the products for all the member states.

CEREfa = REESfa* Sharef/ ∑j∑EU ( REESfj * Sharefj )

Sharef is the share of country j in the net imports of EU of fuel f, where  

Sharefj = ( ∑iNPIfi ) / NPIfEU  where NPIfEU  is the measure of the net positive import of fuel of EU.

The position of each of the member states could be identified by CERE index. This will help to develop a proposal that is mutually beneficial.

The impact of the energy supply security has been measured by measurement of the diversification of the energy portfolio by the Herfindahl-Hirschman index. The potential supply disruption on the economy of the consuming country has been analysed. Finally a European perspective has been provided to measure the relative contribution of the each of the EU member states on the overall risk of EU (Golosov, 2009).

 

Chapter: 4 Data analysis and interpretations

The index has been computed for three different types of energy. They are oil, coal and gas. The data on the imports, exports, consumption and the share in the consumption of total energy for each type or energy has been collected from Eurostat but the data related to LNG has been collected from the International Energy Agency (Ec.europa.eu, 2015). All the members’ states of EU has been considered except for Malta, Cyprus and Luxemberg. The imports from the member states of EU and Norway has been excluded since the risk associated with the external supply of energy has been measured (Hu and Ge, 2014).

 The political risk has been measured by the index that has been produced by the PRS group. They are assigned values from 1 to 100. The higher numbers indicate risk which is lower. The risk is measured by

ri = (100 – PRS Risk) /100

 The ease with which the EU members can switch between the suppliers in case of disruption can be determined by the fungibility index. The fungibility index of LNG and coal is 1. On the other hand the fungibility index of the pipeline gas imports is 213. The comparison between the pipeline oil imports and the non pipeline oil imports cannot be accomplished due to lack of data. It has been assumed while conducting the study that all the oil supplies are highly fungible in nature and a value of 1 has been assigned to the fungibility index. A conservative index value has been obtained which leads to some kind of under estimation of the oil security risk (Ec.europa.eu, 2015).

Energy

Oil and oil products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cons

Prod.

Net M.

Net M. non-EU/NW

Share

Country

 

 

Kt

 

%

Austria

14183

982

13505

8298

42

Belgium

23618

0

32489

24333

38

Bulgaria

5081

27

5127

5156

24

Denmark

8091

16837

-7956

-186

38

Czech Rep.

9886

284

9558

8762

22

Finland

10726

0

11341

9876

9875

Estonia

1083

139

1228

729

20

Germany

121538

4980

118857

74915

35

France

90845

1099

92561

72703

34

Hungary

7697

1379

5991

7335

28

Greece

18075

93

21506

21533

57

Italy

82645

5768

79790

87759

44

Ireland

8445

0

8691

307

56

Lithuania

2657

180

2732

8508

32

Latvia

1453

0

1686

913

32

Poland

23665

795

23485

21588

53

Portugal

13593

0

13936

10581

24

Slovakia

3624

30

3434

5815

19

Romania

10802

4995

4821

6309

26

Slovenia

2628

0

2601

-216

36

Sweden

14173

0

15730

7655

40

Spain

70041

138

79184

64392

48

United Kingdom

80401

76579

7061

6045

35


The risks involved in the transport of energy have been formulated by measuring the distance between the supplier and the consuming country. With distance the safety of the delivery of energy will tend to decrease. The pair of countries has been divided into three groups according to the distance of the countries from the capitals i.e. 1500 km, between 1500 and 4000 km and above 4000km. The distance index has been assigned to them as 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Another idea that has been taken into consideration is that the European countries do not face much difficulty in supplying energy to each other. The value of the index will increase with the increase in the distance between the supplying and the consuming country. The non linearity of the values will depict high risk between the supplier and the consuming country.

REES Index

 

 

 

 

Oil

Gas

Coal

Country

 

 

 

Austria

1.3

16.6

0

Belgium

4.6

0.5

1.2

Bulgaria

10.3

17.4

1.2

Denmark

0.1

0

4

Czech Rep.

4.8

12.3

0

Finland

4.7

7.2

1.2

Estonia

1.8

10.2

0.2

Germany

2.3

5.4

0.5

France

1.6

0.8

0.5

Hungary

18.2

33.5

0.3

Greece

8.3

8

0.1

Italy

3.2

7.4

1.8

Ireland

0

0

4.6

Lithuania

10.1

20.1

1

Latvia

2.1

20

0.5

Poland

6

3.8

0.5

Portugal

3.4

6.5

6.4

Slovakia

10.9

39.3

0.8

Romania

5.7

15.1

0.5

Slovenia

0

5.3

4.2

Sweden

1.3

0

0.4

Spain

3.3

3.2

1.4

United Kingdom

0.7

0.1

2.7

 

 

 

 

Average

4.3

9.9

1.5

Standard Deviation

4.3

10.5

1.6

 

CERE Index

 

 

 

Country

Oil (%)

Gas (%)

Coal (%)

Austria

1

5

0

Belgium

6

0

2

Bulgaria

4

3

1

Denmark

0

0

10

Czech Rep.

2

5

0

Finland

2

2

2

Estonia

0

0

0

Germany

9

11

4

France

6

1

2

Hungary

7

16

0

Greece

9

1

0

Italy

14

23

11

Ireland

0

0

2

Lithuania

4

3

0

Latvia

0

2

0

Poland

6

0

1

Portugal

2

1

9

Slovakia

3

14

0

Romania

2

2

1

Slovenia

0

0

1

Sweden

1

1

0

Spain

10

6

9

United Kingdom

1

1

34

 

 

 

 

Total 24 EU Members

100

100

100


Gas index

Different situations are faced by the EU member states in the gas market. In some of the states the supply is indigenous whereas some of the states get the imports from the EU suppliers or from Norway. The risk exposure in gas supply has been determined. But the small countries of the EU member states like Slovak Republic and Hungary are big contributors to EU risk. These countries depend on non EU suppliers for the gas imports. The result from the index has been divided into three groups. It is seen that the countries with relatively high index are Austria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Slovak Republic. The country does not have their own production of gas. The suppliers of gas to these countries are Norway. The distance and political risk factors play a major role for high risk of these countries.

The medium level of risk is seen in Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain and Slovenia. The import to these countries is diversified. The risk index of the remaining countries is less due to both indigenous production and the origin of the imports in these countries. It is seen that LNG has less riskiness than the pipeline gas as the risk of transport is less and the presence of substitutes (Christie, 2012).

Oil index

 The risk of supply of oil to the EU countries is less than the supply of gas and it is seen that the difference of the index is small. It is seen that that the average value of the index for oil is 4.4 which is much lower than the value of the index for gas which is 9.79. The standard deviation has decreased from 10.63 (for gas) to 4.4 (for oil). The difference of the REES value is that the oil that is transported via the pipeline cannot be accounted. If it is accounted then the oil imports has to be considered to be highly fungible in nature. This will lower the value of the oil index. It should be understood that the oil market is a much globalised market that the gas market. This will reduce the variation among the EU member states for the consumption of oil.

In the table 2 it shows that the member countries belonging to EU can be divided into three groups. The high risk group , medium risk group and the low risk group.They are Greece, Hungary, Bulgary, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic.  These countries do not have a well diversified supply of oil. Russia is the sole supplier of oil to these countries. The countries also have high dependence on Iran and Saudi Arabia for the supply of oil.

 The countries with medium risk include Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Latvia, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain and Romania. Some of the above stated countries have a well diversified record of oil imports. But the producers are risky. Other purchases most of their imports from one or more risky suppliers but the economy of these countries do not rely heavily on oil as the primary source of energy.

The countries remaining have low external oil supply risk which is measured by the REES index. The domestic oil produced in Denmark or UK has reduced the risk for these countries.

The top countries of the EU member states exposed to high risk are Spain and Italy (Bilgin, 2009).

Coal index

The coal index security is not a major problem for the EU member countries. The coal oil market of the world is well diversified. Most of the member states have indigenous coal production and it is easier to store coal that the other energy sources. The REES index for coal is much lower than the index for oil and gas. The standard deviation is also small. The highest REES index is seen in Portugal, Ireland, Denmark and Slovenia where the REES index is the highest. The poor diversification of the suppliers is the reason behind the high REES index of these countries. The analysis of the share of the EU member states for imports via the CERE index it is seen that the top ranking countries are UK and Netherlands.

It can be summarized from the value of the index that the risk exposures of the EU member countries are different. It depends on the type of energy in question. The overall risk exposure of the EU member countries has been different. Thus it is important to understand the EU energy security profile for assessing the feasibility and the potentiality of a particular policy tools (Umbach, 2010).

Comparison among the various indexes

The comparison of the various indexes shows that the risk exposures of the EU member countries are high for oil. On the other hand, the risk of exposure of the countries towards coal is less and the production of coal is diversified. But the risk of exposure to gas is less than the exposure to oil. Thus it can be said that among the various energy sources, the risk of exposure to oil is the highest. This is due to the high dependence of the country on Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia. This gives rise to the security issues in these countries. The uneven distribution is the major reason behind the energy security risks (Le Coq and Paltseva, 2009).

Energy action plan by EU to cope with the global and geopolitical challenges to energy security

The overall European energy supply security beyond the 2030 is viewed as an optimistic measure. The innovative technology and the energy efficiency improvements have reduced the risk (Umbach, 2010). The energy supply security beyond 2030 has been forecasted. Due to the expansion of the renewable sources of energy, development of technology and energy efficient improvements the challenges faced by the EU will reduce by 2030 (BAHGAT, 2006). There will be an availability of global mix of resources of energy which will reduce the uncertainty (Belkin, 2008).

The European Council under the German Presidency has implemented an energy policy known as the “Energy Action Plan” for the years 2009-2011. The EAP will favor an internal market which is liberalized for gas and electricity (Florini and Sovacool, 2009). There will be enhanced measures for the security of the supply. The energy policy declared by EU will seek to maintain a balance between all the parameters i.e. security of supply, sustainability of the environment and competitiveness (Bouzarovski, Petrova and Sarlamanov, 2012).

The global economy and EU has entered into a steepest downturn in the year 2008. There was a tremendous drop in the production of the industries that are energy intensive. There was a decline in production, demand for electricity and negative rates were discovered during this period of time. In order to reduce the risk of energy supply, EU has adopted several measures for the improvement of the efficiency. They includes –

  • Annual reduction of 1.5% in the national energy sales.
  • EU countries make renovations which are energy efficient to at least 3% of the buildings that are owned by the central governments.
  • The measures taken by the Government will increase the energy efficiency of the country by 20% across the EU.
  • The goal that has been set by the Kyoto protocols has to be increased so that the emission of carbon can be reduced by 20% by 2020. The reductions in the emission percentage should be by 30% for 2020.
  • The energy emission from the renewable sources of energy should increase by 20%.

There are several energy initiatives taken in the energy action plan by EU. The technology portfolio in the 2009 baseline includes –

  • Renewable energy is the centralized and decentralized in the power generation, in direct heating and cooling applications as well as blending with the gasoline or the diesel oil.
  • Construction of supercritical coal plants, advanced gas combined plants and CHP.
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS).
  • Construction of advanced transmission and distribution grids and smart metering.
  • Use of plug in hybrid and electric vehicles (Nash, 2009).

There were several disagreements in the implementation of the policies by the Government. The disagreements were regarding increase in the share of the renewable sources of energy in the overall consumption of energy by EU and whether nuclear energy can be considered as a source of energy that is free from carbon.

At present it can be said that nuclear energy cannot be considered as an energy source which is sustainable in nature. The Green paper of 2000 stated that EU will not be able to meet its obligations under the standards set in the Kyoto protocol without nuclear energy. Annually a 300 m tones of emission of carbon dioxide is avoided by the amount of carbon that is produced by the cars in EU (Ekins and Lees, 2008).

Thus this light made the members of the EU state re-think of the nuclear option as it has been recommended by the EU commission, IEA and the World Energy Council. The unilateral view of Germany to discard the nuclear power has been disputed increasingly. Thus the construction of the nuclear power plants in the EU member states has been announced. The use of nuclear power as an energy option has undergone a renaissance in United States, Asia and Russia in order to protect the environment, political issues and technological reasons.

But the nuclear problem also raises issues as the nuclear waste is a big problem which creates pollution and the high cost of infrastructure has to be considered in the construction of the nuclear plants (Lenschow, 2002).

The second Strategic Energy Review plan by new European Commission in November 2008 stated as the “EU Energy Security and Solidarity Action Plan” have identified the major weaknesses that has to be addressed by enhancing the policy and enhancing the supply security of energy among the 27 member states. The five key areas that needs to be addressed were proposed in this plan which includes –

  • Meeting the infrastructure needs and diversification of the supply of energy.
  • Maintenance of the external energy relations.
  • Implementation of mechanism to deal with the crisis related to oil and gas stocks.
  • Increase of the efficiency of energy.
  • The best use of the EU’s indigenous energy resources (da Graça Carvalho, 2012).
 

Chapter 5: Conclusion

Linking with the objectives

Objective 1

  • To identify the challenges in energy supply that the European nations face due to geopolitical turmoil

It has been discussed in the literature review and the data analysis chapter that the geopolitical tensions across the world affect the energy supply in EU member countries. The rising global demand for oil has led to the increase in the instability in the global market. This has resulted in the EU member countries to shift their use of oil to the use of natural gas. There is competition among the oil exporting countries like Russia, Iran and Arabian countries for exporting oil to the nations. The fragile and hostile relationship among the various states in Russia like Kyiv, Moscow and Minsk have resulted in the interruption of flow of natural gas to various parts of Europe. It has happened in the year 2006 and 2009. These hostile situations adversely affect the energy supply in the country. It has been stated by other countries like United States that Russia wants to use the energy supplies to gain political influence over the European countries. Regardless of the efforts taken by the European Government to reduce its dependence on the oil exporting countries, Russia will continue to exercise control over the energy security of Europe.

Objective 2

  • To measure the exposure of European nations to energy supply risks

In order to measure the exposure of the European countries to the energy supply risks, separate index has been prepared for oil index, gas index and coal index. The energy supply risks are measured by the REES index. The CERE index has been calculated to determine the contribution of each of the member countries on the aggregate risk of EU. The data calculated has been analyzed for the three different indexes. The results obtained from the index have been analyzed. The EU member countries have been categorized into three different types depending on their exposure to risk. The same process has been repeated for the coal index and the oil index. It is seen that the exposure of the European countries to gas is less than the other energy supplies in the country. Countries like Italy, Poland, Portugal, Greece has a well diversified portfolio of gas imports. Thus they are less reliant on a single country and their exposure to risk is less. Thus the index value of these countries has reduced. The oil index value is much less that the value of the gas index. Since the imports from oil are considered to be highly fungible, it has lowered the value of the index. On analysis of the security of the coal market it is seen that the security of the coal supply is not a major problem for the country. The EU member states have indigenous production of coal which is easy to handle and store. Thus the average REES index is much less than that of gas and oil index. The countries have been divided into three categories depending on their exposure to riskiness. The analysis using the REES index and the CERE index provides confirmation to the energy security of the country.

Objective 3

  • To recommend the strategies to European nations for maintenance of energy security

In the data analysis and discussion chapter, the several measures taken by the European nations to maintain the energy security in their country has been discussed. The European council along with Germany has developed an “Energy Action Plan” to reduce the energy supply risk of the country. The Energy Action Plan has favored the indigenous production of energy supplies in order to reduce the risk of exposure of the country. There are certain standards that have been set to reduce the import of energy from the foreign countries. They have also proposed the use of renewable energy resources to reduce environmental issues. The production of nuclear energy in the country has come up as a major proposal. But the sustainability issues have been raised a major problem for the implementation of the nuclear energy stations in the country. There have been several measures taken by the Government for the infrastructural development of the country so that it could produce energy. This will reduce the dependence of the country on the imports. It will reduce the risk exposure of the country.

Chapter 6: Reflection of Learning

The research has been conducted on the impact of the energy supply security and geopolitics in the European nations. I have conducted extensive research on the topic from books, journals, data published on Government websites. I have analyzed the risk of exposure of the countries in supply of energy. From my analysis I have come to know the EU member countries are suffering from energy supply security mostly in case of gas and oil supply. However the energy supply security of coal is negligible. Coal is indigenously produced which has reduced the vulnerability of the countries. I have also known from my study that the geopolitical issues in the supplying countries have led to problems in supply of energy. The political issues in Russia and Arab countries have led to the increase in risks of the countries. I have known that the political issues have led to the interruption in the supply of oil. This has caused major problems in the country.  I have also gathered potential knowledge of the measures taken by the European Union member countries to mitigate the risk. It is seen that the European Union countries has planned to reduce the risk exposures by using renewable sources of energy. This will serve as an efficient source of energy for the country. I have gathered knowledge that the European Union countries are undertaking measures to use nuclear energy. But there are sustainability issues regarding the use of nuclear energy. I have known that in order to reduce the insecurity of oil supply , the European countries has to be more focused on indigenous oil production which will reduce the risk exposure of the country to a considerable extent.

 

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