Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Energy. Show all posts

26 April 2018

Technological Innovation and the Geopolitics of Energy

By Severin Fischer for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

In this article, Severin Fischer discusses three of the most important recent and upcoming technological advancements in energy – horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, photovoltaics and batteries – and their potential impact on international politics. Further, he outlines why China and the US will have the biggest impact on future discussions on the geopolitics of energy. This article was originally published in Strategic Trends 2018 by the Center for Security Studies on 13 April 2018. Technological change has a tremendous impact on societies in general, including international politics. This chapter discusses the most important recent and upcoming technological advancements in energy – horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing, photovoltaics, and batteries – and their possible influence on geopolitical dynamics. For different reasons, China and the US will have the biggest impact on the way we will discuss the geopolitics of energy in the future.

Has a Bull Oil Market Returned?

Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers may reach their goal of reducing global oil inventories to their five-year average by the next OPEC meeting, scheduled for June. With that part of the strategy complete, Saudi Arabia is seeing other reasons — including boosting the valuation of Saudi Aramco — to support higher prices. But it's not just Saudi Arabia's strategy that has helped bring oil prices to their highest level since November 2014; structural factors that have leaned heavily on oil producers like Venezuela and the prospects for production in Libya and Iran have contributed to the higher prices.

4 April 2018

Russia’s Unhappy Energy Marriage with China

By Nicholas Trickett

As Putin has become the longest-serving Russian leader since Stalin, the country’s economic and political stagnation is drawing more and more comparisons to the Leonid Brezhnev era. Putin’s political system cannot survive the stresses imposed by major reforms needed to improve the economy, creating a deepening dependency on foreign policy in all its forms to secure legitimacy and, more importantly, money. By all appearances, his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, is tightening his control of the state and policy. This dynamic poses problems for the Kremlin’s most important relationship with a non-Western power.

2 April 2018

A Tale of Three Coal Markets

The United States, China, and India together constitute about 70 percent of global coal consumption and 64 percent of global coal production. Each country is an important contributor to the global coal supply and demand picture and yet each stands at a very different stage in its relationship with coal.  The history of coal in the United States is predicated on a long-term decline in its share of the electricity fuel mix, but deep regional socioeconomic ties give the fuel an outsized role in national energy politics. Coal makes up 15 percent of the total U.S. energy mix and 30 percent of the electric power mix while the power sector accounts for about 90 percent of coal use in the United States. 

22 March 2018

Infographic Of The Day: Craft Oil - The Lesser Known Side Of America's Energy Industry

Today's infographic focuses on a key part of the turnaround in the U.S. energy sector that often gets overshadowed by Big Oil players like ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell. It covers the role of "Craft Oil" in the industry, an umbrella that includes many small, independent, and focused companies across America that produce oil and gas on a domestic basis.

14 March 2018

Russia in the Middle East: Energy Forever?

By: Rauf Mammadov


The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an obvious target region for Russian energy diplomacy. Unlike Western European states, Russia has never had an imperial presence in the region. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union pursued the policy of supporting Arab socialist movements under the flag of Communist ideology and served as a counter-balance to the United States’ influence in the region. Hence, bereft of the burden of an imperialist state and by untangling political concerns from its commercial interests, Russia has embarked on a pivot to the energy industry of the MENA region. Russia’s goals can be summarized as: 

Find new markets for its oil and gas. 

4 March 2018

Why The Next Oil Boom Will Be Fueled By Blockchain – Analysis

By Meredith Taylor

The world’s most important industry has been carrying on without any significant changes in its day to day routine for far too long. But now, the new tech on the block has its sights set on the multi-trillion-dollar oil and gas sector. It’s official: Blockchain technology has infiltrated Big Oil. mThe hype behind blockchain has reached a full-blown frenzy. And for good reason. The technology, which creates secure ledgers for digital transactions and rapidly accelerates the pace at which transactions can be made, has the potential to disrupt every major industry: real estate, shipping, banking and healthcare.

21 January 2018

The Slippery Task of Balancing Supply and Demand in the Oil Market

Russia and many OPEC members view higher prices with cautious optimism. They've tried to curb production enough to keep oil prices stable without curbing it so much so as to direct investment to North American shale oil production or alternative energies. There are conflicting views about how much U.S. production has actually increased and how sustainable the increase is, but many producer countries remain concerned. 

16 January 2018

How do we make the electrical grid more resilient?

Jeff Terry

This week, a US federal commission said “no” to a proposed rule that would have paid a premium to coal and nuclear power plants. The rule, put forward by Energy Secretary Rick Perry with the goal of protecting the electricity grid from power outages, was controversial. Critics said it unfairly favored two flailing industries over renewable energy. Perry argued, though, that only power plants capable of storing at least 90 days’ worth of fuel onsite—in other words, coal and nuclear—are reliable enough to keep the US grid resilient through the worst winter storms.

4 January 2018


By Sarah Ladislaw, Jane Nakano, Adam Sieminski, and Andrew Stanley 


This report summarizes a one-day CSIS-International Energy Agency (IEA) workshop held in May 2017, with government, industry, and policy experts exploring the outlook for natural gas markets in the global energy landscape. The workshop addressed key issues concerning the role of natural gas in North America, as well as the evolving strategic role of U.S. natural gas exports and liquefied natural gas markets (LNG) in the global energy system. The workshop was the third in a three-part workshop series, with the first workshop examining key issues concerning the role of U.S. tight oil production in the global economy and the second workshop focusing on the societal and environmental risks associated with U.S. onshore oil and gas development. 

30 December 2017

Infographic Of The Day: The Race For Clean Energy

Last year, on a global basis, more net power generating capacity was added through renewable sources than via all other power sources combined.

Which countries are leading this charge, and what power sources are being adopted the fastest?

Today’s infographic breaks down various metrics around energy investment. The graphic looks at absolute and per capita power consumption by countries, as well as dollars being invested into each particular type of green energy.

Country Comparisons

The two countries that lead the pack in absolute terms are China and the United States. In 2016, China consumed the equivalent of 349.2 million tonnes of oil in renewable energy, while the U.S. was at 143 million tonnes.

However, these numbers are very skewed by the large populations of these countries. In percentage terms, China only gets 11.4% of its primary energy from renewables, while the U.S. gets 6.3% of its mix from sources like solar and wind.

On a per capita basis, major economies leading the world include countries like Norway, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, and Austria – all of these countries get about 30% or more of their primary energy from renewables. That said, it is also worth noting that hydropower makes up a large degree of the energy mixes for many of these places. 

10 December 2017

OPEC and Strategic Questions in the Oil Market

By Severin Fischer

In late November, OPEC and a Russia-led group of big oil producers agreed to maintain limits on oil supplies. So, what factors shaped this decision? The massive expansion of shale oil in the US, and its impact on petroleum markets, was surly one. However, Severin Fischer contends that there are actually many factors increasing the pressure on OPEC and other oil producers. He also suggests that while it’s always difficult to make serious predictions about the oil market’s future, two key development trends are emerging.

The massive expansion of shale oil extraction in the US marked the beginning of a global glut in the petroleum markets. This is just one of many factors raising the pressure on OPEC and other producers. Two possible development trends are emerging.

4 December 2017

China’s Rising Coal Use Defies Forecasts – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

China is gradually transforming its economy and patterns of energy consumption, but it may be decades before citizens see dramatic improvements in air quality, according to a recent report. The finding this month by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) came as an international group of climate scientists blamed an increase in China’s coal consumption for the first big rise in global greenhouse gas emissions since 2013. The warning from the Global Carbon Project of a two-percent jump in 2017 emissions coincided with the IEA’s release of its long-range energy forecast and its first in-depth China analysis in the past 10 years.

30 November 2017

Providing Access and Growth

Energy has played, and will continue to play, a pivotal role in the economic development of the world’s major emerging economies and other developing countries. Increasingly, these countries will serve as the centers of energy-demand growth and energy investments. As such, the decisions they make about how to develop their energy sectors will be important to not only their own development but also in determining future levels of energy consumption, fuel choices, patterns of trade, and other factors. These countries are influenced not only by their own domestic priorities, policies, and regulations, but also by the international investor and donor communities. Several major shifts are taking place in the energy and development landscapes that warrant increased attention from policymakers, academia, and the private sector.

23 November 2017

Why Meeting The Paris Climate Goals Is An Existential Threat To Fossil Fuel Industries

by Henry Kelly

Any program with a reasonable chance of meeting the goals embraced by the 2016 Paris accords (holding global temperature increases below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels) is likely to mean drastic changes in fossil energy markets. And the task is only getting harder. After three years of leveling off, global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels are projected to grow 2 percent in 2017 to a new record high.

10 November 2017

OPEC and Strategic Questions in the Oil Market

By Severin Fischer for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

The massive expansion of shale oil extraction in the US marked the beginning of a global glut in the petroleum markets. According to Severin Fischer, this is just one of many factors raising the pressure on OPEC and other oil producers. So, how has OPEC responded to the growing supply of relatively cheap oil? In this article, Fischer responds and identifies two possible future trajectories for the global oil market.

7 November 2017

The Changing Geopolitics of Energy


TOKYO – In 2008, when the United States’ National Intelligence Council (NIC) published its volume Global Trends 2025, a key prediction was tighter energy competition. Chinese demand was growing, and non-OPEC sources like the North Sea were being depleted. After two decades of low and relatively stable prices, oil prices had soared to more than $100 per barrel in 2006. Many experts spoke of “peak oil” – the idea that reserves had “topped off” – and anticipated that production would become concentrated in the low-cost but unstable Middle East, where even Saudi Arabia was thought to be fully explored, with no more giant fields likely to be found.

The US was regarded as increasingly dependent on energy imports, and this, together with rising prices, was seen as a major limit on American geopolitical influence. Power had shifted to the producers.

The NIC analysts did not neglect the possibility of a technological surprise, but they focused on the wrong technology. Emphasizing the potential of renewables such as solar, wind, and hydro, they missed the main act.

26 October 2017

What 'Energy Security' Looks Like In The 21st Century

For nearly a decade, lobbyists, academics and politicians alike have hailed the shale revolution as the guarantor of U.S. energy security. U.S. President Donald Trump has even taken their expectations a step further, envisioning a world of American "energy dominance," where the country's oil exports would fortify the supplies of its closest allies. But as the severe fuel shortages that swept across Texas and Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Harvey have shown, America still heavily relies on those states' Gulf coasts to refine crude oil into gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products. True energy security, then, still seems to be just out of the United States' reach.

7 October 2017

India’s Solar Panel Wars Heat up

By Sarah Watson 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made solar power a key plank of his energy independence and climate change agenda. India has set a target of reaching 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar generation capacity by 2022; it still has 86.5 GW to go. Cheap solar modules will be key to reaching that target, but India’s abysmal balance of trade in solar equipment has spurred calls for protective measures. With domestic content requirements nixed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Modi government may seek other means of protecting domestic capacity. But experience shows that simply offering special opportunities to domestic manufacturers has failed to boost the industry in the past.

6 September 2017

Coal's Future Looks Uncertain As Rival Fuels Grow

by Jonas Crews and Charles S. Gascon

The coal industry has experienced a significant decline over the past decade. This descent has been driven predominantly by the advent of cheap natural gas, along with policies to promote cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy. While the industry’s overall decline has been a more recent phenomenon, labor productivity in U.S. coal production has increased steadily for over three decades as firms move toward complete automation of the mining process. From January 1985 to May 2017, the amount of coal produced by the average mine worker increased 224 percent.

The outlook for coal, which once was the dominant fuel for electricity generation, is waning. This article analyzes the coal industry both nationally and within our region (the states that make up the Eighth Federal Reserve District[1]) and ponders its future as a source of both electricity and jobs.

Coal serves two main purposes in the global economy: It can be burned to create electricity, or it can be used to produce steel. In 2016, the U.S. electricity sector’s coal consumption was equal to 93 percent of domestic coal production.