International Handbook of Energy Security
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International Handbook of Energy Security

Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta

This Handbook brings together energy security experts to explore the implications of framing the energy debate in security terms, both in respect of the governance of energy systems and the practices associated with energy security.
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Chapter 12: Oil producers’ perspectives on energy security

Gawdat Bahgat


For centuries energy has played a major role in the evolution of human civilizations. In the last two centuries fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) were crucial for the birth and development of the Industrial Revolution and global economic prosperity. Energy products are certain to maintain their character as the “engine” for maintaining and improving our way of life. A major characteristic of energy is the mismatch between resources and demand. Generally speaking, major consuming regions and nations (the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and India) do not hold adequate indigenous energy resources to meet their large and growing consumption. On the other hand, major producers (i.e., the Middle East, Russia, the Caspian Sea, and Africa) consume a small (albeit growing) proportion of their energy resources. This broad global mismatch between consumption and production has made energy products the world’s largest traded commodities. Almost every country in the world imports or exports a significant volume of energy products. This means the wide fluctuation of energy prices plays a key role in the balance of payments almost everywhere.

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