PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 524-540.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.03.015

• Reviews • Previous Articles    

Energy geopolitics and power

YANG Yu1,2,3(), HE Ze1,2,3,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling/Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Institute of Strategy Research of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Guangzhou 510070, China
  • Received:2020-03-17 Revised:2020-06-22 Online:2021-03-28 Published:2021-05-28
  • Contact: HE Ze;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42022007);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871118);Youth Innovation Promotion Association, CAS(2018069)


In the new era, oil and gas are still the core contents of energy power games, the attributes of energy power are very different, and the connotation of energy security and energy strategy has also changed. Based on a systematic review of energy geopolitics, this study put forward the concept of energy power, and found that the global energy situation is undergoing profound changes. Instead of taking the "oil power" generated by the possession and production rights of fossil energy as the only core, global energy research has expanded to multi-dimensional energy power, and the power connection has expanded from competition and cooperation to the complex energy network relationship. The research elaborated specifically from four aspects: geopolitical pattern, energy security concept, energy network, and global energy governance: 1) The core of traditional energy geopolitical research is energy distribution, spatial change of production and marketing, and their patterns, and the imbalance of oil and gas resources geographic distribution is the most direct factor of energy power generation. 2) From the oil crisis era with supply security as the core, to the collective action formed around energy interdependence, and the new order of global energy governance in the new energy era in the future, the different views of energy security are the important factor leading to the change of international energy geopolitical power. 3) Energy as commodity and the geographical attributes of energy determine that energy trade is not only an economic behavior, but also closely related to international politics. The separation of production and consumption makes trade control and channel control in the secondary distribution of oil and gas an important influencing factor on the reconstruction of energy power. 4) The change of global energy power and complex energy power network will lead to a new order of global energy governance system. The main holders of power have changed from countries, international organizations, and multinational companies to communities of interest in the global energy network. The theme of energy governance has changed from the interests of countries to the redistribution process of global energy power. In future studies, academic research of energy geopolitics should focus on the following issues: how to construct a new theory of multi-dimensional energy power system; how to evaluate the influence of new factors such as climate change and renewable and sustainable energy development; how to understand the inter-relationship between energy power and geographic space under globalization; how to reconstruct the order of global energy power and simulate its effect, and how to clarify the new energy governance mechanism and governance patterns. These themes are important energy geopolitics research propositions, and are of great significant for understanding and predicting the future energy situation and change in energy strategies.

Key words: energy geopolitics, energy power, energy security, energy trade, global energy governance