skip to content

MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Security of Energy Supply in Europe: Investigating the Risk Factors

Asimina Karakyriakou

Security of Energy Supply in Europe: Investigating the Risk Factors


The increasing import dependency in the European Union, the growing concentration of oil and gas reserves in a few politically less stable countries, the growing competition among consuming countries for scarce supplies and the underinvestment in energy supply in the late 1990s and early 2000s has put security of energy supply high on the European political agenda again. The interest in energy security is based on the notion that an uninterrupted supply of energy is critical for the functioning and development of an economy.

However, an exact definition of energy security is hard to give as it has different meanings to different people at different moments in time. It has traditionally been associated with the securing of access to oil supplies and with impending fossil fuel depletion. However, with an increase in natural gas use, security concerns also arose for natural gas, widening the concept to cover other fuels. The concept and definitions of energy security have widened over time, moving away from a purely physical definition of fossil fuel occurrences to one that also incorporates the price of energy, the ability of the system to cope with extreme events, and also the political stability of supplying and transit countries.

The objective of this dissertation is to quantify and assess the relative gas vulnerability of 32 gas-consuming countries; it intends to develop a number of indicators effective enough to assess the level of different types of vulnerability, as well as the overall vulnerability of a country or region.

The approach using the Principal Component technique has been adopted to combine these individual indicators into a composite Index of Gas Vulnerability.

The ultimate objective of this dissertation is to develop this set of quantitative risk indicators that could be used to evaluate the levels of vulnerability and to pinpoint areas of natural gas supply options where policy makers need to act in order to mitigate the impact of possible energy crisis.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.