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An energy superpower is a country that supplies large amounts of energy resources (crude oil, natural gas, coal, etc.) to a significant number of other countries, and therefore has the potential to influence world markets to gain a political or economic advantage. Russia is the world's most widely described energy superpower.[1][2] Other countries sometimes referred to such include Saudi Arabia,[3] Canada, Venezuela, and Iran.[4][5][6] The United States is said to be a potential energy superpower because of its large shale gas reserves.[7]

Energy superpower status might be exercised, for example, by significantly influencing the price on global markets, or by withholding supplies.[8] The status of "energy superpower" should not be confused with that of "superpower".

Energy superpowers

See also: energy policy of Russia, energy in Iran, and petroleum industry in Iran

Iran's oil and gas production (1970–2009 data, 2010–2030 projected)
Iran's oil and gas production (1970–2009 data, 2010–2030 projected)
Countries dependent on Russian natural gas for domestic consumption (2006)
Countries dependent on Russian natural gas for domestic consumption (2006)

Russia's reserves of natural gas have helped give it the title of energy superpower.[9][10] However, this status has been called into question by some. As Vladimir Milov, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says:

The "energy superpower" concept is an illusion with no basis in reality. Perhaps most dangerously, it doesn’t recognize the mutual dependence between Russia and energy consumers. Because of political conflicts and declining production, future supply disruptions to Europe are likely. As a result, European gas companies may likely someday demand elimination of the take-or-pay conditions in their Russian contracts. This would threaten Gazprom’s ability to borrow. Putin’s attempt to use energy to increase Russian influence could backfire in the long run.[11]

According to Manik Talwani, a geophysicist at Rice University, there are two countries that are most likely to join Saudi Arabia in attaining the status of oil superpower: Venezuela and Canada.[4] Citing their enormous potential reserves (1.2 trillion potential barrels for Venezuela and 1.75 trillion for Canada's oil sands), Talwani believes that they have the reserves to become energy superpowers in the next few decades as oil production declines elsewhere. However, as Talwani notes, both need US$100 billion or more to increase their production levels up to those of true energy superpowers.

See also


  1. ^ "The Future of Russia as an Energy Superpower". Harvard University Press. 20 November 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  2. ^ "How Russia's energy superpower status can bring supersecurity and superstability. Interview with Leonid Grigoriev". Civil G8. 2006. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  3. ^ "Saudi Arabia's first step towards clean energy technologies". UNDP. Archived from the original on 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
  4. ^ a b Canada: The next oil superpower? Archived 2007-02-06 at the Wayback Machine, by Manik Talwani. The New York Times 2003
  5. ^ Energy and the Iranian economy: hearing. United States Congress. 2006-07-25. ISBN 9781422320945. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
  6. ^ Balamir Coşkun, Bezen (Winter 2009). "Global Energy Geopolitics and Iran" (PDF). Uluslararası İlişkiler. International Relations Council of Turkey. 5 (20): 179–201. Archived from the original on April 1, 2014.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Fensom, Anthony (23 January 2013). "America: The Next Energy Superpower?". The Diplomat.
  8. ^ "'Russia Won't Act Like an Energy Superpower': Making Promises that Can't Be Kept". Global Events Magazine. 2006-09-15. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2012-02-05.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ How Sustainable is Russia's Future as an Energy Superpower?, by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 16 March 2006
  10. ^ Russia: The 21st Century's Energy Superpower? Archived 2006-10-13 at the Wayback Machine, by Fiona Hill, The Brookings Institution, 5 October 2002
  11. ^ "How Sustainable is Russia's Future as an Energy Superpower?". Retrieved 2012-02-07.