Energy diplomacy in a time of energy transition

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The global energy system is undergoing a transition away from a nearly complete dependence on fossil fuels toward a greater reliance on clean and renewable energy sources. Because this low-carbon energy transition will fundamentally alter the relationship between energy producers and consumers, its geopolitical ramifications are now a key concern of global energy leaders. Among the foreign policy tools that can be leveraged to support a country in managing the geopolitical consequences of an energy transition, diplomacy is one of the most important. This paper provides an analysis of how bilateral energy diplomacy can support the interests of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries during a low-carbon energy transition. The strategic objectives of bilateral energy diplomacy for GCC countries are assessed and then considered more specifically via a case study of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE case study yields foreign policy conclusions and recommendations that are intended to serve as strategic guidance for all hydrocarbon-exporting countries. The results demonstrate the strategic importance of fostering bilateral energy diplomacy with countries that can provide security of domestic energy supply, markets for the long-term monetization of hydrocarbon resources and support for economic diversification. These strategic relations have energy at the core but should extend to joint investment and science and technology collaboration in order to have maximum value.

Original languageBritish English
Article number100386
JournalEnergy Strategy Reviews
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Diplomacy
  • Energy transition
  • Foreign policy
  • GCC
  • Geopolitics
  • UAE


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