Think Tank Advises Rising Sea Levels to Adversely Affect Oil Shipments and Oil Rigs

Due to rising temperatures, rising sea levels caused by melting ice* could seriously erode energy security and disrupt crude oil shipments in countries dependent on oil imports such as Japan, South Korea and China leaving many of the world’s biggest oil terminals vulnerable to flooding, so said researchers from CWR (China Water Risk) on 21st May 2024. Looking back to 2021, an intergovernmental panel on climate change reported that average sea levels could, on current trends, rise by more than a metre or even two metres by the end of the century.

*Melting Ice – In 2023, researchers from the BAS (British Antarctic Survey) reported that low levels of sea ice in and around the Antarctic  could well have been influenced by climate change. Experts advised that during the winter of 2023, Antarctic sea ice was circa 770,000 square miles (larger than Alaska) below average. Elsewhere, a separate report on the Thwaites Glacier (Antarctic) experts found that it is more exposed to warm water than previously thought by scientists. Researchers advise that if the glacier melts it could raise sea levels by two feet.

Experts went on to say that if sea levels rise by one metre 12 out of the top 15 oil tanker terminals would be severely impacted with five of those terminals located in Asia. Furthermore, from a global point of view, it is estimated that up to circa 42% of crude oil exports could be severely impacted from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, which in turn could affect 45% of crude oil shipments to China, South Korea, the Netherlands, and the United States.

As a  result of their infrastructure test, CWR confirmed that most low lying bunkering facilities and ports will be negatively impacted by higher sea levels. They confirmed that Asian countries were likely to be hit the hardest, and that they should lead the way in improving port infrastructure to protect them from rising sea levels, but also lead the way in transitioning to green energy. Oil is a massive component in energy security, but oil and gas operations contribute 15% of total energy carbon emissions (5.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas) and if the world cannot reduce their dependence on this fossil fuel, far from providing energy security it may end up damaging it beyond recognition.