Critical Energy Infrastructure in the Context of Energy Security Policy: The Case of Turkey

16 October 2015
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Critical energy infrastructure (CEI) is commonly defined as ‘those assets if undelivered [they are expected to make significant] impact on energy security and energy supply, as well as the overall social and economic well-being of the nation. Such assets include physical energy facilities, energy supply chain, information technologies and communication networks that make up an energy system’ . CEI assets in general can be destroyed or degraded by both natural and human initiated threats. Any disruption of a single sector of CEI, whether stemming from a terrorist attack, natural disaster or man-made damage is likely to create a cascading effect on any particular country’s energy system that is both complex and interconnected . A reliable and integrated working system of CEI is a must for any country to assure its overall energy policy objectives as well as its economic well-being. Therefore, the issue of protecting CEI networks has gained significant importance in today’s world, not only to ensure the standards of a well-functioning economy along with a strengthened energy supply security but also as one of the foundational conditions of market integration where consumers can have access to new technologies.  

The issue of energy security has, since the oil embargo in 1973 been defined as the assurance of an undisrupted flow of oil. As a result of various incidents new elements have become added to this classical definition. Actually, until the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this issue of energy was mainly concerned with issues like geopolitics, accidents and natural disasters. One of the main turning points in the issue of energy supply security was experienced during the 1973 OPEC oil crisis. Since then, energy security has been defined as the attainment of conditions of an uninterrupted flow of oil at a reasonable price with the condition that the supply of energy would be environmentally friendly. However, since the 70s, this definition has incorporated new concepts like price stability, diversification of energy sources, energy storage, economic investments, political and military power balance, geopolitics, homeland security, energy efficiency, energy markets and sustainability and the like.  It is true that, ‘the rise of security threats and the protection of the CEIs were always a concern for mankind ever since the industrial societies came to the fore (We know that ever since those days), the entire energy systems were targeted (especially in times of war)’.  So, in the aftermath of the oil embargo, the Euro-Atlantic world has increased its pace in establishing safeguards that would both assure the energy security supply of the Euro-Atlantic world as well as guarantee the protection of its CEIs. The establishment of the IEA, the strategy of diversifying indigenous sources, as well as the source countries, and the European practice and strategy of interdependency on Russia for the attainment of natural gas, can all be counted among the numerous safety measures that were taken in this regard. When the emerging energy security risks and threats were observed in different parts of the world, energy security related CEI components came under stress.  After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, terrorism in the US was identified not only as a national or regional matter of energy security, or security threats to the CEIs’, but also as a global one. Daniel Yergin also sees and shares the view that the US threat perception in relation to CEIs has dramatically changed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to Yergin’s argument, Washington has started to evaluate security threats to energy security in general and CEIs in particular as a matter of global concern. The global supply chain comprises of production, transportation, storage facilities and distribution networks to final consumers, and came under close scrutiny due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks . Europe and the US began to take seriously the security of their countries’ infrastructure in the face of these emerging threats. Both the European Commission (EC) and the United States Department of Homeland and Security have begun working on measures of coping with the issue of terrorist threats, as well as with other security risks to their CEIs. So, the first initiative in this regard came from the European side in 2005, when the EC adopted the green paper titled European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection . Since the implementation of this initiative, the Council of the European Union has adopted Directive 114/08/EC that focuses on the identification and designation of the critical European infrastructure and makes assessments as regards improvements for their protection . On the other side of the Atlantic, when the terrorist attacks coincided with the Fukushima power plant accident, CEIs gained greater significance on the political agendas of the world governments. The American government was obliged to develop and define strategies and security initiatives to protect their own CEI, which led to the 2009 American’s National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP).


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