Research studies

Energy security: Introduction to concepts


Prepared by the researcher  – Dr. Ayad Tariq Abdul Majeed – Dijlah University College / Iraq

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Fourteenth Issue – August 2022

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN  2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies

:To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link


   The energy security is considered as new security concept which had been taken into the plans and schedule of the big or small countries in the world. This title has become as one of the basic items in the strategic future of the industrial countries which used in the local or with foreign stats. Each state has its individual or special meaning for the energy security energy in the oil market

   This research is focusing on the meaning of the energy which has a lot of discussions and thinking between the political or academe people. Those people have defined and took care in this subject, the main question in this research is the development of the need to the energy, and from this question will create many sub questions such as: What is the history of development of the energy security? What is the meaning of security? What is the meaning of the energy security? What are the limits of the energy security?                        

   In order to present the results of this research, it has been used the historical method, and descriptive method to arrive at the results, so the research had concluded that the concept of energy security is meant the diverse meaning according to the nature supply and import the energy. The research is discussing the history of the energy security and also the meaning of this concept


   Energy security has become a broad and multidimensional concept, and it includes a number of political, economic and strategic connotations. It has moved from a narrow view that focuses on the security of energy supplies from suppliers at reasonable prices, and even exceeded that to include technological development and transportation operations until it became a meaningful and more comprehensive concept. Threats that impede energy supplies entered it to take a more widespread trend in the contemporary world, but as far as the extent of its spread, this concept remained unclear borders, and it is subject today to the vision of the state that adopts it and in proportion to its national and national interests and affects its overall policy and has internal and external political repercussions.

   Based on that, the research started with the following main question: How the security has been developed and exported in light of the increased interest in energy security, and from this central question several questions branch out that crystallize in: What is the historical biography of the development of the concept of energy security? What is the concept of security? What is the concept of energy security? What are the determinants of energy security?

   The research has gained its importance from being a very important topic in light of the turbulent international situations in the energy sector. The research aims to achieve several goals that can be clarified as follows: Reviewing the emergence and development of energy security and clarifying the nature of the concept of security. In order to achieve the objectives of the research, the definition of energy security was clarified.

     The research stems from the hypothesis that the development witnessed by the concept of security led to an increase in interest in energy security.

     In order to reach the most accurate results, the research adopted the historical method to track the emergence of energy security, and also the descriptive analytical method has been used because of the overlap with the research paragraphs, and its importance in this study, and then the interpretation and conclusions drawn.

The first axis: a historical follow-up to the concept of energy security

   The concept of energy security is a new concept, as Churchill was the first to put forward a definition of this concept when he pointed out that “energy security lies in diversity and diversity only.” As he intended by his definition to emphasize the diversification of the state’s sources to provide it with energy resources and not to rely on a single source (Khadija, 2014:52). The traditional approach in dealing with the issue of energy security was also based on the security of supply by seeking to ensure the provision of adequate production of energy resources at moderate prices, by focusing primarily on the essence of energy security, which lies in securing the entry of oil and other resources, because energy security for any country It is achieved only in one case, which is that it has sufficient and safe energy resources (Al-Arabi, 2021: 251).

   The importance of energy security increased after the crisis that the world witnessed in 1973, as a result of the Arab oil ban due to the support of some Western countries to Israel, and in 1979 as a result of the Islamic revolution in Iran, which resulted in a significant rise in oil prices, which increased interest in the subject, especially in the United States. And the major industrialized countries consuming energy globally, which encouraged many countries to formulate clear strategies and linked energy to national security, whether these countries were producers or consumers, and took strategic measures at the internal and external levels, and building infrastructure for energy resources, in order to mitigate the effects of rising energy costs. Prices, and supply disruption crises (Muhammad, 2019:51). What reinforces the interest in energy security is that there is a situation that indicates an increase in cases of political instability in the most important oil and gas producing regions of the world (as the most important sources of global energy), as these regions witness ethnic and racial conflicts within the producing countries as in Sudan, Nigeria and others, as well as an increase in the intensity of Competition and conflict between the countries of some energy-producing regions, as is the case in the Middle East and the  Arab Gulf, which are rich in oil and gas, which are witnessing several turmoil and security and political instability(Alaa,2019 :583).

   The concept of energy security after the Cold War has witnessed a series of transformations to become an issue related to international security, and this fact was reinforced by the terrorist attacks in September 2001, and the controversy over US-Saudi relations, the war in Iraq, and energy is a factor that occupies a leading position in Western strategic concepts about the East. In addition to being a factor that determines the way the region views itself, as well as, energy is an important variable in the well-being and stability of ruling regimes, and it is an insurmountable part of regional security calculations (Nubile, 2021:85).

      the    And the absence of energy security has not only become to linked to the suspension of supplies, but there was a need to adopt a broad perspective in dealing with this concept, and it can be said that achieving energy security requires cooperation between producing and consuming countries, but this concept is still subject to controversy and disagreement, and it is determined by a number of factors, such as its location in the so-called production chain (Al-Walid,2021: 2017).

The second axis: the definition of the concept of energy security

       Before addressing the definition of the concept of security within the cognitive and linguistic contexts in which it was mentioned, it should be noted first that this concept is one of the most difficult concepts dealt with by scientific analysis, as it is one of the most prominent concepts in international relations that is still characterized by a lot of ambiguity, which made it lack a definition Its determinant can be estimated definitively (Ahmed, 2016:158).

      Security is a language defined as reassurance from fear and as its meanings came in the Holy Qur’an in the Almighty’s saying (And when we made the House a place of resort for the mankind and a place of safety) (Surat Al-Baqara, verse 125).

   Studies and linguistic dictionaries have dealt with the single security, and the Lisan al-Arab dictionary in Bab al-Hamza indicates that the word security means reassurance and absence of fear (Abi Al-Fadl, 1956: 2). And in Al-Raed’s dictionary, the word security came in the sense of reassuring, and security means tranquility and peace (Gibran, 1978:240).

       As for security, idiomatically, the use of the word security is usually associated with freedom from danger or fear, and this liberation process was described by Ken Booth and Wheeler that it is not possible for individuals and groups to achieve security and stability without preventing others from it. Dylan that the concept has a double meaning because it is necessary to focus on the epistemology and genealogy of the term by returning to the security discourse, employing its terms and placing them in their original context and then defining their true meanings, and then researching the employment and use of the term security in the conceptual discourse (Bou Jarda, 2016: 15).

   While Robert McNamara considers security synonymous with development and growth by saying, “Security means development and security is not the military force, although it is part of it, and security is not the military activity, although it is part of it. Security means growth and development, and without, development we cannot talk about security (Robert, 1970:125).

     Barry Buzan also provides a more comprehensive and circulating definition in studies, as he defines security as “working to be free from threat”, which is the ability of states and societies to maintain the independence of their entity and functional cohesion against the forces of change (Inaam,,2013:25).

   While there are those who believe that the state’s ability is no longer limited to defense against invasion for the post-Cold War period, according to the traditional concept revolves around defense over border protection, and defense of national sovereignty, but the ramifications of security for the individual and society led to his classification into two groups(Hawa,2018:12).

Solid security, with a military character, where threats and risks are identified.  Soft security, most of which are analogous, are not clear-cut, and have a complex and understandable nature. They include all non-military challenges and threats of a complex nature.

   The concept of hard security may turn into a concept of soft security in the event of overlapping tools for peaceful treatment (diplomacy and      negotiations).

   Arnold Welfer believes that the objective meaning of security is linked to the absence of a threat against central values, and the subjective meaning, which means the absence of fear that these values ​​will be under threat. Where Wolff sees that security is a strategic value represented by the survival of the state in light of national independence, territorial integrity to economic prosperity (Faris,2020:16).

   Barry Buzan has distinguished five basic dimensions of security as follows (Amr, 2014:39):

Military Security: It concerns the two interacting levels of armed attack and defensive capabilities, as well as countries’ perceptions of each other’s intentions towards each other.

 Political Security: It means the organizational stability of states, government systems and the ideologies from which they derive their legitimacy.

Economic security: It concerns the financial resources and markets necessary to maintain on a permanent basis acceptable level of well-being and the strength of the state.

Social security: It concerns the ability of societies to reproduce the patterns of their privacy in language, culture, national and religious identity, customs and traditions within acceptable conditions for their development.

Environmental security: It is related to preserving the local or global environment as a basic factor upon which all human activities depend.

   Perhaps among the dimensions of security that countries began to pay attention to is energy security, which increased interest in it with the increase in the state of competition for energy sources on the one hand, and the policies of producing countries on the other hand. of their own, and these strategies came in light of the energy crises witnessed by the twentieth century that were linked to lack of supplies, which supported the idea that achieving supply security would achieve energy security (Alaa,2019:583).

    Attempts to define the concept of energy security have faced many problems and difficulties about finding an agreed upon content for this concept. These problems have been represented in three main problems as follows (Amr, 2014:45-46):

    The first problem: there is no agreement on a specific definition of the concept, given that each consuming and producing country adopts its own definition, so that one country adopts different definitions of energy security, which differ from one period to another, and the related policies to achieving its concept of energy security, and with difficulty Consensus on a specific definition, highlights the difficulty of coordination between producing and consuming countries to ensure the achievement of energy security nationally and globally.

    The second problem: the issue of energy, even if it is primarily an economic issue, but there are several dimensions to the concept, no less important than the economic dimension, and it is represented in the political, environmental, and security dimensions, which adds a degree of complexity to the issue of energy security in light of the overlap and tangle in those dimensions.

   The third problem: Although energy sources (oil and natural gas) are economic goods that are subject to the requirements of supply and demand in the global energy market, they are no longer the sole ruler or influence on their prices, there are a number of other influences.

   Conceptually, many ideas and theoretical trends or even international institution tried to define energy security. However, what is noticeable is the difference in the perspective of each trend, according to the different premises on which it is based, as well as the economic situation, and in particular the situation, producer, consumer…etc.

    The United Nations defined energy security in 1999 as: “The state or situation in which energy supplies are available at all times, in various forms, in sufficient quantities, and at reasonable prices.” This definition limits energy security to the availability of supplies in appropriate quantities and prices. Because the United Nations’ interest in defining energy security is due to the conviction that the energy factor is vital to ensuring a better future for humanity, the continuity of economic growth and the maintenance of international peace and security, which could be under threat if the energy needs of various societies and countries are not met(Al-Walid,2017).

   As for the International Atomic Energy Agency, it defined energy security as “continuing stability at acceptable and affordable prices with continued attention to environmental issues…it is linked in the long term mainly to continuing investments in energy supplies, in line with economic developments and environmental needs.” This definition shows interest in the idea of ​​”acceptable price”, which is the factor that forms the basis of the debate between producers and consumers, in addition to concern for environmental issues, and thus the International Energy Agency has gone beyond, limiting itself to ensuring the continuity of energy supplies included in many definition attempts (Raqiq, 2019:15).

           For its part, the World Bank defines energy security as “ensuring countries’ production and use of energy, in light of its availability at a reasonable cost, in order to achieve two goals, the first of which is to facilitate economic growth that leads to reducing poverty levels, and the second is to directly improve the living standards of citizens in order to access modern energy services and state supplies.” energy poor at reasonable prices, so that it can improve the living standards of its citizens, so that it can improve standards of education and health”(Muhammad,2019:62).

    There are those who define energy security as “the permanent availability of energy supply in a way that ensures economic growth in both producing and consuming countries with the lowest social cost and the lowest price fluctuations” (Khadija,2014:62).

         Definitions of the concept of energy security vary according to the country’s position in the international energy market, whether it is energy producing or consuming countries. As for energy exporting countries, the most important part of their energy security concept is based on the security of demand, and on their energy sources, meaning that the focus is on energy security from the market Energy, the economic gain by achieving revenues and financial surplus is a prerequisite for the economic and energy security of the producing countries, while the importing countries that depend on meeting their energy needs from abroad attach great importance to the risk of impeding supplies, and thus the debate revolves around the importing countries about the diversity of supply sources and the safe access to sources Energy in light of the increasing intensity of competition between the major importing countries, as well as the stability of energy prices in the international market and the margin of security in emergency situations, as well as alternative sources of conventional energy(Mahfouz,2020:48-49).

           In the context of the foregoing, we can note a degree of discrepancy in the definition of energy security between the perspective of energy consuming and importing countries, and the perspective of the producing and exporting countries, and because the countries that import and consume the most traditional energy were, and still are, the major and most powerful countries in the world, their perspective on the issue of energy security is the strongest perspective. And the most influential in formulating that concept throughout the twentieth century and until now, to a large extent (Bilal, 2019).   Energy security is defined from the American point of view as reducing the American dependence on external sources of energy and dependence on internal sources, in addition to reducing the sources of price shocks through the diversity of exporters and suppliers. The United States considers that reliance on biological alternatives for energy is one of the most important components of American national security (Amr, 2014:54).

           As for energy security, from Russia’s point of view, it is based on the necessity of adequate extraction of Russian energy sources located in difficult geographic areas, as well as the need for safe access to global energy markets, especially European ones, as well as the need for safe export of Russian energy supplies without being obstructed by countries. Transit, at high prices that achieve significant profits in addition to the need to possess the appropriate technology and necessary for energy extraction, and to own a network of transmission lines to foreign markets, not to mention the need to diversify and create the right balance in the Russian energy markets so as not to make Russia dependent on a single energy market (Suzy, 2022: 137).

   From the point of view of Europe, energy security represents “the security of supply and financing,” as the meaning of energy security varies from one country to another according to its needs, the availability of those resources and the extent to which other countries depend on their resources. Countries that Russia is an unsecured exporter as it uses energy resources as a pressure card to achieve its political goals through it, and then threatens to cut off energy supplies to the countries that oppose it. Europe accounts for more than 70% of Russia’s energy exports (Nora, 2022:8).

     From the Chinese point of view, energy security is based on “securing China’s energy needs, by moving on the internal and external tracks, to diversify supplies and to secure and stabilize these supplies.” This perception results from the position occupied by China, as the largest consumer of energy at the global level, due to the high rates of economic growth, especially in the field of industry, and thus it needs to ensure oil supplies, especially with its exposure to pressure from the United States of America((Raqiq,2019:16).

Energy Security Determinants

         Energy security is linked to a set of determinants that compel countries to adopt different policies and tools at the national and international levels. These determinants crystallize in:

A- The existing imbalances between the balance of supply and demand in the global energy market, with expectations of increases in energy demand by 56% between 2010-2040.

B- Restrictions imposed on energy supply, which include restrictions for compelling reasons as a result of the depletion of the energy source or restrictions as a result of internal conditions of the exporting country, and restrictions on exports by agreement between the groups of producing countries to reduce supply.

T- Terrorist attacks on energy sources and targeting energy infrastructure in oil and natural gas producing countries in order to target major energy consuming countries, such as what happened from Al-Qaeda after 2001 when it adopted a strategy based on hitting energy supplies (Suzy, 2022: 130).

D- Natural threats represented by the concentration of energy sources in areas of unstable nature threatened by hurricanes, volcanoes and other natural phenomena or unstable and unsecured energy transmission corridors.

C- The challenges specific to the international oil companies that limit their ability and effectiveness in the producing countries and then on the energy market, including the first challenge, which is the negative image of these companies in the producing countries. The second challenge relates to the security threats they face when a fundamental change occurs in the security and political environment of countries the third challenge is crystallized in the political fluctuations that may result from political developments that threaten the investment contracts of these companies, which are the basis of their operations (Nubile, 2021:78).


       The definition of energy security has become an essential component of national security, but as a complex concept that is difficult to define precisely, the views of thinkers and researchers differed as a result of the difference in the meaning of the concept between energy consuming countries and energy producing countries, as well as the contrast of that concept between one country and another.

   The concept of energy security emerges through the reliability and continuity of energy supplies by choosing each of the energy sources and resources, in a possible available from within a competitive framework, with the aim of diversifying sources and energy resources to ensure the security of supplies necessary for importing countries. And the reliability of the transportation of supplies so that the transportation networks to the market are available and expanded, and many transportation methods must be presented to create an atmosphere of competition as possible options between suppliers, and the reliability of distribution and delivery of these supplies to the final consumer according to economic considerations, and this is according to the standard of time and quality without discrimination and at prices stable.


 1- Surat Al-Baqara, verse 125.

2- Abi Al-Fadl Jamal Al-Din Ibn Manzur, Lisan Al-Arab, Dar Sader, Beirut, Volume 13, 1956.

3- Gibran Masoud, Al-Raed Lexicon, Volume 1, Security Article, Dar AlIlm for Millions, Beirut, 1978.

4- Al-Arabi Al-Arabi, The importance of oil and gas in the Algerian European relations (1956-2013), the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, 2021

5- Khadija Arafa Muhammad , Energy Security and its Strategic Effects, Naif University for Security Sciences, Riyadh, 2014.

6- Robert McNamara , The Essence of Security, translated by Younis Shaheen, The Egyptian General Authority for Authoring and Publishing ,Cairo, 1970.

7- Amr Abdel-Aty, Energy Security in American Foreign Policy, Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, 2014.

8- Faris Muhammad Al-Amarat , Human Security in the Shadow of Globalization, Gulf House for Publishing and Distribution, Amman, 2020.

9- Muhammad Jassim Hussein Al-Khafaji, Russia and the game of hegemony over energy, a vision of roles and strategies, Amjad Publishing and Distribution House, Amman, 2019.

10- Mahfouz Rasoul, Energy Security in Russian-European Relations, Academic Book Center, Amman, 2020.

11- Ahmed Freija , Ledmea Freja, security and security threats in the post-cold war world. Politics and Law notebooks, Kasdi Merbah University, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Algeria, Issue 14, 2016.

12- Inaam Abdel Karim Abu Mor, The concept of human security in the field of international relations theories “a cognitive approach”, a master’s thesis in political science, Al-Azhar University, Gaza, 2013.

13- Bou Jarda Abdel Hakim, The Russian Energy Security Strategy after the Cold War “Caspian Sea”, Supplementary Note to Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Political Science, Muhammad Seddik Ben Yahya University, Jijel, Algeria, 2016-2017.

14- Hawa Haleki Suleiman, Energy Security in Africa, a case study of Nigeria, memorandum submitted for obtaining a master’s degree in political science, Mouloud Mammeri University, Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, 2018-2019.

15- Raqiq Raja, The Energy Policy of the European Union, Thesis for obtaining a master’s degree, Larbi Ben Mhidi University, Oum El Bouaghi, Faculty of Law and Political Science, Algeria, , 2019-2020.

16- Suzy Rashad, Energy Security and Russia’s Attempts to Impose International Influence, Journal of the College of Politics and Economics, Cairo, No. 13, 2022

17- Alaa Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Aziz, Energy Security in Chinese Foreign Policy, Political and International Journal, Al-Mustansiriya University, College of Political Science, Iraq, Issue 41-42, 2019.

18- Nabil Ben Hamza , Algerian Energy Security – Theoretical Etymological Rooting, Algerian Journal of Security and Development, Batna University, Algeria, Volume X, Issue 3, 2021

19- Nora Aba Ji, the Importance and Status of Oil in the European Economy, Political Studies, Egyptian Institute for Studies, Istanbul, 2022.

20- Al-Walid Abu Hanifa, Energy Security and the Importance of Realizing It in Foreign Policy: A Study in Concept and Dimensions, Arab Democratic Center, Berlin, 2017

الأمن الطاقوي وأهمية تحقيقه في السياسة الخارجية :دراسة “في المفهوم و الإبعاد”

21- Bilal Masrahd, The future of energy security and the dynamism of international relations in light of the transition to renewable and alternative energy, website of Opinion magazine on the Gulf, 2019.

5/5 - (2 صوتين)

المركز الديمقراطى العربى

المركز الديمقراطي العربي مؤسسة مستقلة تعمل فى اطار البحث العلمى والتحليلى فى القضايا الاستراتيجية والسياسية والاقتصادية، ويهدف بشكل اساسى الى دراسة القضايا العربية وانماط التفاعل بين الدول العربية حكومات وشعوبا ومنظمات غير حكومية.

مقالات ذات صلة

اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *

زر الذهاب إلى الأعلى