Energy and Security

Developments in the energy field and questions of international security

About the Program

Energy and Security

This program explores the various dimensions along which developments in the energy field impact questions of international security.

Jointly sponsored with the Energy Center at the UT School of Law, and with plans to extend that partnership to other energy institutions at UT, the Energy and Security Project integrates the Strauss Center's security-related expertise with UT's extraordinary resources relating to energy policy.

There has long been a close connection between questions of energy and security. The pursuit of energy resources can be a significant driver in international affairs, and at times even a cause for conflict. The possession of such resources—or dependence on others for them—can have a profound impact on a state's economic strength and its policy preferences. Technological change, meanwhile, constantly holds forth the possibility of disrupting settled assumptions about the relative distribution of these assets. Many think we currently are living through just such a period of technologically-driven change when it comes to the energy-security nexus, and the aspiration of the Energy and Security Project is to explore that possibility in all its ramifications.


Former Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar and LBJ School Associate Professor Dr. Eugene Gholz led a Policy Research Project (PRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs during the 2014-15 academic year focused on the National Security Implications of New Oil and Gas Production Technologies. The research project investigates how changing trade flows and energy revenues affect U.S. national security via two potential mechanisms: shifts in U.S. bilateral relationships with oil-exporting countries and disruptions in regional security.

The Policy Research Project enables students to perform interdisciplinary research on a real-world problem. Team members traveled to Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean to conduct interviews with diplomats and subject matter experts regarding the project.

The Straight of Hormuz

Also included under the Energy and Security initiative heading is a past research project on the Strait of Hormuz, also led by Dr. Eugene Gholz. The project, funded by a grant from the Confidence Foundation, explored the ramifications of a blockade of the Strait by the Iranians to international oil flows.

Over 90 percent of oil exports from the Persian Gulf pass through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital sea passage only 30 miles wide at its narrowest point. It is commonly believed that a tanker accident, a terrorist attack, or a military effort to close the Strait would send energy prices skyrocketing, threaten ing the global economy. Some scenarios might temporarily interrupt oil flows, while others, such as a major Iranian military attack, might have longer-term consequences.