The chapter starts off with the observation that energy is one of the least institutionalised, rules-based and cooperative domains of the contemporary IPE. The reasons, as the chapter outlines, lie in resource nationalism, a phenomenon where energy producing governments favour state- rather than market-based approaches to energy policy. Resource nationalism is the result of political imperatives to assert state control over energy sectors through ownership, trade and subsidy policies. It has seen multilateral organisations struggle to update their memberships, led to the proliferation of energy ‘talkshops’ at the expense of treaty-based bodies, and in some cases seen governments veto joint initiatives to address energy insecurity. The consequence is an energy system that is far less institutionalised than other domains of the global economy, and lacks representative and effective governance institutions capable of meeting emerging energy challenges. While resource nationalism persists in a range of important energy players – particularly Russia, China, Indonesia and the Gulf States – it is likely that energy will remain a fragmented and under-developed domain of the global economy in years to come.
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