TEPSA Brief: EU energy security – the Russia factor and future prospects for the Southern Corridor, May 2011

By Marco Siddi

In the wake of both the uprisings that have destabilized Northern Africa and the nuclear disaster in Japan, future prospects for EU energy security look less and less promising. The rapidly growing public opposition to nuclear power and the current insecurity concerning energy supplies from Northern Africa are only the two latest elements of a series of factors that seriously challenge the European Union’s objectives in the energy field. EU domestic production of all fossil fuels has been decreasing for more than a decade. At the current rate of extraction, oil reserves will be depleted within eight years, which will make the Union more dependent on its Russian, Middle Eastern, Norwegian and North African suppliers. Domestic production of natural gas has been decreasing since 1996, while demand increased greatly in the last 15 years. Dependency on gas imports will increase further to reach an estimated 73-79% of consumption by 2020 and 81-89% by 2030, mostly due to the depletion of indigenous resources. Prospects look bleak also for nuclear power, particularly after the Fukushima accident in Japan has led some of the largest EU countries, notably Germany and Italy, to reconsider their policies in this respect.

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