How secure are Middle East oil supplies?

June 16, 2008 | 00:00
How secure are Middle East oil supplies?

This paper assesses under which circumstances the region would cease to act (willing or unwillingly) as a reliable supplier of oil, what are the chances of these events occurring, and in case of a disruption, how big the impact is likely to be on oil supplies and productive capacity.

In light of the Middle East's record as a reliable supplier, a simple return to the old theme that consuming countries should reduce dependency on Middle East oil may prove unrealistic, costly and counter productive. In this paper, we argue that a more useful approach is to assess under which circumstances the region would cease to act (willing or unwillingly) as a reliable supplier, what are the chances of these events occurring, and in case of a disruption, how big the impact is likely to be on oil supplies and productive capacity. This approach would help refocus the debate regarding Middle East supplies by reconsidering certain concerns that seem to shape energy security policies. On the other hand, one can identify some factors that may have a long lasting impact on energy security but which do not receive the appropriate attention.

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