An analysis of how political governance of liquid fuels contributes to energy security in Papua New Guinea
This study examines how political governance of liquid fuels at the institutional level contributes to energy security in Papua New Guinea (PNG) from a political economic perspective. An interpretive methodology and critical case analysis design were used to analyse LNG energy governance regime (policies, legislation, and institutions) and its relationship with energy security. The research design involved analysis of participants’ observations and documents in relation to the critical cases (instances) in the practice of the energy regime under the Somare and O’Neill governments between 2002 and 2017. By using the characteristics of the Quality Energy Governance Framework (QEGF) which emerged from the analysis of the literature on energy governance and energy security, this study shared a new policy insight that energy security is actually created through the interactions that occur between political actors and the institutions and processes of energy governance. The study found that energy governance is a system of interacting institutions, policies and legislation created by the political institutions for the purpose of achieving economic efficiency in order to produce public value. The effective functioning of this system depends on the quality of the political institutions. A strong political institution constructs a quality policy regime which, in turn, translates into operational and adaptive qualities of an energy regime that enhances energy security. Alternatively, where a political institution is weak, the operational and adaptive qualities of the energy governance system are also incrementally diminished, thus generating energy insecurity, which, in turn, affects development outcomes. Accordingly, the study concludes that in PNG the qualities of the energy governance system did not seem to effectively function efficiently as a whole due to the political-economic interests and non-compliance to the institutional qualities. This, in turn, has had the effect of generating energy insecurity rather than enhancing energy security. In effect, the practices associated with the formal governance arrangements have failed to deliver a consistent and predictable governance system for PNG LNG and development outcomes have suffered as a result. The social interaction of political and economic actors and their interests in the energy governance system is complex and quite difficult to predict, resulting in an unstable energy regime. Given the unpredictability of this energy regime, political reform should assume primacy as a first order priority to withstand emerging energy governance issues and challenges that might contribute to energy insecurity.