Geopolitics of energy supply

The great significance of energy economic relations between states i.e. between producers, importers, and/or suppliers affects the economic prosperity and the political stability of all stakeholders. In recognition of this fact, the BEI, in cooperation with the Jacobs University, has introduced geopolitics as a new area of research. It is thereby taking a pioneering roll in the German energy industry.

Decisions of energy supply have historically been influenced by economic as well as geopolitical i.e. political, geographical, demographical, economical, and technological deliberations. With the increasingly critical supply of oil and gas, geopolitical issues are becoming more important.

Based on the respective geopolitical conditions, each country seeks to maximize its own economical benefits while minimizing its political dependencies. Therefore, energy policy is often not the result of pure profit considerations. One of the best examples is the current debate about the route of gas pipelines both from the Caspian region to Europe and from Russia to Europe. This study is a central theme for the new field of geopolitics at BEI.

Further research topics of special interest include the following:

  • Europe's increasing dependency on external energy suppliers and the resulting effect on an independent foreign policy, especially towards Russia
  • The option of energy exporting countries to interrupt supply delivery to gain political influence, as well as the corresponding risks
  • The political disputes about energy sources and transit routes between the world powers: USA, Russia, China, India and the EU
  • The potential of local and regional "energy wars"