Oil Security Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Publication | July 2014

This paper asserts that the goal of oil security is to make domestic economies and the international market adaptable to changes in availability and price.

By 2010, demand for oil in developing Asia substantially exceeded that of North America and Europe combined, but demand for natural gas has been expanding rapidly and countries with large coal resources have used them instead of oil wherever possible. The goal of oil security is to make domestic economies and the international market adaptable to changes in availability and price.

Increasing oil production and decreasing demand; producing more alternatives; and increasing stocks, fungibility, and market responsiveness augment security while subsidies diminish it. The threat today is not targeted cutoffs; it is price spikes, and strategic reserves can help counter them. Lack of specification restricts the free flow of petroleum products and therefore decreases regional energy security; fungibility would be greatly increased if there were some degree of standardization.

In 2010, 76% of all Middle East exports went to Asia, but oil from the Middle East and Africa will not satisfy the growing Asian demand. Asian refining capacity cannot, however, cope with the large undeveloped resources in the Americas from super-heavy deposits or tar sands. A flourishing benchmark futures market east of Suez would help to ensure fair pricing and to moderate long-term price fluctuations.

Contents 

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Oil in Context
  • Oil Prices
  • Oil Demand
  • Oil Supply
  • Critical Issues in Oil Security
  • Energy and Financial Markets in Asia
  • Summary of Policy Recommendations
  • References