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IR Working Paper 2008/2 (PDF, 109KB)
Stuart Harris, ‘Regional Energy Security: An Elusive Objective?’ IR Working Paper 2008/2, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Affairs, The Australian National University, August 2008.
Energy issues are a central feature of economic and political debate. The debate focuses not only on the growing regional energy demands from China and India, but also on the cyclical and structural factors in the international energy market that are significant and that lead to considerable uncertainties about energy accessibility, prices and supply reliability. For the Asian region, considerations of supply security are increasingly part of global energy security concerns. The global debate about long-term resource availability and supply, particularly of oil and gas, centres on the questions of whether adequate resources will exist to meet growing global demands in the next twenty-plus years, or whether the resources are adequate but will not be brought to market because of underinvestment and related higher costs in the oil and gas industry. Options for alternative supply sources and alternative fuels are, at the same time, becoming constrained by concerns about the impacts on climate change and, in the case of biofuels, on food and feed supplies. Adjustments to the expected continuing increases in energy trend prices will be generally difficult for developed countries, including Australia, but especially so for developing countries including those in Asia.