Energy Security

Posted October 24th, 2011 by Stephen Ogunyiola

Energy SecurityEnergy security is a term for an association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led to significant vulnerabilities. Threats to energy security include the political instability of several energy producing countries, the manipulation of energy supplies, the competition over energy sources, attacks on supply infrastructure, as well as accidents, natural disasters, rising terrorism, and dominant countries reliance to the foreign oil supply. The limited supplies, uneven distribution, and rising costs of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, create a need to change to more sustainable energy sources in the foreseeable future.

Energy security has become one of the leading issues in the world today as oil and other resources have become as vital to the world’s people. However with oil production rates decreasing and oil production peak nearing the world has come to protect what resources we have left in the world. With new advancements in renewable resources, less pressure has been put on companies that produce the world’s oil. These resources include geothermal, solar power, wind power and hydroelectric. Although these are not all the current and possible future options for the world to turn to as the oil depletes, the most important issue is protecting these vital resources from future threats. These new resources will become more useful as the price of exporting and importing oil increases due to the increase of demand (Source – Wikipedia).

The Nigerian energy industry is probably one of the most inefficient in meeting the needs of its customers globally. This is most evident in the persistent disequilibrium in the markets for electricity and petroleum products, especially kerosene and diesel. The dismal energy service provision has adversely affected living standards of the population and exacerbated income and energy poverty in an economy where the majority of the people live on less than $2 a day. Yet, although Nigeria is energy and income poor, it is also energy resource rich and the sixth largest exporter of crude oil in the world. Nigeria’s persistent energy crisis has weakened the industrialization process, and significantly undermined the effort to achieve sustained economic growth, increased competitiveness of domestic industries in domestic, regional and global markets and employment generation.

Energy Security In Nigeria
The current situation in Nigeria is paradoxical because, despite Nigeria’s rich oil and gas sector, many communities do not have access to electricity which is a secondary form of energy fueled by the petroleum with which Nigeria is richly endowed. Apart from electricity, even petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and other petroleum products had in the past, been quite often, in short supply. The circumstances are such that the country is grappling with the provision of this basic social infrastructure. A large part of the population does not have any access to electricity while those that have it cannot rely on the very poor supply from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, which for a very long time was an integrated government owned utility company and run as a monopoly.

For a long time, in Nigeria, the lack of access to efficient energy resources has had adverse impacts on manufacturing, trade, industry, agriculture, etc. Agriculture hardly developed beyond the small holder subsistence level, as farmers could not increase production without energy, while harvests had been mostly lost due to lack of storage. Producers and farmers had been left with dwindling options. Artisans, small scale enterprises and larger productive enterprises are collapsing due to lack of accessible electricity.  The overall result is the loss of jobs and the impoverishment of many. Just like elsewhere in the developing world, leadership problems, instability and lack of infrastructural development make the energy security problem in Nigeria amongst the worst in the world (Source – Business Day).

Resources
The following are resources for more information on the Nigerian energy crisis and fossil fuel and alternative energy sources:

1. Business Day – Energy Security & The Improving Energy Security Situation In Nigeria Practical Roles of Politics, Law & Private Sector Investments Part I
2. Perpetual Minds – Energy Crisis In Nigeria
3. Perpetual Minds – Geothermal Energy
4. Perpetual Minds – Hydroelectric Power
5. Perpetual Minds – Natural Gas As An Energy Source
6. Perpetual Minds – Solar Energy
7. Perpetual Minds – Vision 2020
8. Perpetual Minds – Wind Power
9. Wikipedia – Energy Security

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