Energy Security in MENA: Challenges and Opportunities
There has been an increase in the importance of energy security in recent years, primarily due to fluctuating oil prices, the difficulties and challenges relating to the supply chain, market volatility including new markets and the emergence of alternative energy sources.
Until very recently, energy security had been considered a purely economic issue, whereas it is now understood to be a multi-dimensional concept made up of technical, economic, social, environmental and geo-political aspects. ‘The absence of protection from or adaptability to threats caused by or having an effect on the energy supply chain’ is a commonly accepted definition. Security of supply, which the International Energy Agency defines as the ‘steady availability of an adequate supply of energy in the market at affordable prices’, is what concerns the major oil-consuming countries the most.
The contemporary approach to energy security studies focuses on the four ‘A’s, namely availability, affordability, accessibility and acceptability. Uncertainty is created by variations in any of these and the consequent effects on energy security and the security of supply are becoming ever more relevant.
With the growing importance of environmental protection, the energy security dimensions have broadened even further, creating the need for greater care. In short, reevaluating the priorities of energy security and rethinking new and alternative energy paradigms is a challenge which necessarily includes considering sustainability and the promotion of a healthier, more robust energy security model.