2008 News


  • November 14 - Dr. Michot Foss was a moderator of a panel discussion on "The Transformation and Increasing Impact of NOCs in the Global Energy Marketplace" at the Women's Global Leadership Conference held in Houston.
  • November 3-14 - CEE hosted a group of 27 professionals from Nigeria for a special two-week session of CEE's executive program "New Era in Oil, Gas & Power Value Creation." The delegation included senior oil company professionals of various backgrounds (engineers, managers, accountants), who are members of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).


  • October 28 - CEE hosted a special luncheon forum with Honorable Iris Evans, Minister of Finance and Enterprise, Province of Alberta, Canada. The event titled "Adding Value in Alberta's Oil Sands: Challenges and Opportunities" was organized jointly with the Canadian Consulates in Dallas and Houston, and sponsored by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. Canada's oil sands are a premier frontier resource, playing a growing role in global oil and oil products supply.  The Minister addressed the numerous development challenges associated with oil sands commercialization and discussed strategic initiatives being undertaken by the Provincial Government and investor concerns.
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  • October 20-24 - CEE held its second annual executive program “New Era in Oil, Gas & Power Value Creation.” Delegates attending the program represented various organizations from Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria, South Africa and USA. Companies represented included research institutes, regulatory agencies, and private and national oil companies. The program gave the participants a comprehensive understanding of energy business, economic, policy, regulatory and technology trends impacting value creation opportunities.
  • October 17 - CEE opened its FY 09 series of Think Day breakfast forums with Mr. Luis Giusti, CEE and CSIS advisor. Mr. Giusti shared his perspectives on Latin America's energy and politics.


  • September 16-19 - In Kolkata (India), Dr. Gulen presented on global coal industry trends at the Regional Clean Coal Partnership Program, sponsored by the USAID's South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy program and organized by PA Consulting. The program, which consisted of a two-day workshop and two days of field trips, was attended by about 30 participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. India is already the third largest producer of coal in the world. Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are developing their coal reserves while Sri Lanka is actively seeking coal imports. The program focused on sharing best practices in optimizing the production and use of coal economically while minimizing environmental impacts. Dr. Gulen participated in the program as part of a broader effort in which CEE cooperates with PA Consulting Group, including the publication of Energy Security Quarterly.
  • September 8-9 - Workshop on Commercial Frameworks for Energy Investment was held on in Accra, organized jointly by CEE and its partners in West Africa. More than forty delegates attended this a by-invitation only event. This was a follow-up to the workshop held in Abuja on May 1-2, 2008. After updates on key regional projects such as the West African Gas Pipeline and West African Power Pool, two facilitated discussions were held on energy sector governance and roles of institutions for energy infrastructure investment in West Africa, and policy and regulatory frameworks and investment considerations. [more]


  • July 2008 - CEE-UT publishes the second Energy Security Quarterly Update newsletter as part of the USAID South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI-E).



New Era participants during a field trip

  • May 12-23 - CEE held its 8th annual international capacity-building program "New Era in Oil, Gas & Power Value Creation." Participants came from Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Trinidad & Tobago, and the U.S. For two weeks, 27 delegates took part in lectures, team projects, and field trips as part of the program that emphasizes the relationship between energy value chain economics, technology, and operations with policy and regulatory frameworks necessary to host commercially successful investment.
  • May 8 - CEE hosted a group of energy industry specialists from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. The group was in the U.S. as part of Department of Commerce' Special American Busines Internship Training (SABIT) program "Oil and Gas Exploration and Production for Eurasia.
  • May 7 - CEE hosted a group of Lukoil's HR managers for a visit as part of an EMBA visit organized by the Petroleum Business Institute. The group attended CEE lecture on the oil and gas industry in the United States and visited various organizations involved in training personnel for energy companies, including a visit to UT's PETEX and Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering Department at the Cockrell School of Engineering.


  • April 21-23 - Dr. Foss chaired two panel discussions at the CWC LNG 2008 held on April 21-23 in San Antonio. The first was the opening keynote session, "International and Domestic Market Drivers: How Are They Influencing the US LNG Market?" and included Andrew Jupiter (National Energy Corporation of Trinidad & Tobago), Andrew Walker (BG North America) and Guy Caruso (Administrator of the US Energy Information Administration). The second panel "US Gas Buyers & Consumers: What Roles Are They Playing in the LNG Game?" looked at LNG from an end-user perspective including utilities, industrial users, power companies and other major consumers of gas. Panel speakers included: Simon Bonini (CENTRICA) and Craig Barrie (Dow Chemical).
  • April 21 - Dr. Foss co-chaired with Jeremy Platt, EPRI  an AAPG Forum on Economics of Natural Gas and Alternative Energy. Held as part of the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition in San Antonio, the Forum addressed the critical factors shaping the natural gas market outlook over the intermediate term, escalation in costs of exploration and production and the way these factors affect the financial performance of specific projects. Other presenters included Ed Kelly, Wood Mackenzie and Jim Davidson, National Energy Board-Canada.
  • April 11 - CEE-UT held a Think Day on "Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) Trading in Texas and in the U.S. " CEE has been looking at portfolio standards and REC trading as models for dealing with carbon regulation and promoting low carbon technologies. At the Think Day, Dr. Gülen provided background on how REC trading became popular around the nation and identified some challenges for creating standards and expanding regional markets.  Mr. Mike Sloan of Virtus Energy provided the history of Texas RPS and REC market, identifying several issues going forward.  Dr. David Hurlbut of National Renewable Energy Laboratory presented national trends in renewable energy and the role of REC markets. His presentation was followed by a talk by Mr. Sakis Asteriadis of APX, a company which has developed most of the trading platforms for RECs around the country, on trends with trading RECs, energy efficiency certificates and eventually carbon offsets.  After the presentations, Mr. Jess Totten of the Public Utility Commission of Texas led a discussion on moving forward with these environmental markets.

    Dr. Gülen gives a presentation at CEE's REC Trading Think Day.


  • March 27 - CEE-UT held an LNG Forum in Houston to present the results and conclusions of the recently conncluded study on the community benefits associated with LNG regasification infrastructure in the United States. The forum featured presentations by Dr. Foss and Dr. Gurfinkel on the findings of the study, followed by panel discussion with Dr. Gordon Weil (Weil & Howe) and Mr. Ward Pennebaker (Pennebaker).
  • March 17 - Dr. Foss gave a keynote presentation for the International Energy Credit Association 2008 Spring Conference in Napa, California. Download presentation slides here.
  • March 11 - CEE-UT presented the results and conclusions of the recently concluded study on the community benefits associated with LNG regasification infrastructure in the United States.  The presentation was part of a Forum organized jointly with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. The forum addressed issues in locating LNG infrastructure facilities, focusing on community and economic benefits to disseminate lessons learned for other large energy infrastructure projects. Mr. Frank A. Verrastro (Director and Senior Fellow of CSIS Energy and National Security Program) made welcoming remarks which were followed by presentations by Dr. Foss and Dr. Gurfinkel on the study and its implications for large energy infrastructure development in the United States. The event continued with a panel discussion on key issues and constraints in developing critical energy infrastructure in the United States and abroad, including both security considerations for infrastructure assets and implications for overall energy security and delivery. Panelists also included Mr. Gordon Weil (Weil & Howe), Ms. Linda Stuntz (Stuntz, Davis & Staffier), and David Pumphrey (CSIS). Download presentation slides here .


  • February 25-29 - Dr. Gulen and Dr. Gurfinkel led the "Global Energy Markets Trade Programme” in New Delhi , sponsored by the USAID's South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy program and organized by PA Consulting. The seminar attracted more than 30 participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The program covered key issues in the global energy sector as they relate to South Asian economies, based on material from CEE's New Era program, and provided an opportunity to discuss the key elements of the SARI/Energy program: cross-border energy trade, energy market formation, and regional clean energy development as elements that contribute to poverty alleviation efforts and the region's energy security. The seminar is part of a broader effort in which CEE cooperates with PA Consulting Group, including an Energy Security Quarterly.
  • February 21 - Dr. Foss presented an "Overview on the Business of LNG" for a training program co-sponsored by ABS Consulting and Petrobras University in Rio de Janeiro.
  • February 12 - CEE-UT resumed its periodic Think Day seminars with a special event co-hosted with the British Consulate-General, Houston/UK Science and Innovation on climate economics. This Think Day seminar featured Dmitri Zenghelis, Head of the Stern Team for the Stern Review on Economics of Climate Change.
  • February - Article "Africa: A New Frontier in Oil and Gas Exploration" by Dr. Foss was featured in February 2008 issue of Geotimes magazine published by the American Geological Institute.
  • February 08, 2008:  Mariano Gurfinkel provided a guest comment in the Inter-American Dialogue's Latin America Advisor-Energy issue on Petrobras' success as a National Oil Company.  

    Issue:  Brazil's Petrobras is now one of the top six most highly market capitalized energy firms in the world, joining other national oil companies (NOCs) that are replacing familiar private-sector players, PFC Energy said in a report last month. Will the company's success endure? What do other Latin American NOCs need to do to join the ranks of the world's influential players?

    Comment:  Brazil 's growing hydrocarbon sector is the direct result of the implementation of commercial frameworks for oil production and the move to partially privatize PETROBRAS.  The key to success has been the definition of for-profit activity within the upstream oil sector in Brazil .  If in addition, we add commercial objectives for PETROBRAS, a growing and vibrant sector is possible in which PETROBRAS is the principal participant. Our research on national oil companies has shown the importance of adequate commercial frameworks for the functioning of a national hydrocarbon sector and for increased performance of national oil companies.  Moreover, we have identified a market premium for partially privatized national oil companies that function within such commercially favorable frameworks; PETROBRAS being a clear example.  As long as commercial frameworks are kept in place, Brazil will continue to benefit from a dynamic hydrocarbon sector, and PETROBRAS will enjoy continued success. Though the lessons learned are many, they are not widely implemented.  Some countries in our hemisphere have moved forward and set up commercial frameworks that have attracted considerable investment. Like Brazil , now with the commercial frameworks in place, a limited few are in the process of, or are considering, partially privatizing their national oil (or gas) company. Mexico faces both these challenges today.  The country could benefit from the implementation of adequate commercial frameworks that would allow for private investment and would define commercial and for-profit objectives for its national oil company.  However, political and legal hurdles remain.


  • January 25 - Dr. Gülen took part in the AEI Conference "Electricity Deregulation, Texas-Style" presenting the legislative history based on a chapter he and Pat Wood III are writing for an upcoming book on electricity deregulation in Texas.
  • January 25 - Dr. Gülen took part in the AEI Conference "Electricity Deregulation, Texas-Style" presenting the legislative history based on a chapter he and Pat Wood III are writing for an upcoming book on electricity deregulation in Texas.
  • January 24 - Mariano Gurfinkel spoke at the 3rd Annual LNG & CNG Symposium in Halifax, Nova Scotia, organized by The Canadian Institute, where he presented a brief summary of the recently concluded comprehensive study on energy infrastructure siting in the US.
  • January 16 - Mariano Gurfinkel spoke at the monthly meeting of the Houston Chapter of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE). The meeting featured a panel discussion on the current state of and prospects for the energy sector in Mexico. The panel included the following speakers: Dagoberto "Bob" Brito and Peter Hartley of Rice University and was moderated by George Baker, of Baker and Associates. The presentation was titled "What Should Power Mexico's Growth?"
  • January 14-15 - Dr. Michelle Michot Foss spoke at two high level seminars on energy security for Algerian energy, interior, and defense officials and personnel. The Energy Infrastructure Security Seminar was sponsored by ANHAM, LLC, a leading infrastructure and risk management contracting firm based in Dubai. Dr. Michot Foss addressed "Strategic Priorities for Energy Infrastructure Security" on a panel led by Admiral James Loy, The Cohen Group (former deputy secretary, Homeland Security and administrator, Transportation Security Administration) and including Mr. Dan McWhorter, ANHAM, LLC; Mr. Len Ogier, Ogier Electronics; and Mr. Mark Garver, Specialty Intelligence Group, LLP. The conference took place in Algiers January 14-15, 2008.