This chapter investigates the concept of ‘energy security’, understood as the ‘uninterrupted availability of energy resources at an affordable price’. Importantly, according to this definition, the ‘availability’ of energy resources is measured against existing energy demand, and threats to energy security are therefore threats to the supply of enough energy to meet existing energy demand. Energy supply depends upon both domestic and international factors which are so interconnected that it is difficult to distinguish where one starts and the other ends. What is clear, however, is that international law plays a fundamental role in addressing many threats to energy security. The chapter looks at existing threats to energy security and the international legal frameworks that have been established in response. The challenges to energy security include an exponential increase in world energy demand, shortages of national oil and gas deposits, the need to reduce dependence on fossil fuel production in order to counteract climate change, as well as risks of geopolitical instability. The chapter then focuses on the mechanisms aimed to ensure that the flow of energy remains uninterrupted and at an affordable price, as well as on those mechanisms aimed at increasing access to energy resources.
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