Geopolitics and Energy Security in South America
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This dissertation looks at the energy security situation in South America and tries to evaluate why, even though the region possesses important resources, it finds itself today in a rather precarious situation regarding the future. Energy security is approached from a geopolitical perspective, and uses the literature to identify regional energy integration and the development of renewable energy within the energy matrix as two sine qua non conditions to the construction of energy security in the South American Region. On the continent though the benefits of energy integration are very present in the political discourse, in practice, the countries remain focused on short-term national gains. In the same way even though a number of programs have been created to increase their development, renewable energies have not yielded the expected results, and the matrix remains poorly diversified. A gap is identified in the explanation of these shortcomings. If the literature looks at the technical failure to progress on those issues, it fails to use the political theory to explain why. Yet energy issues are regarded as extremely politicised. Grounded theory strategy is therefore used to build a theory on how these elements can be explained structurally. First, at the regional level findings show that if institutions have been created, they lack autonomy and coherence: making them an unreliable tool to concretely plan and drive integration. The inter-governmental structure is found unable to advance common interests and its consequent instability unable to secure investment. This then leads to the discussion of the national level. The question is posed of the inter-connexions between the two. The regional structure effectively suggests that its deficiencies are not only causing shortfalls at the national level, but also that the national scale could be conditioning much of this structure. Argentina was used as a case study to evaluate this relationship. It discusses the possibility that the recent democratic construction of the nations could explain the failure to promote integration. Furthermore the national institutional instability linked to that characteristic better explains the composition of the energy matrix. The lack of long-term planning on the continent, linked to its developing nations identity is found as one of the main geopolitical causes of the energy security situation today. Nonetheless this dissertation also concludes that a vision is increasingly being developed and could lead a sustained progress.