29 November 2012

Energy Security: Thai Perspective

Thailand finds itself at a crossroads. Like many other Southeast Asian countries Thailand has experienced significant economic growth in the last 15 -20 years. Concurrently, Thailand has also seen its energy use increase - a phenomenon common in many industrializing economies. This is a problematic situation for Thailand because it posses very few of its own indigenous energy resources. Consequently Thailand relies heavily on natural gas and oil exports from other countries. Thailand finds itself increasingly vulnerable as it imports more energy and resources from other countries. Much of Thailand’s natural gas imports come from Myanmar, a historically turbulent region prone to civil and political unrest. While most of its oil imports come from the Middle East, which also experiences its own instability from time to time. Unfortunately, acquiring more energy takes more than just flipping a switch. Energy production relies on an increasingly complicated and interdependent set of processes and systems that are vulnerable to disruptions and interferences.  The problem lays in the inherent nature of current energy systems, which rely on finite energy resources – fossil fuels – for energy consumption. Like any other resource that can be exploited, resource competition holds sway in this sector. Lacking its own substantial reserves Thailand must compete on the global market for energy resources, even more so than countries with considerable natural resources. It is clear that securing energy supplies for the Kingdom of Thailand is of paramount importance for the economic well being and continued development of the country in the coming years.

Alex Alvendia
George Washington University

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Annie Safar and I am an anthropology major studying at the University of Washington in Seattle. Currently I have been spending the past four months participating in the CIEE Service Learning program in the Dominican Republic. Energy and energy inefficiency are themes that my program has also studied, the Dominican Republic having one of the world’s most expensive electricity. Your blog post caught my attention by the way that you described the energy situation is very much a global issue; with the country relying on foreign oil and the energy use increasing. While the energy crisis in the Dominican Republic is very much an question of inferstructure failures your comment that, “Energy production relies on an increasingly complicated and interdependent set of processes and systems that are vulnerable to disruptions and interferences” spoke to the difficulty that numerous countries have stabilizing their energy infastructure while trying to navigate through the political system. I hope you are enjoying life in Thailand. Thanks for sharing your insight and experiences!