Report: Mexico, U.K. lead globe in energy security

Mexico and the United Kingdom are international energy security leaders that are better insulated from supply disruptions and less reliant on foreign power sources than the United States, according to a report released today.

The assessment by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy gives Mexico and the United Kingdom the top two rankings when it comes to energy security globally.

The United States, by contrast, ranked No. 7.

Factored into the Chamber’s analysis: countries’ fossil fuel imports, energy expenditures, resources and demand.

Mexico scored the top spot because it is blessed with resources and its residents use a relatively low amount of energy, noted Karen Harbert, the institute’s president and CEO. But Mexico’s current stance is jeopardized as more cars and trucks hit the road, Harbert added.

“Mexico is now turning the curve,” Harbert said. “Oil production is going down in Mexico and their transportation use is going way up. The energy consumption is going way up and the energy production is going way down.”

The United Kingdom, meanwhile, has the potential to edge higher in future years, if the country does more to exploit the potential natural gas resources locked in shale rock formations, Harbert said.

The United States ranks seventh in the Chamber’s new international index of energy security risk — largely because hydraulic fracturing and other technologies are allowing companies to extract more oil and natural gas from dense rock formations.

“Our trajectory is, compared to our peers, going up,” Harbert said. “We are getting better compared to our peers. It doesn’t mean we’re getting better (overall).”

Adam Sieminsky, administrator of the federal Energy Information Administration, noted that the U.S. is less vulnerable to energy supply shocks as it harvests more oil and gas domestically.

“As energy use is reducedon a per capita basis, vulnerability to shocks, I think is reduced,” Sieminsky said during a Chamber event to roll out the new index. “This growth in shale gas and tight oil has made an unbelievable difference to energy security in the U.S. This looks like a pattern that is set to continue.”

Globally, the Chamber’s new assessment reveals that some of the world’s largest energy consumers are becoming more vulnerable. “Emerging economies, in particular, are experiencing rapidly rising energy security risks,” Harbert noted.

One of the biggest challenges is matching rapid economic growth and the power demands that come along with it.

For instance, surging economic development and population growth in No. 15-ranked China is feeding a boom in the country’s thirst for energy.

“Strong economic growth is obviously driving their demand for energy and exposes their energy security as a significant weakness,” Harbert said.