CEE Research CEE outreach CEE education

Welcome to our public forum where experts from CEE and our global networks are invited to share their insights, experiences, commentaries and research on global energy industry, market and policy developments.

You can expect to find stimulating pieces on all aspects of the oil, gas and power value chains, from development and financing challenges facing energy projects to policy analysis, from energy sector reform to environmental considerations, from economic regulation to emerging conventional and alternative energy technologies, and much more. You can also send in your feedback to authors.

~ Center for Energy Economics Team

 

 
CEE Think Corner Articles
» CEE 2010 Annual Meeting & Natural Gas Forum, with Oxford Institute for Energy Studies - Natural Gas Programme, November 30-December 1, 2010
»The Future Landscape of Energy Trading, Michelle M. Foss, Lee-Ken Choo, Gürcan Gülen & Bhamy Shenoy, June 2009
»REC Trading in Texas - Lessons Learned & Way Forward, Gürcan Gülen & Ruzanna Makaryan, June 2009
»CEE's Research on National Oil Companies (NOCs), Michelle Michot Foss & Miranda Ferrell Wainberg, December 2008
"Tightening grip" of Gazprom: a reality check,
Dmitry Volkov, November 2008
» A Comment on LNG Regasification Optionality,
Mariano Gurfinkel & Michelle Michot Foss, May 2008
» Supporting Biofuels: A Case Study on the Law of Unintended Consequences?
Gürcan Gülen & Bhamy Shenoy
January 2008
» Comment by Dr. Gurfinkel on the recently completed natural gas pipeline from Colombia to its eastern neighbor.
Published in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Energy Advisor -October 22-26, 2007
» Canada and Alberta Natural Resource Development Issues
Papers and presentations of the University of Alberta MBA Students

»Comment by Dr. Gurfinkel on the South American gas pipeline network project
Published in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Energy Advisor - January 31, 2007

» Alternative energy in the world and India - Is it the end of the oil age? ~ Dr. Bhamy V. Shenoy
» CEE Think Day on Mexican Energy Post-election, with Dr. Ernesto Marcos, October 6, 2006
» A Brief Update on Venezuela
» What should India's long term refining strategy be? ~Dr. Bhamy Shenoy, Dr. Gürcan Gülen
» CEE Think Day on Canadian Energy - March 9, 2006
» Highlights of the Energy Bill~ Shirley Neff
» History of MTBE legislation ~ Shirley Neff
» NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas CFTC Open Interest Report as of May 31, 2005 ~ J. Paul Roberts
» NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas CFTC Open Interest Report as of May 17, 2005 ~ J. Paul Roberts
» NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas CFTC Open Interest Report as of May 3, 2005 ~ J. Paul Roberts
» NYMEX Henry Hub Natural Gas CFTC Open Interest Report as of April 26, 2005 ~ J. Paul Roberts
» The Evolution of Natural Gas Markets ~ J. Paul Roberts
» How Many Regulators Do We Need? ~ Dr. Michelle M. Foss
» An Introduction to Development in Alberta's Oil Sands ~ Rob Engelhardt and Marius Todirescu
» Forest Fragmentation - Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alberta Forests, by Thomas Braun and Stephen Hanus
» The Aboriginal Role in the Development of Albertan Oil and Gas Reserves, by Sherry Norton and Shelley Zwicker
» The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, by Robert Huston and Ashish George Sam
» Book Review: Encyclopedia of Energy, (6 volumes, Elsevier, 2004) ~ Rob Bradley
» A Commentary on Electricity Price Caps in California ~ Gürcan Gülen
» Venezuela: Apertura Gas Natural? ~ Miranda Ferrell
» Resource Adequacy and Capacity Schemes ~ Gürcan Gülen
 
 
 
 
 

 

Midstream & Long Term Impacts of Price Spikes
April 2014

 

 

The midstream and the winter of discontent: what do the price spikes mean for the long-term? See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

A 40 TCF Market?
February 2014

 

 

A high case scenario with implications from CEE analysis. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

Is U.S. LNG Competitive?
February 2014

 

 

Our views on potential LNG value chain costs. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

North, South, Texas, and the Rest

CEE 2013 Annual Meeting:
Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
December 4-5, 2013

 

 

CEE's annual meeting for 2013 focused on North American energy issues as a platform for linking past CEE research in this arena with new questions and debates. The conference brought together leading and provocative viewpoints on the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. energy situations, as well as perspectives from abroad as U.S. energy output and trade impact global flows and trigger rethinking about possible outcomes. CEE activities and publications during 2014 will reflect many of the themes introduced during the December conference, ranging from economic impacts of U.S. and North American energy production and utilization to perspectives on infrastructure advancement and continental and global trade flows.

December 4

9:00- 10:00am: Welcome and Introductions: "What Keeps Me up at Night" Annual Brainstorming
Michelle Michot Foss, CEE

 

10:15- 12:15pm: North: "O[h] Canada!"

 
  • Robert Skinner, Kimacal/CSEE/U Calgary/CEE Global Advisors
  • download
  • John Foran, Director/Directeur, Oil & Gas Policy & Regulatory Affairs Division/Division des politiques et des affaires reglementaires du pétrole et du gaz NRCan/RNCan
  • download
  • Ian Duncan, BEG, Scientist- Earth Systems and Environment
    (Note that article for download appeared in the journal Water, August 2013.  While it is directed to Australian unconventional resources many of the considerations discussed during the CEE annual meeting are addressed.)
  • download
  • Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist/Program Manager-CEE, review of past CEE research, North American Energy Integration

  • download

    12:15- 1:30pm: Texas: "Miles and Miles..."

     
  • FRBD-Houston Welcome – Daron Peschel, Vice President in Charge
  •  
  • Introductions, Eric Potter, Assistant Director-Energy, BEG
  •  
  • Honorable Susan Combs, Comptroller of Public Accounts, State of Texas
  •  
  • Bill Gilmer, UH Center for Regional Forecasting
  • download
  • Gürcan Gülen, Senior Energy Economist-CEE; Michelle Michot Foss; Deniese Palmer-Huggins, Senior Energy Advisor-CEE; Xinya Zhang, Post-doctoral Researcher-CEE: midstream/industrial research and economic effects
  • download

    3:30-5:30pm: The Rest: "Global Energy Views"

     
  • Marianne Kah, Chief Economist, ConocoPhillips, U.S. oil production and exports
  • download
  • Lou Pugliaresi/Ben Montalbano, EPRINC, U.S. exports and Asian demand
  • download
  • Jonathan Stern, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, European gas pricing
  • download
  • Howard Rogers, OIES, global LNG
  • download
  • Jim Henderson, OIES, Russia Gas
  • download
  • Deniese Palmer-Huggins, Michelle Michot Foss, CEE: U.S. oil and gas export regulatory pathway (joint work with EPRINC)
  • download
    download

    6:30-8:00pm: CEE Donor/Advisors Dinner

     
  • Vicky Bailey, BHMM Energy Services, CEE Global Advisors
  •  
       

    December 5

     

    9:00-11:00am: South: "México Lindo y Querido"

     
  • Ernesto Marcos, Marcos y Asociados/CEE Global Advisors
  • download
  • Miriam Grunstein, CIDE
  • download
  • CEE: Mexico views and worldwide upstream regimes
  •  

    11:15-2:00pm: "Up at Night" Workshop

     
  • Gürcan Gülen, CEE, gas-power research
  • download
  • Ed Kelly, CEE Analytics/Modeling Advisors, commentary
  •  
  • Charles Rossmann,Southern Company, corporate planning perspective: “System 1 and 2” thinking and corporate strategic challenges
  •  
  • Facilitation assistance – Les Deman and Don Knope, CEE Analytics and Modeling Advisors
  •  
    Adjourn  
       

    BEG/CEE Personnel for Meeting:
    Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist/Program Manager, CEE
    Gürcan Gülen, Senior Energy Economist, Research Associate/Research Scientist
    Xinya Zhang, Post-doctoral Researcher
    Deniese Palmer- Huggins, Senior Energy Advisor
    Miranda Ferrell Wainberg, Senior Energy Advisor
    Kristin Batres, Administrative Assistant/Coordinator
    Isis Gaber, UT Post-baccalaureate Researcher
    Eric Potter, BEG Associate Director – Energy
    Ian Duncan, BEG, Scientist-Earth Systems and Environment

    CEE Advisory Councils:
    Vicky Bailey, BHMM
    Hal Chappelle, Alta Mesa
    Les Deman, Consultant
    Juan Eibenschutz, CNSNS-Mexico
    Herman Franssen, Energy Intelligence Group
    Bill Gilmer, University of Houston
    Luis Giusti, Center for Strategic and International Studies
    Ed Kelly, IHS Energy
    Dave Knapp, EIG
    Don Knop, Consultant
    Ernesto Marcos, Marcos y Asociados
    Rae McQuade, North American Energy Standards Board
    Ed Morse, Citibank
    Bob Skinner, Canadian School for Energy & Environment
    Bruce Stram, Element Markets
    Terence Thorn, Consultant

    We thank our donors:

     

    A Special Think Day: Mid-Year Review
    Building Out the New Oil, Gas, and Power Value Chains


     

     

    Getting to Specifics from the Big Picture:
    A Research Forum for Energy Futures and Strategies
    June 7, 2013

    Michelle Michot Foss, Ph.D.
    Chief Energy Economist and Head

    Forum Agenda

     

     

    June 7

    Welcome and Update: CEE's analytics/modeling program goals and objectives
    Michelle Michot Foss, CEE

    Unconventional Resource Assessment

    BEG's Sloan Foundation Study Update and Release
    Eric Potter, BEG Associate Director/Energy, John Browning, and Gürcan Gülen
    download
    download

    Upstream Attainment

     
    Producer Challenges and Benchmarking- 2012 update and look ahead
  • Observations from IEA-WEO Tight Oil workshop, Paris April 30
  • Michelle Michot Foss, CEE & Miranda L. Wainberg
    download

    Midstream

     

    Midstreram Attainment, Operator Challenges, Market Implications
    Michelle Michot Foss, CEE & Deniese Palmer-Huggins

    download
    Luncheon brainstorming- reactions to morning session
  • Observations from LNG 17
  • Michelle Michot Foss, CEE
    Electric Power Review and Discussion  
    Gas use in power: New results from research on resource adequacy in Texas and other power sector issues
    Gürcan Gülen, BEG/CEE & Michael Soni
    download
    Hot Topic: Electricity Demand- Growing or Not?
    Open Discussion

    Monitoring U.S./Global Oil and Gas: National Oil Company Upstream Cost Structure and Implications of Lower Oil Prices
    Michelle M. Foss, Miranda Wainberg
    January 2013

     

     

    Do the shifting views on U.S. oil and gas supply and "energy independence" make sense given the prevailing cost structure embedded in the global oil industry? What are the constraints and reality checks? On the optimistic side, what are some "paradigm busters" that could accelerate a re-shaping of the global cost curve? And how would such an eventuality – abundant, lower cost, cheaper oil – sit with the very strong, almost cultural, push away from fossil fuels that has been unfolding over the past decades? A dramatic scale up in liquid hydrocarbon supply supported by an historic reduction in cost and with distinct benefits in lower price and energy affordability would challenge core assumptions ranging from climate to the notions of "peak oil". These are provocative ideas, certainly, and may have some real probability (as yet undefined) of being realized. Such a major shift in reality and strong departure from established norms would pose direct consequences to a prominent segment of the global oil and gas industry – national oil companies (NOCs). NOCs, either wholly- or partially-owned by their sovereign governments, command the larger share of global oil proved reserves (about two-thirds). They are the gatekeepers to reserves and resources that are converted to production to meet daily global needs. In this research note, we present early results from our updated benchmarking of NOC costs for a limited sample of the best reporting NOCs. Our bottom line – an average, weighted breakeven cost of $83-100 per barrel for NOCs in this sample – suggests either substantial adjustments ahead for these organizations and their governments or a reality check on what can be achieved and expected for global oil supply and prices going forward. See the article for details. Contact CEE.

     

    A Primer on The Resource Adequacy Debate in Texas
    Gürcan Gülen
    January 2013

     

     

    What is the concern? Texas population and economy has been growing fast, fueling significant growth in demand for electricity. Some are concerned about the ability of the competitive electricity market to provide sufficient incentives for investors to build enough generation capacity and/or consumers to reduce consumption when needed (during hot summer afternoons) so that the Texas economy have enough electricity to continue to grow at a healthy pace. The extremely hot summer of 2011 enhanced these concerns; on August 3, 2011 when a new record for electricity consumption in Texas was set, the grid operator, ERCOT, had to cut power to large industrial users, most of whom volunteered to provide such demand response services in exchange for some compensation, and procured emergency power from neighboring grids. Otherwise, operations were mostly normal and in summer of 2012, there were no similar extreme conditions. See the article for details.

    In this primer, we provide easy-to-understand answers to most commonly asked questions and potential points of confusion. As the debates are ongoing, we look forward to feedback and updates to incorporate into this primer. Contact CEE.

     

    BEG/CEE-UT 2012 Annual Meeting & Forum
    with The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies - Natural Gas Research Programme

     

     

    Friends, Romans (or whatever), Country (people)!

    Views from the BEG/CEE 2012 Annual Meeting and Forum
    December 5-6, 2012, Houston, Texas
    In collaboration with
    The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies-Natural Gas Research Programme

    Michelle Michot Foss, Ph.D.
    Chief Energy Economist and Head

    We thank our donors:

    Forum Agenda

     

     

    DECEMBER 5

    "What Keeps Me Up at Night"-Year Ahead Brainstorming
    Michelle Michot Foss, CEE

    download

    Upstream Economics Review and Discussion

     
    BEG's Study on Shale Gas, Sloan Foundation
    Scott Tinker, BEG Director and Eric Potter, BEG Associate Director/Energy
    download
    Outlook for Oil & Gas Taxes and Tas Reform
    Deborah Byers, Ernst & Young
    NOC Cost Benchmarks and Global Oil Market Implications
    CEE
    download

    "That Vision Thang"

     
    Midstream, Trading, Money and Other Adventures in Building a Natural Gas Future
    Dana Grams
    download

    Midstream/Downstream Review and Discussion

     

    The Great Natural Gas Flow Reversal of 2015. What Goes East Goes West? What Goes North...???
    Rusty Braziel, RBN Energy

    download

    Industrial Demand for Natural Gas and Liquids
    Ken Bromfield, Dow Chemical

    download

    Midstream/Downstream Developments and National/Regional Economic Impacts and Effects
    CEE

    download

    Oxford Institute for Energy Studies Launch, The Pricing of Internationally Traded Gas
    Jonathan Stern & Anouk Honore, OIES Natural Gas Research Programme

    DECEMBER 6
    Electric Power and Gas-Power Linkages Review and Discussion  
    The Issues, Questions, and Analysis of Texas Resource Adequacy, CEE Research on Gas-Power Integration
    Gürcan Gülen, BEG/CEE
    download
    ERCOT and National Electric Power Industry Context
    Tom Allen, Joel Elkins, Rhenshi Zhang, GdF SUEZ North America
    President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future
    Vicky Bailey, BHMM Energy Services and CEE Advisory Board

    download

    Global Upstream Developments
    Luis Giusti, CSIS Senior Advisor and CEE Advisory Board

    Monitoring U.S./Global Oil and Gas: Upstream Attainment, Producer Challenges
    Michelle M. Foss, Miranda Wainberg
    June 2012

     

     

    This research note includes an update of CEE’s producer cost benchmarking with a focus on U.S. oil and gas, and especially conditions in the U.S. natural gas marketplace.  CEE research continues to support a roughly $6/MMBtu cost structure; U.S. producers continue to achieve some capital cost reductions for full, breakeven finding and development but cash costs have grown, a consistent trend over the longer term.  Several issues are identified for CEE’s continuing work including: upstream costs and reserves in the face of soft natural gas prices; oil and gas taxes; and commodity price risk.  Uncertain global economic views are encroaching on crude oil prices, with broad implications.  CEE researchers are updating our national oil company benchmarks to gauge potential worldwide risks. See the article for details of our analysis and let us have your feedback.

    Contact CEE.

    Persistent Puzzles in Commodity Markets: Factors Impacting Oil Price
    Gürcan Gülen, Michelle M. Foss
    June 2012

     

     

    In this brief review, we identify the factors affecting the price of oil and discuss their interactions and impact based on existing literature and expert opinion (a detailed Appendix on the impact of speculation and an extensive list of works cited are also provided). The oil market is global, highly liquid and fungible but very complex; there are numerous global factors with the potential to impact the price of oil significantly at any given point in time and these factors are quite dynamic. The empirical literature provides strong evidence of struggles to capture this dynamic complexity; researchers using different methodologies; different data sets and time periods and focusing on different aspects (or factors) can find support for alternative hypotheses or reach quite different conclusions even if testing the same hypotheses. An important constraint is the lack of reliable, timely, publicly available data from (i) the fastest growing segment of the world oil marketplace, i.e., emerging economies led by China, and (ii) positions of heterogeneous traders in the oil derivatives market, especially on over the counter (OTC) transactions. The ancient parable from India (often used for economists like us) about blind men touching different parts of an elephant and offering conflicting descriptions based on their individual perspectives seems to apply.

    Results of investigation with partial funding from U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    Contact CEE.

    Tapping America's Unconventional Oil Resources for Job Creation and Affordable Domestic Energy
    Michelle M. Foss, testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology
    April 2012

     

     

    "Michelle Michot Foss, chief energy economist and head of the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, said the US keeps having to relearn the same lesson: “We have a rich resource endowment, and a nimble, inventive, and deep industry bench.” Companies and investors respond quickly whenever supply-demand conditions send an attractive price signal that suggests imbalance, she explained." See the rest of the Oil & Gas Journal coverage of the hearing. See the full text of Dr. Foss' testimony.

    Contact CEE.

    U.S. Gas-Power Linkages: Building Future Views
    Gürcan Gülen, David Bellman, Michelle M. Foss
    February 2012

     

     

    This Think Corner research note expands on and explains the analysis presented during the December 8 morning session of our Annual Meeting.  We present a first pass from CEE's analytics platform and an approach for investigating complex interactions associated with natural gas in the electric power mix, including natural gas fuel price, environmental regulations, and other considerations.  The U.S. power sector currently consumes more than seven tcf of gas but it can more than double this amount in another ten years. See the full article for details of our scenarios and analysis. Our future research plans are outlined.  We invite participation!

    Contact CEE.

    Eeekonomics: BEG/CEE-UT 2011 Annual Meeting & Forum
    with The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies - Natural Gas Research Programme

     

     

    “What Keeps Me Up at Night”

    Views from the BEG/CEE 2011 Annual Meeting and Forum
    “Eeekonomics”, December 7-8, 2011, Houston, Texas
    In collaboration with
    The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies-Natural Gas Research Programme

    Michelle Michot Foss, Ph.D.
    Chief Energy Economist and Head

    Counting Sheep, and Other Bedtime Stories

    Each year since 1995, the CEE research team has held our annual meeting in combination with a forum that provides critical input to and feedback on our research direction and outputs.  Over the years, our forums have captured the marked patterns and trends in U.S. and international energy fuel and technology developments.  Political shifts have driven policy and regulatory stances worldwide.  Energy markets are nothing if not dynamic, which makes research, analysis, and communication that much more demanding and important.  Since 1995, we’ve seen, and discussed:

    • Two U.S. natural gas supply bubbles (this for a resource that, in the 1970s, was thought to be close to extinction) and one very persistent, very stubborn oil price cycle (with no prognosis for a long term mean);
    • Sharp views and disagreements on commodity price volatility;
    • Ways in which governments can both open and close access to resources, sometimes simultaneously, and make or break markets, also sometimes simultaneously;
    • Harsh, unforgiving tests of investment strategies and both creation and destruction of energy business models across the value chains; and
    • Paradigms formed and demolished, some demolished paradigms resurrected, and ones that never die off (even though they should).

    Within this frame of reference, we asked for and collected input from our annual meeting delegates in response to the simple, if parochial, question of “what keeps me up at night?”  Our goal was to elicit the collective wisdom of the crowd to guide our own research strategy going forward.  The information and discussion was so rich and frank that we decided to paraphrase results into this research note. Read the full article for the views of forum participants and our interpretations.

    Forum Agenda

     

     

    DECEMBER 7

    BEG Oil and Gas Geoscience and CEE’s Role

     

    Unconventional Energy Research
    Eric Potter, Associate Director, BEG

    download
    STARR Oil and Gas Program Overview
    Bill Ambrose, STARR Energy Leader, BEG
    download

    Upstream, Gas, and Global Flows

     
    CEE Upstream Economics and U.S. Gas Markets and Midstream, Issues Overview
    Michelle Michot Foss & Miranda Wainberg, CEE
    download
    The Surge and Impact of North American Unconventional Gas
    Ed Schneider & Mike Juden, McKinsey & Company
    download

    Reactions and Comments - Ed Kelly, Wood Mackenzie

     
    An Irresistible Force and An Immovable Object: The Transition to Hub Pricing in European Long Term Contracts
    Jonathan Stern, OIES Natural Gas Research Programme
    download

    Future Gas Supply & Pricing: The Importance of Asian Demand and North American Suppy
    Howard Rogers,OIES Natural Gas Research Programme

    download
    Geopolitics  

    Mexico's Oil E&P Trends
    Luis Miguel Labardini, Marcos y Asociados

    download
    DECEMBER 8
    Gas/Power - Framing the Analysis  
    What Keeps me Up at Night
    Mike Gent,Vice Chairman, ERCOT Board
    download
    ERCOT: We Have a Problem Opportunity: Managing the Texas Electricity Market in Times of Uncertainty
    Brett Perlman, Vector Advisors
    download
    Gas-Power Linkages: Observations from Electricity Market Modeling
    Gürcan Gülen, CEE & David Bellman, CEE Advisor

    presentation

    research note

    A Short Tale from a Small Windy Island
    Howard Rogers,OIES Natural Gas Research Programme
    download
    Commentary: European Live Issues, Post-recession Demand
    Anouk Honore, OIES Natural Gas Research Programme
    download
    Demand Trends in Europe: Gas and Renewables in Spain; Questions on Denmark/Germany
    Anouk Honore, OIES Natural Gas Research Programme
    download
    The Very Big Picture
     
    The [Energy] Webs We Weave
    Michelle Michot Foss, CEE
    download

    The [Energy] Webs We Weave
    Michelle M. Foss
    November 2011

     

     

    Energy customers, consumers, end users have multiple choices of fuel or technology options.  Or do we?

    We expect to move seamlessly from one form of energy to another for our daily and quality of life needs, to fuel our economies, provide our basic materials, and satisfy other values and priorities, like reducing greenhouse gases (GHG).  But can we?

    In fact, comprehending the full range of considerations inherent in making energy choices is far from easy.  Each and every form of useful energy is delivered to end users through long and complex chains of supply-to-end-use activities.  Every useful energy fuel and technology bears inherent risks.  We may not, almost certainly do not, know what the inherent risks are for alternative fuels and technologies because these options have never constituted a large enough share of energy supply to attract significant scrutiny.  (When that does happen, controversies can erupt – witness large hydroelectric power and biofuels for example.)  When it comes to energy-environment “tradeoffs”, i.e., the balance we think we need to achieve between our energy necessities and environmental protection and preservation, perception and reality on tradeoffs is particularly complex.  Often the full supply-to-end-use chains are ignored.  We worry a great deal about environmental “externalities” – environmental costs associated with producing and using different forms of energy that may not be fully captured in market price.  We rarely, if ever, talk about “positive” externalities, benefits that are created and not measured.  When it comes to the socioeconomic dimension – how energy projects affect host communities, impact local economies, and so on – “perception” and “reality” can merge quite rapidly and in chaotic ways. [download full article] [play the Energy Web slide show] [play the Oil & Money Conference presentation by Dr. Foss]

    Contact CEE

    Government support for energy technologies and green jobs
    Gürcan Gülen
    November 2011

     

     

    Recent news on the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar manufacturer that received more than $500 million from the Department of Energy has attracted a lot of attention.  Most of the criticism, however, is misplaced.  The issue is not so much whether the federal government should be in the business of supporting technology research and development but it is rather whether the federal support should be picking winners based on the idea that “green jobs” can pull the U.S. out of the economic doldrums.  After all, federal support for R&D led to many of the widespread technologies we take for granted today, including the internet.  Also, one failed project out of 38 projects supported since 2009 and $535 million out of $35.9 billion is not a bad batting average for R&D support.

    More relevant is the scalability and commercial sustainability of the projects that did not go bankrupt.  How large of an impact can they be expected to have?  Can they survive in globally competitive markets?  Only if these two questions are answered in the affirmative, significant positive economic impacts can be expected.

    Promotion of clean energy options based on job creation prospects, albeit politically very appealing, takes away from the focus on potential benefits of these options: improving efficiency, reducing negative environmental impacts and contributing to energy security.  All of these are legitimate aspects of our energy options that require transparent, scientific and rigorous ‘cradle-to-grave’ evaluation against the fundamental decision criteria of Btus per dollar spent and reliability. [download full article]

    Contact CEE

    Think Day on Canadian Oil Sands and Keystone PipeLine with Andrew Stephens, former Executive Vice President, Suncor Energy
    October 31, 2011

     

     

    Held in cooperation with the Consulate General of Canada (Dallas) and Houston Consul, and the World Energy Council, the October 31 event focused on Canada’s crucial role as America’s lead trading partner for crude oil imports.  Mr. Stephens provided an update us on Suncor’s development activities.  Participants engaged in a lively discussion of the myriad issues surrounding the Keystone Pipeline, including input from public meetings held by the U.S. Department State presented by Ms. Evan Shoop Taranta, Consumer Energy Alliance.  [link to Suncor presentation]

    CEE 2010 Annual Meeting and Natural Gas Forum
    with Oxford Institute for Energy Studies - Natural Gas Programme

     

     

    On November 30-December 1, 2010 CEE held our annual meeting and forum focused on natural gas.  Oxford Institute for Energy Studies-Natural Gas Programme (OIES-NGP), directed by long time colleague Professor Jonathan Stern collaborated in the event.  Our annual meeting and forum are designed to help us focus our ongoing research, share ideas and obtain peer input.  A diverse mix of CEE and OIES-NGP personnel, scientists from our UT and BEG home programs and industry and practitioner viewpoints were captured.  Highlights included:

    • The changing scene for natural gas in Europe with broader implications for North American and global markets.  Discussions touched on whether pricing schemes for contracted gas and LNG supplies might shift away from crude oil, the complex political and market dimensions created by electric power grid integration of renewables and associated European Union targets.
    • Balancing renewables and affects on the electric power generation fleet and grids in the U.S. also were a hot topic.  Volatility, cost, efficiency of thermal generation units (both gas and coal) were all explored within the context of myriad renewable portfolio standards and debate about a national RPS.
    • The role of science in understanding and mitigating air and water quality concerns, and how to improve public information.  Research at UT provided the platform for a wide ranging and thought provoking conversation on proposed new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx); on air emissions from natural gas industry operations; and on water use and protection of drinking water quality during natural gas drilling and production.
    • Natural gas supply, including the status of LNG import facilities and commodity market issues.  Topics that were explored included whether natural gas and crude oil prices will remain de-linked; fundamental drivers for oil and gas prices including domestic production sources and costs and the changing natural gas customer mix; role of trading and U.S. policies that impact commodity markets.

    On the evening of November 30 CEE and Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), with support from America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) hosted a viewing of the movie Haynesville.  More information about Haynesville can be found at http://www.haynesvillemovie.com/.  For information about CEA go to http://consumerenergyalliance.org/ and for information on ANGA go to http://www.anga.us/.

    CEE thanks all participants in our forum for allowing us to share their presentation materials in the public domain.  Please contact us at energyecon@beg.utexas.edu if you have questions regarding our annual meeting and forum.

    CEE is an independent, objective, university-based research center which interacts with a wide range of government, business and independent organizations to better understand critical energy issues and further awareness of energy economics.

    Forum Agenda [download]

    NOVEMBER 30 - GLOBAL TO LOCAL

    European Gas, Global Implications
    Jonathan Stern, OIES Natural Gas Programme

    download

    What is This Stuff Really Worth?
    Edward M. Kelly, Wood Mackenzie

    download
    Environmental Issues, Public Acceptance?  
    Water Issues in the Natural Gas Industry
    Jean-Philippe Nicot, Bureau of Economic Geology
    download
    Air and GHG Emissions
    David Allen, UT Chemical Engineering
    download
    Marketing Natural Gas 101: The Four P's of Marketing
    Mary Usovicz, Repsol Energy North America/Canaport LNG
    download
    Public Process
    David Holt, Consumer Energy Alliance
     
    Social Issues in Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Communities
    Rob Wasserstrom and Sue Reider, Terra Group
    download
    DECEMBER 1 - MARKETS & TRENDS  
    Gas and Renewables – Continuing Debate
    Renewable Technologies &RPS Programs
    Gürcan Gülen, CEE-UT
    download
    Gas and Renewables: Policies, Integration, and Costs
    Ross Baldick, UT Cockrell School of Engineering
    download
    The Unintended Consequences of Wind Generation
    Brannin McBee, Bentek Energy Services
    download
    European Market Trends: Gas & Renewables
    Anouk Honoré, OIES Natural Gas Programme
    download
    10 Market Issues to Ponder
    Edward L. Morse, Credit Suisse
    download
    Supply Cost Structure, LNG and Commodity Market Issues
    EIA Markets Initiative
    Michelle Michot Foss, CEE-UT
    download
    What Drives Natural Gas Prices
    Mine Yucel, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
    download
    Observations & Musings on the Short and Long Term U.S. Gas Market
    Les Deman, President, Les Deman Energy Consulting

    download
    Shale Gas Plays: Development, Economics, and the Future
    Rick Smead, Director, Navigant Consulting Energy Practice
    download

     

    The Future Landscape of Energy Trading
    Michelle M. Foss, Lee-Ken Choo, Gürcan Gülen & Bhamy Shenoy
    June 2009

     

     

    Who trades energy commodity derivatives and why do they trade? These seemingly simple questions beg answers as we continue to research and analyze energy commodity market performance during the past few years. Essential drivers of crude oil and natural gas spot and futures prices reflect current and expected conditions in supply–demand balances and associated inventory levels, as well as key basis differentials related to shifting geographies and distances (location of supply sources relative to demand and changes in demand), variations in quality and so on. Increasingly, price levels of energy commodities reflect other variables such as the relative value of currencies (the dollar against other denominations) and returns derived in other financial markets (equities, bonds and other interest bearing instruments), cognizant of inflation expectations. Finally, the question of “who trades” raises the issue of speculation, and whether some market participants are engaging in side bets and/or whether energy commodities markets are attracting participants that have no vested interest in the physical commodities businesses. That is, are there market participants seeking returns from energy commodity derivatives purely for gains in financial portfolios? If so (and the answer is certainly “yes”) what are the consequences...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    REC Trading in Texas - Lessons Learned and Way Forward
    Gürcan Gülen & Ruzanna Makaryan
    June 2009

     

     

    More than half of the states in the U.S. (as of May 2009) have been supporting the expansion of renewable energy via mandates or requirements, known as Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). Currently, the U.S. Congress is working on a federal version with several bills under discussion. Existing state-level mandatory RPS programs are estimated to cover 46% of total electricity sales in the U.S. (programs announced by the end of 2007). About 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable capacity is needed by 2025 to comply with the mandates. This requirement translates into an estimated 4.7% of total U.S. sales in 2025, and 15% of demand growth between 2007 and 2025...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    CEE's Research on National Oil Companies (NOCs)
    Michelle Michot Foss & Miranda Ferrell Wainberg
    December 2008

     

     

    In 2007, CEE released a working paper titled Commercial Frameworks for National Oil Companies authored by Ms. Wainberg, Dr. Michot Foss and Mr. Dmitry Volkov . That paper encompassed initial thinking and logic for evaluating operating and financial performance of national oil companies (NOCs), given their prominence in global oil and gas supply and their unique positions in global oil and gas industry organization. In 2008, CEE initiated cooperation with the World Bank on a longer term study effort. The first releases from the World Bank program are now available...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    "Tightening grip" of Gazprom: a reality check
    Dmitry Volkov
    November 2008

     

     

    A great deal of hyperbole permeates the trade and general press when it comes to Gazprom's outbound investments. A more sober look at Gazprom activities abroad produces another picture -- the advent of Russian foreign direct investment in activities considered to be core, strategic businesses has taken at least a decade just to be launched.

    Gazprom has tried to engage in exploration and production projects abroad since the mid-1990's, yet there is only one major project currently in the production phase -- a 30 percent share in South Pars 2 and 3 in Iran initiated in 2001 (Shakhpakhty field in Uzbekistan, another producing venture abroad, holds about 9 bcm of reserves and is insignificant in terms of production volumes - less than 0.5 bcm annually)...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    A Comment on LNG Regasification Optionality
    Mariano Gurfinkel & Michelle Michot Foss
    May 2008

     

     

    Liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification capacity utilization has increased in the United States during the last decade. In recent years it has also showed marked variations throughout the year. The ratio between the highest observed natural gas sendout and the lowest surpassed 5 in 2007. This short note attempts to provide a first order explanation to the variation in capacity utilization...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    Supporting Biofuels: A Case Study on the Law of Unintended Consequences?
    Gürcan Gülen & Bhamy Shenoy
    January 2008

     

     

    Biofuels have been gaining new prevalence in recent years. There are primarily three reasons for this new popularity:
    •  the search for substitutes to oil that is becoming more expensive to develop and is geopolitically riskier;
    •  the desire to lower emissions; and
    •  support for agricultural sectors, especially in the developing countries.

    These are the same reasons that led to previous rush to biofuels in the 1970s...[download full article]

    ~ Contact CEE

    Comment by Dr. Gurfinkel on the recently completed natural gas pipeline from Colombia to its eastern neighbor.
    Published in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Energy Advisor -October 22-26, 2007

     

     

    "In recent years, Colombia has adjusted its institutional and commercial frameworks to make them more attractive for new investments in the hydrocarbon sector. This positive development has allowed Colombia to avert an energy crisis and increase production from its modest hydrocarbon resources. This situation contrasts with Colombia's eastern neighbor's significant hydrocarbon endowment but whose uncertain fiscal regime and unattractive pricing formulas have led to insufficient supply of natural gas used for power generation and pressure maintenance in oil reservoirs. The former has led to frequent power outages and the latter to irreversible damage to oil producing reservoirs.
    The completed pipeline attempts to bring natural gas production from Colombia to its eastern neighbor, who financed the project. When announcing the pipeline, the investment was stipulated to be slightly more than $210 million. As the project progressed, the cost was updated to $330 million. Not surprisingly, final costs were disclosed to be more than $467 million, more than a 100% cost overrun. Notwithstanding the higher cost, the project still makes sense.
    To conclude, the promise of the future reversal of gas flow is also uncertain; natural gas for the pipeline will likely only originate in Colombia for the foreseeable future. It is unfortunate that only a small portion of the vast natural gas resources of the "Gran Colombia" will be produced and eventually reach consumers."

    ~ Contact CEE

    Canada and Alberta Natural Resource Development Issues
    Papers and presentations of the University of Alberta MBA Students

     

     

    In February 2007, CEE hosted a group of the University of Albert MBA students, specializing in Natural Resource and Energy, to Texas. The students visited with the CEE, and met with energy companies and law firms, visited the Railroad Commission of Texas and The University of Texas at Austin. As part of the visit, students prepared and presented their research papers on various issues of natural resource development in Canada, and particularly in Alberta. Papers and presentations slides are available for download below.

    Canadian Petroleum Growth and Development
    Kaleem Shakir, Mohammed Riaz and Jacob Oommachan
    February, 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Alberta Royalty Structure: Overview and Challenges for the Future
    Jeff Shaughnessy, Jay Lines, Craig Simpson, Brad Wooley
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
    Nicole Hamm, Wilson Howe, Blair Jarvis, JohnPaul Portelli
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Water Use & Policy Challenges in Alberta
    Within the Context of Energy Development and Environmental Regulation

    Ernest Reason, Lingxiao Yang, Lisa Carey, Mengfei Zhao, Sorin Catalin Ciulei
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Nuclear Energy in the Oilsands: Part of the Solution, or the Problem?
    Jim Butler, Jason Hanzel, Greg Dearden, Aaron Rogers
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Canadian Renewable Energy Policy and the Evolution of Renewables in the Canadian Electricity Industry
    Sukhraj Batoo, Ginni Sangha, Gurpreet Purhar, Samir Rashid
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation]

    Project Management: Challenges & Lessons Learned
    Joseph Amalraj, Christine Hernani, Kelly Ladouceur, Aparna Verma
    February 2007
    [paper] [presentation

    ~ CEE

    Comment by Dr. Gurfinkel on the South American gas pipeline network project
    Published in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Energy Advisor - January 31, 2007

     

     

    "Brazil is adding competing components to its portfolio of natural gas supplies: continued imports from Bolivia , expanded domestic production, future LNG import capability, and now a pipeline from Venezuela . The main issue will be the pricing mechanism for the pipeline imports, which in the absence of alternative markets is complex and usually the result of direct negotiations between the parties ( e.g. , Bolivia and Petrobras) ... From the perspective of Venezuela, the development of the resources associated with the Gran Mariscal Sucre project, destined only for domestic consumption, had proven impossible. The project is not attractive to prospective partners if LNG exports or other markets are not incorporated. However, the partnership to develop the resource between PDVSA and Petrobras, with each company owning its share of production, allows for the development of the resource for partial domestic consumption (in Venezuela 's interest) and 'cheap' natural gas that could fill the pipeline (in Brazil 's interest). Opting for a pipeline outlet is deemed to be better than not developing the resource, but definitely far from the best option. I believe that only Phase 1 could move forward, given that it makes sense for Brazil , it mostly uses existing rights of way, and the financial obstacle is surmountable. Extending the pipeline south is doubtful, since it further destroys economic value to Venezuela , and at $27.5 billion the financial hurdle is too great!"

    The comment was printed in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Latin America Energy Advisor on January 31, 2007

    ~ CEE

    What should India's long term refining strategy be?

     

     

    During the last 30 years, with the exception of short periods following the two oil shocks of 73 and 79, investment in refineries has never been attractive in regions where market forces decided the product prices. Yet, the world was awash in excess refining capacity during most of this period. Utilization rates were less than 75% in most regions. Many of these refineries were built either for export purposes or energy security reasons. In 1980, there was 20 million barrels a day (BD), or roughly 30%, more refining capacity than the world demand for products. Starting in the early 1980s, North America and Europe lowered their excess capacity while improving their utilization rates. At the same time, refining capacity continued to expand in the Middle East and Asia.... More

    ~Dr. Bhamy Shenoy, Dr. Gürcan Gülen

    CEE Think Day on Canadian Energy - March 9, 2006

     

     

    CEE held a Special Think Day on Canadian Energy. Click below to download Think Day agenda and speakers' presentation slides.

    Think Day Agenda

    Overview on key energy sector developments and issues in Canada
    Roland Priddle, Consultant, CEE International Advisory Board
    (Retired chair, NEB-Canada)

    Update on Atlantic Canada LNG projects
    Phil Ribbeck, Director, LNG North America, Repsol YPF

    Update on Canadian CBM

    Mr. Kin Chow, Chair, Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas and
    Vice President, CDX Canada

    Update on Alberta oil sands projects
    Dr. David Knapp, Energy Intelligence Group

    Fort McMurray and the AthabascaTar Sands -I250 years of a most unique history
    Mr. Gerald Westbrook, TSBV Consultants

    The event was sponsored by the Canadian Consulate General-Dallas and the Canadian Consulate General.

    ~ CEE

    Highlights of the Energy Bill - August 2, 2005

     

     

    On July 29, 2005, after a four and a half year odyssey, the Congress finally passed an energy bill and sent it to the President for his signature.  Shirley Neff offers a summary of some of the high profile and less high profile but significant issues addressed during the long debate... More (.pdf)

    ~ Shirley Neff, Center for Energy Marine Transportation and Public Policy, School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University

    History of MTBE legislation - August 2, 2005

     

     

    The Clean Air Amendments (CAAA) of 1990 established a rigid national standard for reformulated gasoline (RFG) that has resulted in far greater use of MTBE than would otherwise have occurred. Rather than accepting the performance standards for cleaner fuels proposed in a bi-partisan compromise, the Senate adopted an amendment requiring explicit reductions in toxics through the use of oxygenate. While the main purpose of the amendment was to expand the use of ethanol, it was well understood at the time that it would require a significant increase in the use of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). In fact, extensive debate and negotiations occurred to ensure MTBE could and would be used as well as ethanol to meet the mandate... More (.pdf)

    ~ Shirley Neff, Center for Energy Marine Transportation and Public Policy, School of International Public Affairs, Columbia University

    How Many Regulators Do We Need?

     

     

    In 1997, I published a commentary, How Many Regulators Do We Need? in Natural Gas.  The commentary was based on a 1995 study of the U.S. natural gas industry, restructuring, and state public utility regulatory oversight.  The conclusions and observations, viewed in the context of the current status of electricity restructuring in the U.S., are such that my commentary on regulation and regulators is re-published in Think Corner.

    ~ Dr. Michelle M. Foss

    Current Issues in Canadian Energy and Environment

     

     

    In February 2005, a group of University of Alberta MBA students, specializing in Natural Resources and Energy, visited Houston as part of their capstone course. The students were led by Professor Joseph Doucet. The visit to Houston introduced the students to the energy capital of the U.S., Canada's largest trading partner. As part of their course, the students produced research papers on four important topics that affect energy sector development in Canada, and particularly in Alberta.

    The oil sands found in northern Alberta represent an incredible resource that is enjoying a surge of development and promises to grow in the future and provide crude oil for Canadian and U.S. markets for years to come. The first paper presents an overview of this resource and describes some of the particularities and challenges of this resource. Download An Introduction to Development in Alberta's Oil Sands, by Rob Engelhardt and Marius Todirescu

    Alberta is blessed with vast quantities of resources, including petroleum, forests, as well as a beautiful natural environment. Challenges present themselves as we develop these resources and strive to maintain a balance between economic development and environmental protection. The second paper discusses specific impacts of oil and gas development on Alberta's forests, one of the challenges that we face. Download Forest Fragmentation – Effects of Oil and Gas Activities on Alberta Forests, by Thomas Braun and Stephen Hanus

    Another challenge in the development of Alberta's oil and gas reserves is to work with Canada's Aboriginal peoples, as is discussed in the third paper. This challenge mirrors similar issues in other parts of the world and highlights the need for open and transparent processes, consultation and a clear regulatory framework. Download The Aboriginal Role in the Development of Albertan Oil and Gas Reserves, by Sherry Norton and Shelley Zwicker

    The fourth paper discusses a forward-looking issue, namely the development of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. While not as large as potential resources in Alaska, Mackenzie gas will have a positive impact on North American gas markets. Download The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, by Robert Huston and Ashish George Sam

    ~ Dr. Joseph Doucet