Energy (Oil) Security

Energy security is perceived to an elusive concept, one that may have broad and subtle implications depending on the case of the state/s or non-state actors involved in the framing and discourse analysis of the idea. States may have their own perception and framing of the concept but according to economic experts, economic security pertains to reliable and adequate supply of energy at reasonable prices. However, this constructed description may still be subject to further criticism as to how we measure its indicators: reliable (how reliable?); adequate supply (how adequate a supply); and reasonable price (how reasonable is reasonable?). For instance, what’s reasonable for most Americans may be too costly for developing states in Asia. But apparently, this given definition can suffice due to the valid qualifiers and indicators it provides: reliable and adequate supply and reasonable price of commodity.

This concept involves the security of both oil consuming and producing countries. This ranges from uninterrupted oil supplies to the physical security of energy facilities to support other alternative energy resources. I find this new conceptual framework very relevant given the conditions of expected oil reserves depletion in the next 30-40 years. But as economic dynamism is expected especially in Asia where fast-rising economies emerge, the thirst for more energy seems very important. Another is the grave pollution problems that largely caused climate change. Considering these factors and other related ones brings concerned governments to one major option to the fore of energy issues: developing renewable sources of energy.

What’s interesting is the fact that some oil crises were triggered partly though largely by political turmoil in one important region which primary export commodity is oil, and one perceived to be hostile to its neighbors, the Middle East. The oil crisis of 1973 is still seen as the first major crisis caused by many factors and had adverse impact on the world market. The succeeding oil crises also had terrible impact on world market (1979-80: Islamic Revolution; 1980-88: Iraq-Iran War; 1991 Gulf War; 1998-99 Israel-Palestine-Lebanon Wars; and 2003 US-Iraq War). Although particular results of the 1973 crisis were cited by the professor, I argue that most, if not all, of these are quite similar to those in the succeeding years of turbulence insofar as oil as a “weapon” or leverage in international politics, security and economy is concerned. Mentioned in the discussion were these results: Oil price increase (which always happens when a political strife or economic turbulence strikes in the Middle East); political and economic leverage of Middle East states (obviously, they use it to influence foreign policy of dependent states); this also keeps on encouraging states and organizations to find other sources of energy (especially nowadays that governments consider the impact of oil emissions to the worsening of the global climate) and others. These factors continue to affect, if not adversely alter, the political, economic, and even social landscapes of many players (state and non-state actors) in the world.

One recent event that triggered a series of political and economic repercussions to the Middle East and even the US was the fateful collapse of the World Trade Center, signaling the domino effect of economic breakdown of the US economy. This lashed US purse for almost half a decade. This event also signaled a new chapter in security measures and other actions employed by the US and its allies. The Philippines, as an ally of the US, was compelled to fight with this military power at the expense of its relations with some Middle East states. Zooming into the battle staged in the Middle East, some experts would argue that one of the causes of the so-called Iraq invasion is again, a thirst for oil.



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