A Simulation Model and a Vulnerability Assessment of the Worldwide Energy Supply

  • Konstantinos ZavitsasEmail author
  • Michael G. H. Bell
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


Meeting the worldwide energy demand is considered a critical task. However, the size and the complexity of the energy supply chain allows for potential threats to develop. On several occasions during the last few years there have been interruptions to the energy supply chain, recent examples being the hijacking of the oil tanker Sirius Star in November 2008 and the disruption of pipeline gas supply to Europe due to a price dispute. Causes for interruptions in the energy supply chain can also be natural disasters or accidental damage (i.e. earthquakes, ship collisions, pipeline fractures, etc.). The objective of this paper is to evaluate and identify the vulnerable components of the global energy network, to calculate the flow capacity loss in the case of a predetermined failure, and to optimize the supply chain layout so that potential loss is minimized. To accomplish this, a global network model of oil and gas maritime and pipeline links is developed. Utilizing a shortest path algorithm, a realistic spatial structure of transport links is achieved along with feasible alternative maritime routes. After modelling the worldwide energy network, failure scenarios involving the critical nodes and links are identified. The scenarios examine partial or complete failure of a selection of critical links and/or nodes, and by determining the flow through residual network, an optimized layout of the worldwide energy supply chain is determined and its robustness is evaluated.


Vulnerability supply chain model shortest-path finding minimum cost flow 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Port Operations Research and Technology Centre, Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringImperial CollegeLondonUK

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