chapter  3
17 Pages

Energy dependence, vulnerability and the geopolitical context: a quantitative approach to energy security


In the previous chapter it was said that energy secur ity for a given coun try depends on two main groups of vari ables. The first group (shaded area of Figure 2.1, left column) is directly related to the coun try’s sys tem of energy supply cor ridors. In turn, the sys tem can be de scribed by a set of dimensions – dependence, vul ner abil­ ity and connectivity – that reflect a coun try’s energy needs, its dependence from exporting coun tries and its interconnection with producing and transit coun tries. The second group of vari ables was related to the geopolit ical con text affecting the energy cor ridors towards the coun try under study (shaded area of Figure 2.1, right column); these vari ables represent another dimension of energy secur ity, related to the polit ical, social and eco nomic envir on ment of producing and transit countries. In this chapter, different indic ators will be reviewed for the main dimensions of each group of vari ables. Then an innov at ive composite indic ator of dependence and vul ner abil ity will be de veloped and applied to the EU in Chapter 4, while the second group of vari ables will be con sidered in more detail in Chapter 7. When analysing quantitatively the type and in tens ity of energy relations, it should be stressed that there are no meas ur able vari ables that can be used directly to study energy supply secur ity. A variety of studies have tried to meas ure energy secur ity and energy risk in several ways responding to different research goals, but it is not easy to find a methodical convergence. Instead, adequate dimensions must be chosen as proxies – dependence, vul ner abil ity, connectivity, polit ical and social stability, etc. – and the empirical study of these dimensions requires the definition of indic ators that may make use of avail able stat ist ical data. An initial distinction should be drawn between simple and composite indic­ ators related to energy secur ity. Simple indic ators are those that, no mat ter how complex may be their definition, do not comprise more than one dimension of energy secur ity. On the contrary, composite indic ators combine indices or vari­ ables that are representative of several dimensions. The two groups of indic ators will be reviewed next.