Energy Security

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  • China to Survey Disputed Marine Territories for Natural Resources

    China seems to have made this move to strengthen its claim to disputed marine territories by conducting “surveys” which a country normally does in its own territory.

    January 11, 2013

    India's Growing Energy Woes

    The power blackouts on 30 July 2012, first in north India and again in north, north-east and eastern India, which plunged seven northern Indian states into darkness for several hours, disrupting normal life, underline the critical state of the country's energy security. Apart from the discomfort and inconvenience to residents, several essential services such as water supply, city transport systems (including the metro and national railways), mining, health and banking and financial sectors, came to a standstill for hours.

    January 2013

    Transporting Overseas Energy Resources: A Pressing Need but is it a Feasible Prospect?

    While overseas coal acquisition is a priority for both the government and private players, an important issue confronting them is the transportation of the acquired resources to the domestic market.

    June 07, 2012

    China’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves: A Reality Check

    While maintaining a reserve of 100 days worth of imported petroleum consumption at present consumption rates may be the stated policy of the Chinese government, an analysis of the existing capacities seems to suggest that China may be in a position to store much larger strategic oil reserves should it so desire.

    May 21, 2012

    US Strategic Thinking in an Era of Energy Self Sufficiency

    With the United States possibly becoming self sufficient in oil and natural gas, a profound change in its strategic thinking is bound to take place.

    May 08, 2012

    Blessy asked: What factors affect India’s energy security requirements? How do these factors affect India’s national security?

    Shebonti Ray Dadwal replies

    1. India is dependent on fossil fuels to meet its growing demand, in which it is deficient. Despite the effort to enhance domestic production, dependence on imported resources continues to increase. Hence, India needs assured access to imported energy supplies. Therefore, energy diplomacy is important to gain access to not only supplies, but also overseas assets, for which strong bilateral relations are required to gain preferential access to both. Moreover, gas is still a largely regional market; hence, gaining access to gas supplies will also depend on the attractiveness of the Indian market and relations with supplier countries.

    2. Since renewable energy resources is a growing market, both for energy security as well as climate change considerations, access to new energy related technologies is important. The R&D investment in India remains modest at best, if not poor. At the same time, India needs to negotiate with developed countries with requisite cutting edge technology to gain access to the same at affordable prices.

    3. India needs to create an attractive investment climate to woo foreign companies in the energy sector across the board. With the current subsidy regime that is prevailing, many companies/countries are wary or unwilling to invest in the energy sector. Hence, sensible pricing policies that can promote economic partnership with countries that have energy resources and technologies are required.

    4. Without adequate and affordable energy supply, as well as a good delivery system to ensure that modern forms of energy are accessible to undeveloped areas, India's economic growth will not be sustained and/or will remain skewed. This can lead to instability in the poorer and less developed parts of the country. Areas that are most affected by political instability today are the ones that are largely under-developed.

    5. If India wants to be counted as an emerging economy with global influence, it will have to ensure that its economic growth is sustained. One of the main components of economic growth is energy security, without which the infrastructure will remain stunted.

    Can Unconventional Gas Be a Game-Changer for India?

    The discovery of extracting unconventional (shale) gas through hydraulic fracturing has revolutionised the gas industry in the US and has given rise to a debate over whether it has the potential to reverse the emerging geopolitical equations in the global energy sector which was hitherto seen to be tilting in favour of the conventional energy producers.

    March 2012

    Beyond the Indus Water Treaty: A Perspective on Kashmir’s “Power” Woes

    At the core of the Kashmiri discourse on the shortage of power is the distribution of water resources that was agreed to between India and Pakistan through the instrumentality of the Indus Water Treaty.

    February 02, 2012

    EU Oil embargo on Iran—China is now the pivot

    All China has to do is to purchase Iranian oil and off-set this against a supply of essential consumer goods from China to Iran and settle the accounts in Chinese Yuan.

    January 30, 2012

    Blessy asked: Is the Integrated Energy Policy of India sufficient to meet its energy demand?

    Shebonti Ray Dadwal replies: This is a strange question. The Integrated Energy Policy (IEP) of 2006 was intended to provide a road map for a holistic and long-term approach to India's energy policy -- as opposed to the hitherto ad hocism that pervaded energy planning and strategy. Till the IEP, India had no overarching energy policy as such, and ministries were looking at various aspects of energy -- oil and gas, coal, power, renewable energy, etc., as separate and distinct from one another, and sometimes were even at odds with each other. The IEP was the first attempt to look at energy policy in a holistic manner. Whether it succeeded is doubtful. Like the recommendations made by earlier committees, the recommendations of the IEP have remained just that without few if any of them being put into practice. One of the main problems that have been identified as a barrier to enhancing energy security is the pricing policy and system of subsidies that are provided in several areas of the energy sector - oil, power, water, renewable energy, coal, etc. This deters investment from the private sector, both domestic and foreign, and denies access to state-of-the-art technology. It also leads to pricing discrepancy and black marketeering, as well as losses to PSUs across the board. It certainly does not add to energy security; on the contrary, it contributes to energy insecurity.

    More specifically, some of the recommendations of the IEP have been criticised as being unrealistic and given to populism. So, in short, while the IEP was a noteworthy attempt at looking at energy security in a holistic manner, it has not really added to India's energy security.