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Mexico Tops List of Countries With the Most Energy Security

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Pemex rig in Baja California Sur, photograph by Trako Antonio/Flickr

A new ranking of the top 25 energy-using nations found that Mexico has the highest level of energy security.

The country — which is home to the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, one of the world’s largest oil companies — topped the International Index of Energy Security Risk ranking, released Monday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

“They are a very resource-rich country with very low energy use per person,” said Karen Harbert, president of the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, during a press conference. But she cautioned that the country may not retain its top ranking for long — oil production there is dropping and transportation use “is going way up.”

The index analyzes 28 measures of energy security, including fossil fuel imports, energy expenditures, efficiency, transportation, power generation, and carbon dioxide emissions. The first edition looked at data from 1980 through 2010.

Rounding out the top five countries in the index were the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand, and Denmark.

The United States came in at No. 7, and has shown improvement in recent years because of its growing shale oil production in North Dakota, shale gas production in Texas and Pennsylvania, and lower energy costs, the group said. Those factors are expected to continue to improve the country’s energy security.

The report also found that if greater access is allowed to oil resources on federal lands both onshore and offshore, U.S. oil import risks could be substantially reduced.

Down at the bottom of the list was Ukraine, which scored poorly all across the range of energy security measures. Joining it in the bottom five were Brazil, the Netherlands, South Korea, and Thailand.

“Those [countries] that score poorly are reliant on others for energy supplies, leaving them vulnerable to disruptions, and do not use energy efficiently,” said Steve Eule, a vice president at the Energy Institute, in a statement. “As a whole, we’ve seen the risk scores for most of the large energy users worsen over the past decade after a long period of improvement, which is cause for concern.”

Going forward, the report will be issued annually so that trends in energy security risks and the results of policy changes can be more easily spotted. The group is closely watching Japan, for example, which imports almost all of its fuels and has one of the highest energy security risk scores of any of the developed nations in the large energy users group. The country’s move away from nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster “will pose significant energy security challenges going forward,” the report said.

The report also found that for many large emerging economies, including China and India, rapid economic growth in the last decade increased energy demand and worsened their underlying energy security risks. The group expects the risk scores for those countries to get worse before they get better.