Journal Article - Oxford Energy Forum

U.S. Energy Diplomacy in an Age of Energy Abundance

| November 2017

For decades, fears of energy scarcity drove American energy diplomacy. The dependence of the global economy on oil, and America’s need to secure ever-growing quantities of this commodity, underpinned complex networks of alliances and intensive diplomatic endeavours. An atmosphere of ever-increasing global competition for resources made these labours all the more urgent and highstakes. Today, in an age of energy abundance, many anticipate that the new US energy prowess will render such efforts obsolete and pave the way for US disengagement in the world. Yet a sober look at reality suggests that this should be far from the case. Although the USA no longer needs to import foreign energy at a huge scale, it continues to have many of the same energy diplomacy priorities that it has had in the past. What is different is that in a new environment of plentiful energy, the USA will have an easier time reaching these objectives. Nevertheless, the USA is not necessarily moving into a period of easy energy diplomacy. It might squander this advantageous moment by politicizing its own energy prowess instead of taking comfort in the fact that transformed energy markets are themselves delivering great benefits to America and her allies.

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For Academic Citation: O'Sullivan, Meghan. U.S. Energy Diplomacy in an Age of Energy Abundance.” Oxford Energy Forum, no. 111. (November 2017) .