RSIS Seminar by Dr Frank Umbach, Research Director, European Centre for Energy and Resource Security, King’s College, London; Adjunct Senior Fellow, RSIS; and Senior Associate, Centre for European Security Strategies
Energy Security and Digitalisation: Challenges and Geostrategic Implications
The global energy sector stands at the crossroads with unprecedented changes and challenges posed by digitalisation, block chain, new forms of mobility, autonomous driving and the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. In contrast to the past, most of the new technologies are developed outside of the energy sector itself but might have unprecedented impacts on energy markets and traditional energy industries. For the incumbent energy industry, these changes offer both new benefits as well as operational and strategic risks. This presentation is based on a new larger study of the subject and its results. It will discuss the evolving energy security concepts of the 21st century in the light of the digitalization and newly emerging disruptive technologies and their impacts. It will focus on the international dimensions and the following geopolitical dimensions: (1) impacts of decarbonization and digitalization on the political-economic stability of traditional oil and gas producer countries; (2) the higher increase in the regional and global electricity demand; (3) the need for advanced battery storage technologies; and, (4) rising dependencies on ‘critical raw materials’ and worldwide raw material supply security.
About the Speaker
Frank Umbach has been appointed as Adjunct Senior Fellow in RSIS with effect from 22 September 2017. Dr Umbach graduated from the University of Bonn with a M.A. degree in Political Science and a PhD (“Dr. phil”). He is presently the Research Director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (EUCERS) at King’s College in London as well as a Senior Associate at the Centre for European Security Strategies (CESS GmbH), Munich and a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw) in Poland, teaching on “EU External Energy Governance”. Furthermore, he is also a consultant for the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG) and Wikistrat.com. Since 2014, he is an independent “Subject Matter Expert (SME)” on international energy security of NATO’s annual “Strategic Forecasting Analysis (SFA)”. He’s an internationally recognised expert on global energy security, geopolitics, critical (energy) infrastructure protection/CEIP, and (maritime) security policies in Asia Pacific as well as Russia/Central Asia.
Previously, he was also a (Non-Resident) Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council of the United States (ACUS) in Washington D.C. between 2010 and 2015. From 2003 to 2007, he was a Co-Chair of the European Committee of the Council for Security Co-operation in Asia-Pacific (CSCAP-Europe). From 1996 to 2007, he was the head of the programmes “Security Policies in Asia-Pacific” and “International Energy Security” at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Bonn and Berlin; a research fellow at the Federal Institute for East European and International Studies (BIOst) from 1991 to 1994 and a visiting research fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo from 1995 to 1996.
Dr Umbach has done consultancy work and testimonies for the German Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence Policies; European Commission and European Parliament, US-State and Energy Departments, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (US-Congress), the Lithuanian Government, the House of Lords (British Parliament), the Polish Foreign and Economic Ministries, Hungarian Foreign Ministry, South Korean Foreign Ministry, NATO, OSCE, World Energy Council (WEC), Federation of the German Industries (BDI), energy and consultancy companies (incl. APCO and Roland Berger) and has advised international investors (via GLG). He is also the author of more than 500 publications in more than 30 countries worldwide, including being a contract author of the Geopolitical Intelligence Service (GIS) in Liechtenstein since 2011.