Energy security : what's at stake?

Energy security – there’s much more at stake than cheap, reliable sources of energy. It’s about independence.

Full video transcript

The Independence floats

in a port off the coast of Lithuania.

The ship's name reflects what

it’s helped the country to become.

Energy independent.

Lithuania’s neighbours are also

diversifying their energy sources.

In today’s environment,

there’s much more at stake

than just cheap, reliable energy.

Energy Security: what’s at stake?

The Independence is a steel giant,

the length of three football pitches,

nine levels deep,

and a place of work

for up to thirty staff.

The ship can hold over 100 million

cubic metres of natural gas,

more than meeting Lithuania’s natural

gas demand since the end of 2014.

Before that, the country was reliant

on Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom.

The prices for natural gas

that consumers were forced to pay

were higher

than elsewhere in Europe,

although we are even closer

to the source of the supplies.

Also, over certain periods of time

the security of supplies felt

not as secure as we wanted.

Lithuania gained independence

from the Soviet Union in 1991,

but for many years it remained reliant

on Russia for oil, gas and electricity.

After our independence oil supplies

were stopped to Lithuania,

so we realised

that we need to save also electricity

because most of electricity

was produced using fuel oil,

which was also imported.

So we felt scarcity

on gasoline, on electricity,

and this made us stronger.

In December,

the electricity grid was connected

to sites in Poland and Sweden

adding 1200 megawatts

of capacity to the Baltic region

via the LitPol cable to Poland

and the undersea

NordBalt cable to Sweden.

The move reduced the reliance

of the Baltic States on Russia.

It connected them

to the western European market,

making energy

both cheaper and more secure.

We had a history of blackmail

of very high prices for energy.

We saw

corrupted politicians in our societies,

we saw influence

into our statehoodness

and our decision making processes.

So today,

we can say thank you very much,

we’re free and we did it ourselves.

Lithuania’s efforts to reduce

its dependence is no exception.

Neighbouring country Poland opened

its own LNG terminal in October 2015.

In technical terms,

it's all about enhancing

diversification of energy sources.

But there's more at stake.

For us, it’s not only about economics.

For us first of all,

energy security is about politics.

It’s about enhancement

of our transformation

from one political system to another

that nobody could

manipulate or abuse dependency

and, you know,

try to kind of ruin our political system

because this is not

about energy, first of all,

this is about political stability,

about democracy

and the stronger

we are economically,

the stronger we are politically.

The Baltic Sea plays a key role

in ensuring the energy security

of the Baltic States.

But it is also key

in enabling collective defence.

The port of Klaipeda has lately

seen more than LNG shipments.

It has seen troops and equipment

deployed for NATO exercises.

The Alliance is increasing

its readiness to respond firmly

to security challenges,

by reinforcing the Baltics’ defence

and deterring aggression.

Russia has

clearly demonstrated its position

towards more energy independence

and stronger defence

in the Baltic States.

It did it through a number of ways,

for example,

by disrupting the construction

of the NordBalt electricity line

between Sweden and Lithuania

through conducting military exercises

and denying access

to the area in the Baltic Sea.

In April this year,

two Russian Su-24 jets made

numerous close range passes

over the USS Donald Cook.

The ship was on its way

to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

Such incidents

indicate the importance

of the freedom of access

and navigation in the Baltic Sea

to energy supplies

and military reinforcements alike.

And NATO plays a vital role

in maintaining that freedom.

Over 1500 kilometres

southeast from Klaipeda

is Ukraine’s Odessa port,

which was to become a major

energy hub with an LNG terminal.

Further down lies Crimea,

with massive oil and gas resources,

which were to bring

energy independence.

These plans, however,

were disrupted in 2014

with the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Unlike the Baltic States,

Ukraine is not a NATO member

and is not covered

by NATO’s collective defence clause,

Article 5 of its founding treaty.

But Ukraine too

has long suffered energy cut-offs

and sudden increases

in energy prices,

which are part and parcel

of Moscow’s approach to hybrid war,

which is not only waged

by propaganda

and the now infamous

little green men:

energy, too, is part of that script.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is

a clear example of Moscow’s ability

to integrate energy

into a broader set of hybrid tools

to achieve its strategic objectives.

Russia has seized

Ukraine’s oil and gas resources

in and around Crimea

and the Black Sea.

It has put

economic pressure on Ukraine

using its energy dependence.

It has established

a direct gas supply to Donbas

to circumvent Kiev in a way

and it has demonstrated

its capabilities

to organize cyber attacks

against electricity networks.

The impact could be

as harmful to modern societies

as a conventional attack.

Cyber defence is now recognized

as part of the Alliance’s core task.

NATO is taking necessary steps

to ensure that it is capable

of defending itself in cyberspace

as in the air, on land and at sea.

Cyber attacks are becoming more

common and more sophisticated,

in fact, when you look

at what is happening,

I’d say that most of the crises

and conflicts contain a cyber element.

And they

are becoming more devastating.

Infrastructure

in particular is a target

and energy infrastructure

is a major target.

And what I think it shows

is that this is more than just

about diversifying your suppliers.

This is about making sure

that you have cyber defences

in order to protect

your national infrastructure

and energy infrastructure

in particular.

NATO has stated that a cyber attack

could trigger Article 5.

What this would mean

in practice is deliberately left vague.

But the message is

undoubtedly a strong one.

Since Russia started its undeclared

war against Ukraine in 2014,

energy security in the Baltics

has acquired another dimension:

how to master the energy challenge

of deploying military reinforcements

to NATO’s easternmost members?

NATO’s defence strategy is based

on an ambitious approach.

In a crisis, NATO would send

reinforcements to the region,

including to the Baltic States.

But modern militaries require

a lot of energy, notably fuel.

Will there be enough supplies

and how can they be delivered

for operations

that may deny access

in the Baltic Sea?

This, too, is a major concern for NATO.

We reviewed

our NATO petroleum supply chain,

taking into account

the new strategic environment.

As a result of this review, we

prepared a NATO fuel supply chain

in support

of the Readiness Action Plan,

which is based

on a four-pillar approach.

The first pillar is host nation support,

where we use

host nation’s fuel capabilities.

As a second pillar we are using

existing NATO pipeline systems

to complement

the host nation’s support capabilities.

As a third pillar we are using

pre-negotiated commercial contracts

in order to ensure access

to fuel from commercial sources.

And finally, we are using

NATO deployable fuel capabilities

to receive, store and distribute

fuels to NATO forces.

To make sure that Allies

receive timely reinforcements,

it is important

that the infrastructure is in place

and that it is sufficiently robust.

NATO planners speak

of a resilient infrastructure.

Energy supply is one

of the key resilience requirements

agreed by the Alliance.

Security depends

on all allies being prepared

not just militarily

but also with civilian planning,

in the areas

such as continuity of government,

continuity

of vital services to the people

and of course

civil support to the military.

Energy security,

resilient energy supplies,

has an important role to play.

This is a very demanding

energy security agenda.

NATO has had the support

of its Centre of Excellence for

Energy Security in Vilnius since 2012

across the spectrum

of its work on related issues.

Another aspect of energy security

that is gaining interest

is how to enhance

energy efficiency in the military.

The logistics footprint for energy

is very important.

Being energy efficient

that means using the technology

in order to reduce the need of energy,

so to give more autonomy

to our troops in operations.

The military start to understand

and totally change their mind

to use now this innovation

in energy efficiency

to support their operations,

that there is a value,

a capability value

for using energy efficiency

in operations.

On all fronts,

energy security is more visible

within the work of the Alliance today.

This is in no small part

due to the Baltic States.

Beyond national efforts

to secure independence,

they have worked hard

to put it on the agenda.

People believe that at NATO

smaller countries have

less influence than bigger ones.

But the story of energy security

actually shows

that this is not true.

The Baltics

and in particular Lithuania have done

a tremendous job in bringing

energy security on the agenda.

And they have done

this with tremendous persistence.

The fact that we

today discuss energy security

in all its dimensions is not least

the achievement of the Baltic States.

These countries can be proud

of what they have achieved.

The Independence floats

in a port off the coast of Lithuania.

The ship's name reflects what

it’s helped the country to become.

Energy independent.

Lithuania’s neighbours are also

diversifying their energy sources.

In today’s environment,

there’s much more at stake

than just cheap, reliable energy.

Energy Security: what’s at stake?

The Independence is a steel giant,

the length of three football pitches,

nine levels deep,

and a place of work

for up to thirty staff.

The ship can hold over 100 million

cubic metres of natural gas,

more than meeting Lithuania’s natural

gas demand since the end of 2014.

Before that, the country was reliant

on Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom.

The prices for natural gas

that consumers were forced to pay

were higher

than elsewhere in Europe,

although we are even closer

to the source of the supplies.

Also, over certain periods of time

the security of supplies felt

not as secure as we wanted.

Lithuania gained independence

from the Soviet Union in 1991,

but for many years it remained reliant

on Russia for oil, gas and electricity.

After our independence oil supplies

were stopped to Lithuania,

so we realised

that we need to save also electricity

because most of electricity

was produced using fuel oil,

which was also imported.

So we felt scarcity

on gasoline, on electricity,

and this made us stronger.

In December,

the electricity grid was connected

to sites in Poland and Sweden

adding 1200 megawatts

of capacity to the Baltic region

via the LitPol cable to Poland

and the undersea

NordBalt cable to Sweden.

The move reduced the reliance

of the Baltic States on Russia.

It connected them

to the western European market,

making energy

both cheaper and more secure.

We had a history of blackmail

of very high prices for energy.

We saw

corrupted politicians in our societies,

we saw influence

into our statehoodness

and our decision making processes.

So today,

we can say thank you very much,

we’re free and we did it ourselves.

Lithuania’s efforts to reduce

its dependence is no exception.

Neighbouring country Poland opened

its own LNG terminal in October 2015.

In technical terms,

it's all about enhancing

diversification of energy sources.

But there's more at stake.

For us, it’s not only about economics.

For us first of all,

energy security is about politics.

It’s about enhancement

of our transformation

from one political system to another

that nobody could

manipulate or abuse dependency

and, you know,

try to kind of ruin our political system

because this is not

about energy, first of all,

this is about political stability,

about democracy

and the stronger

we are economically,

the stronger we are politically.

The Baltic Sea plays a key role

in ensuring the energy security

of the Baltic States.

But it is also key

in enabling collective defence.

The port of Klaipeda has lately

seen more than LNG shipments.

It has seen troops and equipment

deployed for NATO exercises.

The Alliance is increasing

its readiness to respond firmly

to security challenges,

by reinforcing the Baltics’ defence

and deterring aggression.

Russia has

clearly demonstrated its position

towards more energy independence

and stronger defence

in the Baltic States.

It did it through a number of ways,

for example,

by disrupting the construction

of the NordBalt electricity line

between Sweden and Lithuania

through conducting military exercises

and denying access

to the area in the Baltic Sea.

In April this year,

two Russian Su-24 jets made

numerous close range passes

over the USS Donald Cook.

The ship was on its way

to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

Such incidents

indicate the importance

of the freedom of access

and navigation in the Baltic Sea

to energy supplies

and military reinforcements alike.

And NATO plays a vital role

in maintaining that freedom.

Over 1500 kilometres

southeast from Klaipeda

is Ukraine’s Odessa port,

which was to become a major

energy hub with an LNG terminal.

Further down lies Crimea,

with massive oil and gas resources,

which were to bring

energy independence.

These plans, however,

were disrupted in 2014

with the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Unlike the Baltic States,

Ukraine is not a NATO member

and is not covered

by NATO’s collective defence clause,

Article 5 of its founding treaty.

But Ukraine too

has long suffered energy cut-offs

and sudden increases

in energy prices,

which are part and parcel

of Moscow’s approach to hybrid war,

which is not only waged

by propaganda

and the now infamous

little green men:

energy, too, is part of that script.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is

a clear example of Moscow’s ability

to integrate energy

into a broader set of hybrid tools

to achieve its strategic objectives.

Russia has seized

Ukraine’s oil and gas resources

in and around Crimea

and the Black Sea.

It has put

economic pressure on Ukraine

using its energy dependence.

It has established

a direct gas supply to Donbas

to circumvent Kiev in a way

and it has demonstrated

its capabilities

to organize cyber attacks

against electricity networks.

The impact could be

as harmful to modern societies

as a conventional attack.

Cyber defence is now recognized

as part of the Alliance’s core task.

NATO is taking necessary steps

to ensure that it is capable

of defending itself in cyberspace

as in the air, on land and at sea.

Cyber attacks are becoming more

common and more sophisticated,

in fact, when you look

at what is happening,

I’d say that most of the crises

and conflicts contain a cyber element.

And they

are becoming more devastating.

Infrastructure

in particular is a target

and energy infrastructure

is a major target.

And what I think it shows

is that this is more than just

about diversifying your suppliers.

This is about making sure

that you have cyber defences

in order to protect

your national infrastructure

and energy infrastructure

in particular.

NATO has stated that a cyber attack

could trigger Article 5.

What this would mean

in practice is deliberately left vague.

But the message is

undoubtedly a strong one.

Since Russia started its undeclared

war against Ukraine in 2014,

energy security in the Baltics

has acquired another dimension:

how to master the energy challenge

of deploying military reinforcements

to NATO’s easternmost members?

NATO’s defence strategy is based

on an ambitious approach.

In a crisis, NATO would send

reinforcements to the region,

including to the Baltic States.

But modern militaries require

a lot of energy, notably fuel.

Will there be enough supplies

and how can they be delivered

for operations

that may deny access

in the Baltic Sea?

This, too, is a major concern for NATO.

We reviewed

our NATO petroleum supply chain,

taking into account

the new strategic environment.

As a result of this review, we

prepared a NATO fuel supply chain

in support

of the Readiness Action Plan,

which is based

on a four-pillar approach.

The first pillar is host nation support,

where we use

host nation’s fuel capabilities.

As a second pillar we are using

existing NATO pipeline systems

to complement

the host nation’s support capabilities.

As a third pillar we are using

pre-negotiated commercial contracts

in order to ensure access

to fuel from commercial sources.

And finally, we are using

NATO deployable fuel capabilities

to receive, store and distribute

fuels to NATO forces.

To make sure that Allies

receive timely reinforcements,

it is important

that the infrastructure is in place

and that it is sufficiently robust.

NATO planners speak

of a resilient infrastructure.

Energy supply is one

of the key resilience requirements

agreed by the Alliance.

Security depends

on all allies being prepared

not just militarily

but also with civilian planning,

in the areas

such as continuity of government,

continuity

of vital services to the people

and of course

civil support to the military.

Energy security,

resilient energy supplies,

has an important role to play.

This is a very demanding

energy security agenda.

NATO has had the support

of its Centre of Excellence for

Energy Security in Vilnius since 2012

across the spectrum

of its work on related issues.

Another aspect of energy security

that is gaining interest

is how to enhance

energy efficiency in the military.

The logistics footprint for energy

is very important.

Being energy efficient

that means using the technology

in order to reduce the need of energy,

so to give more autonomy

to our troops in operations.

The military start to understand

and totally change their mind

to use now this innovation

in energy efficiency

to support their operations,

that there is a value,

a capability value

for using energy efficiency

in operations.

On all fronts,

energy security is more visible

within the work of the Alliance today.

This is in no small part

due to the Baltic States.

Beyond national efforts

to secure independence,

they have worked hard

to put it on the agenda.

People believe that at NATO

smaller countries have

less influence than bigger ones.

But the story of energy security

actually shows

that this is not true.

The Baltics

and in particular Lithuania have done

a tremendous job in bringing

energy security on the agenda.

And they have done

this with tremendous persistence.

The fact that we

today discuss energy security

in all its dimensions is not least

the achievement of the Baltic States.

These countries can be proud

of what they have achieved.

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