Historical Trends: 1980–2010
After falling during much of the 1980s and into the 1990s, overall energy security risks have been rising for more than a decade in nearly all countries in the large energy user group. Of the 23 countries in the large energy user group in existence in 1980,1 12 have higher total energy security risks in 2010 than they did in 1980, a year of extraordinarily high risk.
The disparities in risk among the countries in the large energy user group generally have been getting smaller even as overall risks rise. Between 1980 and 2010, the range of the highest and lowest risk scores has moved from 84% to 52% of the OECD average risk score.
OECD and Large Energy User Group Highlights
From a score of 1,000 in 1980, average OECD energy security risks fell steadily to 717 in 1998 before reversing course and rising to 988 in 2010. The declining risk in the first half of the period reflected lower scores in 22 of the 28 individual risk metrics. Rising rise scores from 1998 to 2010 was almost as broad-based, with 18 metrics getting worse. Risks associated with import exposure, the reliability and diversity of fossil energy supplies worldwide, and energy prices, volatility, and expenditures all rose over this period. Energy intensity is one of the few metrics that improved consistently throughout the entire 31-year period.
Below is a summary of each nation in the top 25. Detailed reports for each follow.
Australia’s energy security risk score was ranked sixth in 2010, and it scores consistently have been among best of the large energy users. The country’s large volumes of coal and natural gas exports also contribute to improving the energy security of other countries. Many risk scores, however, are moving in the wrong direction, including those related to oil imports, energy use, and carbon dioxide emissions.
Brazil’s energy security risk scores consistently have been much higher than the OECD average. In 2010, Brazil’s score of 1,165 was 18% higher than the OECD average, and it ranked 21st. Brazil is poised, however, to become a large producer and exporter of crude oil, and this should improve its energy security picture for the better. Risks related to energy use may offset some of these gains.
Canada’s energy security risk scores have tracked closely to the OECD average. In 2010, its overall risk score was just 1% higher than the OECD average, although in most years it has been slightly lower. Canada has extensive hydrocarbon resources and is a large energy producer and exporter. Canada can improve its own and other countries’ energy security by further developing its huge oil sands reserves provided necessary infrastructure, including the Keystone XL pipeline, is built bring this oil to international markets. Canada’s scores would be lower but for its energy use per capita risk scores, the highest of any country in the large energy user group.
1Excludes the Russian Federation and the Ukraine