Center for Energy Economics
October 23, 2017


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.

      New at THINK CORNER      

Current and Future Natural Gas Demand in China and India
April 2017

  U.S. Coal Plant Retirements
April 2017

  In recent years China and India have been viewed as potentially large markets for future natural gas consumption. In this paper we examine the historical drivers of natural gas demand in both countries and analyze the potential direction and impact of these drivers and possible new drivers on realizable natural gas demand in the future. As part of our analysis, we reviewed several public and private forecasts of natural gas demand in China and India in light of our demand driver analysis. We also compare the key features of both markets and discuss their possible impact on the future evolution.  

U.S. utilities have retired 45.6 GW of coal generation capacity since 2011 as a series of major environmental regulations brought unprecedented challenges to coal plants. Among the factors contributing to retirement decisions, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) appear to be the key driver. The pace of coal plant retirements slowed down after utilities invested in MATS compliance for 87 GW of existing coal capacity during 2015 and 2016. This snapshot is part of CEE’s Electric Power Research Forum, which focuses on the forces disrupting electric power markets. If you would like to become a forum member, please contact CEE.


    Other new research of interest

State versus Energy Policies, Technical Evolution, Minerals Supply Chains, Impacts on Consumer Prices, Capital Markets

CEE 2017 Mid-Year Meeting:
Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
June 1, 2017

CEE’s Mid-Year meeting, and other “think days” throughout the year, brought together a wide range of stakeholders in the realm of energy economics, and friends of CEE, for a no-holds-barred, confidential discussion about the future economics of key energy issues.
Click here to see the master slide deck  

8:30 a.m. Welcome & Overview

  • Evolution of "energy policy" in the U.S.: cheap energy to clean energy, to cheap energy vs. decarbonization; Federal vs. States
  • Gurcan Gulen, BEG/CEE
    Joseph Fontana, Ernst & Young
    9:15 a.m. Natural Gas Deliverability: At what price? For how long? Where?  
  • Bureau shale resource assessment, breakeven analysis, production outlooks, and cost drivers
  • Technology advances, efficieincy gains, oil price
  • John Browning, BEG
  • Producer financial health & capital markets: 2016 update on CEE Upstream Matters
  • Danny Quijano, BEG/CEE
  • Midstream: Update on CEE Midstream Research
  • Deniese Palmer-Huggins, BEG/CEE

    11:00 a.m. Natural Gas Demand

  • Power: Uncertainties (coal, nuclear, other) & CEE scenarios
  • Chen-Hao Tsai, BEG/CEE
  • Industrial: Updated CEE industrial projects database
  • Danny Quijano, BEG/CEE
  • Exports: LNG & pipelines
  • Guy Dayvault, Energy Deal Solutions
  • Global gas demand uncertainties: China & India
  • Miranda Wainberg, BEG/CEE
    12:00 Lunch - State policies, impact on wholesale & retail prices: the role of regulators Ken Rose, Consultant
    1:15 p.m. Electric Power  
  • Future of retail electricity markets
  • P.J. Popovic, Direct Energy
  • Understanding cost of electricity
  • Bulk market price formation & generator compensation: value attributes
  • Pat Wood
  • Generation sources, costs, financing, & decelopment
  • Decelopment cucle, finance, & timing of generation assets
  • Chris Micsak, HVLLC
  • Shortcomings of LCOE
  • Gurcan Gulen, BEG/CEE
  • Financial health of renewables companies & capital markets
  • Deniese Palmer-Huggins, BEG/CEE
    3:15 p.m. Economics of minerals resources  
  • Frac sand quality - Texas resources vs. Northern White sand
  • Lithium prospects and implications for batteries: Texas' produced water & Global mining
  • Rahul Verma, BEG
    4:00 p.m. Adjourn  

    Competitive Electricity Markets: What Future?
    March 2017

    The electric power industry has been going through yet another period of significant change, driven by a complex web of technological advances on both supplyand demand sides of the market. Commercial frameworks have been shifting: existing market structures—various forms of experimentation across states with competitive supply, delivery and pricing with regulatory oversight and regional independent grid manager rules—are not likely to be sustained. There has been wide‐spread coverage of many of the issues and uncertainties affecting electric power today; however, a holistic, historical, multi‐dimensional, and multi‐jurisdictional context is missing. This context is important as we consider what is achievable within the construct of competitive markets. See our new research note describing our views on market structures and what implications this has on the future of competitive electricity markets.

    U.S. Nuclear Power Reactors: At a Crossroads
    January 2017

    U.S. nuclear power plants have supplied roughly 20% of domestic electricity fairly consistently since 2001, running at an average capacity factor of 90%, and constituting the majority of emission-free generation. However, as reactors age, some experience higher costs, and some plant owners are deciding to retire older reactors prematurely under the pressure of low electricity prices. Many 60-year licenses will start expiring in the early 2020s; extending the life of these plants to 80 years might require large capital investments that are difficult to justify under current market conditions. We tested the retirement of 43 GW of nuclear capacity by 2025 with our dispatch modeling. You can find some of the impacts on CO2 emissions and gas burn for power generation in this snapshot. We also discuss state interventions to save nuclear plants and their implications for competitive electricity markets. This snapshot is part of our CEE’s Electric Power Research Forum, which focuses on the forces disrupting electric power markets. If you would like to become a forum member, please contact CEE.

    North American FracSand Consumption Will Grow with Drastic Shift in End Users
    January 2017

    How much sand will oil and gas producers need?  Looking ahead to expected drilling activity 2017-2018, expectations are that frac sand could be a factor affecting costs and speed of drilling response to commodity price moves.  While the industry has converged around premium white sand sourced mainly from Wisconsin, Texas “brown” can be used for many well locations.  Texas has abundant sand resources but supporting logistics are lacking.  For that matter, logistics – including both transportation and staging inventory for delivery to well sites – are likely to be a pressure point for drilling and completion cost management.  BEG’s Economic Minerals Program, in collaboration with CEE, initiates a look at the overall problem, opportunities for frac sand development in Texas, and the key considerations on cost and logistics. Click here to see our presentation.



    CEE 21st Annual Meeting:
    Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
    December 7-8, 2016

    CEE’s 2016 annual meeting, like many annual meetings before it, and other “think days” throughout the year, brought together a wide range of stakeholders in the realm of energy economics, and friends of CEE, for a no-holds-barred, confidential discussion about the future economics of key energy issues.

    Wednesday, December 7


    8:30 a.m. Welcome, agenda for annual meeting

  • Dr. Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist and Program Manager, BEG/CEE
  • For our 21st annual meeting and conference, we look ahead by working backward from the electric power burner tip with BEG/CEE research as the lens and the launch of our Electric Power Research Forum (EPRF) the context for investigation of key policy, regulatory and market drivers.
  • Deborah Byers, US Energy Market Segment Leader, Houston Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young

  • A Conversational Tour Through the Value Chains

    10:00 a.m. Electric Power Issues, Part 1 - "Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes." Moderator: Dr. Gurcan Gulen, Senior Energy Economist/Research Scientist, BEG/CEE

  • Colin Meehan, Director, Regulator and Public Affairs, First Solar
  • Daniel Crotzer, Storage Principal Consultant, Fractal Energy
  • Simon Greenberg, Enovation Partners
  • Dr. Chen-Hao Tsai, Senior Energy Economist/Research Associate, BEG/CEE
  • Terry Thorne, President, JKM Consulting
  • Download

    12:00 p.m. Politics Schmolitics: NIMTO and "Reagan's Law of Diminishing Returns," Dr. Foss, Moderator

  • Bob Skinner, KIMACAL Energy Strategies Ltd, Executive Fellow School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, CEE Global Advisor
  • Luis Giusti, Senior Advisor, CSIS
  • Lou Pugliaresi, President, EPRINC
  • Marc Spitzer, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson
  • Sheila Hollis, Partner, Duane Morris
  • Bill Gilmer, Director, Institute for Regional Forecasting, University of Houston, CEE Modeling/Analytics Advisor

  • Download

    1:45 p.m. Electric Power Issues, Part 2 - What Future for Competitice Markets? Dr. Gulen, Moderator

  • Paul Sotkiewicz, President, E-Cubed PolicyAssociates, LLC (former Chief Economist, PJM)
  • Rao Konidena, Principal Advisor, Policy Studies, MISO
  • Kelli Joseph, Director, Market & Regulatory Affairs New York, NRG Energy
  • Eric Schubert, Regulatory Affairs Advisor, BP Energy Company
  • Download

    4:00 p.m. Is the “Gas Bridge” Shovel Ready? And Other Thoughts on Gas (and Oil) Midstream, Downstream,
    Global Gas & LNG
    ; Dr. Foss, Moderator
  • Christopher Caswell, Director, LNG & FLNG, E&C, KBR
  • Barbara Shook, Senior Reporter-at-Large & Analyst, EIG
  • Ken Culotta, Partner, King & Spalding
  • Miranda Wainberg, BEG/CEE Senior Energy Advisor
  • Deniese Palmer-Huggins, BEG/CEE Senior Energy Advisor
    Presentation & Discussion: State of Play - Mexico; Luis Miguel Labardini, Partner, Marcos & Asociados Download

    Thursday, December 8

    8:30 a.m. Very Special Frameworks - Social Impact; Dr. Foss, Moderator  
  • Bob Skinner, President, KIMACAL Energy Strategies Ltd, Executive Fellow School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, CEE Global Advisor
  • Miriam Grunstein, President, Brilliant Energy Consulting/CEE Mexico Partner
  • Don Knop, Consultant, CEE Analytics.Modeling Advisor
  • Download

    10:45 a.m. Gas (and Oil) Upstream Realizations and Outlooks, Dr. Foss, Moderator  
  • Andrew Pizzi, Bernstein Research
  • Mike Kelly, Managing Director, Head of E&P Research, Seaport Global
  • Steve Pruett, President and CEO, Elevation Resources
  • John Oberg, Vice President-Business Development, Three Rivers Operating Company (3ROC)
  • Les Deman, President, Les Deman Consulting, CEE Analytics.Modeling Advisor
  • Luis Macias Chapa, MSA PRomotores Internacionales (former VP/Advisor, Pemex E&P)
  • Rahul Verma, BEG Research Scientist Associate
  • Download


    12:00 p.m. Back to the Future: Toyota's Transition; Rober Wimmer, Director, Energy & Environmental Research, Product Regulatory Affairs, Toyota Motor North America
    Watch Toyota's video Fueled by the Future
    1:30 Adjourn  

    Electric Vehicle Diffusion and Raw Materials Supply Chains
    November 2016

    CEE research on lithium value chains (see our April 2016 research note) continues with this snapshot as we present data on the growth of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicls (PHEV), the risks for battery manufacturing, battery specifications, and trade flow diagrams of global lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. Contact the CEE with your feedback at


    LNG Marine Fuel Applications
    November 2016

    The marine shipping industry is global in scale and scope with approximately 80 percent of global trade by volume and 70 percent of trade by value being transported by sea and handled by ports worldwide. The percentages are even higher in the case of most developing countries (IMO World Maritime Day, 2016). Marine shipping is a vital link in the global economy; its financial health is driven by the level of economic activity and growth in world trade. See our new Research Note to learn about marine shipping and the viability of LNG use as a fuel. Please contact the CEE staff at with comments or questions.


    Competitive Retail Electricity Market: Up Close in Connecticut
    September 2016

    Our latest investigation on the competitive retail electricity market, in collaboration with Professor Yi-Lin Tsai at University of Delaware, highlights the importance of utilizing both billed prices and corresponding consumer counts to evaluate the market, in addition to relying on traditional consumer migration metrics. With information of both billed prices and consumer count, we are able to quantity consumer welfare under retail electricity choice program. CEE with feedback at the following adress:


    LNG Supply Outlook 2016 to 2030 [full paper] & [Executive Summary]
    July 2016

    Noted LNG expert Andy Flower collaborated with CEE to provide his views on capacity expansion in liquefaction worldwide and implications for LNG supply-demand and trade. The full paper also incorporates considerations associated with lower oil, natural gas and delivered LNG prices as well as the rapidly changing commercial and contracting scene. Our executive summary and commentary covers the main conclusions and also some updates and developments since the full paper was completed. Read the full paper here or the executive summary here. Please let us know your thoughts at


    Outlooks on Natural Gas for Use in Power Generation
    April 2016

    The U.S. electricity industry is going through significant transformations with increasing penetration of renewable energy, cheap natural gas, stagnant load growth and new environmental regulations, among other factors.These changes have led to a record level of natural gas-fired electricity generation, but there are uncertainties going forward. We model 10 scenarios to capture some of these uncertainties: a more aggressive expansion of renewables, low and high natural gas price forecasts, lower load growth, and premature retirement of 43 GW of nuclear capacity. Click the link to see our results and let us know your thoughts at


    Battery Materials Value Chains
    April 2016

    This 30-page Research Note expands on the snapshot we released on November 2015 on battery materials. Our analysis indicates that 75% utilization rates at existing and upcoming facilities can satisfy expected demand for both lithium and cobalt in the short-term. However, high-growth scenarios require new capacity and/or higher rates of utilization. The influence of geopolitical risks, growth in other applications, and development of new applications could push demand in excess of production capacity. Government regulations in response to local interests, environmental concerns and future sustainability have influenced material supply in the past and may continue. While many factors could ease pressure for new production capacity, development of new applications like grid energy storage and use of lithium‐ion batteries in heavy vehicles have the potential to significantly increase demand beyond what is typically expected in the literature.Please email the CEE with feedback at the following adress:


    Is Midstream in Crisis?
    April 2016

    This is the next installment in our tracking of midstream sector. Events have mostly played out as we expected in our 2013 mid-year update. The value of MLPs dropped by about 40% in 2015 as a result of shrinking gas processing margins and other challenges. 11 companies have been downgraded as of October 2015; 13 companies are on negative watch with lower outlooks for midstream activity. We offer three scenarios in this snapshot: First, our “Live and Let Die” scenario in which MLPs are driven out of the midstream sector entirely; second, a middle ground scenario where the larger, better capitalized MLPs outlive the smaller, more vulnerable ones; and lastly, our “Cycle of Life” case where new MLPs continue to be created from spinoffs of assets. CEE staff is interested in hearing your feedback at


    Are "We" Asking Too Much of Electricity Markets?

    CEE 2016 Mid-Year Meeting
    Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
    June 28, 2016

    CEE Looks to the Future of U.S. Electricity Market Economics in its Mid-Year Meeting.


    8:30 a.m. Welcome & Overview, Dr. Gurcan Gulen, CEE
    "We” want cheap, clean, reliable, and secure electric power service. Cognitive dissonance?

    • Conflicting objectives and policies creating a wide range of potentially very large uncertainties.



    9:00 a.m. Competitive Electricity Markets are Being Sidelined, Drs. Gulen & Chen-Hao Tsai, CEE

    • Can enhancing day-ahead and real-time price signals, reforming capacity markets, and/or other market design adjustments address the “missing money” problem?

    9:30 a.m. What is the Full Cost of Electricity?, Drs. Gulen & Michelle Michot Foss, CEE

    • LCOE, LACE and system costs
    • Financial support mechanisms
    • Energy Webs



    10:30 a.m. Resource Adequacy, Resource Capacity optimization, and System Costs, Drs. Gulen & Tsai, CEE

    • Importance of assumptions: Demand growth, technology cost trends, etc.
    • Impact of environmental regulations
    • Impact of rapid expansion of renewables capactiy
    • Impact of Nuclear retirements




    11:30 a.m. Lunch Guest Speaker, Marc Spitzer, Steptoe & Johnson LLP  
    1:00 p.m. Musings on Why Retail Electricity Prices Diverge from Wholesale Prices, Dr. Tsai, CEE
    1:30 p.m. Minerals Supply Chains for Battery Storage, Mr. Rahul Verma & Dr. Foss, CEE
    For more information about this, or any other electric power research item, please contact CEE for details.  

    Upstream Matters! 2015 Update
    March 2016

    The update of our financial evaluation of 12 companies with 2015 data reflects the significant negative impact of low oil, liquids and natural gas prices. We have instituted a cash flow waterfall analysis to further understand key challenges in cost structure and financing faced by many companies in the U.S. upstream sector. An important question is dependence upon capital markets going forward at a time when capital flows to the oil and gas industries will be constrained by factors ranging from commodity price to positioning and performance. As always, we welcome your feedback on this, or any analysis at

    Retail Electricity Prices on the Rise
    March 2016

    CEE investigates the sustained upward trend of residential electricity prices in the face of commercial and industrial sector prices which have remained flat since 2010. This comes at a time of stagnating electricity demand, low natural gas prices, and an increase in the penetration of renewable energy in the bulk power system. Chief among our interests are determining which drivers are forcing up retail prices and whether or not the trend is sustainable. We found that the wholesale price has followed the natural gas price downwards while retail prices have decoupled from the wholesale price. Furthermore, preliminary analysis suggests that states with relatively higher prices than others tend to have more aggressive renewable energy targets and competitive markets. Please contact us with any feedback related to this report!

    A Comparative Anatomy of Oil Price Routs: A Review of Four Price Routs Between 1985 and 2014
    Bob Skinner, CEE Advisor
    November, 2015

    With layoffs and cutbacks in the oilpatch and the ripple effects spreading out through Canada's economy, it may seem as though the latest drop in oil prices could stall the economic engine in Alberta for a long time. This paper argues, however, that the current rout is unlike the other three major ones (when the price of oil dropped 60 per cent or more) experienced in the last 30 years. The factors affecting the oil price drop and its potential for rebound differ significantly. The routs of 2008 and 1997 were mostly demand-driven, triggered by credit crises in key markets. Both 2014 and 1985 started as demand-driven, too, but significantly, they changed to supply-driven crashes. There, however, the similarities end between today and 30 years ago. Fears that we may be in for a long-term rout, similar to that of 1985, which lasted more than a decade, may be allayed by examining the very different circumstances surrounding the contemporary situation. Given an uninspiring macroeconomic outlook, a supply-side solution will be imperative.

    Battery Materials: Got Juice?
    November 2015

    CEE takes its first look at critical minerals as some expect the share of electricity as motive power for transportation to increase with the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs). Batteries also may provide storage for grid and off-grid power. Currently, preferred transport battery chemistry is Li-ion as the main cathode component with cobalt (Co) added for safety. Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs) are expected to maintain their dominance in the EV sector because of their relatively high ratings in energy storage and dispatch, cost, life span and performance under various ambient conditions. What are the global resources and reserves for Li and Co? With what mine-design production capacities? Are there any logistical, legal, and/or regulatory constraints to timely and cost-efficient development and delivery of these resources?


    CEE Nuclear Energy Roundtable Part III:
    Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
    January 6, 2016

    Years of CEE research on the electricity sector indicates that nuclear energy is at risk of being sidelined because of the tension between conventional nuclear energy project costs and competitive wholesale electricity market designs, promotion of renewables for environmental and local economic benefits, and concerns associated with nuclear waste and safety.
    CEE began hosting periodic roundtables in 2009 to build an effective forum for discussion of nuclear energy issues and challenges that should inform and, in turn, be impacted by CEE and UT research. The previous nuclear energy roundtables have served to gather diverse and experienced viewpoints from industry, government and external organizations.
    To see a summary of this Think Day, please click the following link: CEE Nuclear Energy Roundtable III Report  

    10:00 a.m. Opening Session: Why Nuclear Still Matters

  • Dr. Chen-Hao Tsai, Senior Energy Economist BEG/CEE- Welcome & key points from previous roundtables and CEE research on nuclear and electricity markets
  • Lady Barbara Judge, Roundtable Chair and former head of UK Atomic Industry Association- "Why Nuclear Still Matters"

    10:15 a.m. Theme 1: Challenges and Opportunities for U.S. Nuclear Energy

  • David Wright, Former NARUC President, Moderator
  • Experts:
    McBurnett, CEO Nuclear Innovation (Download)
    Neel Mitra, Tudor Pickering Holt & Co (Download)
    Dr. Chen-Hao Tsai, Senior Energy Economist BEG/CEE

    12:45 p.m. Theme 2: Interaction of Nuclear with Other Energy Sources – International Developments

  • Pablo Mulas, Mexico Secretariat - World Energy Council
  • Experts
    Jean-Marc Capdevila, French Counselor for Nuclear Energy
    Kelly McGrath
    , ENGIE
    Dr. Hisanori Nei
    , GRIPS (Download)
    Ing. Juan Eibenschutz,
    CNSNS Mexico (Download)
    2:15 p.m. Theme 3: Technology Solutions and Risk Management  
  • Dr. Erich Schneider, UT Austin Department of Mechanical Engineering (Download)
  • Experts:
  • Dr. Dan Ingersoll, NuScale (Download)
    Dr. Ken Peddicord,
    Texas A&M Nuclear Power Institute
    Dr. John Poston
    , Texas A&M Nuclear Power Institute
    3:30 p.m. Closing Remarks and Adjourn  
    For more information about this, or any other Nuclear Roundtable, please contact CEE for details.  


    CEE 20th Annual Meeting:
    Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
    December 9-10, 2015

    CEE’s 2015 annual meeting, like many annual meetings before it, and other “think days” throughout the year, brought together a wide range of stakeholders in the realm of energy economics, and friends of CEE, for a no-holds-barred, confidential discussion about the future economics of a key energy issue.

    Wednesday, December 9


    8:30 a.m. Welcome, agenda for annual meeting and workshop

  • Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist and Program Manager
  • Overview Presentation

    9:30 a.m. Big Moving Parts – Do Accidents "Happen"? NEW – CEE Book Club

  • Peter Zeihan, Zeihan on Geopolitics
  • Download

    10:45 a.m. Upstream Part 1 – *Unconventionally Conventional

  • Bob Skinner, University of Calgary/CEE Global Advisors, chair and leader - Scene Setting
  • Bob Kleinberg, Schlumberger/Doll - The Technology "white space"
  • Download
  • Paul Ziff, Solomon Associates/Ziff Energy - Upstream models and the long term Ziff cost benchmarks
  • Miranda Wainberg, BEG/CEE Senior Energy Advisor- Insights from CEE NOC research

    12:30 p.m. Lunch - Collect "Up at Night" Submissions

    1:30 p.m. Upstream Part 2 – Navigating the Midstream Rapids Overview Presentation
  • Les Deman, Coastside/CEE Modeling Advisors
  • Deniese Palmer-Huggins, BEG/CEE Senior Energy Advisor
    3:00 p.m. Big Ticket Projects – Special Economics, Special Regions and Very Special Frameworks  
  • Luis Giusti, Chair and leader - Scene setting
  • Howard Rogers, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies- LNG and gas pipelines
  • Download
  • Hisanori Nei, GRIPS/CEE Global Advisors - Japan/Asia energy projects
  • Download
  • Bob Skinner, University of Calgary/CEE Global Advisors, Oil sands and Canadian LNG
  • Download
    1:45 p.m. North America  
  • Robert Skinner, University of Calgary/CEE Global Advisor
  • Javier Estrada, Analítica Energética
    3:00 p.m. Supply/Delivery Implications  
  • Robert Stibolt, Galway Group
    5:00 p.m.- Closing Thoughts for Day 1, Look Ahead to Day 2  
  • Dave Knapp, Chair

    Thursday, December 10

    9:00 a.m. Power and Utilities Part 1 – Fuzzy Logic? Thinking Outside the Houston Box (Carefully)  
  • Juan Eibenschutz, CNSNS/CEE Global Advisors (tentative), chair and leader – scene setting
  • Gürcan Gülen, BEG/CEE Senior Energy Economist/Research Scientist & Chen-Hao Tsai- insights from CEE/UTEI research
  • Jim Caldwell, CEERT- Economics of renewables
  • Christi Tezak, Clearvire Energy Partners- range of issues facing utilities in an increasing complex market encumbered by federal intervention and state-by-state rules
  • Ed Kelly, IHS/CEE Modeling Advisors
    10:45 a.m. Power and Utilities Part 2 – Transmission and Storage  
  • Rahul Verma, BEG/CEE Graduate Student Researcher- Insights from CEE research on critical minerals for energy storage
  • Daniel Crotzer, Fractal Business Analytics- The potential for batteries
  • Shawn Patterson, Apex- the case for CAES
    11:45 a.m. Closing Thoughts for Day 2, Comments on/Recommendations for CEE Research  
  • Terry Thorn, CEE Advisory Panel, chair
    12:15 p.m. Closing Lunch Discussion  
  • Ed Kelly, IHS/CEE Modeling Advisors- Technology Disruptions – Gas and Power Deep Dive
    1:30 Adjourn  

    2015 Update to CEE's Research on National Oil Companies (NOCs)
    October 2015

    This report serves as an update to our snapshot released in March 2015. Full cycle costs for our sample of NOCs have begun to come down for the first time sine 2011. To achieve a 10 percent return on investment NOCs need an $67 oil price, on average. To recover current capital spent, NOCs need a roughly $78 price. The major portion of NOC cost structure is the fiscal contribution to the state (FCS), the roughly 40 percent of total revenue that NOCs give up to their governments in various forms. We observe that for NOCs to achieve meaningful cost reductions, their home governments would need to undertake substantial fiscal reforms and manage public finances much differently.

    Outlooks on Industrial Sector Demand for Natural Gas
    June 2015

    CEE developed and maintains a comprehensive inventory of projects in gas-intensive industries since early 2014. This effort is part of CEE’s sectoral look at the U.S. demand for natural gas, which includes modeling of environmental regulations in the power sector, and investigation of global natural gas markets (demand growth in key countries, LNG sector and competitiveness of U.S. exports). We reported some estimates from the database in June 2014 and updates in February 2015. This research note provides some details on individual projects (cost, capacity, locations) and our evaluation of project status and gas consumption calculations. We will continue to monitor the gas-intensive projects and provide updates as warranted.

    Challenges Facing Growth in Light Tight Oil (LTO) Production
    June 2015

    The increased production of lighter crude oil and NGLs present challenges across the oil and gas value chain. The majority of current refining capacity is configured to utilize heavier crudes with more sulfur. New midstream infrastructure is needed in locations where this new production is occurring. Finding markets for these products is a challenge as domestic demand is limited. What will happen to the light/heavy price spreads? Who absorbs the cost of these imbalances? Contact CEE with questions.


    Monitoring U.S./Global Oil and Gas: Upstream Attainment, Producer Challenges, Part Deux
    March 2015

    Since 2010 we have tracked a sample of producers active in U.S. domestic oil & gas to better understand upstream economics through the lens of publicly traded companies. This work is essential for full understanding of U.S. energy balances. Our sample represents the top tier of producers including leading shale players. On average, and on a BOE (oil and liquids) basis, U.S. producers need an oil price signal of roughly $80 to return current capital spent. On a MCFE (gas) basis, producers need a roughly $13 gas price to recover 2014 capital spent. Our work was featured by the Houston Chronicle on March 30. See the article for details of our analysis and let us have your feedback. Contact CEE with questions.


    Update to CEE's Research on National Oil Companies (NOCs)
    March 2015

    CEE benchmarks NOCs, part of our ongoing research on NOCs since 1998.  Full cycle costs for our sample of NOCs have increased steadily since 2011 reporting.  To achieve a 10 percent return on investment NOCs need an $80 oil price, on average.  To recover current capital spent, NOCs need a roughly $102 price, as some in our sample made significant acquisitions.  The major portion of NOC cost structure is the fiscal contribution to the state (FCS), the roughly 40 percent of total revenue that NOCs give up to their governments in various forms.  We observe that For NOCs to achieve meaningful cost reductions, their home governments would need to undertake substantial fiscal reforms and manage public finances much differently. Contact CEE with questions. [read more]


    Industrial Gas Demand
    February 2015

    CEE developed a comprehensive inventory of projects in gas-intensive industries in early 2014. We reported some estimates from the database in June 2014. We are now providing an update. There is a smaller number of projects worth between $65 and $98 billion depending on their status, likely to add 2-3 BCFD to 2012 natural gas demand. The biggest change is the elimination of the recently-cancelled SASOL GTL facility—we were cautious about this project’s prospect in our June 2014 release. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.


    Monitoring U.S./Global Oil and Gas: Upstream Attainment, Producer Challenges
    February 2015

    Since 2010 we have tracked a sample of producers active in U.S. domestic oil & gas to better understand upstream economics through the lens of publicly traded companies.  This work is essential for full understanding of U.S. energy balances. Our sample represents the top tier of producers including leading shale players. Overall, FD capex has dropped, largely a result of improved acreage positions as well as drilling management resulting in increased reserve additions.  Cash costs remain substantial and stubborn and the industry remains predominantly cash flow negative. The minimum full cycle cost is between $70-80 per BOE, or $11-12 per MCFE. See the article for details of our analysis and let us have your feedback. Contact CEE with questions.


    Paradigms Lost?

    CEE 2014 Annual Meeting:
    Houston Branch - Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Conference Center
    December 3-4, 2014

    CEE’s 2014 annual meeting, like many annual meetings before it, and other “think days” throughout the year, brought together a wide range of stakeholders in the realm of energy economics, and friends of CEE, for a no-holds-barred, confidential discussion about the future economics of a key energy issue.

    Wednesday, December 3


    8:30 a.m. - Welcome, Agenda, and Setting the Scene for Annual Meeting and Workshop

  • Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist and Program Manager & Gürcan Gülen, Senior Energy Economist/Research Associate: Overview of CEE briefing book for meeting and introductions

    NOC Costs

    9:30 a.m. - Aisa Pacific

  • Hisanori Nei, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan
  • Download
  • Jim Jenson, Jenson Associates
  • Download

    10:45 a.m. - Welcome

  • Scott Tinker, BEG Director

  • 11:00 a.m. - Europe:

  • Serge Krebs, French Consulate General
  • Download
    11:45 a.m. Middle East  
  • Herman Franssen, Energy Intelligence Group/CEE Global Advisor
    12:30 p.m. Lunch - Collect "Up at Night" Submissions  

    1:00 p.m. - Russia

  • Jonathan Stern & Jim Henderson, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies
  • Download
    1:45 p.m. - North America  
  • Robert Skinner, University of Calgary/CEE Global Advisor
  • Download
  • Javier Estrada, Analítica Energética
  • Download
    3:00 p.m. - Supply/Delivery Implications  
  • Robert Stibolt, Galway Group
  • Download

    4:00 p.m. - Wrap up, key questions, preparation for December 4

    5:00 p.m. - Closing thoughts on gas market transitions and energy risk management  
  • Vince Kaminski, Rice University

    5:30 p.m. - Reception in the Buffalo Bayou Room


    8:00 p.m. -Adjourn


    Thursday, December 4

    8:15 a.m. - Breakfast during opening remarks on gas market evolution  
  • Jerry Langdon, Former Member, Federal Energy regulatory Commission

    8:45 a.m. - Interactive Workshop to Build Themes and Conclusions  
    Break outs organized around major themes selected previously  
  • In this interactive workshop segment of the program, participantes broke into small discussion groups, each to explore more deeply one of the following key issues or questions about gas markets coming out of the December 3 deliberations: de-linking oil and gas prices, the liklihood of overbuilding LNG in North America, the endurance of structural differenes in the gas value chain worldwide, capturing drivers, timing, and consequences of the commodity cycle in models, and possibilities for the next black swan event. Each group worked on identifying key drivers behind current state of the issue, framing possible future pathways to overcome bottlenecks, structural constraints, policy inconsistencies, or other impediments to gas market development and highlighting areas where further research by UT/BEG-CEE or others would be helpful. Each break out group presented their conclusions in the final session of the meeting. UT/BEG-CEE staff and advisors and researchers facilitated the discussions.
    11:00 a.m. - Conclusions from workshops  
    12:00 p.m. - Adjourn  

    Bakken Oil Transport
    September 2014



    Rail transports most of the crude from the Bakken. Could Canadian pipeline projects that are on the horizon potentially help move this crude east and undermine rail's dominance? See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

    Industrial Gas Demand
    June 2014



    CEE has developed a projects database for gas-intensive industries, which can add significantly to natural gas demand in the U.S. We provide a summary of projects under development with their likely gas consumption. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

    Power Plant Retirements
    May 2014



    Large capacities of power plants have already been retired and more are expected. Most of these retirements have been and will be coal fired plants, mostly older with relatively low and/or decreasing capacity factors. Still, coal generators were critical in Northeast and, to a certain extent, Midwest in the winter of 2014 when gas supplies were constrained due to transportation bottlenecks. See the article for an analysis of past and future retirements and possible implications. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

    Natural Gas Storage
    April 2014



    Compared to average end-of-winter levels, gas storage is at its lowest level in recent history. So why is the summer-winter prices spread the lowest in a decade? See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

    Liquids Questions
    April 2014



    NGLs have provided uplift to upstream economics but liquids markets have their own dynamics. Recent price collapse, especially for ethane, undermines the uplift. We investigate ethylene cracking as the main market for ethane and raise questions on how the midstream business might be changing. See the article for details. Contact CEE with questions.

    Midstream & Long Term Impacts of Price Spikes
    March 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

    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

    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

    June 7 Forum Agenda

    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

    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



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

    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
    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:

    DECEMBER 5  

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


    Upstream Economics Review and Discussion

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

    "That Vision Thang"

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

    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


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


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


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

    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
    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


    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

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

    Upstream, Gas, and Global Flows

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

    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

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


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

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


    research note

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

    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  For information about CEA go to and for information on ANGA go to

    CEE thanks all participants in our forum for allowing us to share their presentation materials in the public domain.  Please contact us at 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]


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


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

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

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

    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

    contact CEE

    What should India's long term refining strategy be?
    Dr. Bhamy Shenoy, Dr. Gürcan Gülen



    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


    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

    Dr. Michelle Michot Foss, Chief Energy Economist and Program Manager
    Center for Energy Economics, Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin
    Tel 713-654-5400 Fax 713-654-5405