by Flore Perroquin

Bachelor of Arts of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick (UK). She performed her summer internship at the CSDS.  

Energy has become a crucial issue in the international security debate and carries “significant political and security implications”[1]. To deal with this emerging threat, NATO has included energy in its “Security challenges and risks” agenda by declaring in 1999 that “a disruption of the flow of vital resources”[2] is a threat to NATO’s security and its members. Since then, the question of how to address the energy challenge remains a difficult and disputed one. While some argue that NATO must help face these threats, others claim that the organisation is a military institution which should stick to its military purpose.

This essay shall argue that NATO should include energy security in its agenda, but only with a limited role. Yet, this limited role of helping, supporting and assisting needs to be clearly defined.

This essay shall proceed as follow. The first section will focus on the reasons why NATO should include energy security in its agenda. The second section will question the dimensions of a possible limited military involvement. The third section will address the question with short examples of help, support and assistance to present the different implications and operations that the organisation could offer. Finally, the last section will summarize the key argument and findings of the essay and will discuss how the central argument – that NATO needs to include energy in its agenda – is important for broader debates in the study of international security.

 

If NATO is not an energy organisation, it recognizes its political and security implications. Scholars argue that NATO should give more importance to energy both between Members and non-members to maintain a dialogue between the different actors and include more energy issues in its military scenarios. NATO should improve its energy resilience through the protection of critical infrastructures and trade routes[3]. Cyber threats, terrorist attacks and piracy have become serious risks to the energy security of NATO and its Members which changes the global energy landscape. Russia’s supply disruptions and influence over Eastern Europe countries has shown security implications and potential threats though energy which explains why NATO needs to involve energy security in its agenda both for the security of the concerned states and the security of the organisation itself.[4] To prevent energy insecurity, NATO has defined three main areas. Raising awareness which would promote information sharing and dialogue between all actors, supporting the protection of critical infrastructures which involves including energy related issues in NATO’s scenarios and enhancing energy efficiency in the military which would improve NATO’s use and devolvement of energy[5]. NATO reminds that a transatlantic cooperation is essential “since energy security translates into national, political, and economic security”[6]. However, critiques claim that energy is and remains the responsibility of each state, arguing that NATO, by including energy in its agenda, would overlap on other institutions’ area[7]. Officials respond that NATO should be a platform of intelligence sharing and military support by “tak[ing] advantage of its presence in some countries” to contribute to the energy security of its members and allies[8].

 

As “the supply of energy and access to energy resources today is the basis of the security of every state”[9], a NATO military involvement seems valuable to secure its Members’ supply. If NATO acknowledges the fact that energy is the “responsibility of national authorities”, it argues that it will continue “regular Allied consultations” to assure the energy security of its members.[10] In that view, a limited NATO military involvement could secure the energy supply of its member without overstepping. It could be translated into a military presence in vital infrastructures, ports and routes in transit and extracting countries as “energy infrastructure is a critical part of global energy security”[11]. The 500 attacks related to energy each year prove that a military deployment could be an effective solution to secure infrastructures and routes and maintain energy supplies. Cooperation with non-members through knowledge sharing and offering military training have enhanced the energy security of members and non-members while fostering trust between the different actors[12][13]. Scholars argue that NATO military’s role could focus on “risks anticipation that may target modern critical infrastructures”[14].

 

The Riga Declaration highlights the need to “promote energy infrastructure security”[15] to secure the international energy order. Securitizing key trade routes such as the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Ormuz or the Gulf of Aden and other critical infrastructures are crucial for both exporting and importing countries. NATO’s competence to detect, anticipate or counter attacks “can offer a well-integrated naval capability to assist protect”[16] trade routes. Such threat response was implemented off the Cape Verde Islands in June 2006 to counter piracy attacks[17] or in Libya in early 2010s to secure energy extraction and transit during the Arab Spring. In the Niger Delta, nearly $1 billion in crude oil are stolen from pipelines. Protecting infrastructures in this sensitive region would secure the supply chain and contribute to the stability of the area[18].

This essay has argued that NATO needs to include energy in its security agenda. Securitising the energy security of the organization to support its military operations and guarantee the energy security of each of its members and allies which promotes stability and peace is crucial in an unstable world.

 

References:

Center for the Study of Democracy. 2015. EU and NATO’s role in tackling energy security and state capture risks in Europe. Center for the Study of Democracy. Policy Brief No. 47 https://csd.bg/publications/publication/no-47-eu-and-natos-role-in-tackling-energy-security-and-state-capture-risks-in-europe/

Monaghan, A. 2006. Energy Security – What Role for NATO?, Research Paper, Academic Research Branch – NATO Defense College. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/25557/rp_29.pdf

Monaghan, A. 2008. Energy Security: NATO’s Limited, Complementary Role, Research Paper, Research Division – NATO Defense College. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/56022/rp_36en.pdf

Morningstar. R. L., Simonyi. A., Khakova. O., Markina. I. 2019. European Energy Security and Transatlantic Cooperation: A Current Assessment. Atlantic Council: Global Energy Center. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/European_Energy_Security_and_Transatlantic_Cooperation.pdf

NATO Warsaw Summit Declaration, July 2018, Article 135

NATO. 2014. NATO’s energy security agenda. NATO Review. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2014/NATO-Energy-security-running-on-empty/NATO-energy-security-agenda/EN/index.htm

NATO. 2018. Brussels Summit Declaration. Press Release 074. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_156624.htm#78

NATO. 2018. Energy security: a critical concern for Allies and partners. NATO Review Magazine. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2018/Also-in-2018/energy-security-a-critical-concern-for-allies-and-partners/EN/index.htm

NATO. 2018. European energy security in the spotlight at NATO PA meeting. NATO Parliamentary Assembly. https://www.nato-pa.int/news/european-energy-security-spotlight-nato-pa-meeting

Niglia. A. 2014. Critical Infrastructure Protection (CEIP) with a Focus on Energy Security. The Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure against Emerging Security Challenges, IOS Press. http://ebooks.iospress.nl/volume/the-protection-of-critical-energy-infrastructure-against-emerging-security-challenges

Nurzyńska. A. 2018. The role of NATO in ensuring safety energy and protection of infrastructure energy. Wold Scientific News. No 104. 381-392. http://psjd.icm.edu.pl/psjd/element/bwmeta1.element.psjd-a04328b6-da7b-493e-8e59-c7b2455e32a0

Ratsiborynska. V. 2018. Russia’s hybrid warfare in the form of its energy manoeuvers against Europe: how the EU and NATO can respond together? Research Division. Rome: NATO Defense College. No. 147. https://ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/resources/docs/NDU_Russia%c2%b4s%20Hybrid%20Warfare%20Energy%20Manoeuvers.pdf

Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Riga, on November 2006, Article 45. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_37920.htm?selectedLocale=en

The Alliance’s Strategic Concept, NATO, 1999, Press Release NAC-S (99) 65. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_27433.htm

Wieczorkiewicz. J., Jankowski. D. P. 2019. NATO’s Pending Energy Security Crisis. The National Interest. https://nationalinterest.org/feature/natos-pending-energy-security-crisis-45032

[1] NATO Warsaw Summit Declaration, July 2018, Article 135

[2] The Alliance’s Strategic Concept, NATO, 1999, Press Release NAC-S (99) 65

[3] Wieczorkiewicz. J., Jankowski. D. P. 2019. NATO’s Pending Energy Security Crisis. The National Interest. https://nationalinterest.org/feature/natos-pending-energy-security-crisis-45032

[4] NATO. 2018. European energy security in the spotlight at NATO PA meeting. NATO Parliamentary Assembly. https://www.nato-pa.int/news/european-energy-security-spotlight-nato-pa-meeting

[5] NATO. 2018. Energy security: a critical concern for Allies and partners. NATO Review Magazine. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2018/Also-in-2018/energy-security-a-critical-concern-for-allies-and-partners/EN/index.htm

[6] Morningstar. R. L., Simonyi. A., Khakova. O., Markina. I. 2019. European Energy Security and Transatlantic Cooperation: A Current Assessment. Atlantic Council: Global Energy Center. https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/images/publications/European_Energy_Security_and_Transatlantic_Cooperation.pdf

[7] Niglia. A. 2014. Critical Infrastructure Protection (CEIP) with a Focus on Energy Security. The Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure against Emerging Security Challenges, IOS Press.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Nurzyńska. A. 2018. The role of NATO in ensuring safety energy and protection of infrastructure energy. Wold Scientific News. No 104. 381-392. http://psjd.icm.edu.pl/psjd/element/bwmeta1.element.psjd-a04328b6-da7b-493e-8e59-c7b2455e32a0

[10] NATO. 2018. Brussels Summit Declaration. Press Release 074. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_156624.htm#78

[11] Center for the Study of Democracy. 2015. EU and NATO’s role in tackling energy security and state capture risks in Europe. Center for the Study of Democracy. Policy Brief No. 47 https://csd.bg/publications/publication/no-47-eu-and-natos-role-in-tackling-energy-security-and-state-capture-risks-in-europe/

[12] NATO. 2014. NATO’s energy security agenda. NATO Review. https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2014/NATO-Energy-security-running-on-empty/NATO-energy-security-agenda/EN/index.htm

 

[13] NATO. 2018. Brussels Summit Declaration. Press Release 074. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_156624.htm#78

[14] Ratsiborynska. V. 2018. Russia’s hybrid warfare in the form of its energy manoeuvers against Europe: how the EU and NATO can respond together? Research Division. Rome: NATO Defense College. No. 147. https://ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/resources/docs/NDU_Russia%c2%b4s%20Hybrid%20Warfare%20Energy%20Manoeuvers.pdf

[15] Summit Declaration Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Riga, on November 2006, Article 45

 

[16] Monaghan, A. 2006. Energy Security – What Role for NATO?, Research Paper, Academic Research Branch – NATO Defense College. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/25557/rp_29.pdf

[17] Monaghan, A. 2008. Energy Security: NATO’s Limited, Complementary Role, Research Paper, Research Division – NATO Defense College. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/56022/rp_36en.pdf

[18] [18] Monaghan, A. 2006. Energy Security – What Role for NATO?, Research Paper, Academic Research Branch – NATO Defense College. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/25557/rp_29.pdf

 

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