Energy Study

By Christopher J. Castelli / July 22, 2013 at 3:12 PM

U.S. diplomatic advisers will study the "changing global energy geopolitics and the related international security challenges and opportunities for U.S. foreign policy," according to a memo obtained by

The July 17 memo, prepared by acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller for this week's meeting of the State Department's International Security Advisory Board, warns the United States likely will face a changing global energy market during the next several decades that will have "large effects on its international security relationships." Most of the global energy consumption will be driven by growing demand outside of the industrialized world, the memo predicts.

"Global spare oil production capacity likely will remain focused in the Middle East, even as new hydrocarbon producers emerge in other regions and there are shifts in the global fuel mix," the memo states. "While decreasing U.S. energy imports, lower U.S. oil use, and increasing domestic production will provide the United States with important benefits, the characteristics of world energy markets preclude the United States from sheltering itself entirely from the effects of international energy prices."

Bilateral and multilateral security relationships will likely change in major ways due to evolving patterns of supply growth, more diversification of energy markets and the globalization of natural gas, the memo adds. It calls on the board, now led by former Sen. Gary Hart (D-CO), to review how international energy markets are expected to change over the next few decades and to identify related U.S. security challenges such as "new regional and global power shifts, changes in power relationships, expected shifts in alliances, impacts on international institutions, and potential international conflict." The study would aim to identify U.S. policies that would help "mitigate or optimize" these effects to benefit the United States.

The study would also eye potential ways to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, boost U.S. economic and policy influence and improve international relations, improve insulation from harmful market effects, enhance nonproliferation, increase long-term energy spare capacity, boost long-term sustainability and benefit the environment.