The geopolitics of natural resources

The Spanish Committee of the World Energy Council the Spanish Energy Club the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (, and the Centre for National Defence Studies , have virtually presented the seventh edition of the publication
 El Comité Español del Consejo Mundial de la Energía, el Club Español de la Energía, el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, y el Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional, han presentado de forma virtual

 -   El Comité Español del Consejo Mundial de la Energía, el Club Español de la Energía, el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, y el Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional, han presentado de forma virtual

The twentieth century was the century of energy, where access to energy sources was established as the key element in the two world wars, and subsequently was at the centre of alliances and counter-alliances and the price war between the great powers. Already in this century, energy has become a key element in global geopolitics, to which climate change must be added.

"Interest in the problem of energy resources is growing in the 21st century, where bad news should not obscure the opportunities that lie ahead. But the delay in finding new sources has ended up creating a storm. We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but we still depend on the energies created for the first and second revolutions", recalled Admiral Juan Francisco Martínez Núñez, secretary general of defence policy at the defence ministry.

Already in this century, energy has become a key element in global geopolitics, to which climate change must be added.

"Interest in the problem of energy resources is growing in the 21st century, where bad news should not obscure the opportunities that lie ahead. But the delay in finding new sources has ended up creating a storm. We are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but we still depend on the energies created for the first and second revolutions", recalled Admiral Juan Francisco Martínez Núñez, secretary general of defence policy at the defence ministry.

The geopolitics of natural resources, the control of energy, the energy rivalry between China and the United States, the geopolitics in the eastern Mediterranean and the security of European energy systems and energy sustainability in the defence and security sector, within the global, European and NATO context. The new study presented by the Spanish Energy Club, entitled "Energy and Geostrategy 2020", coordinated by the former Minister of Industry, Claudio Aranzadi and sponsored by Repsol and Cepsa, speaks about all this.The current economic environment requires "extremely urgent" the adoption of "shock measures" for a rapid recovery of the economy and employment, considers Brufau, and where public-private collaboration at all levels is more than necessary to strengthen the links between geo-strategy and energy, according to Díaz de Espada.

 El Comité Español del Consejo Mundial de la Energía, el Club Español de la Energía, el Instituto Español de Estudios Estratégicos, y el Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional, han presentado de forma virtual
PHOTO-Presentación del Informe

Par

To explain all this, the presentation revolved around a debate on the main issues in global geopolitics with speeches by Carlos Pascual, Senior Vice President of Global Energy and International Relations (IHS Markit) and Francisco José Dacoba Cerviño, Brigadier General and Director of the IEE, accompanied by Marta Camacho, Director of Institutional Relations Spain and Europe at Repsol.

For his part, Iñigo Díaz de Espada said: "We are convinced of the importance of public-private collaboration at all levels, and of the need to strengthen the links that unite the geostrategic and energy communities. Today more than ever these fields cannot be understood without each other".

María Victoria Zingoni, in her first act as president of Enerclub, said that this work tries to "bring the complex worlds of geostrategy and energy closer to society", something that is fundamental because "nobody is a passive subject in this globalised world any more". "We see this when we talk about energy transition, climate action, or during these months of pandemic, in which we see that the responsibility and individual action of each of us counts, and counts a lot", she said.

Juan Francisco Martínez stated that a large part of our consumption continues to be of more polluting fuels, which alters geopolitical scenarios, with great vulnerability to fluctuations. "We need alternatives. For defence, the energy transition has multiple derivatives," he said.

PHOTO-Presentación del Informe
PHOTO-Presentación del Informe

A c

Carlos Pascual, Senior Vice President of Global Energy and International Relations at IHS MARKIT, Francisco José Dacoba, Brigadier General and Director of the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (IEEE), and Marta Camacho, Director of Institutional Relations at Repsol for Spain and Europe, then reviewed the key issues in global geopolitics.

Carlos Pascual and Francisco José Dacoba agreed that the world is changing, with one main characteristic, uncertainty, "but we must not fall into pessimism", they added. "We are heading towards a multipolar world characterised by fragmentation and growing confrontation, especially between the two great powers of today, the United States and China," Dacoba said.

Aranzadi pointed out that since the publication of the previous issue of "Energy and Geostrategy", the geopolitical panorama of energy continues to be dominated by the effects of the decisions of the United States executive. The US trade war The US-China trade war, the evolution of the conflict with Iran, and the confirmation of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement continue to mark the relevant geostrategic agenda for the decisions of the main state and business agents in the global energy space, and are decisive factors in the configuration of geopolitical risk affecting the energy area.

Isidoro Tapia, an energy economist in the Project Finance Department of the European Investment Bank, focused on the strategic rivalry between China and the USA in the energy field. He explained how the energy transition could affect the geopolitical balance observed in recent decades, and in particular the relationship between China and the US. He also referred to the possible consequences on US energy policy of the outcome of the November elections. Another aspect analysed was the impact that the Covid-19 crisis could have on the international energy markets.

PHOTO-Presentación del Informe
PHOTO-Presentación del Informe

Felipe Sánchez, a colonel in the Spanish army and chief analyst of the IEEE, on the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean, stated: "We have been witnessing a notable increase in tension in this region for some months now, with the involvement of naval forces from the coastal countries, especially Greece and Turkey. Without doubt, the search for hydrocarbons in this area is one of the causes of the volatility of the situation".

Alberto Carbajo, Mining and Energy engineer and economist of Red Eléctrica Corporación S.A., spoke about the safety of European electrical systems. The European Union has recently decided to raise the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases from 40% to 55% of 2005 levels by 2030. "This implies a high presence of renewable energies in the generation mixes of the Member States, which, with all their advantages, are difficult to predict, requiring a greater effort to avoid possible incidents in the security of the electricity system". In his opinion, part of the success of the proposed objectives is based on digitalisation and increased connectivity in Europe.  Finally, David Martín, Energy Consultant for the Ministry of Defence. Isdefe's Integrated Infrastructure Consultancy Area, presented the different activities and projects generated within the Energy and Environment Working Group (EnE WG) of the European Defence Agency, and the European Commission's Consultative Forum on Energy Security in the Security and Defence Sector (CF SEDSS), which "represent a good opportunity for the visibility and business development of Spanish companies".