Rising sea levels threaten global oil trade & energy security

Image: Shanghai inundation at 4C sea level rise


According to a report released in Hong Kong on May 21, 2024 by China Water Risk (CWR) instead of providing energy security, global oil supply chains are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels.

The report warns that the entire oil supply chain is in for a crude awakening as almost two-thirds of oil produced globally is shipped by oil tankers. The report’s “stress tests” of the world’s Top 15 Tanker Terminals show that 12 will be impacted at just 1m of sea level rise (SLR). This fresh take on oil has sobering implications for both energy and economic security as well as sovereign credit ratings, especially for Japan and South Korea, as they are particularly exposed with almost 100% of their oil imported by sea.

Asia is especially vulnerable with much of its oil delivered by sea, says the report. Of the world’s Top 5 importers of crude oil which account for 60% of global crude oil imports, four of these are in Asia – China, India, South Korea & Japan. Of these, CWR found Japan & South Korea to be most at risk, warranting sovereign risk re-ratings. Oil is Japan & South Korea’s largest energy source at 39% and 36% respectively, yet almost 100% is imported by sea, making their energy security very vulnerable to rising seas.

China Water Risk, May 23, 2024.

Report Link: https://chinawaterrisk.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/CWR-2024-Crude-Awakening-Fast-rising-seas-threaten-seaborne-oil-and-energy-security-Spotlight-Japan-and-South-Korea-FINAL.pdf