Diversification of Oil Import Sources and Energy Security: A Key Strategy or an Elusive Objective?
This paper explores the relationship between the diversification of sources of imported oil and energy security of oil-importing countries. It examines the importance of diversification policy for oil importers, explains why oil importers implement oil diversification policy, and contextualizes the oil import diversification strategy in the overall energy security policy of oil importers. The paper analyzes the factors and the contexts that affect the level of importance assigned to oil import diversification policy in oil-importing countries, and the limitations that may affect the successful implication of oil import diversification policy. The examples are drawn from the world's top three oil importers, the United States, Japan, and China. The policymakers in these and other oil-importing countries place much importance on energy security. The diversification of oil import sources is used as one of the strategies to enhance energy security in oil-importing countries. This paper is important for policymakers in oil-importing countries as it provides them with a qualitative conceptual framework with which to evaluate the need to diversify their countries' sources of imported oil, and with which to identify the likely limitations to the successful implementation of oil import diversification policy.