Common Concept of International Energy Security

The meaning of energy security has expanded over time. Deviating gradually from the origin of the words that only suggested stable energy flow, the “fair” price element was added in the 1970s and 1980s. Recently, environmental and social aspects are increasingly linked to energy security.

Strictly speaking, even the “fair” price notion could already be beyond what the origin of the words might suggest. One could argue for including this notion because an “unfair price” could undermine physical availability in the short term (e.g., non-affordability due to high price) or long term (e.g., underinvestment due to weak price). However, environmental and social sustainability are not considered under the concept of energy security, at least not in the major policy papers.

Those who take a climate-inclusive approach to energy security would argue that global warming should be included because it could create catastrophic consequences on not only energy supply, but also on international security perspectives through, for instance, mass migration of refugees. … As argued above, energy security and global warming prevention tools like supply expansion of fossil fuels, energy subsidies, or uncoordinated renewable development could contradict each other. Thus, it seems reasonable to consider that climate change cannot be fully of energy security. This is not to downgrade the importance of tackling climate change. On the contrary, it is indeed important and that is why the environmental aspect is a separate pillar of energy policy.

For the sake of a clear concept of energy security, however, it is consistent that climate change and other environmental aspects are treated as risk factors to energy security instead of uncomfortably attempting to internalise them.

Energy povertyis another serious problem. It should be examined whether an energy poverty problem is a result of domestic or international energy supplies, and whether it is about access to modern energy (thus, new energy flows) or the improvement of supply stability and/or affordability of an existing energy flow. If it is entirely about creating a new domestic energy flow, energy poverty could be better addressed under another pillar of energy policy or even within a social welfare system because energy security concepts usually assume existing energy flows. In the case of an existing domestic energy flow, it could be addressed as a domestic energy security issue, not an international one.

Should an energy poverty case involve energy imports, then one could relate it to international energy security. Even so, however, it is still arguably in the scope of supply security because stable and affordable energy flows might solve, or at least alleviate, energy poverty.

Meanwhile, the social welfare aspect remains because one could assume energy subsidies would be provided to make expensive imported energy affordable to people. Therefore, although energy poverty has some linkage to energy security, it seems to be an ancillary aspect of the energy security concept rather than the core. Policy wise, it is probably better dealt with under another pillar of energy policy or even under general social welfare, and that is indeed the case in many countries.


Universal Core Principles, Objectives and Approaches to the Concept

Energy Security should be universal, for both rich and poor nations; it should seek to honour the spirit of Johannesburg 2002, the UNWorld Summit on Sustainable Development. It should arguably address both security of supply and security of demand as key aspects.

Certainly, it has to be recognised that the security of supply refers to the delivery and it is important for the consumers whereas security of demand deals with the transparency and predictability of the marketing and it is important to the producers.

Specifically, the need for security of demand is a legitimate concern of producers. Dialogue and cooperation play an important role in meeting the challenges of security of supply and demand.

The international community has over the last decade made significant progress in view of the formulation of common principles of energy security. In particular, the G8 Declaration on “Global Energy Security” adopted in St. Petersburg on 16 July 2006 listed common energy security principles, including enhanced dialogue on relevant stakeholders' perspectives on growing interdependence, security of supply and demand issues as well as diversification of energy supply and demand, energy sources, geographical and sectoral markets, transportation routes and means of transport. The Summit further supported the principles of the Energy Charter and the efforts of participating countries to improve international energy cooperation.

Three years later, the President of Russia, D. Medvedev, published his “Conceptual Approach to the New Legal Framework for Energy Cooperation”. This paper argued that common energy security principles should include a “recognition of indivisibility of sustainable global energy security and interdependence of all world energy exchange participants”, and of “security of supply (delivery) and demand (transparent and predictable marketing) as key aspects of global energy security”.

These principles served as a basis for a draft Convention presented by the Russian Federation to several international organisations, including the Energy Charter, in late 2010. However, notwithstanding the prominent calls to address security of demand as part of a common concept of energy security, the draft Convention fell short ofproviding a definition of energy security serving that purpose. Instead, in its draft definitions part, it followed the established logic of security of supply, stating that international energy security (…) means a state of the world energy system which allows the secure and uninterrupted supply of Energy Materials and Products to consuming countries under conditions satisfactory to all participants of the world energy market with minimum harm to the environment and with the aim of ensuring sustainable socio-economic development of the world community”. The requirement to meet “conditions satisfactory to all participants of the world energy market” appears rather vague.

It may be stated that global policy fora have become sensitive to the notion of energy security of demand. However, this has so far not led to its incorporation into a common concept. During the negotiations on the “International Energy Charter” in Brussels in 2014, an attempt was made to develop a common concept of energy security for energy producing, transit and consuming countries, including developing and developed economies. In addition to security of supply and transportation it was supposed to include a reference to demand, either in connection with “stability”, “predictability” or “security”. The final draft of the declaration eventually recognised the importance of energy security for energy producing, transit and consuming countries, without specifying the various aspects of energy security. It did however include an emphasis on mutual responsibilities and benefits.

The reason why an agreement could not be reached seems more closely related with the political connotation than with a disagreement on business practices. Energy consumers, while generally accepting that major investments into energy production and transportation require some guaranteed offtake in order to be financeable, are more inclined to describe this necessity with the term “predictable demand”. Many have in fact adopted policies to reduce primary energy consumption and are therefore not willing to provide “security of demand”. In view of the difficulties to agree on this in a declaratory manner, it seems appropriate to continue to discuss the mutual relationship between exporters and importers in the context of concrete policy tools, in particular long-term contracts and pricing formulas.

Considering those issues, the a common concept of international energy security should be principally based on stable energy flows at a price that reflects the true value of the products to satisfy energy demand and enable future investment on energy projects, all in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Here one should note, first of all, that sustainability is mentioned as an ancillary element, rather than the core of the concept. The second note is that reflecting true value is not always achieved by the market (or in the case of natural gas, hub) pricing. Functional international energy markets will enhance energy security of both demand and supply, but one should not exclude more traditional approaches such as fixed pricing, oil indexation, or even vertical integration. …

Energy security has traditionally been understood as security of supply. The tools to ensure security of supply are manifold and include trade, diversification of sources and routes, supply expansion, alternative energy sources, security enhancement, stockpiling, demand control or less consumption and, to some extent, energy subsidies. Security of supply is not challenged as a concept, as nearly all countries are in need of it, independent of whether they are themselves energy producers or transit countries.

Security of demand has been a matter of concern for exporting countries at least since the 1980s. Exporters’ organisations like OPEC and GECF seek to find ways to agree with importers on the terms on which such security of demand could be provided. Demand security can be ensured by diversification of export markets and, some argue, by vertical integration into energy importing countries, although this option largely failed in the case of the oil market and faces reluctance by importing regions such as the EU in the case of natural gas.

A common concept of energy security, which would include an acceptance of the concept of security of demand by the importing countries, has not evolved yet. Energy consuming countries are hesitant to “secure demand” in view of their policies to decrease consumption. This does not mean that importers question that large investments into energy production and transportation require guaranteed offtake. Controversies will always remain on the commercial level regarding the “fair price”.

Reliable supplies of energy are necessary for the development of the economy as a whole, while security of demand is needed to secure revenues from export sales. However, given the great share of energy exports in the GDP of many energy producing countries, security of demand can become a matter of concern for the whole national economy as well. Many exporting countries attempt not only to diversify the market for their product but also to diversify the whole economy, making it less dependent on revenues from energy exports. In many cases, this seems to be an even more complicated undertaking than curbing consumption on the importers’ side.

This study demonstrated that transit countries have not developed any specific concept of energy security of transit. Given their role as consumers of energy they rather adopt the concept of security of supply. Revenues from transit may be significant for the national economy, however hardly to the extent that revenues from sales are for energy exports.

A mutual understanding of the issues of security of supply and demand is evolving among energy exporters and importers. Several international fora have been created to promote this understanding by way of dialogue. A common concept internalising the two notions has not evolved. Whether this will ever happen in spite of the fundamental disagreement on “fair prices” and rent sharing will depend on the global development of energy markets. The changing roles of traditional energy producers and consumers with large producers now consuming much energy, and some large consumers becoming also large producers may or may not contribute to the development of a common concept of energy security. More dialogue will be necessary to better understand changing market conditions, including regulation and prices, mutual dependence and responsibilities.

(from International Energy Security-2015, )


ü fossilfuel – природное/ ископаемое/ органические топливо

ü fossilfuelreserves - запасы ископаемого топлива

ü energy sources/ sources of energy — источникиэнергии

ü noncarbonenergysources - неуглеродные источники энергии

ü alternativeenergysources – альтернативные источники энергии

ü renewableenergy - возобновляемый источник энергии

ü renewableenergytechnology - технология использования возобновляемых источников энергии

ü solar energy — солнечнаяэнергия

ü hydrocarbonresources - ресурсы углеводородов

ü energy market - рынокэнергоресурсов

ü energypoverty – энергетическая бедность/нищета

ü energysupplies – энергоресурсы, энергоносители

ü supply security – надежностьэнергоснабжения

ü primaryenergyconsumption - потребление энергии от первичных источников;

ü energy supply - поставка энергоресурсов

ü energy demand - энергетические потребности

ü crudeoil - сырая нефть

ü oil/petroleum product – нефтепродукт

ü naturalgas - природный газ

ü electric power -  электроэнергия


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