FLOW SECURITY THEORY: A new perspective on the implications of Nord Stream 2 for EU-Russia energy relations.
Energy security presents a longstanding, constantly evolving challenge for both the State and multilateral institutions. Despite commonality in the challenges they face, their approaches remain divergent. In Europe, this is most apparent in the energy relationship between the EU and Russia; whilst the EU has implemented market-based measures in order to attain a broad set of energy security aims, some Member States view bilateral engagement as the best means of guaranteeing a secure supply of energy. Natural gas is Europe’s main energy source, and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that runs from Russia to Germany is the latest example of Europe’s broader dependency on Russian gas. Understanding and explaining energy security remains difficult, given the existence of two competing theoretical frameworks: one centred around geopolitics, and the other the markets. This thesis demonstrates the value of going beyond these generalist theoretical viewpoints by instead adopting a comprehensive and synthesising approach, represented by the theory of Flow Security. Flow Security reconfigures an analytical approach with the flow of energy at its core, whilst encompassing key components of previous theories that consider the role of the State and the market. Using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as the case study, this thesis applies the theory of Flow Security and demonstrates its utility as a middle range theory. It finds that Flow Security theory allows for a more fine-grained analysis of energy supply networks by placing focus on the more technical aspects of energy security missed by more broad brush theoretical frameworks.