Global Energy Security

The Global Energy Security program explores issues at the nexus of energy security and international conflict and cooperation. Our current research revolves around discerning different drivers, dimensions, and strategic consequences of tectonic shifts in the oil and natural gas landscapes. Research foci include:

  • The unconventional oil and gas boom, and implications for rewriting different approaches to national energy security;

  • Transformation of energy infrastructure networks in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, and how these networks are creating new sources of international power, vulnerability, and influence, as well as geopolitical winners and losers;

  • How oil and gas weapons can be wielded by states for strategic manipulation?;

  • The geopolitical impact of shifts in the oil value chain, such as the rising importance of complex refining in critical regions;

  • Energy infrastructure targeting by non-state actors, such as al Qaeda and ISIS; and

  • Applying new methods of strategic forecasting, horizon scanning, network analysis, and data visualization to derive new hypothesis pertaining to complex socio-technical energy systems

“The Geopolitical Implications of the Golden Age of Natural Gas”

(Sponsored by the Strategic Energy Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology)


The goal of this project is to capture and analyze the flows of natural gas in international markets by modeling the global natural gas infrastructure and future growth options. Policies, players, infrastructure, and markets all exist at the global, regional, and national level to make up the present-day natural gas landscape. Like many complex socio-technical systems today, the global natural gas infrastructure is undergoing a transformation that is difficult to predict using conventional analyses. This project identifies a platform for further research using multi-level models of socio-technical and socio-political flows. The development of the research platform will model how selected scenarios impact growth, stability, resilience, security and policy.


To enable a better understanding of the changing natural gas landscape through the year 2030, the framework for a multi-level model is developed along with relevant alternative future scenarios that capture the relationships and interactions of large complex enterprises. Through the use of analytical and descriptive narratives with corresponding systemigrams, the interdependencies within the global natural gas infrastructure and the key pressure points are identified and visualized in this paper to drive scenario development, in order to demonstrate fundamental change in the future natural gas space from the present state. The resulting framework and scenarios can then be utilized in future modeling and simulation efforts to provide stakeholders and decision makers a means to better grasp the uncertainties of the changing liquid natural gas (LNG) landscape and, as a result, make better informed decisions regarding natural gas and LNG in the United States.


This project has selected six key scenarios that will be used for evaluation in the enterprise model framework and eventually in a modeling environment.

  1. Development of the United States Natural Gas Market

  2. Development of the European and Russian Natural Gas Landscape

  3. The Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean Natural Gas Landscape

  4. Central and East Asia Natural Gas Landscape (including a sub-narrative and systemigram focusing on China’s natural gas market development)

  5. Development of the Latin American Natural Gas Market

  6. Endowments, Governments, and Energy Companies

Results/ Future Work (computational model)

The initial phase of this research effort develops a framework for modeling the complex socio-technical enterprise representing emerging global natural gas landscapes. A methodology is used that visually models the enterprise architecture to examine key phenomena and socio-behavioral aspects of the landscape to inform a larger modeling project. As the goal of the larger project is to capture and analyze the flows of natural gas international markets by modeling the global natural gas infrastructure, this paper and presentation only provides a sliver of insight into the vastness of the market. There is much that can still be analyzed, on a broader scale, depicting the interactions on a more global level and smaller scale, honing in on the intricate relationships at the regional, local, and domain level. Thus, future work will rest on several additional steps that will continue this research in a more computational model.