Our energy vulnerability exposed in the Middle East
“An explosion yesterday at the Gas Pipeline in Egypt may have been deliberate to shut off natural gas supplies to Israel, Jordan and Syria.”
There are conflicting reports as to the cause of the explosion, but the pipeline is the third most strategically important piece of energy infrastructure in Egypt after the Suez Canal and the Sumed Pipeline.
The explosion comes as Israelis watch the revolutionary events anxiously around the Middle Eastern countries where a change of regime, many believe, could undermine Israel’s 30-year peace with the Jewish state’s neighbours.
Egypt has natural gas reserves of 62tn cubic feet, the 17th largest in the world. This explosion whether deliberate or didn’t represent a serious escalation of the crisis in the Middle East.
Above the ground pipelines are notoriously difficult to protect from terrorist threats, and all the oil and gas rich countries of North Africa and the Middle East must be made extremely nervous today with this latest development.
The vast majority of people outside of Israel are hostile to western interests in general and to the US and UK in particular.
In a world with Middle Eastern uncertainty, we in the west wish to believe that revolutions in such countries will benefit us; however, history has already shown us that revolution in such countries can and do go against us. Iran’s revolution removed its pro-western leaders in the 1970s. More recently, Turkey has become more Islamic, even though it has enjoyed Western freedoms for many years.
If such an organisation as Al-Qaeda does exist, then after today they will essentially know how to disrupt the global oil and gas supplies using easy unsecured targets such as pipelines.
Another prolonged issue is China and India, who are increasing their demand for energy and will be looking to secure their own supplies. The only sustainable solution is to find a mix of more alternative sources of energy for the future than is available at present.
The world will need renewable technologies such as solar panels and the government estimates show that, by 2030, they could be 30% of our energy mix. This should ease our vulnerability to Middle Eastern sourced fuels, but as this year has shown, 6 months are a long time in the energy supply business.
"Feel the pride."Stuart Lovatt April 27, 2011
Founder of Heat My Home.