University of St Andrews


Maria Pavlenko

Photo of Maria Pavlenko


Supervisors:  Dr Darren McCauley & Dr Eoin McLaughlin


Research Title

Corporate versus state perceptions of the Arctic energy security


Energy is the basis of both national and global economic development in the 21st century. Its centrality to human existence explains the importance of ensuring secure and sustainable exploration of energy resources. Although the notion of energy security is most often applied vis-à-vis a state or a regional organisation (e.g. the EU), the importance of ensuring secure development of the Arctic energy resources cannot be overestimated. The Arctic is a unique operational environment where a few actors representing various countries with diverse economic, political and cultural backgrounds are responsible for one highly vulnerable environmental complex and the future of 400,000 indigenous peoples who are dependent on it.

The concept of energy security is not a fixed one as its composition is highly context-dependent. Therefore, the traditional approach to energy security, broadly understood as availability, reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy, may not appropriately reflect the Arctic energy realities. Moreover, the main difficulty in ensuring energy security in the Arctic is likely to be related to the inherently different energy security priorities of the Arctic energy stakeholders. My PhD will attempt to conceptualize the Arctic energy security as well as to analyze and then compare state versus corporate perceptions of their energy security priorities and vulnerabilities in the Arctic. The research will focus on Norway and Russia and respective companies involved in functioning of their Arctic energy systems. 


I received my undergraduate degree in BA (Hons) Political Science from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), Russia. After that I completed a joint double master programme at the University of St Andrews and MGIMO where I obtained an MSc in Sustainable Energy (2014) and an MA in Strategic Energy Management (2015). Throughout my postgraduate studies I developed a keen interest in the Arctic energy developments which resulted in my master’s thesis. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of St Andrew, funded by St Leonard’s College. I am also a proud member of the Arctic Research Center.