Publications: The Petroleum Economics Monthly

Energy Security: Circumstances Have Changed (October 2011)


Strategy refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. Webster’s defines it as the “science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or a group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war.” For example, the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization continually worked on strategies to restrain the Soviet Union from the late 1940s until the USSR’s collapse in 1990. Today, military planners plan extensively for potential attacks by nontraditional forces that may or may not be associated with national states. They spend absolutely no time worrying about Russia invading Europe. Circumstances have changed.


The world economy now faces the possibility of a serious disruption in global oil markets (Iran). US energy policy strategists have, like US naval planners in the 1930s who failed to foresee the coming dominance of aircraft carriers over battleships, failed to keep up with changing conditions. European and US energy policy officials urgently need to replace their “battleship strategy” with one that reflects the current world market. At a minimum, twenty-first century policy should be built around a strategic inventory of diesel fuel that meets present environmental requirements.


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