In the 21st century, global energy challenges have led most countries to pursue energy security, specifically access to oil, as a strategic foreign policy goal. The diplomacy involved in realising this goal is complex and highly competitive in light of geo-political dynamics marked by a tight market, instability in oil supplying countries and the politicisation of the oil trade.
South Africa faces huge socio-economic challenges, rooted in its history of apartheid, and as a net importer of crude oil, energy security is critical to the country s development. In the past 21 years, since the inception of its democratic order, South Africa has advanced strategic diplomatic partnerships with selected oil-producing countries in order to secure access to this key resource. These initiatives have yielded mixed results due to a variety of factors.
Given this context, this study examines South Africa s energy diplomacy within the global energy discourse. The extent to which South Africa s post-apartheid diplomacy has been positioned to secure the country s supply of oil is investigated, with particular focus on how South Africa has used structured bilateral mechanisms to access oil in Africa and the Middle East the two regions from which it imports the largest quantity of its crude oil. The study also assesses the risks associated with exploring access to oil in these regions.
It argues that although South Africa s energy diplomacy has contributed to the supply of oil in the past 21 years, long term security of supply cannot be guaranteed without a robust diplomatic strategy that mitigates both internal and external risk factors and locates diversification of supply sources as its central pillar.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.