Energy Imperialism: How the Law of the Sea Facilitated Russia’s Weaponization of Natural Gas – JURIST – Features

The Demand and Supply Paradigm

Fossil fuels remain the greatest global source of energy and are subject to the same demand and supply forces that govern all other resources. However, there is a growing imbalance between the two. In terms of demand, in the last three centuries, there has been an exponential increase in world energy needs due to greater global populations, with around 600 million people alive in 1700 compared to around 7 billion in 2022. Meanwhile, the supply is finite and fossil fuels are unevenly distributed. Europe, for example, is resource-scarce (with some exceptions in areas such as the North Sea), as are south and east Asia. Conversely, North America, the Middle East, and Siberia are among the resource-abundant areas. Supplies have also been squeezed as the damaging effects of fossil fuels, such as climate change, have come to the fore. In response, States have undertaken to curtail production through instruments such as the Paris Agreement 2015, by which there was a pact to lower carbon dioxide output to cap global warming at around 1.5C. Given free market forces, this demand and supply imbalance pushes energy costs ever higher. However, high energy costs are anathema to the idea of ​​’energy security,’ which is defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as ‘uninterrupted availability of energy resources at an affordable price.’

The Intersection of the Ukraine Invasion and Nordstream

The threat posed to energy security by the lingering backdrop of demand and supply imbalances is intermittently exacerbated by spikes in geopolitical instability in the form of national rivalries and armed conflicts. These can heavily impact fossil fuel prices. For example, the oil crisis of 1973 arose when the Arab members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) penalized an oil embargo on the United States

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