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1 the national bureau of asian research nbr special report #46 | september 2014 MIKKAL E. HERBERG  is a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California–San Diego and Research Director of the Energy Security Program at the National Bureau of Asian Research. He can be reached at . Forging a New Strategy for U.S., Japanese, and Asian Energy Security Mikkal E. Herberg EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This essay argues that the U.S., Japan, and the rest of Asia need to develop a new, more collaborative energy security strategy in the wake of the U.S. unconventional energy revolution, rising Asian energy demand, and changes in the U.S. strategic posture. MAIN ARGUMENT World energy markets are undergoing seismic shifts as Asian energy demand and imports have risen dramatically and the U.S. unconventional energy revolution has radically reduced the need for imported energy. U.S. dependence on Middle East oil is disappearing, while Asian dependence is rising, especially for China. At the same time, the U.S. faces a war-weary American public, sharply reduced future defense spending, a need to shift strategic and diplomatic resources toward Asia, and a new and dangerously unmanageable situation in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. The combination of growing energy abundance and tightening strategic constraints raises the possibility that the U.S. could reduce some of its costly commitments to Middle East stability, increasing the risks of worsening instability and threats to the reliability of energy exports to Asia. It is, therefore, in the interest of Japan, China, and the rest of Asia to begin working together to forge a new, more collaborative energy security strategy in cooperation with the U.S. Nevertheless, this will be difficult due to the overlay of strategic rivalries and tensions in the region that make stronger regional cooperation on many issues a serious challenge. POLICY IMPLICATIONS • The U.S. and Japan should lead the creation of a new dialogue in Asia, including with China especially. The goal of this dialogue should be to find common ground and share the burden of security cooperation in order to ensure greater stability in the Middle East and the strategic security of energy production and energy sea lanes from the Persian Gulf to Asia. • New efforts should also be made to forge new energy cooperation institutions in the Asia-Pacific that would strengthen regional energy security in the event of major supply disruptions from the Middle East. This should include new strategic oil stocks. • Countries in the region also need to work together to strengthen energy markets and contracts, especially for LNG, in order to increase flexibility, transparency, and the ability to adjust more quickly to changing market conditions and potential supply shortages. 3 FORGING A NEW STRATEGY FOR U.S., JAPANESE, AND ASIAN ENERGY SECURITY u HERBERG W orld energy markets have undergone seismic shifts in the past decade, driven by the twin forces of rising Asian energy demand and the unexpected boom in North American production of shale gas, tight oil, and oil sands. China is at the center of Asia’s demand surge and has emerged as an energy superpower on the world stage. China recently surpassed the United States as the world’s largest oil importer and continues investing heavily in energy resources around the world, particularly in the Persian Gulf. Beijing’s diplomatic and political influence is also growing in tandem. At the same time, Japan’s dependence on oil and gas imports has also grown sharply in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. While Japan is pursuing a nuclear restart and a more diverse portfolio of alternate supplies to address this dependence, both oil and gas are anticipated to play central, long-term roles in the country’s energy security strategies. Ensuring reliable, affordable access to oil and gas supplies is thus a growing priority for Japanese industry and policy, and there has been increasing interest from Tokyo in strengthening markets and forging new energy partnerships across the Asia-Pacific and globally. Meanwhile, U.S. direct requirements for Persian Gulf oil supplies are declining rapidly, and in their place, Asia—and particularly China—has become the largest direct beneficiary of Persian Gulf oil exports. By implication, China and the rest of Asia also are now the key beneficiaries of continuing and costly U.S. commitments to the security and stability of the Middle East and Persian Gulf. These changes suggest that the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781939131324
Related ISBN
9781939131324
MARC Record
OCLC
966803046
Pages
64
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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