Energy security has become an increasingly important term in recent years. The ever increasing demand for oil and gas reserves against a long term prospect of dwindling supplies has led to the firing up of old territorial disputes as nations fight to secure resources.
A clear example of how even those nations that can afford to import hydrocarbons would rather reduce their dependency on imports can be seen in China’s extensive promotion of its domestic shale gas and oil reserves.
A report by market analysts GlobaData states that, despite the universal recognition of energy security as being of paramount importance, the disputes over various territories in order to secure oil and gas reserves are actually the main factor preventing those reserves from being accessed.
One key example cited by the report is that of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the ownership of which are disputed by China, Vietnam and the Philippines. Despite an agreement between the three nations to protect oil and gas activities in the region, tensions continue to mount.
These territorial disputes, though rarely leading to outright war are, according to GlobalData, even greater stumbling blocks to progress than economic difficulties or technological inadequacies. Jennifer Santos, head consultant of the energy division at GlobalData has said that: “Given the vast amounts of potential oil and gas reserves in South China Sea and its role as a vital shipping route, and territorial disputes will be detrimental to the region’s energy security, trade and political stability.”